Food, Wine & Friends Page 289
Having visited Washington State with Kareasa & Ralph UnaWilkins earlier in
the year, we were interested to have a dinner featuring some Washington State
Since our previous dinners together, Connie & Mark O'Poon now have a new
addition to their family, Winifred Scout O'Poon.
This was Winnie's first visit to Uncle Gerald's home.
Winnie was asking "Where's the bubbly? Don't you have some sparkling
wine for me?"
And we had some nibbles to accompany the 2009 Argyle Brut from Oregon...
Kareasa took care of pouring the bubbly.
Dad and daughter.
Ralph took care of opening and pouring the white wines for the
We kept little Winnie waiting so long for the first course, she fell asleep!
Sea scallops on a bed of spinach with a grilled prawn in the middle...
DeLille's 2014 Chaleur Estate white wine was a great pairing...
Kareasa immediately described this as challenging top Bordeaux estates.
Yes...it's herbal, mildly citrusy Sauvignon with just the right amount of oak.
The L'Ecole 41 2014 Columbia Valley Chenin Blanc had a nice fragrance which
struck me as typical of that grape. It was, in the company of the strong
Chaleur white, a bit bland. We felt the wine was also mildly sweet, but
their technical data sheet claims it has but 5 grams per liter of residual
That can't be accurate, frankly. It tastes more like 8 to 12 grams of
Meanwhile, I fired up the pot to start making risotto.
To pair with the mushroom risotto we selected a couple of Walla Walla Valley
Syrah wines, one young and the other nearly a decade old.
Kareasa was also thrilled to know there was a tray of
Yorkshire Pudding baking in the oven.
Meanwhile, the risotto was ready and plated...Mushroom Risotto
with locally-foraged Porcini.
We obtained a couple of white truffles from Alba in Italy's Piemonte region.
The risotto is then made with broth from soaking dried Porcini (a splash of dry
white wine to start the process) and we add a couple of spoons-full of a
Piemontese truffle cream to the pot of braised funghi.
Then we shaved the truffles over the risotto.
The Cayuse winery is a smallish property in Walla Walla.
It's become a much sought-after wine made by a French-born fellow, Christophe
We met him ages ago (maybe in 2000?) on a visit to Walla Walla. He was
born in Champagne and had the idea of making wine in Oregon's Willamette
Valley. But seeing a rocky patch of land just south of Walla Walla changed
his life as it reminded him of the stony "potato fields" of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Baron has since been the trailblazer with his Syrah production and now the
region boasts a number of seriously good wineries making top-notch Syrah.
This was a 2014 bottling called "En Chamberlin."
This is named for a single vineyard property planted in 2000. It was way
too young, but really intriguing to monitor its development in the glass.
At first it was a bit shy and quiet...then it started to blossom with air,
showing itself along the lines of Northern Rhône Syrahs. It then
displayed olive-like aromas and a touch of the hickory/bacony notes we like in
older Côte-Rôtie wines. But then, a fleeting moment later, it was back
to its youthfully reticent self. What a tease!
We are sure this will be a grand vin in five to ten to fifteen years, but
presently it's a wine which bounced around like a ricocheting ball on a soccer
The Saviah Syrah was from the 2006 vintage. It, too, was quite good.
The wine had both good fruit and nice oak. I described it as being
somewhat reminiscent of Guigal's various barrel-aged Syrahs from the Northern Rhône.
Perhaps it's not as deep and complex from a fruit perspective, but the wine was
quite good and showing beautifully.
The truffle, by the way, was marvelously pungent and aromatic. We shaved
slices which were slightly thicker than tissue paper-thin. The fragrance
wafting from the dish were nearly as intoxicating as were the wines.
Ralph immediately sent a text to Kareasa to tell her what a remarkable dish he
Then he remember she was sitting just across the dinner table!
Wine drinking in "stereo."
You-know-who was waiting for some food...
He wasn't much interested in the Sea Scallops or the Prawns...he often does
enjoy eating those.
Risotto and mushrooms are not his thing, either, but the main course was worth
I've often prepared a wine "sorbet" or granita, but
for this meal I made one based on lemon and infused with fresh basil and mint.
This was delicious and maybe too intense with basil and mint...I think I'll use
fewer leaves for the infusion next time.
The roast hit the 120 degree mark on the thermometer and we removed in from the
After it had rested for maybe 20-30 minutes, it was time to start plating it.
I was working on this under the watchful eye of my assistant.
In the dining room, someone else was getting hungry.
Prime Rib and Yorkshire Pudding.
I'll drink to that!
Winnie said she'd like a bit of the Yorkshire Pudding.
We opened a 2010 Corliss Red with the roast. It's got a lot of Cabernet
Franc and some Cabernet Sauvignon with a modest amount of Merlot.
It was a perfectly "nice" bottle of wine, but given its $70-$75 price
tag, it's too costly for what it is.
The 2012 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon is another expensive bottle of
wine. It carries a price tag of around $90 and the wine is quite good,
but, again, ambitiously priced.
It shows dark fruit and a nice bit of wood.
(( I sparged the bottles with Private Preserve to share them with the crew at
the shop and both John and Ellen did not find these to be of interest at pricing
about $40-$50. ))
Dessert was a homemade Apple Crumble...Very simple...apples dredged in lemon
juice and cinnamon, crammed into a glass pie pan and topped with the
The crumble topping is mostly flour and sugar with a bit of cinnamon, unsalted
butter and a bit of salt.
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream...delicious!
We paired this with Pacific Rim winery's 2012 Vin de Glacière Riesling.
This is a perfectly nice wine, but it's all about the sugar, frankly.
You'll find hints of Riesling here, but it's there's more sweetness than there
is complex, floral, fruity Riesling with complexity and layers of flavors.
And we had Amazing Jake's Amazing Persimmon Bread, too, since
one dessert wasn't enough!
As it was past my bedtime (but not Winnie's, apparently) we wrapped up a lovely
evening and reminiscing about a few wonderful days in Washington State earlier
in the year.
BACK TO THE FIRST FOOD, WINE
& FRIENDS PAGE
TO THE PREVIOUS PAGE
ON TO THE NEXT PAGE