Auction of Washington Wines 2010: Barrel Auction Adventure
August 23, 2010 by Erin Thomas
The difficulty in holding a glass of wine, a plate with the leaning tower of cheeses and tweet at the same time is underestimated. I managed to accomplish this feet, only loosing a few chunks of Gorgonzola and spilling on myself once, all for the name of charity and Washington wine.
The Auction of Washington Wines‘ 2010 “A Wine Odyssey” cast their usual star line-up of Thursday’s barrel picnic auction, Friday’s winemaker dinner, Saturday’s Covey Run race along the Burke-Gilman trail following with the grand finale gala event. Altogether, the 23rd annual auction raised $1.4 million for uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Washington Wine Education Foundation.
As promised through name in the likes of Master of Wine Bob Betz, Executive Chef Bobby Moore of the Barking Frog and “investigative reporter” Jesse Jones of KING 5 News, the Barrel Picnic was just the spectacle I anticipated it to be for my third year in attendance, minus the scorching heat from 2008 and the melancholy drizzle of 2009.
Barrels were auctioned off by Master Sommelier Shayn Bjornholm, of the Washington Wine Commission, and auctioneer John Curley, formerly of Evening Magazine. The top five bidders then split the barrel, approximately taking home (once the wine is bottled in the near future) five cases each. The top bidder, however, takes the cake with an add-on of the intricately designed barrel head with the winery’s logo.
Considering I not only got in for free but brought my lovely new blogging friend Alicia with me to genuinely use my second media pass, we both decided to participate in some ring toss action so that we weren’t complete assholes for going to benefit on the house.
Okay, read closely because this is a tricky one – for a measly $25 donation (I’m poor, don’t judge!), you get three rings to toss at a table full of wine bottles. Oddly enough, we didn’t hit a single bottleneck but somehow we both won three bottles of wine! Woo!
Poor decision as this was nearly the first thing we did when we got to the five hour affair and three bottles in a bag does not equal a light load.
The food, brought to you by the 10-man culinary chef team of the Tulalip Resort and Casino, was pretty solid considering the quantity those guys were pumping out. Noteworthy delicacies included:
- The deconstructed potato salad with all of the fixings stuffed into a purple carved potato
- The rich man’s fried chicken that was pecan-crusted and prosciutto-wrapped, served with a raspberry beurre blanc
- Star-anise braised lamb leg that must have just came off the spit
- Smoked peppercorn salmon drizzled with an apple glaze and laid next to a fresh spring roll
- The best dessert ever created: Chocolate-coated cheesecake bit on a stick
Six plates later, I started to focus a bit more on the wine and Alicia. We hit up the few barrel sample tables I really wanted to test out. I’m greatly anticipating a few, with a few more that I think I’ll wait patiently for them to age in their bottles. Stand-out grape juice included:
- Cadaretta 2008 Springboard Red Blend Columbia Valley
- Grand Rêve 2009 Collaboration Series VI (Mourvedre, Granache, Syrah):
- Seven Hills 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley
- Woodward Canyon 2009 “Old Vines” Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
Another event well done in my most hedonistic manner, a grateful hedonist nonetheless and for such a worthy cause. Thank you to all of those who helped rack up $1.4 million in the name of wine education and world class child health care.