Shocking confession time: Sunday was my first everTaste Washington. And I hit it with a vengeance. When the trade/press gates opened at 12:30, I was there. And I didn't leave until they were shooing me out with push-brooms at 7. How did I manage to stay so long and be upright? The answer is below:
I did, however, drink the wine at the top of the post. Christophe Hedges poured some of the 1994 Three Vineyards into my glass from a nondescript plastic water pitcher. It was fantastic! Wine. Of. The. Day. I think you can get the current vintage (now called Red Mountain) for less than $25 a bottle; I'd buy a case of it and forget about it for a decade and see what happens. If you get a chance to meet Christophe, don't pass it up. He's hilarious, high-energy, and bit of a contrarian. I had loads of fun running around the event with him for a bit. Be sure and ask him about the 100 point wine-rating scale.
Naturally there were winemakers galore, like Brennon Leighton of Efeste:
And Mark McNeilly of Mark Ryan Winery, along with proof that he poured a bit of wine:
The Gorman Winery crew (Chris on the right) was sporting a look I think was some kind of Top Gun tribute. And drinking beer. Plus they brought a barrel sample of a new wine coming in September, Behind the Black Curtain:
Buty raided their cellar to bring out two whites from 2006. (The Chardonnay was poured from magnum.) The reds were special exclusive restaurant wines. I am still waiting for them to offer to make an Esquin wine. Ahem.
I ran into some of my favorite winos, Doug and Josh from WINO Magazine, at the Whidbey Island Winery table:
And what's wine without some cheese? I had probably the strangest cheddar ever, hand-rubbed with coffee and lavender. Yes, lavender. And coffee. Together. You know what? I thought it was great. Behold the Barely Buzzed cheddar:
And after all that wine, enjoyed the palate-saving refreshment of beer from Pike Brewing and a crazy good hard apple cider from Finnriver with a touch of blueberry juice added:
And when it was all over, my chauffeur drove me home in the Official Esquin Taxi, conveniently parked inside:
So what were your highlights of Taste Washington?
What can I say about Cochon 555 in Seattle? A lot. But I'll let the photos do most of the talking. Not only was there Buty and bacon, but also delicious wines from K Vintners, Domaine Serene, and Syncline:
Charles Smith of K Vintners was on hand to pour the Phil Lane Syrah:
The hacksaw came out for a butchering demo courtesy of Tracy Smaciarz from Heritage Meats:
The menu of Spinasse and Chef Jason Stratton plating:
Here's the skin and ear salad with cherry bomb chiles:
The trio of offerings from Lark:
And here's what they looked like. Are you hungry yet?
There was palate-cleansing beer courtesy of Charles Finkel from Pike Brewing. (Where do I get one of those beer-dispensing backpacks?)
Cafe Juanita had a menu both instructive and delicious:
Of course there was dessert:
How did Ethan Stowell color his ravioli dough? The secret was pig blood.
Joule had wonderful sauces to accompany their roasted pork. I had the one on the left with serrano chiles and fish sauce. (At least that's what I thought it was. Regardless, it was fantastic.)
Thanks for being awesome, Cochon 555. See you next year?
Full disclosure: Cochon 555 provided me with a ticket to this event.