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


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