Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Taste of the Terroir" at the Marcus Whitman

A total of six Winemaker's Weekend events are planned for the 2008 Winemaker's Dinner Series to be held at the Marcus Whitman Hotel. The first event will be the weekend of April 18-19, featuring the "Women of Walla Walla Wine."

I was thrilled, and of course felt humbly honored to be invited to the "Test-Fire Dinner" that was held at Chef Bear’s table last week. It's true I am a woman, but I am no winemaker. The dinner was like a dress-rehearsal for the "Women of Walla Walla Wine" Winemaker's Dinner and definitely an exciting sneak-peak for me. Included in the wine event will be wines from Walla Walla women winemakers; Mary Tuuri Derby and Dawn Kammer from DaMa Wines, Marie-Eve Gilla from Forgeron Cellars, Holly Turner from Three Rivers, Ashley Trout from Flying Trout Winery, Annette Bergevin and Amber Lane from Bergevin Lane Vineyards, and Jill Noble from Couvillion Winery.

We "test fired" the menu and sampled seven courses with wine pairings giving Chef Bear, and hotel owner Kyle Mussman, an opportunity to work out the presentations and make notes about the dinner. Chef Bear said a "test fire dinner" such as this is useful for the wineries because it's often rare for the winemakers to preview a menu for a culinary event and be a part of the process. And being at the Chef's Table also gave us an opportunity to view the courses being prepared.

I definitely had my favorites. I don't want to tell all and should leave some surprises, but some of the highlights for me was Dama's elegant Chardonnay, a fried celeriac latke (oh yum!), "Intuition" - a black and smoky red blend from Bergevin Lane, melt in the mouth slices of pork, Forgeron's classic Zinfandel, and the dessert was a match made in wine-heaven for Three River's Late Harvest Gerwurztraminer. And will all of my favorites make it on the final list? I guess you will have to make reservations to find out!

Another event that you cannot miss is the Long Shadows Vintner's Winemaker's Dinner scheduled for the weekend of May 1-3. Kyle shared with me that not only will the dinner include Long Shadow's resident winemaker, Gilles Nicault, but also Napa Valley's Randy Dunn and Philippe Melka, John Duval from Australia and Armin Diehl from Germany. This is HUGE people! This is "wine-historic" to have some of the most famous winemakers in the world sitting at your dinner table. If you are a true wine aficionado then you cannot miss this event!

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