Monthly Archives: June 2009

Maryhill, Wine Flights and Food off the Floor

The German and I met some friends, a well-known couple-about-town, at Cellar 46 on Mercer Island. We’d barely settled down to our table when the banter began when the couple revealed that at their home, a stately one in a nearby neighborhood, there is no 10 second rule. Not even a 20 second rule. If food falls on the floor, it’s fair game no matter when it falls and when it gets picked up and eaten. This is one of those TMI tips that you never forget. Note to self: Have gracious excuse ready to decline a dinner invite.

Now, on to the wine flights:

Smokin’ Reds $21
• 2006, Maryhill Winery, Columbia Valley, WA blend: Smokey berry with swirls of smooth milk chocolate and a dusting of cocoa powder
• 2007 Dusted Valley, Boomtown, Columbia Valley, WA Syrah: Mushroom earthiness coupled with smoked meat and spice
• 2007 Saint Cosme, Cotes-Du-Rhone, FR: Pepper steak, dried red fruit
• 2007, Waters Winery, Columbia Valley, WA Syrah: Peppery spice with olive and black cherry, soft tannins.

Pinot Noir $24 (My pick)
• 2007, Scott Paul, Cuvee Marth Pirrie, OR: A ribbon of dark chocolate, with bits of boysenberry and blackberry.
• 2006 Brandborg, Umpqua Valley, OR: A berry blast — strawberry, raspberry and cranberry. Yum.
• 2006, Belle Glos Meiomi, Sonoma Coast, CA Pleasant cherry but unengaging, simple and one dimensional which isn’t a bad thing. Maybe decant next time?
• 2007, Broadley Reserve, Willamette Valley, OR: Sweet and intense red raspberry.

Internationals $20 (The German’s pick)
• 2007 Domaine des Cassagnoles, Gondrin FR (White) (lifted from the tasting sheet, but seems to be missing the name of the wine): Clean and bright with fresh white lime popsicle and apple
• 2007 Sparkman Cellars ‘Lumiere’ Columbia Valley, WA (White): A citrus splash with an array of orange, mandarin, lemon and a tossed-in peach.

Fortunately, these two were repeats, because I was too tipsy to write sensibly.
• 2007, Scott Paul, Cuvee Marth Pirrie, OR: Repeat
• 2007 Saint Cosme, Cotes-Du-Rhone, FR: Repeat

And the best of the best…and the judges were unanimous on this decision…. Maryhill Winery….yet again.

Photo: Maryhill Winery


I’m In…Top 50 for A Really Goode Job

Holy Moly!
Just found out I’m in the Top 50 for the Murphy-Goode job.
Thanks to everyone for all the votes and support!!!
The top 10 will be announced on July 7, so keep your fingers crossed!!

Let’s Make a Movie. Glass of Chardonnay?

So as many of you know, I applied for the Really Goode Job at Murphy-Goode, down in Sonoma. This required filming a video demonstrating why I’d be the best Lifestyle/Social Media Correspondent on the face of the free earth. About a thousand people sent me the job posting, and another two thousand applied for it; and that’s when I decided to throw my hat in the ring. Who was it that said ‘procrastination paves the road to greatness.’ Oh, that was me. Right…

So out goes the German to Costco to pick up a video camera (a little too eagerly, I might add) Then off we went to Woodinville to make a movie. First stop DeLille to ask Greg Lill to say nice things about me. Then further down the road we stop in at Woodhouse Family Cellars to get a clip from owner, Bijal Shah.

Since we seemed oddly ahead of schedule, we stayed for a few sips and made a lovely discovery: the 2007 Hudson Shah, Columbia Valley, Chardonnay. This wine is a little genius in a glass. It’s stark and steely, and while I’m a big fan of butter bombs, the crisp balance of this wine made me actually shudder. Ripe pear, apple and rock careened down my throat to a long and noisy finish. Keep a couple cold bottles in the fridge this summer. They’ll be a hit!

Buy it at the winery, $35.

And a special thanks to those who voted for me. What’s next? Friday Murphy-Goode posts the TOP 50 to their site. Keep your fingers crossed!


An Evening of Caramel Dunk and Perfectly Paried Wines

Cadaretta winemaker, Virginie Bourgue was French and adorable. Especially, by the way she pronounced focused – which sounded more like fuk-esed. And because I still have moments of immaturity, it made me giggle. But I listened intently as she described her winemaking talents and love for Walla Walla. In fact, I found myself completely captivated by Ms. Bourgue, until Larry Cherubino entered the picture. Larry is one of Australia’s most acclaimed winemakers and in my limited Italian vocabulary, I’m interpreting his name to mean “baby angel with dark, curly fro”.

Our evening at SAM’s TASTE unfolded with a thoughtfully and artfully prepared dinner by Chef Craig Hetherington. (Disclosure: I swiped some tasting note thoughts from TASTE’s director, Danielle Custer.)

Menu & Pairings
With the Duck – feta rosotto, honey-rhubarb sauce, quince gastrique, the wine selection opened with an SBS and an SSB:

• 2008 Cadaretta Sauvignon Blanc Semillion, Columbia Valley was a yeasty combination of Cardamom, pancake “batter”, sweet cream, with citrus and savory-sweet spice.
• 2008 The Yard Semillion Sauvingon Blanc, Pedestal Vinead Margaret River, Western Australia shows a richness of leafy and seaweed, green olives (briny) along with lemony, white grapefruit, lemon-thyme.

Then came the Chards paired with Pork – whipped crème fraiche, butterned gnocchi & fava

• 2008 Cadaretta Chardonay, Columbia Valley is made in Burgundian style, and we do love Burgundy…this wine is crisp and balanced, with butterscotch-honey and woody stick.
• 2008 Ad Lib “Hen & Chicken” Chardonay, Pemberton, Western Australia
Sidenote: Did anyone ever watch Cow & Chicken on Cartoon Network? I’ve tried to describe it to those unfamiliar and found that it’s impossible to convey the humor when describing cartoons. Anway…this wine was lean and angular with the chiseled features of a hot, California surfer. Strong fruit comes into play — citrus, melon and zesty rosemary with a plush texture of golden afro.

The Cheese selections begged the question: Can cheese truly be better then sex? Are you kidding me? If it’s dipped in a cup of caramel & espresso, the answer is ABSOLUTELY!

• port townshend cirrus – “neat”
• rogue blue pave – watercress & salumi mole chiffonade
• cave aged gruyere – caramel & espresso “to dunk”

Yes, I said dunking aged-gruyere in a liquidy caramel and espresso blend. Living proof that fantasies do come true. Though the espresso threw my tongue for a loop, I would never have passed on this brilliant idea. Now I know, if I’m ever in a position to order a “last meal” this is it! Oh-my-God!

• 2007, Ad Hoc “Middle of Everywhere” Shiraz, Frankland River Western Australia was gorgeously hued in dark blood red. This wine was chock full of ripe blueberry, boysenberry and unadulterated honesty.

Another perfect pair: Orbit Cake Bite, Theo bittersweet chocolate, balsamic ice-cream, and the 2006, Cadaretta Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. This wine is a big-bodied beauty without rough and tough tannins. Smooth on black fruit and dark chocolate. Truly a delectable combination with the cake, though, balsamic ice cream…not so much.

We finished with a splash of 2008 Cadaretta Reserve Red, a Columbia Valley Blend, which was simple and delicate, an array of flavors with petite verdot violet shining through.

A lovely evening with gorgeous wines (and winemakers)…

Photos:,, Cadaretta

A Riesling to Meet the Ex-Wife

I often wonder what I was thinking when I agreed…no, nearly insisted, that I meet the German’s ex-wife on our recent trip to Munich. In anticipation, I eagerly wrote my Wine Press Northwest column pairing Rieslings with profiles of “ex-wife types”. This included the PEW (psycho ex-wife) and the SEW (slutty ex-wife). She seemed to be neither, and actually fit the SACBEW (sweet-as-can-be ex-wife) after the initial weirdness wore off…

And then you can read the blog post on what REALLY happened when we met….


Parisian Actors, Wines & a Corset

Pontificating moments on Parisians by the German, on Germans by the Brit, on Parisians by Jean Cocteau, and on corsets by me…here’s how it went…

The German: Paris is all an image. The mayor has a tourism budget to pay actors to be beautiful and kiss lovingly, pretend to sketch along the Seine and carry musical instruments. This, he says, is part of the master plan to create Parisian culture, when in fact, the city is essentially a hollow vessel of clogged arteries. (Okay, I doctored it a bit. Oh, and he was joking. He likes the French. It’s a WWII thing.)

The Brit (our friend, Rusmat, who with his wife, Keiko, met us in Paris for the weekend): If the world was neutralized tomorrow, it would take some time for the people of Munich to notice. (self-absorbed, those Münchens.)

And, fittingly, Jean Cocteau said: In Paris, everybody wants to be an actor; nobody is content to be a spectator. (…maybe the German was on to something…)

And I say: Where else, but in Paris, can you wear a corset to a restaurant? (and by restaurant I mean white tablecloths — no stage, no poles.)

Anyway…in between, we walked and walked and walked; cruised on the Seine, explored the Louvre, Notre Dom, Musee D’Orsay, shopped on Champs-Élysées and Ile Saint Louis, picnicked in Place des Vosges, etc., etc., etc…..

Here are a few of the notable wines we drank:

2007, L’Oratoire de La Pansière, Calou, Faugères, Rhone
Full of youth, balanced, red plum, really ripe strawberry and cherry
Syrah, Grenache, Mouvedre, Carignan, Cinsault
Enjoyed at the Greek restaurant on place de Itale

2001, Chateau Chasse Spleen, Moulis en Meds, Bordeaux
Wound tight, but anticipated its potential. Coming back to it, it was a dark beauty, with black currant, bitter dark cherry and rough tannins. Probably needs to sleep a little longer. (Of course that’s my answer to everything!)
Given to us by Greg & Stacy

2006 Domaine de Pallus Chinon Les Pensées de Pallus
Strong and velvety, solid tannins, intense blackberry and dark fruit.
The German loved it with a tasty, but not beautiful Pot au Feu de cochon (pot of pig)
Cabernet Franc
Enjoyed at L’Avant Gout

Au Revoir!

Kiss French – Drink Northwest

Let’s just keep it at that. Oh, the irony!