Being not too far off the highway, Fidelitas has become a natural stopping point for visitors on their way to Walla Walla. Every Friday, we meet people who are headed towards this great wine region, and Sunday brings visitors who are on their way back home. Naturally, we strike up a conversation and are often asked about which wineries to visit or hear stories about the ones people really enjoyed. So, because we need to be informed and knowledgable for people who stop by, we took a staff field trip to the wineries of Walla Walla. We visited a whopping 15 wineries, which didn't even make a dent in what the area has to offer. Here are a few pics, courtesy of Melissa.
What did the W2 wineries have that we don't? These awesome breadsticks. (Found at most wineries we visited. This happens to be at Long Shadows.)
Even the gals from Seattle can learn a thing or two!
Everyone enjoyed the calming tone of the Seven Hills tasting room in downtown Walla Walla.
Tasting before 10am at Saviah Cellars. Their Petit Verdot is worth seeking out.
The whole crew at Basel Cellars.
The tasting room at Amavi is breath taking. Wines were tasting good too!
Amazing lunch courtesy of the gourmet food truck, Andrae's Kitchen.
Overwhelming the tasting room? Nope. Brandon at L'Ecole took great care of us.
Leaving our mark...
I used to love Valentine’s Day when it was all about homemade cards and glitter. However, the further I get away from my elementary school days, the more this holiday seems to put everyone on edge with unnecessary pressure to impress the one person that is supposed to love them unconditionally. After briefly working at a swanky restaurant where we would seat nearly 400 people on Valentine’s Day (reservations spanning 3:30pm to 11pm), I made a rule in our house: no going out to dinner, no to overpriced flowers, yes to cooking together and opening a great bottle (or two) of wine.
This year, our Valentine’s wine list highlights a few of my favorites for pairing with food: the Optu White Wine and Boushey Red Wine. Both of these bottles are superb on their own, but both really shine in the presence of food. Below is my intended menu and thoughts on the pairings.
Starter: Fig and Chevre Crostini
Salad: Pear and Hazelnut Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette
I’ll pair the Optu White with both of these items. This is an interesting white in that is has a very rich quality to it, mostly from the semillon and bit of time in French oak, yet is also surprisingly crisp and refreshing. With the crostini, I’ll roast the figs a little and add a honey drizzle at the end to play into that richness. Goat cheese and sauvignon blanc is what us wine nerds term a “perfect pairing” due to both having a natural acidity, so the chevre will bring out the bright tones of the wine. Every time I taste the Optu White, I am reminded of ripe pears so chose to do a pear and hazelnut combo for the salad course. Again, we’ll play into the richness of the wine with the addition of toasted hazelnuts and the brightness with a tangy shallot dressing.
Main course: Pappardelle with Beef Ragu
I want to make sure that I am able to spend time with my Valentine, rather than fretting over the stove all night so chose something that can pretty much be done in advance, then assembled at the last moment. Now that the infamous week of good February weather is out of the way in Seattle and we’re facing a forecast of rain, I want to do some traditional comfort food. As you all know, Boushey Vineyard Red Wine is one of my favorites. It has a beautiful earthiness that always makes me think of sundried tomatoes and bittersweet chocolate mixed together (gross with real food, good with wine). The tannins are present but not overwhelming. A small amount of meat will help to calm that tannic sensation, but certainly doesn’t need to be the main focus. The tomato paste and splash of milk will bridge to that sundried tomato/chocolate thing I like while a bit of the wine itself will add to the intensity of the dish.
We’re not huge dessert people in my house (I cook but for some reason, just can’t bake) so I plan on featuring a few simple truffles.
Does anyone else have fabulous Valentine’s plans with a special bottle of wine?
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