It's hard to turn your head right now without realizing that Valentine's Day is right around the corner. I've been trying to come up with some interesting ideas to serve my sweetheart for our big night in (I refuse to wait in line to eat dinner somewhere with 5 million of my best friends). Casual searching on Pinterest leaves me feeling inadequate and in need of a heart shaped cookie cutter. Smitten Kitchen and the other foodie blogs make me wish I had more time to cook, and the big food sites and my endless cookbook selection offer me the same things that I peruse weekly. So what to do? How about use the amazing menu for tomorrow night's winemaker dinner as inspiration! Chef Andy Craig has outdone himself this time with a fabulous menu to showcase the 2012 Fidelitas Reds in their new Richland venue space, Anthology. I can't wait to share details and pictures next week. In the meantime, I'll continue to drool over this:
Salmon 2 Ways - Served on Applewood Smoked Bacon Brussel sprouts
Grilled Northwest Salmon with Chimichurri Sauce
Baked Northwest Salmon with Fire Roasted Red Pepper Coulis
Paired with 2013 Klipsun Vineyard Optu White
Garlic Roasted Beet Medley with Sautéed Kale and Fresh Thyme
Coffee & Cocoa Rubbed Smoked Tri-Tip finished with Jalapeno Remoulade
Paired with 2012 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Merlot
Wild Mushroom Risotto with Oyster, Portabella, and Crimini Blend
Finished with Fresh Shaved Parmesan and White Truffle Oil
Paired with 2012 Champoux Vineyard Magna Red Wine
6 Hour Braised Short Rib s & Crispy Pork Belly
Served on Buttery Boursin Whipped Yukon Golds finished with Caramelized
Walla Walla Sweet Onions
Paired with 2012 Quintessence Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
& 2012 Fidelitas Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Chocolate Cake with Bacon Jam
Return to the tasting bar to choose your favorite debut wine
This week, I polled my team to see what they were thankful for. In return, I received several heartfelt, sincere, and slightly interesting responses. But best of all, Charlie’s response:
“Thankful to have her home,” he texted last night. His oldest daughter, Emily, is home for 30 days from her Peace Corp commitment in Tanzania.
“I'm thankful for a warm, loving home, a healthy body, an amazing husband, and a job I love. I'm also thankful for wine, chocolate, yoga, and bubble baths to bring me back to a happy place when I forget how much I have to be grateful for.” – Erin, Red Mountain Tasting Room Lead
“I am thankful for finding such a fantastic job working with fantastic people when I moved back to Washington :) I am thankful for being able to spend Thanksgiving filling my belly with delicious wine and great food made by my wonderful family. And also having the cutest dog ever to snuggle with when I need it!” – Skye, Woodinville Tasting Room Lead
“Well first of all I'd like to announce how happy I am that I've lasted over a year in Seattle (same goes for our new Woodinville Tasting Room)! I've moved into a cozy new place and learned some pretty essential Seattle things... such as where to find molten chocolate cake at midnight and where to pop in for a taste of bubbles. On that note, I am thankful that my job takes me back home to Eastern Washington about once a month. I get to double dip my family time and working on Red Mountain. I should also admit that I'm thankful that this time of year it's socially acceptable to add Bailey's to your coffee.” – Michelle, Wine Club Concierge
“I am thankful for my supportive family and boyfriend. I am also thankful to be working in the area I call home, my Fidelitas family, great friends, and even better wine!” – Chelsea, Red Mountain Tasting Room
And me? I’m thankful for so much this year. A supportive and loving husband who keeps me centered, a healthy, energetic toddler who reminds me I can’t control everything, a warm house, and an extended network of family and friends with whom I get to celebrate this holiday a total of FOUR times! And of course, a wonderful, fun, job that introduces me to so many interesting people and provides me with a few fun wines to throw on the table.
Cheers to you and your families!
I have really started to enjoy the holidays more in recent years. I still refuse to do the crazy mall dash, but do love the time I get to spend with friends and family. It’s always a ton of food (which I love) and wine (again…obviously, which I love) and warm cozy houses.
I just kicked off the season with a Friendsgiving at our house. Everyone brought an appetizer to share and I pulled out a few of my favorite wines for a spread. Matching wine with appetizers can be tricky. You need something with enough body to stand up to the bolder, richer, items, but definitely very light or no tannins. For the most part, appetizers are based around veggies (which have tannins themselves), or cheese (many of which can be metallic tasting with the wrong pairing), and are not our intense main course items like the steak with love with Fidelitas Cabernet.
My choices for wine were the recent release of 2013 Klipsun Vineyard Optu White wine, and a couple of library reds, 2010 Columbia Valley Malbec and 2009 Columbia Valley Merlot (which sadly does not exist any more, but 4040 would be a nice replacement!).
Our Friendsgiving spread included flatbread with pears, blue cheese, and caramelized onions, a crudité platter with endive, Persian cucumbers, tomatoes, and white bean hummus, sausage stuffed mushrooms, baked brie en croute with apples, hot spinach dip, and an amazing chocolate pumpkin bread. We wore stretchy pants and ate (almost) every last bite.
So, in a year where the holidays seem to be coming early and faster than ever (Target had trees before Halloween and Santa showed up at the mall a week ago), I wish you a wonderful season that is filled with wine, food, friends, and family.
Harvest Party is just around the corner, and if this warm weather continues, it’s going to be a gorgeous day to enjoy a taco on the patio. I’ll be driving from Seattle for the weekend with Grace and Dara (who helps us out in the Woodinville tasting room from time to time) and decided that we might as well make a weekend out of it! Here is the itinerary:
Tasting at Gilbert Cellars: Depending on what time we get out of town, we may make a stop at this downtown Yakima tasting room…just to get the weekend started right! Plus, I could stare at their gorgeous portrait of Gilbert Peak all day.
Early dinner at Wine O’Clock: Because the bacon and pear pizza is amazing!!! Dara won’t come to Red Mountain without this Prosser stop.
Saturday Morning Yoga at the new Walter Clore Center: It’s followed by mimosas so that’s a no brainer.
Pre-party visit to our friends at Frichette: Miss Charlie’s Merlot? We’ve been out for a while. Find a good one here…
Harvest Party! This is one of my favorite events of the year. It’s just wine and tacos on the sunny patio in the afternoon. Low key and way fun.
Wind down at Anelare: We love our friends Kahryn and Forrest’s new tasting room (on McBee…looking back at Red Mountain).
Brunch at Anthony’s: Bloody Mary on the patio? In October? Yes please!
Pumpkins and farm animals at the Country Mercantile: Finally, an activity that will appeal to Grace. I can’t wait to pick out our pumpkins!
Harvest is officially underway! We get things going a little earlier on Red Mountain, where the heat units are higher than many other parts of the state, meaning earlier ripening. So far, we've brough in Sauvignon Blanc from Klipsun Vineyard and Merlot from Scootenney Flats, to name a few. This are happening quickly in the vineyards and the cellar...we'll be sure to keep you updated!
It’s wedding season! Ben and I are preparing to attend our first (but not last!) wedding of the season this evening. As many of you know, we got married four years ago now at the tasting room on Red Mountain (no…sadly we do not host weddings there. Charlie made an extra special exception for me!). As my uncle pointed out in a speech, it was so fitting to have the tables filled with Fidelitas wine because the name translates to faithful, loyal, and true. Something we definitely focus on in a marriage.
So, this evening, we’ll be bringing a set of Fidelitas wines as a gift for the bride and groom. One of my favorite gifts is to share a bottle that will be excellent on their one year anniversary, and another for their five (or 10!) year anniversary. Another great gift is a membership to the Wine Club. This is especially awesome for couples who may want to take advantage of tastings and events as newlyweds. It’s a good introduction to the wines, along with quarterly reminders of their wedding day and gifts received.
Congratulations to all who are getting married this year or celebrating any momentous occasion with loved ones!
The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. It involves friends, food, and in Seattle, the start of summer weather…usually. We are fortunate enough to live near one of the many vistas around the city where you can catch a glimpse of the fireworks. It’s become a tradition to invite friends to join us in the afternoon for a backyard barbeque (although many years that means dodging raindrops while huddling around the Weber) and then trot over to the park with sparklers for the show.
As I prepare my menu for this Friday, I am reminded that grilling and backyard picnics are so often associated with beer or funny cocktails. But I’m a wine lover, and believe that it is an awesome pairing as well. My top picks for barbeque festivities?
Semillon. Especially this current vintage of 2013 Klipsun Vineyard Semillon. For those of you who may be in warmer areas than Seattle, this is a great warm weather cooler with bright fruit and lively acids. However, there is also a subtle fattiness to it that rounds out the wine. The Semillon is perfect with your potato salad and grilled chicken dishes. It’s also a pretty perfect pairing with corn on the cob.
Malbec. Malbec is a great barbeque wine, and I might be biased, but I swear that the Fidelitas Malbec is the BEST barbeque wine. The tannins are in check and the plummy, spicy notes just mimic anything you pull off the grill. I know that a few of our staff members think that the Malbec is awesome with ribs. I personally vote for grilled sausage. This wine is also going to be great with anything that involves grilled veggies, especially peppers and onions…maybe even an earthy quinoa black bean salad?
Cabernet Franc. Looking for something a little bit special to share with friends this week? Been wanting an excuse to open that sold out bottle of Ciel du Cheval Cabernet Franc? Here you go. Cab Franc is another great cookout wine because of those subtle tannins, peppery tones, and slightly smoky note. This is the wine that is going to be awesome with your burgers, or honestly, just with really good potato chips.
I’ll definitely have a few bottles on the table later this week and hope you might sneak one in to the world of beer as well. Have a fun and safe Fourth!
It all started when Alissa found out that I had a bottle of 2005 Fidelitas Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon in my cellar. Since that moment, months ago, I have received a text every couple of weeks to ‘schedule our 05 party!’
So, we rounded up a few friends (Marilyn and Nedra from Red Mountain, Alissa and Dara from Woodinville) this past weekend to sample some wines from the 2005 vintage. From Fidelitas, we had 2005 Optu Red Wine, 2005 Boushey Red Wine, and 2005 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon. There were a few other wines from other Washington wineries of note, but (and I’m only being slightly biased here) Fidelitas blew them out of the water so I won’t name names.
We tried to rank them, but each of us had a different order of favorites, which means that they were all fabulous. The Walla Walla Cabernet (which we tried first: 100% Cab from LaTour, Windrow, and Dwelley), was deep, concentrated, and full. The fruit had really softened to make something round and beautiful. Boushey Red (53% Merlot, 40% Cabernet, 7% Cabernet Franc) truly just tasted like Boushey, which is such a great wine that I’m certainly not complaining! Still earthy with red fruit and soft tannins, yet beautiful structure. The Optu Red (55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec) was AMAZING in that you would never guess that it was a nearly 9 year old wine. Bright fruit, balanced acidity, present yet not overpowering tannins. Truly, had I tasted it blind, I would have thought it were a much younger wine.
These wines were special for me to revisit. The 2005s were the current releases back when I started in 2008. The big, heavy bottles, vineyards, and stories brought back some great memories for me. I guess that is probably the best part of pulling things from the cellar!
This weekend, we have opened the library doors (or rather, unearthed some library vintages from our secret hiding place) to share with visitors to our tasting rooms. We are featuring wines from 2007, 2008, and 2009. These special vintage wines have gotten me to thinking about which wine I’ll be sharing with my Valentine next Friday…
After rattling around in my own cellar, I came across a bottle of 2007 Red Mountain Red Wine, and determined it would be our wine for the evening. Besides being a fabulous wine, its red label makes it an obvious choice for Valentine’s Day. Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, my original tasting notes refer to black cherry, cranberry, and cedar. I anticipate now that those bright red fruits have deepened in intensity and the oak tones have really settled in to creating a round, full palate.
I’ll be working that day, so my goal is to have a simple, yet elegant meal ready to go when I get home. We’ll put the baby to bed and whip up dinner together. Here’s the plan:
baked brie with honey and apples
served with a split of Agrapart e Fils Champagne
flank steak with herb butter, smashed potatoes (these have become a valentine’s tradition), and sautéed brussels sprouts
served with 2007 Fidelitas Red Mountain Red Wine
chocolate pudding and raspberries to finish (can be made the night before!)
I wish you all a wonderful and fuss free Valentine's Day, whether you are spending it with your sweetheart, a group of friends, or just a special bottle from your own cellar!