The Walla Walla Shindig

Last Saturday, August 28, we attended the First Annual Walla Walla Shindig, a dinner and auction event to benefit the Blue Mountain Community Foundation, Vital Wins which provides medical care to winery and vineyard workers, the Institute for Enology and Viticulture of the Walla Walla Community College, and the Wine Country Culinary Institute. It was a great event to support community programs. It raised $165,000 packages including trade (Alaska Airlines), winery tours and dinners, and more. Money was also raised by participants' donations.

The event was held at the Yellowhawk Resort, formerly Basel Cellars, on the Old Milton Highway. Dinner was preceded by bubbles from Yellowhawk, and the five course dinner was accompanied by wines from featured wineries. Three hundred guests, seated at 30 tables of 10 each, attended, spread out on the patio and lawn of the Resort. All this was executed with large platters of food for each course, a monumental task for such a large gathering. Kudos to Dan Thiesen, co-owner of Yellowhawk, for coordinating this event. 

Here are the wines poured for each course.

Course One: Yellowhawk White and Rosé Bubbles with Prawn and Melon salad and pickled chili. 

Course Two: 2018 Vital Chardonnay, French Creek and 2020 Pepper Bridge Sauvignon Blanc with Pazanella, local beans and crab.

Course Three: Summer Salmon and corn salad with 2019 Woodward Canyon Barbera, a combination that worked surprisingly well.

Course Four: Beef Tenderloin with 2018 Valdemar Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley.

Dessert: Trio of Poached Peach, Lemon Curd and Chocolate Cream Tart with 2019 Long Shadows Poet's Leap Riesling. 

There will be a Second Annual Walla Walla Shindig in August, 2022 to look forward too.

New and Revisited Wines Tasted Recently

Over the past few weeks, we've been going through new wines and revisiting some we've had before.

2020 Bastide du Claux Luberon Rose, "Poudière" ($22 - The Thief, Walla Walla) - Brilliant light copper-pink colored, this possessed enticing aromas of pink peach, tangerine, pomegranate, pink roses, orange blossoms, pink lavender and pink incense. The flavors are light and sprightly, with notes of grape skins and Mont Luberon minerals. On the back, the wine freshens up with peach and orange liqueurs and pomegranate seeds, followed by a nicely fruited dry finish. 18.5/20 points.

2020 Chêne Bleu "Le Rosé," Vaucluse ($27 - The Thief) - Composed of 79% Grenache, 8% Syrah, 8% Mourvèdre, 4% Cinsault and 1% Rolle, this presents a brilliant copper-pink color and lovely aromas of strawberry, tangerine, red currant, blueberry and a bit of mango, with scents of pink roses, pink lavender and pink incense. The flavors are simultaneously delicate and precisely extracted, with notes of grape and currant skins and Vaucluse minerals. The charm continues on the back with gently pressed fruits, fraise liqueur and tangerine peel, followed by a lingering balanced finish. 19/20 points.

2020 Château Pradeaux Bandol Rosé ($37 - The Thief) - From near Toulon, this is a striking Rosé. It displays copper color and an exotic nose of fraises de bois, musk melon, blood orange, papaya, orange blossoms, lavender and spiced orange incense. The flavors, as well, are attention-getting, with red and orange fruits that are accented by grape skins and minerals. The back picks up fraise and Grand Marnier liqueurs and melon and orange rinds, followed by a lingering, viscous yet dry finish. "Delicious," says Lynn, three stars (highest rating). My score: 19/20 points.

2018 Domaine de la Grosse Pierre Chiroubles, "Claudius" ($27 - The Thief) - This Cru Beaujolais offers a deep purple-ruby color and attractive aromas of raspberry, blueberry, currant, red roses, lilac and whiffs of sweet incense. The flavors are deliciously silky yet well delineated, with red fruits that are imbued with red licorice, cocoa powder, black tea and hillside minerals. The appeal continues on the back with framboise and cassis liqueurs and touches of toasted nuts and  mocha, followed by a smooth, ripe moderate tannin and acid finish. 18.5/20 points.  

Wines revisited:

2017 Tapteil "Artist" Syrah, Yakima Valley, Spilya Vineyard ($40) - The Pearsons have sold the Tapteil Vineyard on Red Mountain to Avennia, but have kept the Spylia Vineyard on the west slope outside the Red Mountain AVA. This vintage shows a deep ruby color and rich aromas blackberry, blueberry, black currant, black roses, tobacco and incense. The flavors are ample yet deep with black and blue fruits that are intermixed with licorice, chocolate, French roast and earth. The back picks up pressed fruits, creme de cassis and blueberry preserves, followed by a lingering sweetish tannin finish. 19/20 points. Reviewed July, 2021.

2016 Louis Jadot Monthèlie, "Sous Roches" - We had this on International Pinot Noir Day (August 18). It's a real charmer. It shows a medium brick red color and perfumed aromas of fraises de bois, cherries, red currants, rose petals, cherry blossoms, orange peel, hillside bushes, sandalwood and sweet incense. The flavors are medium bodied and alluring, with red fruits that are imbued with red licorice, pekoe tea and granitic minerals. The back picks up gently pressed fruits, fraise and cerise liqueurs orange peel and soft charcoal, followed by a satiny moderate tannin and acid finish. 19/20 points.

2017 Domaine Chignard Fleurie "Les Moriers" - We bought this (about $25) when we were collecting Beaujolais from the great 2027 vintage. It shows a deep ruby color and aromas of fraises de bois, cerise, cassis, crushed roses, wildflowers, lavender and sweet incense. The flavors are medium bodied and charming, with velvety red fruits that are imbued with red licorice, cocoa powder and hillside minerals. The allure continues own the back with gently pressed fruits, creme de cassis and toffee, followed by a ripe, smooth tannin finish. 18.5/20 points.

2017 Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage "La Guiraude" - We purchased this a few years ago (about $56) and it's just coming around. It displays a semi opaque purple-ruby color and an intense nose of black currants, black cherries, black plums, black roses, dark sweet tobacco, lavender, olive tapenade and incense. The flavors are thick, almost massive, pure Syrah, yet accessible, with lavish dark fruits that are infused with black licorice, dark cocoa, French press and stony minerals. The penetration continues on the back with macerated fruits, roasted nuts, kirsch and creme de cassis. all followed by a lingering ripe tannin finish. 19/20 points.