Wednesday, April 28, 2010

FoodTrek: Wasabi Woodinville Wine Woman at DeLille Cellars

I felt like a Pemco Northwest Profile character this weekend, wine tasting around Woodinville with Auntie S. visiting from Northern California. Sadly, she missed out on the Big Finish, having to fly back on Sunday, but Mr. Wasabi and I were lucky to be invited to DeLILLE Cellars' Spring Barrel Tasting on April 25th, aka, the birthing day of Wasabimus Prime. The day was blessed with lovely wines, delicious eats care of Skillet Street Food, live music, and an amazingly sunny day. Walla Walla Wine Wine Woman Woman, we salute you!

Wearing the Northwest Profile badge of honor proudly at DeLILLE Cellars - Photo by Wasabi Prime

I think the first thing people say when they come to DeLILLE is, Ye gods, how did I ever miss this place - it's freakin' amazing! Well, maybe they don't say exactly that, but you get the idea. The main DeLILLE Cellars' Chateau is along Route 202/Woodinville Redmond Road NE, nestled atop a woodsy picturesque hill, and they have a new tasting room at the nearby Carriage House, which recently opened last fall and makes their wines available to the public for tasting. For DeLILLE events, the Chateau is used and it's a beautiful space. For their seasonal releases, they have tasting bars inside and out, and for this perfect spring day, they had tables set up under a tent where a live band played, people sat on the sunny steps or found a shady spot by a little fish pond. It's such a pretty location -- I sometimes want to keep it to myself and not tell anyone, so that it stays a little hidden Northwest gem, but it's just too lovely a location, the wines are tasty, and let's face it -- I stink at keeping a secret. So consider this the wine-soaked cat being let out of the bag. And stumbling.

The most-awesome silver bullet of Skillet Street Food (bacon jam love!) was there to provide guests with picnic-friendly pulled pork sandwiches with a tangy apple slaw on a grilled bun and crispy fries, or a vegetarian spring risotto. It was too nice not to eat outside, so we grabbed a spot on a park bench by a little fish pond, sat our glasses on a wine barrel, and had our meal al fresco, with a glass of vino. If I wasn't totally om-nomming to my heart's content, it would have been a lovely photo, so just take my Wasabi Word for it.

Skillet Street, live music, tasty wine - spring is HERE! - Photos by Wasabi Prime

I was lucky to chat with winemaker Chris Peterson for a bit, and he explained the process behind DeLILLE wines.Working with a profile of elegant, refined and classic tastes, they produce the Bordeaux styles that include their Chaleur Estate (red and white), and their very popular D2 full of Merlot flavor, as well as their Doyenne wines that include a Rhone-styled Syrah and their Aix, a Provence-style red that was sampled at the event. Their Chaleur Estate blends are their flagship wines, and both their Blanc and Rouge were available for tasting -- I personally enjoyed the 2008 Chaleur Estate Blanc, which had a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes. It had a dry sweetness that made it very enjoyable on its own, but could easily be paired with a fresh spring salad. One of the popular favorites has always been the D2, with a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot grapes, giving it a really rich flavor that Chris aptly described as, "voluptuous," and "silky on the palette" -- this is exactly why people love this wine with such a great mouth feel, and why it's been a favorite. And this is also why we have a bottle sitting in our humble little wine collection at home.

The DeLILLE wines represent a harmony of tastes with careful attention to the combination of grapes and the knowledgeable palettes of experts to classify flavors to match their time-tested wines. Each wine truly has its own profile, like a character in a book, and winemakers like Chris Peterson are given the opportunity to sort the flavors of the many vineyards to ensure the personalities of each wine comes through. I asked about DeLILLE's sustainable practices, and along with working towards LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology) certification, they do other practices outside of typical certification like encouraging biodiversity in the plants and animals who can naturally prevent imbalances and keep pests under control, as well as "soft" farming techniques that encourage the use of environmentally friendly pesticides, like organic-certified oils. At the end of the day, responsible and careful practices in both growing the grapes and making wine is mutually beneficial to both the quality of the wine and the soil and plants that produce its rare flavor.

The tasting events at DeLILLE are fun. It's as simple as that. They have seasonal release events from February thru August, so head to their Events page to see when the next one is. Even in the dead of winter, they'll hold toasty-warm release events and you feel lucky to be living in the Pacific Northwest, sipping wine and just enjoying life. Granted, maybe it was the birthday-high of getting old(er), but this made for a super-duper spring day -- and to top it all off, we saw Mr. and Mrs. Salty Seattle at the event as well! I love foodie blogger Salty Seattle to bits -- she's such a doll and she was so sweet to leave me a Happy Birthday singing message on my phone when I had to go home and rest like an ol' lady because of a pulled back muscle. Yes, getting old kinda stinks, but a day of wine, song, and pulled pork sammiches make for a pretty nice day.

Sshhh... it's the best-kept Pac NW secret! - Photos by Wasabi Prime

Wasabi Cheers to DeLILLE Cellars for the invitation to enjoy this event in the lovely springtime sun, as well as to Chris Peterson for letting me bend his hear for a bit to chat wine and the love of grapes.
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  1. How scrumptious! Thanks for the report.

  2. Wah, once again I completely missed your birthday! Happy belated! Sounds like you had a wonderful time :)

  3. That looks like a loverly way to spend a Birthday celebration! Glad you had a great time. R&R


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