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Unexpectedly Enjoying More Than Washington

More About the Wine Bloggers Conference
Pamela Nieto with the Sherry Council of America

This type of conference always has surprising discoveries. One of the first “surprises” for me was the Sherry/Jerez, being poured from Spain. Pamela Nieto, representing the Sherry Council of America, was pouring half a dozen Sherries Friday afternoon. She even had a chilled white Jerez. My mother-in-law and I used to sit together after dinner and enjoy drinking Sherry downstairs, while everyone was sleeping upstairs. It’s been ten years since my mother-in-law passed, so that’s how long it’s been since I last enjoyed Sherry. Ah, I found the Solera 1847 Oloroso Dulce, to be my speed, coffee colored, nutty nose, smooth, honeyed, pleasantly sweet finish and unexpectedly good. Sherry is back on my menu, and I enjoyed some last night. Thank you. I’ll be sampling more Sherry in future and posting my thoughts here.

Sunday wrapped-up with a fabulous wine and food pairing lunch. Anyone who has attempted to create a menu, based on pairing food and wine, knows this is not a simple task. There were ten pairings of international wines with gourmet foods. Since I was a volunteer, I was asked to help pour wine.

Not to worry, so I missed out on enjoying the food and wine pairing lunch. I still had a most enjoyable time. Five years ago I learned that I enjoy pouring wine, pouring good wine and telling the story of the wine I’m pouring. I loved observing the reactions of my customers as they savored and discovered the deliciousness of the wine, while I played guide through the special aspects I took pleasure in. This Sunday was no exception.

It was my great fortune to pour the 2009 High Note Malbec, from the Uco Valley in Argentina. The wine was paired with Cherry Scented Duck Confit Empanadas with mole and avocado. What a blessed pairing. The high-altitude grown fruit in the Malbec, 13.5% alcohol, married sweetly with the duck, slippery avocado and spicy mole sauce. My customers were not shy about coming back for more. Many told me it was the best pairing of the lunch. I believe my customers; I enjoyed several Empanadas and also became enamored of the 2009 High Note Malbec.

Chef Bear of the Marcus Whitman Hotel created the menu and deserves a big pat on the back. Winebow  sponsored the event and deserves a huge thank you for selecting this wine. The listed price for the 2009 High Note Malbec is $13, a bargain my friends.

What is it that defines our interest in wine? Unmistakably it’s the aroma, flavor, style, varietal characteristics, and multiple nuances each of us favors. Clearly, it’s the wine crafted by the winemaker, from the fruit cultivated in the vineyards and ultimately the juice poured from the bottle. The wine in the glass is defined by our ability to appreciate the craft. So does it matter if the wine is from Washington or from Spain, or from anywhere else? Of course it does not matter. What matters is, “do you like it?” and for many today, ultimately, “what does it cost?”

I know this is a Washington Wine Blog, but I’m not one-dimensional in my tastes, so don’t be surprised to see mention of more non-Washington wines.



  1. Yes the duck empanada and Malbec pairing was a huge hit. My blogging partner is STILL raving about it.
    We also really enjoyed the sherry option during registration.

    So what was your favorite Washington experience at the conference?

  2. Bean,

    My favorite Washington wine experience had to be the Semillon panel at Buty Cellars. I'm a big Semillon fan, and you don't find much of it in Washington.

    I recorded the discussion, and have the video to upload. Soon.


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