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!