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The Dark Side of Tequila presented by Hornitos Black Barrel

The Dark Side of Tequila presented by Hornitos Black Barrel 

May 3rd, 6-8PM The Sky Lounge 

Come learn about the art & process of crafting tequila, with an in-depth look at various aging techniques using everything from new oak, ex-bourbon, and former Cognac barrels. Local rep Derek Wieting will lead guests through a guided flight tasting and dinner. Followed by Mitchell Johnson of M Bar with a presentation on how to create simple tequila cocktails at home.

Dinner will feature tacos & sides from El Camino. All guests will take home a gift bag and we will be raffling off a brand new Hornitos Golf Bag!

$15 tasting fee, which can be used towards your purchase,

space is limited RSVP by calling 206.682.7374

Upcoming Classes in the Sky Lounge

Introduction to Wine Classes Series:

With this Introductory Series, sommelier Arnie Millan will be your guide as you are taken through the basics of wine. You will learn about the many wine producing regions throughout the world, sample the wines and participate in lively discussion.

This shortened series begins May 7th and continues through June 4th. The program of four classes is scheduled on Sundays from 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. in Esquin’s Sky Lounge. Free parking is available in Esquin’s lot on the South end of the building.

These fun, informal classes were featured in the Wall Street Journal and each class includes useful handouts. Arnie was recenjtly featured in a Seattle Times profile entitled “The finest Wine Mind in Seattle.”

The series of four classes, including wine tastings of 8 wines during each class, will be offered for $39 per class or $145 for all 4 classes per person. Gift certificates are available.

To register, please email arnie@esquin.com.com or call 206-682-7374.

Advance registration is required. Gift certificates are available.

Topics covered will be:

May 7th –  Class 1 : Grapes, Viticulture and Winemaking

We will learn a glossary of important wine terms, discuss the major international grape varieties as well as the basics of viticulture and winemaking.

May 21st – Class 2: A Tour of Spain

Spain’s wine history is the oldest in Europe and its wine regions reveal a wealth of indigenous grapes far beyond the famous Tempranillo. Explore Spain’s dynamic and exciting wine scene.

May 28th – Class 3: A Survey of Italy

Italy is one of the world’s greatest wine regions with an unbelievable treasure trove of terrific indigenous grape varieties. We will cover all 19 wine regions and taste 8 delicious wines made from native grapes.

June 4th-  Class 4: A Tour of France

France is the touchstone for fine wine, the benchmark by which quality wine is judged. We will de-mystify and explain all their major regions including Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace and the Rhône Valley

Food + Wine Classes with Lenny Rede

May 14th – Champagne & Caviar! 2-4PM in the Sky Lounge

Explore the range and elegance of Champagne and some classic pairings – including Caviar, Lobster, Fried Chicken, and Popcorn. We will discuss the production styles, rules, and history of the King of wines. With Special Guest! $49
Call 206.682.7374 to register. Advance registration is necessary. Gift Certificates are available.

Weekend Wine Paring ~ Cedar Plank Salmon with Tarragon Mustard Glaze + Chehalem Wines

Spring seems reluctant. I see the fits and starts, the bud break and blossoms, the first Rosés’ and the first of the seasons’ harvests. This is the time of year that I get the most antsy with anticipation. I just can’t wait to get outside and grill! Growing up in California we would grill year round.  Here, I have to seize the day, and catch the sun when she briefly smiles on me.

Grilled Salmon is just about one of the best dishes to prepare when entertaining guests, especially out of towners. The best part is how little time you actually have to spend in front of the grill. Less cooking equals more partying. Again, plan ahead and have your ingredients ready to grill when your guest arrive.

There are a many great ways to grill. One of the time-honored traditions, in these parts, is Cedar plank salmon. One of the greatest things about a Cedar Plank Salmon is that it works just as well in the oven as it does on the grill, so no matter how fickle mother nature may be you can still have a nice dinner.

Call me a traditionalist, but there are few better wines to serve with Cedar Plank Salmon than a good Oregon Pinot Noir, especially from Chehalem Winery. 

Chehalem Three Vineyard Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2013 $32.99  

This Three Vineyard Pinot Noir has beautiful ripe black cherry and brambly cassis on the nose, with fresh wet earth and a tea leaf component. White pepper, dusty cocoa, tobacco, sweet loam, and raspberry accentuate the nose, providing a fresh, full, complex package. The palate is lithe and playful, with especially round, pliable acid, and an overarching flavor of rich cranberry sauce and rose hips. The finish is lengthy, yet elegant, with beautiful balance – a perfect partner for salmon.

“Light and sleek, open-textured and appealing, with delicate plum and guava flavors, riding on a glassy frame into a vivid finish.” 91 POINTS, Wine Spectator

Or, if you prefer, few places grow Chardonnay as well as they do in the Willamette Valley.

Chehalem “Inox” Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2014 $19.99 

The fruit shines brightly in this all-stainless cuveé. Ripe golden apples are at the core, with hints of peach and papaya. It’s a lovely, forward, ready to drink style that brings extra concentration and detail that is all too rare in unoaked Chardonnays.  91 Points, Wine Enthusiast

xox, Lenny

Taste these wines, plus other BBQ favorites on April 29th  from 2pm to 5pm

Grab a bottle to take home, and create your own:

Cedar Plank Salmon with Tarragon Mustard Glaze

Weekend Wine Pairing ~ Martini Party!

Almost everyone loves a cocktail party! I love them because they are relatively easy and surprisingly inexpensive ways of having people over. Cocktail Parties give people an excuse to dress up. There is a simple touch of glamour to people chit-chatting over cocktails and caviar. Some good shopping, a little bit of preparation, plenty of ice, and you have a party!

Less is more.

Pick one or two cocktails to feature. Just tell everyone you invite, “We are having a Martini party this Saturday! Would you like to come?” Yes, you want to have back-ups, say some beer, some chilled Champagne and wine, even a bottle or two of other basics (Bourbon, Vodka). But, letting people know what they are getting into sets their expectations and anticipation.

Let’s say you want to throw a Martini Party. First, plan on tending bar for the evening, so have your food already plated and ready to go. For the food, I like to set platters and trays around the party to create an inviting atmosphere. Many classic hors d’oeuvre are perfect pairings for Martini’s – Caviar, Smoked Salmon and Lox, Crab Cakes, Deviled Eggs, Shrimp Cocktail, even Oysters on the half shell.  Also, have back up snacks: nuts, chips, crackers, cheese, in case more people show up or they show up hungry.

First things first.

A Martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. Classic is a ratio 2:1 gin to vermouth, International Bartenders Association dictates a ratio of 6:1 (which could end up being quite a party), but I like to use better vermouth and get the ratio closer to 1:1. I also recommend using smaller martini glasses 3 – 4 ounce to help restrain consumption a little.

Lenny’s Martini (serves 4)

8 oz. The Botanist Gin

6 oz. Dolin Dry Vermouth

Squeeze lemon wedge

4 shakes orange bitters

8 olives on picks

Lemon twist for rim

Prepare chilled martini glass running lemon twist around edge of rim. Discard. Combine ingredients in shaker with ice. Stir until all ingredients thoroughly. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cocktail olives.

The Botanist Islay Dry Gin $42.99

(Taste Botanist Gin Saturday April 22, 2pm – 5 pm)

The Botanist Gin is truly one of kind. Made by one of my favorite scotch producers Bruichladdich, it is the Gin produced on Islay. While most gins are made using a column or continuous still, Botanist is made in an old Lomond pot whiskey still, nicknamed Ugly Betty. That means that the base distillate is made with same care and attention as a fine scotch. Second, while all gins have Juniper along with a usual cohort of six or seven botanicals, Botanist contains 31, of which 22 are native to the Southern Hebridean Island itself. It should be noted that most of the native botanicals sound like they came straight out of a Harry Potter novel; rest assured the final product is delicate and not surprisingly floral.

A great Gin and good quality Vermouth some good olives and plenty of ice …

The botanical quality of a Martini lends itself very well to seafood of all sorts. How about an update to classic Shrimp Cocktail? My Kick Butt Shrimp Cocktail will change the way you think about the cocktail sauce.

Kick Butt Shrimp Cocktail  Ingredients + Recipe

Esquin’s Exclusive Quilceda Tasting with Arnie Millan

Quilceda Creek has been producing celestial wines since its inception in 1978. Quilceda Creek produced its first commercially-released Cabernet Sauvignon in 1979. Owner, and winemaker, Alex Golitzin had the good fortune to have the assistance of legendary winemaker and uncle Andre Tchelistcheff who was a mentor to Alex in Quilceda Creek’s early days. Over the years, Quilceda has earned lavish praise from the world’s wine press, sometimes bordering hyperbole.

Today, Alex and son Paul have made Quilceda Creek one of the world’s greatest estates, racking up an amazingly consistent track record of 98-100 points scores over the past 15 years with no score lower than 96 points (only twice in 15 years) with their flagship Cabernet. Quilceda Creek’s Cabernet Sauvignon remains the benchmark for what can be achieved in Washington  – and dare we say, and the United States.

So imagine our excitement when we learned that my colleague Jeff Fournier and I, along with David Leclaire, had been invited to attend Quilceda’s release party for the 2014 Columbia Valley Red (CVR) and the 2014 Columbia Valley Cabernet last month.

When we arrived, there was already a crowd. We quickly found the two tasting tables and made a beeline to the 2014 Columbia Valley Red Blend. Good thing we were early because the tasting room soon was filled to capacity. Amazing appetizers were tray-passed around the room. This was a party for the Seattle area wine trade, so we were able to hobnob with friends we hadn’t seen for months.

2014 is looking to be another outstanding vintage in Washington State and you can taste the concentration in both the Columbia Valley Red (CVR) and especially in their flagship Cabernet.

When we were done tasting, we went to the winery behind the tasting room to pick up our allocation of both wines. Thankfully, Jeff’s car was big enough to hold the cases of wine.

Below are my tasting notes.

Quilceda 2014 Columbia Valley Red $51.99/bottle

The 2014 Columbia Valley Red was beefier than the 2013. The fruit was noticeably darker and fuller bodied and the tannins were smooth and well-integrated. If I had to rate the wine, I’d give it 93 points.

Quilceda 2014 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $171.99/bottle

The big brother, the Columbia Valley Cabernet was outstanding. The wine is rich, intense and loaded with black currant and cassis fruit. The tannins were big and long on the finish accentuated by a contrail of that dark fruit. This wine needs some age to come together but I think it will be amazing in 7 to 10 years. I’d give it 97 – 98 points but I’m being very conservative because the Cab is in its infancy.

~ Arnie

Weekend Wine Pairing : Oven Roasted Lamb Rack Salad with Couscous, Fennel, Mint, and Tomatoes

Rosé Time!

It is definitely beginning to look more like spring; in the wine business that means the arrival of the Rosé! I can think of no better foil for the winter doldrums than to tease one of the scarce sunny days on the deck with brunch or late lunch. Whether Easter, or any Sunday, there are fewer things as civilized as taking a meal al fresco with a nice bottle of Rose!

The Rosé Revolution is now hegemony!  Never in my life have I tasted and seen so many Rosé. Beyond the great Bandol and Tavel, we see Rosé coming from every great wine region in the world. Not only is it just about the best thing for an afternoon quaff, Rosé also lends itself to a wide variety of foods. The touch of anthocyanin, that gives Rosé its color, also gives the wine more body which allows it to pair with heartier fare!

Looking for something to pair with your Easter Ham? Look no further. Roast Turkey, Standing Pork Crown Roast, Cedar Plank Salmon, Tuna Salad – you name it, Rose will fit the bill. Almost just to prove my point, I would like to present a perfect party dish that is made for Rosé – Oven Roasted Lamb Rack Salad with Couscous, Fennel, Mint, and Tomatoes.

 

Oven Roasted Lamb Rack Salad with Couscous Fennel Mint and Tomatoes recipe + ingredient list

The other thing I love about Rosé? Even the priciest Rosés are still relatively affordable in the vast scheme of things. One of my favorite things to do, for a party, is fill a galvanized tub with a bunch of Rosé + ice and let people have at it! Rest assured there are great inexpensive Rosé, and you can find a lot of them here at Esquin Wine & Spirits.

Here are a couple favorites:

OLIVARES JUMILLA ROSADO 2016 $6.99

Floral and red fruit aromas mingle on the nose, with a refreshing and balanced palate. This Spanish Rosé pairs beautifully with grilled vegetables, fish, pasta, or on its own.  70% Garnacha 30% Monastrell

LAURIBERT ‘LA CUVEE DE LISA’ ROSE 2016 $8.99

We are pleased to welcome the new 2016 Les Lauribert La Cuvee de Lisa! A gorgeous Rosé with tart, refreshing acidity that is balanced with notes of barely ripe strawberries. It’s springtime in a bottle!

MILBRANDT ROSE 2016 $11.99

Intense nose of mineral, strawberry, melon, and herbs. The palate is lean and fresh with plenty more red berries, and a saline finish.

Join us Saturday, April 15th, from 2-5PM at our tasting barrel to try the 8th World of the World – Rosé!

Spring is brunch time!

Spring is Brunch time! There is something about the little extra bit of sunshine, the warmer weather and those first blossoms of color that makes me want to sit and lazily enjoy what sunshine we might receive. Brunch can be an excellent way to gather a larger group for a meal that can be a lot less stressful, on both budget and time. Whether dining out at a restaurant or on your back deck, Brunch is one of my favorite ways to dine.

Call me old fashioned, but one of my favorite brunch dishes is a Classic Eggs Benedict. This is something I love to make for company because with proper preparation and a little practice, it can truly be a show stopper of a dish. That said I almost enjoy it even more when someone else makes it for me. I was reminded of this when recently I had brunch at Urbane at Olive 8.

Of course I ordered the Benedict, and it was sublime. The eggs perfectly poached, the ham was superior quality and the Hollandaise was perfect. Executive Chef Brian Pusztai has assembled a team of fantastic chefs that sets this restaurant above and beyond your average hotel restaurant. Chef Pusztai treats his restaurant like it was a small Farm-to-table bistro. Pusztai works with farmers across the Pacific Northwest who are dedicated to sustainable growing and bringing the best product to market. He says, “Good food depends on good ingredients.” I feel like Urbane is one of the best kept secrets in town.

At Urbane I had a Mimosa with Bene’s, always a favorite if you were throwing a party you could easily serve them by the pitcher. The Classic is just equal parts Orange juice and Sparkling wine, I like to use a good quality Cava like Dibon.  DIBON CAVA NV $8.99 “This is a light-framed Cava with a clean, fast, tasty profile and finish. Light apple aromas are elegant and not over the top, while the tangerine and orange flavors are lean and focused. Not yeasty or heavy at all. Made from organically grown grapes.”

My go to Sparkling wine for any party is Treveri Blanc de Blancs Brut Columbia Valley $12.99.

Made in the traditional method using only Chardonnay grapes this sparkling is hard to beat. Bright and stylish, this lively wine offers toasty, floral pear and spice flavors on a refined frame, lingering nicely on the mouthwatering finish. This everything one could want in a sparkling wine.  Quality good enough to be served at the White House; at price ‘we the people’ can afford.

Treveri Cellars is a family-owned and operated sparkling wine house that produces some of the finest handcrafted sparkling wines in the United States. A relative newcomer to the Washington wine scene, (2010) Treveri has already made its mark on the world stage being served at White House State Department receptions and the James Beard Foundation in New York. Quickly they rose to the attention of sommeliers, aficionados and the press being voted one of the nation’s Top Ten Hottest Brands of 2014 by Wine Business Monthly. But this is no flash in the pan.

Juergen Grieb founded Treveri Cellars in 2010 after 3 decades of experience of winemaking in Washington State.  Juergen was born and raised in Trier, Germany, where he received his formal winemaking and sparkling winemaking degrees. After earning his formal degrees and finishing his apprenticeships in Germany, Juergen came to Washington State in 1982.

Juergen’s passion and enthusiasm is contagious, infecting everyone he meets and even his own son Christian. Christian partnered with his father in 2010 after receiving Business degree from Seattle University to start Treveri. Treveri is a family affair with Juergen and Christian being joined by Julie Grieb and Katie Grieb.

Treveri produces a wide variety of styles at their facility in Wapato, including non-traditional varieties such as sparkling Syrah, Riesling and Mueller-Thurgau.

Download Lenny’s Eggs Benedict and Hollandaise recipe and ingredients!

Read Lenny’s Write Up on Seattle Dining 

 

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