Last month I attended a block party. Now it is important to understand this wasn't your average neighborhood block party with exuberant children playing lawn games, street lights, and potluck with every Jello salad imaginable.
This was a block party in the middle of the rolling 32 acre property at Tero Estate's Windrow Vineyard. Windrow was part of the original Seven Hills Vineyard planted by the late Dr. Herb Hendricks and the late Dr. James McClellan in 1981. The property is situated at Oregon in the Walla Walla Valley AVA and was the first commercial wine grape vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley since Prohibition. In 1994, the eastern part of the vineyard was sold along with the original Seven Hills name. The remaining vineyard was renamed Windrow.
In 2007, Doug and Jan Roskelley partnered with Mike Tembreull to purchase the property and created Tero Estates Winery. The vineyard itself is 25 acres, with 14 distinctive vineyard blocks. Today the vineyard is Cabernet Sauvignon dominant along with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Nebbiolo, and Sangiovese. Recently Charbono and Petite Sirah were added defining the rest of the vineyard.
In 2010, Ashley Trout winemaker, founder and owner of Flying Trout Wines came aboard the Tero Estate team as a consulting winemaker for Tero Estates and bringing with her the Flying Trout Winery where her winery is now located.
Our block party started on the crush pad where we were greeted and our glasses were filled with a cool Italian bubbly that hit the spot during the warm August evening. We were tempted with cold smoked wild Pacific salmon, English cucumbers accompanied with a dill caper aioli. Walla Walla Community College Culinary Arts program catered the event - a good sign there would definitely be no jello salad at this block party.
Head winemaker and partner, Doug Roskelley led our group through the various blocks at Windrow Vineyard where four tented stations of wine and food pairings awaited us. Our first trek through the beautiful vigorous and green vineyard started at Herb's Block (named after founder, Dr. Herb Hendricks), where we tasted the Merlot.
Tero Estate Merlot - 2008, from Herb's Block - Beautiful nose screaming Walla Walla soil and tasting of cherries like those of the surrounding orchards in the valley. Bloody iron-like notes and finishing with that of dark cocoa and espresso. Appropriately the wine was paired with lamb rillettes, preserved cherries on a toasted herb crostini with onion jam.
Tero Estate Cabernet Franc - 2008, a nose reminiscence of a winter holiday with spice and all the things nice ... a sip shows off smoke, dried dark fruit and cocoa - lightly showing a hint of green in the finish. Paired with smoked bacon, chive blini and herbed chevre.
Tero Estate Windrow Field Blend - 2008, a classic Bordeaux-style field blend co-fermented with 70% cabernet sauvignon, 14% merlot, 10% cabernet franc, and 6% malbec. Braised beef short ribs, wild mushroom polenta with an herbal thyme glace couldn't be a better food and pairing showing off the earthy, yet elegant simplicity of both.
Our walk through the blocks of the vineyard ended us back at the winery where we finished with:
Flying Trout Mary's Block Malbec - 2009 I so love Ashley's malbecs. An expressive nose of Eau de Parfum Violettes de Toulouse and dark ripe stone fruit. Dark chocolate, silky caramel, currants, and graham crackers on the palate with a finish of Grand Marnier orange-flavored brandy liqueur. Bacon-huckleberry-thyme chocolate macaroon cookies satisfied the palate with this inky and fragrant wine.
The evening ended with photos of couples and friends and merry conversations. After an evening walking through the vineyards while sipping wine, who could resist getting my "dance" photo taken with my "homies on da' block at the block."
|Me, Jan Roskelley, Lori Kennedy and Lori Fischer|