Argentinean Wines Flavorful, Versatile and Affordable

April 30th, 2007

If you’re curious about wines from Argentina, why not consider giving them a try? They’re generally fruit-forward, tasty wines and many are priced at under $20 a bottle. Here are a few recommendations that can be found at several local Haggen stores, The Vine wine shop and Gateway Wines:

nullLa Yunta 2006 Torrontes (about $10): Lovely peach and honeydew melon flavors with a slightly citrusy finish highlight this white wine. Great with seafood or as an aperitif.

Carlos Basso 2005 Cabernet/Malbec (about $10): This well-balanced wine features pleasant berry aromas and dark currant flavors backed by good acidity. Makes a nice choice to pair with a beef entrée.

La Yunta 2005 Tinto (about $10): This blend of five red varietals is slightly floral with juicy flavors of blackberry and plum and is capped by a soft finish.

Paris Goulart 2005 Malbec/Cabernet (about $14): An old vine blend with a beautiful nose of fresh berries, dark cherry flavors and a lush, plump finish accentuated by touches of sweet oak. Delicious!

Martino 2003 Malbec (about $19): An outstanding Malbec that’s dark and complex with hints of mocha on the nose, subtle licorice and black cherry flavors and a slightly spicy finish reminiscent of a Zinfandel.

If you’d like to learn more about Argentinean cuisine, local cookbook author Mary Ellen Carter will be hosting a class at the Community Food Co-Op on May 3 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm featuring empanadas, sauces, grilled meats and many of the wines noted above. Register at the Co-Op service desk at 1220 North Forest Street or phone 734-8158.

Soup for Shelter

April 29th, 2007

Sponsored by Northwest Youth Services, this event will feature a number of soups prepared by local individuals and restaurants in Bellingham. I will have the honor of being one of a panel of judges who will sample and select the best soups entered in the competition.

The event will take place from 2:00 to 6:00 pm at both the Market Depot Square and Boundary Bay Brewing Company in downtown Bellingham. For more information go to www.northwestyouthservices.org.

Three Wines Worth Noting From Seattle’s “Taste Washington”

April 23rd, 2007

Question: Where’s the largest regional wine tasting event in the United States? Answer: It’s right here in your own backyard at Taste Washington, where about 200 of the state’s nearly 500 wineries were featured at Seattle’s Qwest Field Event Center on April 15. The size of this event and the quality of the wines is proof positive that Washington’s wine industry is both immensely popular and deservedly earning of the recognition it has been receiving on national and worldwide levels.

Walking into the event was a bit like being a kid in a candy store, with so many wonderful selections to choose from and much too little time to try something from everyone. Interspersed throughout the wineries were food samples from nearly 60 local restaurants, making the event a food and wine lover’s dream.

Choosing a favorite wine was impossible, but there were a few that really stood out and merit special mention.

The San Juan Vineyards 2006 Siegerrebe is an incredible white wine, with a wonderfully aromatic aroma, complex spicy flavors, and an off-dry finish. This wine will be perfect for spring and summertime sipping and it’s expected to be released to the public next month.

An absolutely stunning Cabernet-based blend from Washington’s Red Mountain appellation is the Page Cellars 2004 Preface. It’s loaded with big, juicy blackberry flavors and capped by a velvety soft finish.

If you’re a Zinfandel enthusiast like me, you’ll go bonkers for the Zefina Winery 2003 Zinfandel. Fresh berries on the nose, intense brambly blackberry flavors, and a plush, yet spicy finish highlight this outstanding Washington wine.

Sauvignon Blanc

April 21st, 2007

Tildio Winery 2006 (about $15): I really liked this Sauvignon Blanc from Washington’s Columbia Valley because I thought I offered a nice alternative to some of the overly acidic New Zealand Sauv Blancs that literally slap you in the face.

The wine’s acidity is certainly present and accounted for, but it’s more subtle than you might think. And it’s balanced nicely by gentle flavors of melon, citrus and pear, which make it an excellent wine to serve with food. Another interesting sidelight…the wine is virtually colorless. Best place to buy it locally: Compass Wines in Anacortes. For more information visit www.tildio.com.

Merlot

April 21st, 2007

nullSanta Rita 2005 (about $7): Here’s a great bargain from Chile that will stand up to many Merlots at twice the price.

Pleasant aromas of strawberry and vanilla are followed by generous flavors of plum and dark berry. The tannins are noticeable but delicate and the finish is capped by touches of sweet oak. Quite simply, this is an outstanding Merlot in the under $10 a bottle category worth trying.

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