How I Ate My Way Through Swiftwater Cellars’ Wine in the Pines
September 20, 2011 by Erin Thomas
Roll out the red carpet, the rockstars of Washington wine and celebrities of the pairing sphere were in attendance at Wine in the Pines at Swiftwater Cellars a few weekends back at Cle Elum’s Suncadia.
Wine in the Pines was stacked with a number of events through the weekend, offering a three-day food and wine festival dedicated to Northwest juice and bites. Completely poised to food and wine pairing, Saturday’s kickoff affair was buried in the winery’s cellar with 60 sets of eyes and ears in full devotion to Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein and TV host and original Thirsty Girl Leslie Sbrocco.
Son of celebrated author and Chef Joyce Goldstein, Evan Goldstein was spawn into the world of gastronomic culture and in 1987, he became the one of the youngest Americans and globally to pass the prestigious Master Sommelier examination. Since then, Goldstein has been creating wine education programs, launching hospitality schools and writing books like they are going out of fashion, including Perfect Pairings: A Master Sommelier’s Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food, which brought him to Wine in the Pines.
Leslie Sbrocco, Thirsty Girl extraordinaire and Today Show wine contributor, is also an award-winning author, national speaker and wine consultant within the culinary industry. Sbrocco’s first book, Wine for Women: A Guide to Buying, Pairing and Sharing Wine, helped to put her on the map with at-home female cooks striving for the real meal deal. Sbrocco can currently be found on her PBS show, Check Please!, and regularly has guest appearances on NBC and with her friend, Oprah.
With a meal presented to the event patrons by American Lamb, who focus on guiding their meat from “pasture to plate,” the seminar dressed their plates to impress by local chefs, Suncadia’s chefs Paul Cotta of The Hoist House and Andrew Wilson of Portals, as well as Seattle’s Liam Spence of LOLA and Jacky Lo of Wild Ginger.
Highlighted by a variety of wines used to compare and contrast with lamb, the plates came out and shouldn’t have shined brighter with the celebrity-blessed pairings.
Grub: From The Hoist House – Lamb terrine gratin with curried Walla Walla onion mustard, baby greens and preserved lemon-pistachio gremalata.
Juice: Chinook 2009 Sauvignon Blanc – Slight tones of sulfur settle with green grass, crisp and bright acidity and finish with delicate flavors of butterscotch and white stone fruit. The palate balances out the pronounced onion mustard but grips to the richness of the pâté.
Grub: From Portals – Sumac-crusted lamb loin with carrot puree and frizzled shallots with a lamb jus lie.
Juice: Kiona 2010 Estate Dry Riesling – Orange creamsicle aromas burst in the glass and round out with a crunch of acidity and dryness. Its slight sweet hues pull to the sugary presence in the carrot puree and stabilize with the lush lamb jus.
Grub: From LOLA – Slow roasted lamb leg, feta, bacon and huckleberry jus.
Juice: Hightower Cellars 2007 Merlot – Deep plum and red berry aromas and flavors dusted with earth and easy baking spices. Pretty and delicate through and through. Possibly the top pairing of the bunch, with the berry fruit of the wine joined at the hip with the jus and juice of the lamb.
Grub: Wild Ginger – Lamb shoulder in Malay curry with lemongrass, ginger, galangal, red chili and spices in house made coconut cream.
Juice: EFESTE 2008 Ceidleigh Syrah – Cavernous in its garnet color, the wine is equally dark and rooted in spice, mocha, dark fruit and finely grained tannin. The more boisterous of their respective hordes, both dish and wine come jumping out of their vessels only to unite in their levels of spice and acid.
Sbrocco’s greatest line of the seminar was in reference to the recently discussed. “I like to compare wine to clothing,” Sbrocco said. “I think of acid as the bra. It lifts and separates and keeps everything perky.”
In most cases of these pairings, acidity was the driving force to cut and sow through the occasionally harsh and sometimes gamey meat of lamb.
Harmoniously combined by lamb and booze, the seminar provided local food and wine permutations for restaurant and homespun diners alike.