As we move into fall and winter, wine-themed dinners become increasingly popular.
And why not? The weather has already begun to cool down, the rainy season (groan) is just around the corner, and indoor activities will soon be the norm.
I just wrapped up a wine dinner series at Bellingham Technical College that featured a number of top-notch Washington wines. These wines showcase the variety and depth of premium wines produced in the state, and confirm what many of you already know - a good wine tastes even better when paired with the proper food.
Here is a summary of the highly recommended wines that were served:
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Treveri Cellars Non-Vintage Sparkling Pinot Gris (about $15) – Winemaker Juergen Grieb does it again with this flavorful, extremely well-priced sparkler that makes an excellent aperitif. It explodes with Golden Delicious apple and Bartlett pear flavors that are perfectly balanced by a lemon-drop finish.
Rulo Winery Walla Walla Valley 2012 Chardonnay (about $25) – Kurt and Vicki Schlicker prove that good people make great wines with this stunning effort. Hazelnut, butterscotch, baked apple and toasted vanilla aromas and flavors melt into a mile-long finish with a hint of mandarin orange. Purchase their wines online or take a U-Haul to the tasting room in Walla Walla and stock up.
Terra Blanca Winery Signature Series 2008 Merlot (about $40) – Keith Pilgrim provides another amazing interpretation of Red Mountain fruit with this estate-sourced merlot. Dried herbs, minerals and a whisper of smoke on the nose are followed by understated plum and black cherry flavors and a twist of black pepper. Try it with anything beef, or a pork tenderloin.
Forgeron Cellars 2011 GSM (about $33) – This beautifully balanced blend from Walla Walla winemaker Marie-Eve Gilla hits all the right notes and pairs perfectly with leg of lamb. The flavor profile includes bright red plum from the grenache and intense dark fruits from the syrah. A splash of mourvèdre provides spicy accents on the finish, along with perfectly integrated tannins.
Thurston Wolfe Non-Vintage Tawny Port (about $16 for 375 ml) – Dr. Wade Wolfe creates a masterpiece with this zinfandel port that spent eight years in the barrel. It’s brimming with complex layers of candied walnuts, toasted coconut, caramel, fig, and rum raisin that linger long after the first sip.
If you’re thinking about attending a wine dinner, consider reserving a space at North Bellingham Golf Course’s Nine Restaurant at 6 p.m. on Oct. 18. I’ll be moderating an exquisite five-course dinner that will feature Annette Bergevin from Walla Walla’s Bergevin Lane Vineyards. Wines slated to be served include sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, two red wine blends and syrah. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 360-398-8300, ext. 2.