Unique Tasting Room Offers Wine Lovers a Latin Twist in Walla Walla

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Italy and Spain Come to Walla Walla with the Opening of the ?Latin Corner? Wine Tasting Room

WALLA WALLA, WASHINGTON (June, 2015) ?Walla Walla isn?t just about Bordeaux and Rh?ne-inspired wines anymore.

With the opening of the Latin Corner, a unique shared tasting room in the heart of downtown Walla Walla, wine lovers can now experience?Italy and the Spanish style wines without making the trek to Europe.

Located at the corner of 2nd Street and E Rose Avenue, at the heart of Walla Walla?s bustling tasting room center, the Latin Corner offers an elegant setting for learning and tasting through Northwest grown Italian and Spanish varieties. Visitors can discover the charms of Albari?o and Rosato, the depths of Tempranillo and the nuances of Nebbiolo, and even experience the only true Amarone-style wine made in America.

The Latin Corner showcases the winemaking prowess of Gino Cuneo, a 25-year veteran of Italian-style winemaking, and Doug McCrea, a Northwest pioneer of Rhone and Spanish varieties, both using fruit from unique Washington vineyards. The tasting room offers guests a flight that includes the Italian-style wines of g.Cuneo and the Spanish inspired wines of Salida.

?There is no other tasting room in Walla Walla quite like the Latin Corner.?, explains Cuneo, proprietor of g.Cuneo Cellars and founder of the Latin Corner. ?We craft Northwest interpretations of classic Italian and Spanish wine varieties and styles from fruit that displays the individual terroir of selected sites in the Yakima Valley, Horse Heaven Hills and Wahluke Slope appellations.?

?The Latin Corner brings our individual winemaking passions together into a shared vision.? says McCrea, founder of McCrea Cellars and Salida Wine. ?Here, in a warm and friendly environment, we get to share our love for Spanish and Italian wines with all our visitors and friends.?

The Latin Corner is open 11am to 5pm, Thursday through Monday.

About g.Cuneo Cellars. Winemaker Gino Cuneo is a veteran of over 25 years making Italian-style wines from Northwest-grown fruit. At g.Cuneo Cellars the focus is on ‘Italian Style, American Soil.’ Without trying to imitate?Italian wines, g.Cuneo Cellars is committed to making the finest Northwest expression of Italian grapes.

Following a belief that Washington has all the qualities needed to create world-class Sangiovese and other Italian varieties, g.Cuneo Cellars focuses on advancing vineyard practices specific to Italian varietals. Additionally having a firm understanding of classic Italian winemaking techniques Gino is able to retain their unique ‘Italianess,? with a Washington expression.

About Salida Wine. A true Northwest wine pioneer, Doug McCrea is a progenitor of Washington Syrah, Grenache and Viognier, and many other varieties with origins in France?s Rhone Valley. Today, turning his attention to the grapes of Spain, Salida is a true artisan label dedicated to the expression of Iberian grapes, now with roots in the Pacific Northwest. Doug?s understanding of the imperative necessity to match a vineyard site with the appropriate grape variety has been rewarded with numerous highly acclaimed wines spanning nearly 30 years. Having realized his vision of over two decades that Rhone varietal grapes would flourish in the soils of Washington, he again is focused on bringing to the table wines that are currently unprecedented yet ultimately will become a prevalent expression of the growing renown of Washington State wine.

Aquaman to the Rescue

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cocktailSummer in Portland has come early again this year. While most years, June still finds me dressed in my rain jacket and boots, this year I have?already?shed those garments, trading them in for a sundress and a nice healthy(?) tan. And as the weather heats up to atypical scorching temperatures, and you’re looking for magical methods of cooling down, this superhero is sure to become?your savior of cocktails.

Aquaman may have been the most underappreciated Justice League member, who even knows what his superpower was anyway? And, while Aquaman may not have been the coolest or most memorable of superheroes, THE Aquaman is definitely the coolest and most memorable drink you?ll ever come across. It’s the king of cocktails. The master of the mixed drink. You might even feel something like a superhero when you drink it (go on, try to communicate with underwater sea-life)? it may not make you swim faster, but at the very least, it will make you forget all about your stifling commute or the fact that you don?t have AC, or that the store is out of fans. What more can you really ask for? Come on, did you really think you’d acquire superhuman powers?

The anise and lime flavors of this cocktail are simply perfect for an evening cooling off on your deck, but if you?re thinking dinner, I recommend pairing it with Mexican food. Though Aquavit is traditionally a Scandavian spirit, the sweet and sour components of the cocktail work surprisingly well with salty fish tacos while at the same time rescuing you from the heat of a spicy salsa.

Mix yourself up a tall one, sit back, relax, watch the sweat dripping down the side of the glass and then let me know how Aquaman saved the world.

AQUAMAN?

Serves 1

Fresh squeezed lime juice
Aquavit (I especially like Krogstad from House Spirits Distillery?based in Portland)
Simple Syrup (available ready made or whip up a batch of your own)
Ice

  1. Add 2 shots each of lime juice, Aquavit and simple syrup into a shaker with ice.?
  2. Shake and pour into a superhero serving glass.?
  3. Garnish with a twist of lime or a float of mint leaves.
  4. Sit back, cool off and let your secret identity take shape.

Bouillabaisse: Soup of Gold

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dinner1a_smallI?d read somewhere that bouillabaisse is called “Soup of Gold.” And though it?s likely referring to the golden color of the broth the saffron creates, after seeing the grand total on the receipt at the market for the ingredients, it seems like an appropriate name. So does Soup of Perfection, but more on that later.

Bouillabaisse is traditionally a rustic and somewhat simple fisherman?s stew from the Proven?al region of France. It?s a subtle combination of ingredients including?onion, fennel, garlic, orange zest, olive oil and saffron, none of which should ever overpower the main show-stopping ingredient?the fish. Though you could take some shortcuts to save money and not use as much shellfish in your soup, for the most delicious depth of flavor, I suggest you?re either all in or all out. But that?s my take on most experiences, including love.

I used an even mix of clams, mussels, shrimp and true cod, but feel free to?vary the fish to your liking. Potatoes would be a?scrumptious?addition, but that?s an experiment for another day. I?m mostly gluten-free these days, so grilled gluten-free bread (call it a?gluton if you like ? rhymes with crouton) for sopping up the broth was?definitely in order. Pair it with a lively Ros? de Provence (sparkling or not) and you have yourself a fabulous French fish feast.

One of the greatest things about this dish, aside from the sheer enjoyment of the flavors, is that it reminds you that pink wines?are not just for summer. Bouillabaisse is perfect any time of year; and so is the ros? you serve alongside.

Cooking a new recipe can sometimes?be a recipe for disaster. In this instance, with French Jazz?playing in the background as I moved about the kitchen, it felt more like a well-choreographed dance. Sitting at the table, slurping the results of an experiment gone right, I realized I?d ladled up the Soup of Perfection and hope to dance this dance again and again.

Wine pairings: Ros?, of course.

Just for fun, read the Clifford Right?s telling of the mythic tale of bouillabaisse here.?For the record, I was not trying to lull any man to sleep so I could spend time with Mars, I just wanted some really great fish stew.

ingredients_small grilledbread_small

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bouillabaisse Recipe:
Serves 4-6

2 T olive oil
1 medium white onion, sliced thin
1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
2 leeks, white bulbs sliced thin
2 tomatoes, concasse (peeled, seeded and diced)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T orange zest
2 T parsley, minced
2 bay leaves
1 generous pinch of saffron
1/4 t cayenne pepper
6 cups of fish stock
2 T Pernod
12?clams
12?prawns
12?mussels
1?lb true cod
Bread sliced, brushed with olive oil and rubbed with garlic.

  1. Sweat onions, fennel and leeks in olive oil until soft but not browned.
  2. Add garlic and simmer until fragrant.
  3. Add fish stock, tomato, pernod, saffron, orange zest and herbs/spices (except parsley) and bring to boil over medium heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add fish and poach for 5?minutes.
  5. Add shellfish like prawns, clams and mussels and steam until the shells open.
  6. Broil or grill slices of bread.
  7. Ladle the broth and fish equally into bowls, garnish with fresh parsely. Top with sliced bread, serve immediately and enjoy with a glass or three of your favorite ros?.
  8. Thank me later.

Ring Around the Oregon Ros

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DSC_0110
Each year, the new vintage of Oregon ros?s emerge much as a harbinger of summer. The pink bottles excite my gray, rain-soaked Oregon senses, practically quivering with anticipation of long, warm summer days, picnics on the freshly mowed grass and dinners al fresco. These wines somehow trigger the deep inner desire to dust off the patio furniture, sweep the decks and clean the grill in preparation for sunshine, relaxation and lingering evenings full of conversation and sumptuous food. Now, summer and Oregon ros? is finally here in full swing, and all I can?envision is serving these stunning beauties?with succulent seared scallops, rich and tasty bouillabaisse and fresh, seasonal summer salads (stay tuned for recipes).

Ros? is made from red grapes typically used for producing red wines?but how it is vinified will determine the color and style of the finished wine. Depending on the area and the type grape, winemakers will either choose one of three vinification techniques:

  1. Maceration (or direct pressing) yields a very light color, as the skins have very little contact with the pressed juice.
  2. Bleeding (also known as Saign?e) is when the crushed grapes cold soak much as a red wine would, but for far less time, before they?re ?bled off? into tank. The result is a darker pink color, with more tannins?(depending on how long the grapes soak for).
  3. Blending the juices of white and red grapes together ? a method actually forbidden in many wine regions around the world, but practiced readily in others.

Sometimes, producing a ros? is more like an afterthought, a way to use leftover or subpar juice, or a way to use fruit that is not as ripe as a winemaker would like it to be for their red wines. Many winemakers, however, still adhere to their principles that a great Ros? is created in the vineyard. They preselect which grapes they intend to use for their ros? and ensure the wine is the same high quality as the rest of wines in their portfolio, not just a means for generating quick cash flow.

Satiate recently hosted a blind tasting of 10 different Oregon ros?s, In the end, what was easy to see was?that each taster seemed to have their own preferences. While this is not really a surprise at all, it was interesting to see how one person appreciated bracing acidity, while another preferred a softer, rounder wine, and yet another seemed to welcome a hint of residual sugar. The take away was that there is no definitive style as to what a ros? ?should? be, and the beauty is that there is, and will always be, something for everyone. Here are the top 5 recommendations and a few other charmers I tasted later. Yeah, I just couldn’t help myself.

  • Reviews:
    • Alexana 2014 Ros? of Pinot Noir ? Delicious mouthwatering watermelon Now and Later candies, beautifully balanced with just the right amount of acidity, a hint of smokiness, ripe strawberries and delicate floral notes.
    • Helioterra 2014 Pinot Noir Ros? ? The gorgeous pale salmon color is exactly what your eyes expect and hope for from a ros?. The nose delivers pink grapefruit, citrus and rose petals which all follow through in a delightfully long finish.
    • Teutonic 2014 Laurel Vineyard Ros? ? Fantastic expressions of rhubarb, red plum, Rainier cherries and ruby red grapefruit. The color of a candy apple, and in a word, mesmerizing. This wine showed classic minerality and a deep, rich complexity that left you wanting more.
    • Brooks 2014 Ros?A full and bright nose of citrus and orange blossoms, a mouthful of tart cranberry and creamy strawberries with hints of dusty undertones. This dry and berryful wine was every bit refreshing and the perfect complement to summer cooking.
    • Soter 2014 North Valley Ros? ? Primarily Pinot Noir, with a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Gewurtzaminer, this beauty will stop you in your tracks with notes of lemon zest, honeysuckle, red currants, and cherries. Bone dry, with a nice mineral mouth feel, this wine reminds me of a ros? you?d expect to find in Provence.
  • Additional recommendations (because I can and you should):
    • Anne Amie 2014 Huntington Hill Ros? of Pinot Gris
    • Quady North 2014 Ros? of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre
    • Abacela 2014 Grenache Ros?
    • Stoller 2014 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir Ros?


*In full disclosure, these wines were a combination of samples provided by?the wineries and some purchased by Satiate.

 

When All You Have Left is Greek Halibut, Consider Yourself Lucky

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DSC_0058Sometimes, the best thing you can take away from a bad relationship is Greek Halibut.

The recipe was his, discovered as child while camping on a Boy Scout camping trip. Who knew they made gourmet food on Boy Scout glamping trips? When the old boyfriend and I first started dating, we went camping together. I tried to impress him with my tent assembly skills and ease with nature, while he succeeded in impressing with me with this dinner.

I had a sneaking suspicion (and fear) the relationship wouldn?t last, but I knew the recipe would be mine forever. Now, I?ve started new and lasting traditions all my own, because even though he?s long gone and I haven?t been camping again since, I do make this fantastic Greek Halibut every halibut season.?This is an easy, tasty and impressive dinner that might even make you forget the recipe was never really yours to begin with.

For complete satisfaction, serve it over orzo pasta with a side Greek salad and your favorite white wine.

Satiate Wine Pairing Recommendation: Domaine Sigalas Santorini 2014 Assyrtiko?(click for wine review)

RECIPE:

Olive or Grape seed oil
Halibut fillets (about 1/3 lb per person)
Large fennel bulb coarsely chopped
2 cloves chopped or pressed garlic
1 can (14.5 oz) diced or chopped tomatoes
1/2 can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup water
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 tbsp fresh oregano
salt & pepper ?to taste
1 tbsp ouzo (optional)

  1. Remove skin from halibut and rub with salt and pepper and lightly brown in a large skillet with 2 tbsp
    olive oil on one side until brown (5 min).
  2. Transfer fish to a plate and keep covered.
  3. Add chopped?fennel to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently until almost tender (8 min).
  4. Add garlic and ouzo and?cook until fragrant (1 min).
  5. Add tomatoes, olives, garbanzo beans, oregano and ? cup of water and?bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat and add fish brown side up in sauce.
  7. Simmer until fish is cooked through?(5-10 min).

This dish works equally well with boneless salmon fillets or any other firm white fish. Use a large skillet?that is shallow enough that the fish will poach on the surface of the sauce rather than being immersed in?it. One can substitute a pinch of powdered anise for Ouzo to make it alcohol-free.

 

Assyrtiko ? The Stuff Legends are Made of

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If there’s one place I could say I’d like to revisit more than any other place in the world, hands down, it would be?Greece. With its sleepy island towns, whitewashed buildings, sandy shores, ancient history and fresh seafood, the?classic?images are readily found on the movie screen, in photographs, and probably?in?your dreams. While a freshman in high school, I spent about six weeks touring the country with my family. Which means I wasn’t exploring wines. But, it was a gift I’ll never forget, and it’s fueled a fire to return and see it through the eyes of the?wine lover I’ve become.

Perhaps it?s the legend of Atlantis, or perhaps the birthplace of legendary wine. Santorini is a Greek island that is part of the South Aegean Volcanic Arc surrounding a giant caldera. The volcanic activity and geographic location has provided the island with the perfect spot for growing grapes. Producing wines that are a combination of earth, wind, fire and sea; it was here, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Aegean Sea, that the lovely white wine grape Assyrtiko was born.

Assyrtiko from Santorini is very rare, very distinctive and cultivated in some of the world?s oldest vineyards. This wine grape was first cultivated on the Greek island of Santorini, where it is still grown today. It can be found scattered around other Greek wine regions as well, but only on Santorini does it produce its greatest expression of character due to the arid, volcanic-rich ash soil it is planted in.

Rainfall is low on Santorini and there is abundant sunshine, but the vines miraculously obtain an adequate water supply from the rain it does get, as well as dew and moisture from the sea. Old vines, poor soils, water stress, and strong island winds lead to low yields of dense wines with opulent structure, a magical combination. Because of the strong island winds, local producers have developed their own unique growing system that includes growing the vines on the ground in round, basket-type bushes where the outer leaves and vines protect the grapes from the elements. There?s a great picture of this method here.

Much of the original plantations are still on their original rootstock, as the vines seem to have a natural resistant to the Phylloxera outbreaks that have impacted much of Europe.

Expect wines that erupt with citrus flavor and minerality. They?re full bodied and bone dry, retaining high levels of alcohol and acidity, even if very ripe (which allows for long aging potential).

Ideal complement to fish, shellfish and even meat dishes. Serve alongside this delicious Greek halibut recipe, as well as oysters, seared scallops, salmon, roasted cauliflower and even sushi.

2014 Domaine Sigalis Santorini AssyrtikoLet this wine transport you to faraway places. Pale golden highlights the color of Helen of Troy?s hair. Notes of honeysuckle, Meyer lemon and grapefruit zest are vibrant, full, rich and warm. One sip and you?ll be thinking of whitewashed buildings and and lingering meals at restaurants dramatically perched atop towering cliffs overlooking the miraculously blue ocean.

Albari?o – And Dreams of Spain

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I spend a lot of time fantasizing about what I would do with a few weeks in Spain. Between you and I, it?s the place I want to visit most in the world. In one fantasy, I?m exploring jamon in Iberia, people-watching streetside with a loaf of crusty bread and a glass of Rioja. In another, I?m sitting in a coastal caf?, eating plates of salted padron peppers and grilled pulpo (octopus), with an endless bottle of Albari?o, the evening’s entertainment (aside from?watching?the waves crash before my eyes).

Yes, Albari?o.

Similar to a dry Riesling or Viognier, Albari?o is characteristically light, clean, rich and full of citrus and vibrant stone fruit flavors. It?s primarily best served young to capture these vibrant flavors and aromas. Albari?o is typically high in acidity, which makes it ideal when served alongside the dishes where it is grown, including all kinds of fresh shellfish and seafood. Though it?s carefully regulated by government inspectors to ensure its high quality, Albari?o?s affordable price point makes it an even more attractive wine for everyday enjoyment.

Like many wine varieties, Albari?o?s history is of much debate. One school of thought is that since it is translated to mean ?the white from the Rhine,? German Benedictine monks must have originally brought the grapes to Spain. Other theories are that the grapes actually originated in the Alsace region of France. We can discuss it further over a glass of wine.

These days, the majority of Albari?o is produced in an area of northwest Spain called Rias Biaxas, or Green Spain. Rias Biaxas is located in a part of Spain that?s not exactly ideal for vinifera, it?s coastal, cool, foggy and soggy, which means it?s prone to fungal disease. Albari?o is also known as ?the wine of the seas,? likely because of the ocean?s effect on the vineyard sites, but maybe it’s more of a nod to the foods it’s generally served alongside. The grapes typically grow on south-facing slopes to capture the available sunlight and have developed thick skins as a form of protection. The vines are trained in trellised canopies, with abundant clusters, at least five feet off the ground to allow air to flow through the vines. This technique also leaves room to plant other crops under the grapes.

In the 1980s, wineries began moving away from crafting Albari?o?in traditional wooden barrels and utilized stainless steel tanks that kept the wines cool and brought about the wine?s fresh and fruity personality. This is about the point in time that the rest of the world began to take notice.

Presently, in the US, Albari?o is produced in a number of different California regions and by at least one select grower in Southern Oregon.

abacelaalbarinoAbacela 2013 Albari?o ? All Estate fruit, 100%?Southern Oregon. A slight greenish hue in color, anticipate the?playful aromas and flavors of dried apricot, candied pineapple, honey and Meyer lemon. Though the wine is 100% dry, it has a tropical sweetness and mineral appeal that makes it perfect for a bowl full of clams enjoyed on a warm night on your summer deck. And though I’m not in Spain, I could drink this again and again and pretend I am. It’s the next best thing.