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Yamhill-Carlton Road Show June 27th!

Come Taste the Wine of Oregon’s Yamhill-Carlton AVA!

June 27th, 2017 | 6 to 8pm
The Metropolist
2931 1st Avenue South A
Seattle, WA 98134

$30 (in advance with Eventbrite here>>)
$35.00 (at the door ~ cash only)

The Yamhill-Carlton American Viticultural Area, home of many Oregon wine industry pioneers and the oldest soils in the Willamette Valley, is coming to Seattle! Join 12 wineries for a memorable tasting experience on June 27th from 6-8pm. The producers will be pouring wine all exclusively made from Y-C AVA fruit, concentrating on Pinot Noir, as well as a small selection of other varietals. This is a great opportunity to taste Oregon wines without traveling hundreds of miles. Learn firsthand about Oregon’s geology and climate and what makes the wine so alluring, complex and age worthy. While you sip, enjoy delectable bites that complement these world-class wines.

This is a unique opportunity, as many of these wines are not for sale in Washington state. If you like what you taste at the event & want these wines in your own cellar, Esquin Wine & Spirits will be taking wine orders!

Participating Yamhill-Carton AVA Wineries:

Carlton Hill Wines

Elk Cove Vineyards

Fairsing Vineyards

Ghost Hill Cellars

JL Kiff Vineyard

Ken Wright Cellars

Lenne Estate

Marshall Davis

Monks Gate

Saffron Fields

Stag Hollow

 

Scarpetta Wine Pig Roast Event, Saturday, June 3rd!

Many of you have been asking about the La Caja China roaster, stacked with an assortment of Friulian delights, on our entry way carpet. We’ve brought in a pig roasting box emblazoned with Scarpetta Wines  and we can’t wait to share the excitement with you!

Scarpetta Wines was started by Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Patterson. Bobby is a Master Sommelier and James Beard Award Winner. Lachlan is an award winning chef. Together, they own Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Co. which was nominated this year for Outstanding Restaurant in America. Accolades aside, these guys know what they are doing and they’re doing it right. They bring the countryside of Friuli to every glass and plate they present.

With an obsession with Friuli, Bobby and Lachlan have been blazing their way through the states. And, we have some of their Scarpetta Wines in our store to celebrate!

Join as we serve Porchetta Panini along with Scarpetta Wines at our Scarpetta Pig Roast event on Saturday, June 3rd, 2-PM. We hope to see you there!

Grazie!

Weekend Wine Pairing ~ Vintager Chardonnay + Crab Tostadas with Sriracha Guacamole

Okay,  I start to really miss California when it snows in the passes in May, and the rain never ceases. Yes, I am a California native, albeit I have lived in Seattle for over 32 years, so that has to count for something, right? Oh, I do have certain California kid peccadillos. Like when my northern brethren claim indisputable expertise on Mexican food, or when I find myself defending a fondness for Zinfandel or a certain style of California Chardonnay.

Take for example a new Chard we just found.

The Californian Vintager Chardonnay Knights Valley 2012 $14.99

This is an elegant barrel aged chard produced from hand harvested grapes in the legendary Knight Valley AVA, home to winemakers like Peter Michael. Coastal fog and conifer trees create a special cool climate that gives the resulting win a balance of fruit and fresh acidity. Full bodied, yet balanced with well integrated oak and a long seductive finish. Honey crisp apple, blood orange and just a touch of vanilla give this wine all that classic Northern California Chardonnay appeal.

Only 748 cases of this wine were produced by winemaker Sam Jennings, The Vintager Chardonnay is true small production wine.

Yes, and there are certain dishes that pair perfectly with that certain style of Cali Chard – Smoked Chicken Salad, grilled Salmon, Lobster. This wine would be perfect just sitting on a sunny deck with some friends, but this also would be awesome with my Crab tostadas! Recipe below

Join us and taste this extraordinary Chardonnay, Saturday May 20th, at Esquin 2 pm to 5 pm!

xo Lenny

Crab Tostadas with Sriracha Guacamole

1 (16 ounce) package tostadas ( or fresh made)

16 ounces Dungeness crab

1 lime, juiced

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

***** Garnish

2 tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 red pepper, finely diced

1 jalapeno, finely diced

1⁄2 medium onion, finely chopped

¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped

*****Guacamole

3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled

1 lime, juiced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon Sriracha

1/2 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoon sour cream

  1. You can fry your own tortilla but store bought are just fine
  2. In a large bowl, pull crab apart and check for any shell pieces. Combine lime juice and olive oil and dress crab with dressing and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In another bowl combine diced tomatoes, diced peppers, onions and cilantro.
  4. In bowl of food processor combine all ingredients and pulse until well comined.
  5. Spread 1 tablespoon Guacamole on tostada top with 1 ounce of crab meat and garnish with pepper mixture

Crab Tostadas with Sriracha Guacamole Printable Recipe

Weekend Wine Pairing Mother’s Day Edition

It’s Mothers Day weekend! If you haven’t made reservations yet, you should start putting together plan B. A late lunch or brunch is a casual and easy way to give mom her day without too much stress. A casual spread with cinnamon rolls and croissants purchased from a local bakery, some fresh fruit cut and displayed nicely, smoked salmon or lox and schmear and maybe bagels. A spiral sliced ham, bacon and/or sausages provide some protein. A nice salad – Classic Cobb is a winner. Add a Quiche or Tart at the center will round out the spread.  See my Arugula, Goat Cheese, Sun Dried Tomato and Prosciutto Tart Recipe Below.

Oh, and bubbles. You have to have Bubbles!

Champagne is always a perfect answer. If you are on a budget there are plenty of excellent options for bubbly out there. A nice Cava, Crémant or domestic Sparklers can be a good gift. But, I will always default to Prosecco for a party or brunch. Prosecco has a softer edge than Champagne, and lends itself to a wide variety of foods quite nicely. Also, you can’t beat the price! You can get 3 or 4 bottles of great Prosecco for the price a bottle of Marque Champagne.

The Prosecco house of Ruggeri is an excellent example. The Ruggeri Winery was established in 1950 by Giustino Bisol, whose family boasts a deeply rooted, centuries-old tradition in viticulture in the Valdobbiadene area. The Bisol family has been cultivating vines in the heart of Valdobbiadine for centuries. Today the winery is run by Paolo Bisol, who is assisted by his children Giustino and Isabella.

Today, Ruggeri is one of the most respected producers in Valdobbiadene winning the coveted Tre Biccheri from the Italian wine guide of record, The Gambero Rosso. In the prestigious World Encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling wine, which is published every ten years by the famous auction house Christie’s, Ruggeri has the highest rating of all the producers from the Prosecco D.O.C.

“I hold the wines of Ruggeri & C. S.r.l in the highest regard. Paolo Bisol and his team run an immaculate operation that extends from the vineyard to his high tech winery.” Robert Parker

Today, we have an unbeatable deal on one of Paolo’s wines.

Ruggeri NV Argeo, Prosecco DOC $13.99

“Brilliant silvery straw color. Delicate aromas of honeycomb, spiced melon and apple, and pink peppercorn with a silky, tangy, finely carbonated, fruity medium body and a tingling, distinctive, long tangerine, delicate herbs, and pickled kumquat finish with fine, fruit tannins. A delicious, mouthwatering Prosecco with a savory twist.” – 92 Points BTI

It’s absolutely delicious as an aperitif, but like virtually all wines from Italy it is made to go with food. From Venice to Milan you will see Prosecco sipped everywhere from sidewalk cafes to white linen restaurants to garden veranda.

So, set out the spread put on your Mom’s favorite record and Pop some Bubbles. Don’t forget to take some pictures and don’t let mom do the dishes!

Arugula, Goat Cheese, Sun Dried Tomato and Prosciutto Tart recipe

Weekend Wine Pairing – Asparagi di Bassano Con Salsa dl Uove Sode + Teutonic Wine Company

It is asparagus time!

If you look around your local Farmers Market or grocery store you will see tables laden with first crop local asparagus. Washington is famous for its asparagus. The same soils that allow wine grapes to thrive also happen to be perfect for growing asparagus (and onions, too). This weekend, May 6th, is the annual Asparagus Festival in Pasco where consumers will be able to sample everything from grilled asparagus to asparagus ice cream. That’s right, asparagus ice cream!

Today, I present nothing quite so adventurous, but a simple elegant dish that you can serve at a dinner party or (hopefully one day- weather permitting) an outdoor BBQ – Full recipe for Asparagi di Bassano Con Salsa di Uove Sode

Now, most wine drinkers have heard that asparagus can be difficult to pair. Asparagus assertive flavor can clash with most wines, the reason is that asparagus contain chemical mercaptans which makes wine taste bitter and metallic. One solution is to add Fat: butter, olive oil, bacon. The fat will help tame the aggressive nature of the vegetable. 

I suggest choosing wines with higher acidity, wines that mirror the green notes of the vegetables. Sauvignon Blanc, Verdicchio, Gruner Veltliner, Gavi are all good answers. But, a great high acid Pinot Gris or Grigio is just about perfect.

2015 Teutonic Pinot Gris Crow Vineyard Willamette Valley 

We love the fruit that comes from the 35 year-old vines at Crow Valley Vineyard. This Pinot Gris is crisp and refreshing with fine mineral flavors that the vines absorb from the deep established roots. Golden pale in color, red apple, lime and lemon zest on the nose.

A perfect foil for the surly asparagus.

Teutonic Wine Company started in 2002 when Barnaby was the wine buyer at Papa Haydn Restaurant in Portland’s southeast location. It was his passion for cool climate wines that lead him to plant Oregon’s first coastal vineyard west of the coastal range. His fascination has garnered he and his wines a cult like following from Seattle to New York.

The Crow Vineyard Pinot Gris is made with minimal intervention, natural spontaneous fermentation; fermented in neutral oak (no steel) and bottled with lower alcohol.

xo

Lenny

Taste this wine and other Teutonic wines Saturday 2 pm to 5 pm

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 : 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 

 

Weekend Wine Pairing Paella Valencia + Cistum Granacha

When someone says Spanish Cuisine the first dish that comes to nearly everyone’s mind is Paella. And yes, you can find Paella in virtually every city, village and taberna. Historically, Spain was divided into small kingdoms; each one with its own language, culture and cuisine. Today, Spain is divided into 17 Autonomous Communities, each one with its own unique cuisine.

Valencia, in Eastern Spain, is the undisputed home of paella. It is one of the largest natural ports in the Mediterranean and has been one of the most important rice-producing areas in Spain since rice was introduced by the Moors over 1200 years ago. Paella has ancient roots, but its modern form originated in the mid-19th century near the Albufera lagoon on the east coast of Spain adjacent to the city of Valencia.  Although many people regard Paella as the national dish of Spain, Valencian’s regard paella as more than just a dish – it is also one of their most identifying symbols.

There are as many different Paella recipes as there are Spanish Mothers and Chefs. Paella de Marisco (seafood), Paella de Verduras (Vegetarian), Paella Mixta (freestyle) and Paella Valencia are the most common dishes. Paella Valencia traditional will be served with short grain rice, green beans, snails, chicken or rabbit, chorizo and of course Saffron and Pimenton de la Vera.  Below is my Paella Recipe, and like I said, every Paella recipe is different. Mine is unusual in that I cook the delicate fish separately from the rice, because I want the fish to be as fresh and light as possible.

Lenny’s Paella Valencia Mixta printable recipe

Pairing with Paella is easy – a lighter white like Albarino or Verdejo or a softer red like Rioja or many of the great Garnacha (Grenache) Spain has to offer. Today, I am pleased to show a new one we just discovered – a beautiful and affordable red made from 120 year old vine Garnacha from Navarra.

2009 Rafael Reverte Cistum Garnacha Navarro $14.99

“The 2009 Cistum was sourced from 120-year-old ungrafted pre-phylloxera vines aged for 6 months in new French oak. Cedar, pencil lead, Asian spices, incense, and black cherry liqueur aromas are some of the elements leading to a voluminous, focused, layered wine with enough structure to evolve for 2-3 years. This remarkable example of old-vine Garnacha will be at its best from 2014 to 2024.”

92 Points – The Wine Advocate

In the twelfth century, the Cistercian monks of the Monastery of Fitero planted their first vines of Grenache and began the preparation of a unique and exceptional wine. Rafael Reverte has recovered Pie Franco vineyard planted in 1899, before the step of Phylloxera, to produce a wine of legend within reach of very few: “Cistum”.

Taste this wine Saturday from 2 pm to 5 pm

Taste Lenny’s Paella Wednesday April 5th 6 pm with Special Guest Victor Palencia of Palencia Winery!

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