Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Visit To Spokane - Bed, Food and Wineries!

It's a Walla Walla Wine Blogging Wednesday! Instead of Walla Walla wine blogging, I thought I might highlight on Spokane, just a few hours north.

We spent Saturday - Monday in Spokane. Even though it was a busy family weekend for us (two birthday parties, my son's new open house event, and granddaughter's Christening) we still managed to find some time to visit a couple of wineries. We had a lovely stay at one of the B&B's in the Browne's Addition in Spokane. The Browne's Addition is a lovely historical district of Spokane and located on the West side of downtown. The Odell House is a 1898 Queen Anne style three story house (on the National Historic Registry) that sits on a quiet tree-lined street and conveniently located across the street from the MAC (Museum of Arts and Culture). Our room had crystal chandeliers, natural woodwork, massive tile fireplace, stained glass windows, sitting porch, kitchen (full of breakfast goodies), private bath, two TV's, stereo and internet access. The best part was a queen-sized four poster bed with feather mattress topper, pillows and duvet. I am not sure who arranged the falling snow we woke up to on Monday morning, but we want to thank them for that special ambiance.

Saturday evening we dined at one of our favorite Italian restaurants - Commellini's. It's a long drive to the Commellini Estate in the north foothills of Spokane, but definitely worth it. The restaurant has a rich and interesting history surrounding the 1940 cabins that were used as hide-outs during the prohibition for bootlegging and gambling. Many historical celebrities visited such as Al Capone and Marilyn Monroe. What our large family have always enjoyed is the private dining rooms - The Gangster Dining Room, The Wine Dining Room and others. The food and service is always great. The mushroom soup is a family favorite, along with the lobster gnocci, and penne pasta with meatballs.

Between family events we had the opportunity to check out Robert Karl Cellars and Lone Canary Winery. Our first stop was at Robert Karl Cellars and it was a welcome surprise to see a familiar face - Rebecca, co-owner of the winery! Rebecca has been a visitor to the Walla Walla area wineries several times, along with her husband Dr. Joe Gunselman. Dr. Gunselman is a self taught winemaker and has taken classes from the Walla Walla Institute for Viticulture and Enology. Rebecca has a great smile and is a wonderful hostess.

Good for them, but bad for us, they were almost sold out of wine! However, we were able to taste their 2003 Columbia Valley Claret. Some of the best fruit that the Horse Heaven Hills has to offer went into that wine. The wine was very aromatic and tasted of chocolate covered cherries. It was a true Claret blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Petit Verdot, and 10% Malbec. Last month the Claret won a gold at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Of course, we had to go home with a bottle.

Lone Canary was our next stop and we were greeted with a generous line-up of wines to sample (and reasonably priced) - 2003 Sauvignon Blanc, Lone Canary Red (Cab Merlot and Syrah blend), 2003 Rosso (a super Tuscan style red blend with 78% Sangiovese), 2002 Rouge (Bordeaux style blend) and our favorite was the 2003 DuBrul Vineyard Reserve.

The 2003 DuBrul Vineyard Reserve is a blend of 60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon with 100% DuBrul Vineyard fruit. This wine was elegant with perfumed high notes and very characteristic of this vineyard. Umm - - we went home with two bottles!

We also spent about 45 minutes trying to find the Barrister Winery but finally gave up. However, the next trip to Spokane we will definitely spend the time to check it out.

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