Monday, November 30, 2009

Top Ten Reasons To Give and Receive Wine

  1. Chocolate loves red wine and you love chocolate
  2. If you’re not a good cook, wine helps any dish taste better
  3. You don’t have to worry about buying the wrong size
  4. Wine doesn’t have to be dusted, just stick it in a closet till you open it
  5. You can enjoy it all by yourself or share
  6. Wine doesn’t need “batteries”
  7. There is always a great wine that matches your budget
  8. Guilt free buying… buy one to give and one to receive (after all, you deserve it!)
  9. No stress, we can help you choose a wine while you’re enjoying a glass or a tasting
  10. The sooner you start your Holiday Shopping, the sooner we can start ours :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wine Whisk: Aroma-Therapy For Your Wine

I was working through a pile at my desk yesterday and came across sales material for a Wine Whisk that I had picked up at the San Francisco Gift Market. Remember thinking then... what will they invent next to sell to wine lovers or folks looking for the next gadget to buy for wine loving friends.

The Wine Whisk booth at the gift market was packed. Molly, Lisa and I inched our way to the front and were totally speechless. There were all these glasses of wine being "whisked" like scrambled eggs. We backed out of the crowd and burst into laughter.

All I could think was... Benoit will kill us if we bought this gadget for the winery. Whisking is not in his top three ways to aerate his beautiful wines.

But, in our time starved lives, maybe just maybe, this whisk might be a good thing. So I bought one and never told Molly or Lisa. I knew they would make fun of me.

Also, should have done a little research on-line before my test of this product... opened a really good bottle of wine and poured it into one of my crystal glasses. I got a little too energetic "trying to beat my wine into a frothy goodness". (Whisks are naturally meant for beating not for stirring and it didn't come with a warning.) It didn't take long... I broke my glass and spent the next 20 minutes cleaning up Syrah. The force of the words that passed my lips was aeration enough.

Since then I found the "Nerd Approved" website, the source for preposterous products. Their write-up on the whisk warns the user from being too zealous! And furthermore, the website also recommended a coordinated look... a link to purchase "whisk earrings".

Now my wine loving friends, you can have it all. Perfect holiday gifts or NOT.

Cheers, Kathy

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Working Girl's Basket

I had to dress in business attire a couple of weeks ago and tried to wear skirt and heels (big mistake).

Well, I guess it has been a long time since I pulled out panty hose because when I stretched the waist band, I heard the sound of old dried-out elastic that died with no stretch left. Ok, so I dug deeper into my drawer and came up with some appropriate colored tights that would work. But… the tights didn’t have much left in them either and kept riding down causing a tripping hazard at my knees. So back to my closet to try again (why couldn’t I just wear fleece)… and in the process I thought of this picture.

Back in 2004 a local artist, Katie Carlson, did 6 watercolors of Working Girls for a series of note cards. Our favorites included ‘3 Generations of Women Cooking Together’ to ‘Rosie Running for President’. I influenced this “hammock” picture. Guess the corporate image of a working girl was still in my mind and this was my vision of the perfect downtime image… briefcase and cell phone tossed on the ground, shoes off (my feet always hurt) and those damnable panty hose always sticking to me in the Dallas heat.

So last night arriving home from the winery after an event weekend I lugged in my basket filled to overflowing. As you can see, my basket is now my briefcase. Molly and I have been carrying our same baskets for over 6 years… hauling stuff in and out of the winery depending on what’s happening and what we need. For us these baskets are a god send, reducing the number of trips to load and unload our cars.

But, just like a junk drawer you’ve got to clean them out every once in a while. I lost my keys and we found them 6 months later at the bottom of Molly’s basket! Both our baskets look alike. I hate to venture a guess what’s at the bottom of mine.

So for the fun of it I videoed “the unpacking” last night…. Enjoy, Kathy

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Night in Italy with Joy and Benoit - Wine Dinner

Joy and Benoit team up again for another fabulous wine dinner featuring Italian Cuisine and Wines on Saturday, November 14 at 5:30 p.m. This is the same weekend as the Olympic Peninsula Wineries Autumn Wine Tour . We have something quite special in store for our guests.

In talking to Benoit about the dinner, I found out that if Joy had a choice of what to eat and cook, it would be Italian with lots of pasta. Most of her training has been in Italian cuisine in New York and Seattle. Joy worked under Chef Walter Piscano for 7 years at one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle, Tulio Restorante, located in the Hotel Vintage Park. Chef Walter is known for his boldly flavored, sophisticated Italian dishes.

Throughout the dinner Joy and Benoit will share stories about their trip to Italy in 2007 to VinItaly, the Italian wine conference, and their dinner at Allegrini winery. Some of the wines served will be from this famed winery. In addition to the fabulous menu below, Joy will talk about the regional menus and dishes they ate in Verona, Rome and Florence along with a special story about working at a goat farm in Tuscany.

Joy’s and Benoit’s dinners are memorable. The last was the “Joy and Julia” dinner in our cellar at Olympic Cellars. I’ve finally posted the videos to Olympic Cellars YouTube Channel .

Enjoy, Kathy
Olympic Cellars Winery

Call Joy’s Wine Bistro for reservations. 360-452-9449. Dinner is $55 per person.

A Night in Italy With Joy and Benoit

Bacala (Salted Cod cake)
Zenato Lugana

Squash RavioliLivelli
Orion Primitivo

Roasted PorkAllegrini
Pallazo de la Torre

Chocolate Tiramisu
Dessert Wine

Liquid Sunshine for the Thanksgiving Table

Today on the Peninsula it is intermittently pouring down rain with brief outbursts of sunshine and rainbows. When I dropped off my cleaning the lady at the counter said, "Enjoy the Liquid Sunshine!" Hadn't heard that phase before but loved it along with her friendly smile.

Of course, for me, my mind eventually gets to wine. "Sunshine in a Glass" is my favorite description for our Lemberger Rosé, a.k.a. Rosé the Riveter. The wine is fresh, crisp and doesn't over power food.

Benoit, my French foodie and our winemaker, thinks that wine made from Lemberger grapes is one of the best food pairing wines. Being French, he always has a small glass of wine when he takes lunch and it's always Lemberger.

During the holidays we make lots of different side dishes and desserts, usually our favorites from handed-down family recipes.

The highlight of the meal is not the food but "gathering" with those we love. I like to pick wines that enhance and not crowd out all the different flavors, especially Aunt Edna's Green Been Casserole with French Fried Onions or better yet... corn pudding! Now don't laugh, we all have those handed down family recipes. It wouldn't be the same without the tradition!

Happy Holidays, Kathy
Olympic Cellars Winery

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Passport Wine Tour, Oysters, Clams and much more

Wines, Oysters, Clams and much more…

Harvest is complete and bottling is next Tuesday. Then we’re ready to celebrate and share the bounty during our annual Passport Wine Tour event on Saturday and Sunday, November 14-15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This year’s event will not only focus on our wine and new releases but also our local Olympic Coast Cuisine. We are partnering with Peter Becker, CEO of Little Skookum Shellfish Growers, a sustainable oyster and clam aquaculture since 1883, Bell Street Bakery and Nash’s Organic Farm.

Just as some background, for the last year I’ve been working with representatives of the four counties on the Olympic Peninsula in the formation of an Olympic Culinary Loop Tourism Organization which will serve as a catalyst in shaping the region’s culinary signature “Olympic Coast Cuisine”. This organization will focus on attracting new tourists to the area, increase visitor length of stay, inspire investment in farms and land, and preserve the region’s agricultural heritage. (More about this organization and its mission is at the end of this email.)

The Olympic Peninsula Wineries is your host for Passport Wine Tour. This year it is B.Y.O.G. (Bring your own glass which will be fun to see your favorite glass and hear the story behind the glass). Tickets are $25 which will waive the tasting fees at all 6 wineries or you can opt to just pay the $5 tasting fees at the wineries you visit. Your choice!

At Olympic Cellars on Saturday and Sunday: Tasting room is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for event and tasting of a full selection of our award winning wines.

· Oysters on Saturday and Clam Chowder on Sunday

· Bell Street Bakery breads made with local, organic grain will be served with spreads made from hummus and local organic root vegetables all weekend

· Holiday Wine Release: Cranberry Jubilee

· Wine specials and gifts showcased to help you “check off” your holiday shopping list

Saturday, Nov. 14, from 12-4 p.m. Outside on the Patio in our “heated venue”….

· Enjoy pairing of our white wines with oysters grilled and on the half-shell

· Taste our new wine release under Benoit’s winemaker label: La Galopine, 2008 Roussanne and Viognier blend from famed Red Mountain’s Ciel du Cheval vineyard

· Savor 4 different oysters from three local regions (South Puget Sound, Hood Canal and Discovery Bay) and four featured shellfish farms:: Little Skookum Shellfish Growers (Little Skookum small Pacific oysters); Hama Hama Oyster Company (Hood Canal small Hama Hama Pacific oysters); Taylor Shellfish Company (Totten Inlet Kumamoto oysters); and Port Discovery Sea Farms (Snow Creek small oysters)

Sunday, November 15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the tasting room

· Clam Chowder (Peter Becker’s Grandfather Bishop's family clam chowder recipe made with Little Skookum Shellfish Growers’ sustainably farmed Manila clams

We look forward to pouring our wines for you and yours and hosting this culinary focused event,
Cheers, Kathy, Molly, Lisa and Benoit

Olympic Peninsula Loop Culinary Tourism Association

The Olympic Peninsula Loop Culinary Tourism Association (Olympic Culinary Loop) exists to define, promote and celebrate the Olympic Peninsula’s unique culinary experience, educate consumers, and ultimately establish the region as a niche destination to enhance economic development and the region’s tourism product.

Olympic Coast Cuisine reflects the diverse microclimates, coastal proximity and Native American heritage that characterize the Olympic Peninsula. The combination of sustainable locally-grown and foraged fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries, locally hunted game, bountiful local sea fare, and handcrafted local wines offers farm to table experiences that instill a unique sense of place. Prepared with reverence to the local history and culture, fresh Olympic Coast Cuisine is best enjoyed amid the beautiful scenery that surrounds the Olympic Peninsula loop.