Wine Dinner Class at BTC

May 31st, 2008

6:00 to 9:00 pm – Walla Walla Wine Dinner. Join BTC Chef Marc Eilberg and Dan Radil for an incredible five-course dinner, perfectly paired with wines from several Walla Walla wineries. Click on the Wine Classes Page for more information.


May 30th, 2008

Rotllan Torra 2001 Reserva (about $35): An incredible red wine from Spain. It begins with a beautiful, dark color and aromas of chocolate and cocoa. The flavors are rich and concentrated, with a burst of chocolate hitting you up front followed by a dry finish of black cherry and dark currant. This might best be described as biting into a chocolate-covered cherry…without the sugar.

Available in Bellingham, Washington at the Temple Bar, located at 306 West Champion Street. Price listed is for the 750 ml bottle, but it’s also available by the glass for $9. An outstanding, must-try wine!

Bellingham’s Old World Deli Provides Meats, Cheeses and Wine

May 25th, 2008

One of the things I enjoy about downtown Bellingham is the diverse number of smaller, one-of-a-kind businesses. They’re usually owned by just one or two individuals whose primary focus is to make your visit a unique experience by providing special attention to personalized service.

An example would be the Old World Deli, located at 1140 North State Street. Husband and wife Owner/Proprietors Christos and Anna Adams have lived in Bellingham the past 16 years and opened their business about a year ago. Step inside to a warm greeting and a deli case that’s packed with between 20 to 25 meats and about 10 cheeses. There’s also a wide choice of beverages that include soft drinks, bottled water, beer, and, happily, wine.

Christos prides himself on offering hard to find meats like Serrano ham and thick sliced pancetta. He also provides what he calls, “sliced to order” meats – perfect for antipasti platters – that you might not be able to find in the deli section of a large grocer. Christos’ knowledge of his products is impressive, and he generously offers samples and suggestions to assist you before you make your purchase.

The wine section of the deli is small, but eclectic, and includes a variety of European and domestic choices. Washington wineries are well represented, with selections from Walla Walla that include Ash Hollow and Tamarack Cellars, as well as local winery Chuckanut Ridge Wine Company.

One word of advice: you can’t be in a hurry when waiting for your order. Christos meticulously and loving slices your meats and cheeses, wraps them individually, and then labels them for your convenience. So while you’re there, be sure to try a glass of wine (at least one or two are always available), relax, and enjoy a level of service that only a smaller business can provide.

Old World Deli is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 am to 6 pm and Saturdays from 9 am to 5 pm. Phone 738-2090 for orders and more information.

Dakota Creek Winemaker Ken Peck Avoids the Sophomore Jinx

May 18th, 2008

Ken Peck, owner/winemaker of Dakota Creek Winery in Blaine could have used all sorts of excuses for not turning out a decent set of current releases to match those in his stellar, first full year of operations. The sophomore jinx, bad lots of grapes…he might have even chalked up the first year to beginners luck.

But Peck’s 2006 vintages of his red wine varietals easily meet or exceed his 2005’s, and that means more of the same great news for Whatcom County residents who enjoy Dakota Creek wines.

nullFor starters, the 2006 Merlot (about $20) is an incredible wine, with loads of dark berry flavors and a lengthy finish of caramel and toffee. The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (about $20) is also a grand slam, with exquisite layers of cherry and plum followed by a soft finish that’s capped by a just trace of black pepper. Both wines should pair well with food but are equally enjoyable just for sipping.

For syrah lovers, Peck offers two choices. His 2006 Syrah (about $20) is big and intense, with generous dark fruit and blackberry flavors, touches of mocha around the edges and plenty of spice on the finish. The 2006 Jill’s Blend, named for and made by Peck’s wife, Jill, (about $24) is a blend of syrah, merlot, and cabernet that combine for a complex, dense wine that’s full of blueberry flavors and backed by nuances of pepper and spice. Because of the wine’s extremely limited production it’s offered only at the winery.

For white wine aficionados, the fantastic 2006 Pinot Gris (about $18) is still currently available and a 2007 Viognier will be ready for release later this year.

The tasting room is located at 3575 Haynie Road in Blaine, and is open most days from 1 to 5 pm. Dakota Creek wines are well distributed in the greater Bellingham area, and a list of restaurants and wine shops where they can be found is on the winery web site at

Glacial Lake Missoula Wine Company Takes Root in Blaine

May 11th, 2008

The latest hotbed for premium wines in Washington State? Would you believe Blaine?

OK, so there are only two wineries currently in the Blaine area, but they’re both first class operations. I recently visited one of these wineries – Glacial Lake Missoula Wine Company (a mouthful, yes, so call it GLM for short) – and would easily designate it as a “must-try” destination for the serious red wine drinker.

nullGLM owner/winemaker Tom Davis and his partner Tracey DeGraff currently make only one wine: a Bordeaux-style red blend of cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc grapes from Eastern Washington called “Deluge”. The wine is available for purchase in the 2002, 2003 and 2004 vintages, and all are priced at around $39 a bottle.

Despite the uniqueness of the individual vintages, there’s a common thread of consistent quality that runs through each wine – an impressive feat that points to good winemaking.

The 2004 Deluge has a lovely nose of fresh raspberries, berry and cherry flavors and a finish that hints at lavender and violets, while the 2003 vintage has an intoxicating aroma of sweet cedar with dark fruit flavors and ample tannins on the finish. Both the 2003 and 2004 are drinking well now, but each has excellent cellaring potential.

The 2002 vintage is another gem, with black cherry flavors, a touch of bittersweet chocolate and supple tannins. I also had a sneak preview of the spectacular 2005 vintage, which is going to be a huge, fruit-forward wine. It’s still in the barrel and is scheduled to be bottled later this year.

GLM wines are available at Haggen stores in Ferndale and Barkley Village, Purple Smile Wines in Fairhaven and Compass Wines in Anacortes. You may also find them on the menu at Du Jour Bistro and Tivoli Restaurant in Bellingham. The tasting room, located at 1625 Boblett Street in Blaine, is open Saturdays from noon to 6 pm.

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