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Washington Exploration Series with Regina Daigneault

Washington Exploration Series with Regina Daigneault featuring wines from:

WT Vintners | Lauren Ashton | Otis Kenyon | Andrew Rich | VITAL 

March 8, 6-7:30PM, in the Sky Lounge

We welcome Regina (Reggie) Daigneault – for a tasting exploration series of the Pacific Northwest, beginning with Washington, in celebration of Washington Wine Month. Reggie has been a wine educator for the past 15 years, bringing together a respected following of wine lovers, foodies, and enthusiasts alike.

We begin our Washington Exploration Series by exploring the viticulture regions within Washington State. We will look at why the vineyards, climate, and soils differ from each other. We will explore the cooler climate wines from Columbia Gorge along the Columbia River, and taste the differences of the Walla Walla, Columbia, and Yakima Valleys. Guests will feel the soils and rocks of these regions, while noticing how geology can define the flavors of the grapes.

 

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

small eats will be provided

Space is limited, RSVP by calling 206.682.7374

 

Join us for the full exploration series:

California Series 4/19 6 – 7:30PM in the Sky Lounge

Oregon Series 5/10 6 – 7:30PM in the Sky Lounge

Wines of the Rhône Valley Classes March 19 and 26

Beginning Sunday March 19th, Esquin’s Arnie Millan will host a two-part series of classes

focused on the wines of the Rhone, their history and their effects on the world of wine.

The Rhone Valley is home to some of France’s greatest wines, from noble Hermitage in the North to celebrated Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the South. The ancient Greeks and Romans planted vines here. The Papacy moved here for a brief but unforgettable period, thereafter bringing great prestige to the area.

In short, this is a region with a wondrous past yet whose present achievements in wine attract the world’s attention. The wines of the Rhone continue to exert a huge influence on wines being produced around the world, from Washington State to Australia and South Africa.

The first class, on Sunday March 19th, features the Northern Rhone Valley from Cote-Rotie, Hermitage, Saint Joseph, Cornas to Saint- Peray.

The second class, on Sunday March 26th, explores the Southern Rhone Valley with its great villages dominated by the renowned Chateauneuf- du-Pape.

We will taste 8 wines per class from the region’s greatest appellations. Cost is $79 per class or $145 for the two-part series.

The classes will be held on on Sundays, from 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. in Esquin Wine & Spirits Sky Lounge at 2700 4th Avenue S., just South of the stadiums in SODO. Free parking is available in Esquin’s lot on the South end of the building.

Gift Certificates are available.

The Seattle Times has named Arnie “The finest Wine Mind in Seattle.”

To register, please click on the following links:

Rhone Valley Entire 2 Class Series
March 19th class: The North
March 26th Class: The South

or call Esquin at 206-682-7374 or email Arnie.

Weekend Wine Pairing – French Onion Soup and Gorman Old Scratch GSM

The weather always drives my cooking decisions and with the crazy “thunderhailsnowmageddon” we have been experiencing of late I just want to make a hearty soup and curl up with a good book and nice glass of wine. Nothing says hearty winter soup like a classic French Onion Soup. Now before you say oh but that is so time consuming, a weekend afternoon is a perfect opportunity to spend some leisure time in the kitchen. The recipe is simpler than you might think, and the payoff is definitely worth the effort.
A bowl of French Onion Soup, a simple salad and a nice bottle of Red et voilà you have a fantastic weekend supper. If you want to make more of a meal of it add a large plate of charcuterie, pate or rillettes, with cornichons and mustard.

 
Tradition has it that a nice white or red burgundy is a great pairing for this dish. Any medium bodied red with nice fruit and good minerality will pair beautifully – think Beaujolais, Dolcetto or Barbera. Want to class is up? A great Châteauneuf-du-pape will rock everyone’s world. Today, I am pairing with new red from my buddy Chris Gorman, the Old Scratch GSM.


Gorman Winery Old Scratch GSM Columbia Valley 2014 $24.99
A Syrah driven blend (80%Syrah, 10%Grenache, 10% Mourvedre) that spends 24 months in French oak is a dark magenta in the glass with lively aromatics and a spicy palate with plenty of dark fruit- boysenberry, blackberry, currant and licorice notes. Medium bodied with soft tannins and a telltale mineraly finish that leaves you wanting more. 420 cases produced.
Sourced from some of Washington’s finest vineyards; Klipsun, Boushey, Lonesome Springs, Kiona, and made in much the same manner as his Pixie Syrah, that last couple of vintages have received 94 pt scores! (and is almost twice the price!)
Chris founded his eponymous winery in 2002 and has garnered accolades from virtually every wine publication on the planet. He came to winemaking from years working in the wine trade, because of that experience he makes wines that are easy to like, because he knows what people like. Now well into his 15th year and producing some 8000 cases of wine, he is no longer a garagiste having to steal grapes from friends, he is one of Washington State’s leading winemakers. The Old Scratch GSM is proof that he not resting on his laurels.

French Onion Soup (Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinée)

6 Tablespoons Butter

6 medium Yellow Onions (2lbs)

1 clove garlic chopped

2 cups water

2 tablespoons Flour

1 cup Sherry Amontillado

6 cups Beef stock, homemade if you can

1 bay leaf

2 Thyme sprigs

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons Cognac

1 teaspoon Vinegar, Cider or sherry

1 teaspoon Worcester Sauce

Toasted baguette, about 8 slices ¼ inch thick

Gruyere Cheese, Grated, about 12 ounces

Chives for garnish

Click here for printable recipe and instructions

~ Lenny

 

 

Steamed Clams with Chorizo and Palencia Albarino

To quote Hank Shaw, “There is nothing more Iberian – meaning Spanish, Basque or Portuguese – than the combination of shellfish and pork.” He even speculates that this classic combination was used to ferreting out Conversos during the inquisition. But, mostly I think it is because the combination is so delicious.

Today, I give my interpretation of Hank’s Steamed Clams with Chorizo. Other than some fresh clams, I get mine at Mutual Fish which is right down the street from my house, and good quality Spanish Chorizo, I get that at Big Johns PFI, the other key ingredient is Pimenton de la vera. Smoked Spanish Paprika is unlike the bitter grocery store paprika that your mother used to sprinkle on everything, Pimenton is sweet and smoky and adds a depth to any dish, and aside from saffron is what makes Paella taste like Paella.


I can think of no better pairing for this dish than a good Albarino. Albarino is the undisputed great white wine of Spain. Native to Galicia on northeastern coast the wine has been served with shellfish since the time of the Cluny Monks walking the Pilgrimage of the El Camino de Santiago in the twelfth century. For hundreds of years, Albariño vines could be found growing around the trunks of poplar trees and in bushes along the outside margins of a field. Today, the Albarinos of Rais Baixes are recognized as some of the best wines in Spain.


Recently an Albarino was awarded a Platinum Medal at the 17th annual Platinum Judging, conducted by Wine Press Northwest magazine. It is made by a young man Named Victor Palencia and is one of my favorite white wines produced in the state.

Palencia Winery 2015 Albarino, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley $15.99 “This grape is native to the Iberian Peninsula, yet it thrives in the arid Columbia Basin. Aromas of dried pineapple and banana play out on the palate with hints of melon, gooseberry and lemon meringue. It earned gold medals in two Oregon judgings prior to its Platinum.” – Andy Perdue

“Clean, clear and bright with fresh white peach and tropical notes on the nose, a mélange of fruit opens on the palate; sweet cantaloupe, apple, peach, pear and lemon zest are framed with bright minerality and zippy acidity. A refreshing and delicious Galicia style Albarino.” – Lenny

Victor Palencia is barely in his thirties’ and has been making wine before he could legally drink! It was a New Times Article that first brought him to the attention of the public, A Vineyard Prodigy Too Young to Drink. Since then Victor has been named in “Americas Top 40 under 40” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine and his wines consistently receive Gold Medals and praise from press and competitions. The future is bright for this young man who was born in Mexico and raised in Prosser, working with grapes since age 13. He says it was his destiny to make wine.

Spanish Style Steamed Clams with Chorizo 

1 pound Roasted potatoes 3 pounds small Manila Clams*

1/4 cup olive oil

1 shallot, finely diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon red chile flakes

1/2 pound Spanish chorizo, sliced

1 cup white wine (Albarino)

2 teaspoons Pimenton De la Vera

1 teaspoon Sherry Vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 teaspoon sea salt

Big loaf of crusty bread

click here for printable recipe instructions

 

 

 

Four Roses Esquin Single Barrel – OESK

Four Roses Esquin Single Barrel – OESK

ABV: 54.8%    Store: Esquin    

Age: 10 yrs 1 mo Barrel No:214

$89.99 until February 28th / reg $97.99 btl – save $8

We are beyond honored to have procured our very own barrel of Bourbon form one of Kentucky’s oldest distillery – Four Roses. We only have a dozen cases of this batch, unlike any other, and we want to share with you!

Esquin’s Four Roses Single Barrel OESK

Nose: Woody and spicy with nice notes of char, fruit and dark sweets.

Palate: Delicate, woody, fruity, fresh, creamy, caramel, vanilla, and toffee reminiscent of Fiddle Faddle.

Finish: Wood, spice, vanilla and grains that fade out sweetly

Overall: This is smack you in the face solid bourbon! Complex, Rich and Warm. Enjoy a glass of this any time.

What are we going to do with the empty barrel? Make some beer, of course, stay tuned for details…

Weekend Wine Pairing – Spinach and Pesto Gnocchi w/ Love & Squalor Sauvignon Blanc

Love & Squalor Sauvignon Blanc is aromatic with hints of passion fruit and guava zesty with lime, gooseberry and green apple but this wine isn’t just about fruit it is a perfect balance of acid and fruit this wine has minerality and a slight savory note. Green herb notes on the palate with a nice clean finish.

The grapes come from two vineyards: Redford-Wetle in the Eola-Amity hills and Aurora Colony Vineyard in Aurora. If there is one last master of white winemaking for Matt to get tutored by it would be Myron Redford of Redford-Wetle Vineyard, founder of Amity Vineyards and white wine evangelist.

This wine is versatile and could pair with many different dishes – shellfish, vegetable dishes, pastas, salads of all kinds. Sauvignon Blanc is one of the few wines that is perfectly suited to foil many tricky ingredients that are notoriously hard to pair like – artichokes, asparagus, green herbs, goat cheese.

Always a favorite the Love & Squalor Sauvignon Blanc really struts it stuff when paired to a dish like Spinach Gnocchi:

Spinach Gnocchi with Pesto

1 pound Roasted potatoes
½ cup Ricotta
4 ounces Spinach, cooked and chopped
¼ teaspoon Nutmeg
2 each Egg Yolks
1 cup Flour or more as needed
1 tsp Salt
Pinch White Pepper
Pesto Sauce
Pecorino Romano for grating

Printable recipe w/ instructions

Weekend Wine Pairing – Lenny’s Quick Cassoulet and Château Maris Le Carignan de Maris 2013

Today, I present a recipe by special request. I was recently asked if there was a way of making cassoulet that didn’t involve all the time and work. So, here I give you a simplified version of the classic French Cassoulet.
Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked casserole originating in the south of France, made with duck confit, sausage, and beans. Served with good crusty bread and a good bottle of hearty wine Cassoulet is just about the finest warden against the cold dark night.

If you are looking for a wine to pair with Casoulet you could go with a Cahors or Madiran, but many hearty country wines pair nicely. Take the Chateau Maris Carignan, the wine hails from Languedoc in the heart of the Minervois, in the Cru of La Livinière. This winery is quickly garnering worldwide acclaim for their outstanding line up of reasonably priced wines. Most recently Wine & Spirits Magazine announced that Chateau Maris as one of the top100 wineries in the world for 2016

Chateau Maris Le Carignan de Maris 2013 $14.99
“A great example of the variety, the 2013 Minervois Carignan de Maris offers classic plum and purple-like fruit, spring flowers, crushed rock and hints of charcoal to go with medium to full-bodied richness, beautiful purity and surprisingly polished tannin, which isn’t easy to do with 100% Carignan. Aged 10-12 months in concrete tank, drink this beauty over the coming 4-5 years” Jeb Dunnuck
91 points Wine Advocate 

chateau-maris-carignan-de-maris-2013
This wine is a real beauty and perfect for cooler weather fare like lamb stew or cassoulet.
Chateau Maris is run by Robert Eden, who is the driving force behind the push toward biodynamic and sustainable farming in the region. Robert’s approach to winemaking is based on the fundamental premise that wine is “grown”, not “made”. The winery is certified Demeter biodynamic and Ecocert organic. The winery has zero carbon footprint, producing more energy than it consumes. He’s gone as far as building his new winery out of massive hemp “bricks”. Their work in the Languedoc is leading the wine world in sustainability. Their hemp brick winery is cooled naturally, without refrigerant and absorbs CO2 from the fermentation process. Water is recycled and solar panels provide power. Lightweight bottles and recycled paper are standard.

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Lenny’s Quick Cassoulet

4 ounces bacon, diced

1 cups chopped onion (3/4 lb))

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/2 cup carrot, peeled diced

1 lb Sausage links, cooked and sliced

1 tsp finely chopped garlic

1 tsp thyme

1each bay leaf

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 (14-oz) can stewed tomatoes, chopped with juice

2 each confit duck legs*

1 14 ounce can white beans

2 cups beef broth

1 Tbl tomato paste

2 Tbl olive oil

1 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs

1/4 cup Parsley, chopped

salt and pepper

Printable Recipe and Instructions

Introduction to Wine by Arnie Millan

Esquin is delighted to offer wine classes, perfectly designed to bring out the wine expert in everyone! These classes make a great gift, too.

Sommelier Arnie Millan presents the Introduction to Wine Class series beginning Sunday January 15th, 2016 until March 5th. The program of six classes is scheduled every Sunday from 1:30 until 4:00 p.m. at Esquin Wine & Spirits at 2700 4th Avenue South in SODO.

Free parking is available in Esquin’s lot on the South end of our building.

The Seattle Times has named Arnie  “The Finest Wine Mind in Seattle.”

The classes include thorough tastings of 8 wines during each class and will be offered for $39 per class or $225 for the entire 6 class series.

Click here to purchase the series of 6 classes  

Topics covered will be:

January 15th – 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

Click here to purchase this class

January 22nd – 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.
Click here to purchase this class

January 29th – 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.
Click here to purchase this class.

February 19h – 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.

Click here to purchase this class. 

February 26th – New World Wines (U.S., Australia, Canada, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, New Zealand)

If Europe is called the “old world” then this class covers everything else including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and China. Whew!
Click here to purchase this class.

March 5th – Wine/Food pairing, Germany/Austria

Germany and Austria make some of the planet’s finest wines but few are aware of this. This class will definitely change your perception of these wines. The second half of the class focuses on food and wine pairing with a handout detailing Arnie’s Rules of Food and Wine Pairing.

Click here to purchase this class.

Advance registration is necessary. Gift certificates available.

Weekend Wine Pairing – ROCO Gravel Road Pinot Noir and Turkey Paupiette

In 1987 Rollin Soles launched Argyle Winery and quickly became Oregon’s leading sparkling wine producer and was named “OREGON’S PREMIER WINERY” by Wine Spectator in 2000. Rollin’s wines have been named among the Top 100 Wines of the World by Wine Spectator thirteen times, a distinction matched by no other Oregon winemaker. And in 2013, he was named one of the “20 Most Admired Winemakers in North America” by Vineyard & Winery Management magazine.
In 2001 he left Argyle to focus on his own vineyard Wits End and winery ROCO. He still makes Sparkling wine as well as award winning Pinot Noir as matter of fact his very first ROCO vintage was poured at the White House. ROCO wines are classic Rollin; focused, fruit driven, deftly balanced and expressive. Rollins wines are consistently solid performers, and that is saying something when you are working with one of the most fickle grapes.

rocowine

ROCO Winery Gravel Road Pinot Noir 2013 $24.99 

Deep garnet in color, the spice driven nose includes aromas of red cherry, cinnamon, vanilla, and a hint of sweet tobacco leaf. Full flavored with a sweet, juicy, and deep center, surrounded by ripe red raspberry, a touch of gravel, bergamot, and strawberry compote. Nice firm structure. Finish is pure fruit with briar-earth elements. A compact, complex and complete Pinot Noir.

This time of year it seems as soon as I finish my Thanksgiving leftovers I get a hankering for Turkey again. I like to pick up an extra Turkey after Thanksgiving when they are on sale. I will take the hind quarters and make confit with them, a la Duck and separate the breast into smaller sections and use them for cutlets.
A favorite is Turkey Paupiette with Madeira served up with potatoes. A paupiette is a thin flattened piece of meat or fish that has had a filling spread on top and is then rolled up and secured with a wooden toothpick or a string. For these I make a stuffing of bread crumbs, hazelnut and apple finished with a little Madeira and demi-glaze this makes for a perfect winter supper. This dish paired with a nice Oregon Pinot like the ROCO Gravel Road and you have a dinner that will impress your guests without damaging your pocketbook.

turkey

Turkey Paupiette

2 lb Turkey Breast
1 Cup Chicken Broth
***** Stuffing
1 Cup Bread Crumbs
½ Cup Diced Apple
¾ Cup Ground Hazelnut
½ Cup Grated Parmesan
1 Whole Egg
Pinch Nutmeg
1 Tsp Fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
***** Sauce
½ lb Mushroom
1 ea Shallot, finely diced
4 Tblsp Butter
1 Cup Madeira
1 Cup Demi glaze

Printable Recipe and Instructions 

Felsina Beradenga Chianti and Tuscan Sausage and Tortellini Soup

In the world of wine there are some wines that are just misunderstood. Riesling is probably the best example, Viognier is another; but the one wine with the most baggage is probably Chianti. Everyone knows Chianti, but it seems not many understand Chianti. Those of us of a certain age remember the straw basket wrapped Il Fiasco Chiantis of yore. Chianti like many regions was a victim of its own success. Now don’t get me wrong we sell a lot of Chianti and here dedicate as much floor space to wines of Tuscany as we do those of Bordeaux.

If you wanted to try a benchmark Chianti I can think of none better than Fattoria di Fèlsina. Located in the village of Castelnuovo Berardenga in the province of Siena, Felsina has long been one of the great names in Chianti. Fèlsina produces one of the finest ranges of ageworthy and complex Chianti bottlings in all of Italy. Fèlsina has never capitulated to the use of international varietals, Sanigovese is what you will see growing in their vineyards.

Their elegant full bodied wines are some of the most well regarded in Tuscany. Felsina has been awarded the coveted Tre Bicchieri 17 times in the Gambero Rosso. The single vineyard Rancia is one of the most highly rated wines in Chianti. A personal favorite is the Beradenga Chianti Classico. Guiseppe Mazzocolin, who runs the estate of Felsina says the wine, a blend of selected top wines from all of his vineyards, falls qualitatively between the Berardenga Rancia Riserva bottling and his regular Chianti Classico. I find this wine to be outstanding nearly always. First produced in 1983, it’s a harmonious and rich red, 100 percent Sangiovese, with lots of ripe fruit and silky tannins.

Fèlsina’s 2013 Chianti Classico Berardenga shows a great level of richness and general intensity. The wine reveals a very full and luscious set of aromas with cherry and blackberry in pole position. Lighter tones of spice and tobacco fill in at the back and give the wine a greater sense of aromatic lift. The mouthfeel is also characterized by velvety richness – a delicious vintage.

Once again the critics are unanimous in their praise.

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Wine Spectator- 92, Wine Enthusiast – 92, James Suckling – 92, Advocate – 91+, Vinious – 91

Chianti is a personal favorite of mine, speaking as a chef there are few wines that are more food friendly. The mix of acid, earth and fruit is a natural for pairing to everything from hearty soups, Pastas of all sorts, grilled cheese sandwiches or Steak. With this weather I could think of few dishes as satisfying as a Hearty Tuscan style sausage and kale soup.

This soup is ready in about 25 minutes and makes a wonderful supper, all you need is some good crusty bread, a drizzle of olive oil and a nice bottle of Chianti.

Tuscan Sausage, Kale and White Bean Soup with Tortellini

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Italian sweet sausage, casing removed
1 medium onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leave
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 cup red wine
1 15 ounce can Tomatoes
52 oz chicken broth
115 ounce can white cannellini beans
1 lb Cheese tortellini, fresh
1 bunch kale, stems removed chiffonade
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Freshly Grated Pecorino Toscano

For printable recipe and instructions 

We hope you enjoy the recipe and find time to share some good food and wine with friends and loved ones.

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