Travel | On the road in the Pacific North West: Day 1

Travel

On the road in the Pacific North West: Day 1

For the next 10 days I’m going to be visiting the vineyards of Oregon and Washington State so the site will turn into more of a blog. Our first day yesterday included lunch at Chateau Ste Michelle, by far Washington’s largest wine producer.

I didn’t realise however that it was also now the largest Riesling producer in the US, its flagship wine being the fine Eroica which is produced in conjunction with Germany’s Ernie Loosen. Last week they hosted an international Riesling get together called Riesling Rendezvous which I was sorry to have missed although we have got the International Pinot Noir Convention to look forward to later this week.

Our lunch with their Australian white wine maker Wendy Stuckey, which was devised by the winery’s executive chef Janet Hedstrom, included some well-crafted pairings:

Spiced halibut with heirloom tomato and arugula salad and sautéed Yukon Gold potatoes with Wendy’s 2009 Waussie Riesling (an Aussie style Riesling made from Columbia Valley fruit). Surprisingly this went better with the dish than the Horse Heaven Hills Sauvignon Blanc, the wine I’d have been inclined to pair with those ingredients. It had more attack and picked up beautifully on the Cajun-style crust and accompanying arugula pure.

Grilled lamb chop with Syrah demi-glace, pancetta and butternut squash risotto and fresh green beans with Chteau St Michelle’s 2006 Ethos Syrah. The wine needed the sauce to offset its firm tannins but it slightly overwhelmed the meat and was a little heavy for a summer lunch dish. I think it would have worked just as well with a chargrilled chop.

Orange-infused olive oil cake with fresh Washington fruit and raspberry coulis with the Chteau Ste Michelle 2005 Ethos Late Harvest Riesling
A stunning combination. A lovely, exotic late harvest wine, which picked up beautifully on the orange peel in the cake and the fresh fruit which included peaches, blueberries and raspberries.

Today we’re off to Eastern Washington to visit the producers over there. I’m not sure how easy it will be to get online but let you know what we've been eating and drinking when I do.

Image © David Gn - Fotolia.com

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