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Event Review: Seattle Wine and Food Experience 2014

Guest post by Juli Crompe.

Seattle Wine and Food Experience happens every year in February at the Seattle Center. I've had the privilege of attending this event twice and have loved it.

I missed going last year because my sister went into labor the morning of the event!

Unlike most events which cover a certain region, varietal or cater to a specific niche, Seattle Wine & Food offers something for just about everyone.

Featuring Washington, Oregon, California and International wines, as well as spirits, hard cider and plenty of tasty bites, Seattle Wine & Food is a cornucopia of just about everything.

And the best part? It is still reasonably priced at $55 for general admission.

Pro Tip: VIP is worth the splurge; you have an extra hour to sip and taste with limited attendees in the room, for only $10 more!

Most of my highlights were either food or wine, but this event really can be customized to nearly anyones preferences!

Echo Bay, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, 2012
If you don't already know, William and I started a New Zealand wine blog about 2 years ago, so I am always on the lookout for NZ wine. I was so happy to find one I hadn't tried before and it was delightful!

Don Carlo Vineyard, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009
The only reason I'm mentioning this wine is because it was featured on The Big Bang Theory, one of my favorite shows! Sheldon (played by Jim Parsons) is featured here as the wine is being poured around their living room. I just had to try this for the fun of it!

Citation, Pinot Noir, 2003
Oregon Pinot's can be all over the board, but this was my favorite of the entire Oregon section. There is a price tag to match at over $60 a bottle, but if you're a Pinot Noir connoisseur, I'd recommend adding this to your collection to drink in the next few years.

Vaso di Marina, White Blend
This "bottle" is actually a milk jug, an already awesome way to start your adventure with this wine. And it was delicious! A wonderful rich-history and a family winery with a light, refreshing wine to complete the story. Highly recommended for a summer afternoon on the front porch, or perhaps swinging on a porch swing.

Fetzer Crimson, Red Blend, 2010
At less than $10 a bottle, this is a great buy. I suggest keeping a few bottles around for that evening when you have friends over and don't want to commit to opening a $50+ bottle. It is good enough to impress a wide crowd, and even won a Seattle Wine & Food Experience award!

Badger Mountain, Riesling, 2013
I've written about this wine before (which I discovered at Taste Washington last year), but I revisited it because I'm a fan of good organic wines. This new vintage has a higher sugar content, a decision made by the winery after continual feedback from customers wanting it, and is still a really good bottle of wine. A reasonable price point, smooth finish & solid flavors make this a great wine.

Sawtooth, Skyline Red, 2011
As I've mentioned many times before, I often try to find wines at events like this that I've never had. Before this event, I could honestly say I'd never had a wine from Idaho, but I made sure I changed that. This was my favorite Idaho wine and at only $13 a bottle, it was a win for me.

Nicolas Feuillatte, D'Luscious Demi-Sec Rose, NV
How anyone can go wrong with bubbly, especially from Nicolas Feuillatte, is beyond me. I've made it a mission lately to try as many as I can and this was one of my favorites! It is a bit sweeter, but had great flavor, and overall was such a delight. If you've never had a chance to try Nicolas Feuillatte, I suggest seeking them out. They are rare at tasting events (this was being poured by QFC Grocery Store in their VIP Lounge), but you can find usually them at Taste of Tulalip!


Washington Beef Butcher Block was a section serving up delicious beef dishes including Barolo Braised Beef Ragout with Root Vegetable Gnocchi from Andaluca, always a great stop!

BOKA was one of my three favorite tastes of the day with their Joplin-style braised beef brisket with slaw on hominy bread. Sweet, tangy and tender...I could have eaten 15 of these!

One of my other favorite bites was from Heavy Restaurant Group who owns Purple, Barrio, Lot No. 3 and the Commons in Woodinville. They served a Prawn Salad in a Roasted Corn Vinaigrette, topped with an Avocado Mousse. It was light, creamy and so refreshing. Nearly everything I've eaten from these restaurants has been delicious. If you've never tried them, I highly recommend you change that!

My last favorite bite was the simplest at the event. I literally consumed 8 (or 10) of them! It was a combination of La Panzanella Croccantini black pepper crackers and Mt. Townsend Creamery Fromage Blanc cheese, drizzled with honey; there truly are no words to describe the perfection. Try this at your next dinner party, or grab the three ingredients and throw together a large platter to curl up on the couch with tonight...either way, it will be a win.

(They also sell a seasonal Strawberry Balsamic jam at their Pike Place Market location and it is another incredible pairing with the plain or black pepper La Panzanella crackers.)

Overall, this event is so much fun! No wonder it sells out every year. This post only covers 1/10th or less of what was available! With so much to taste, sip and learn, I recommend this event to everyone!

If you've never attended a large event like this before, it may seem a bit overwhelming. But if you go in knowing you won't taste everything, you will have a great time. I'm always bummed when the reviews start to come out because I realize how much I missed. Then I remind myself that every single person has a different experience, a different list of stand outs. Plus, comparing notes for next year is what keeps it fun.

A few of my friends attended this event, and I know I'll be sure to read up on what they loved about Seattle Wine & Food this year to ensure I don't miss them next year.

See you next year, Seattle Wine & Food Experience!

Stella Artois was also on-site and I was very lucky to be
able to go home with a 4-pack at the end of the event!
Stay tuned, event organizer Jamie Peha and her company Peha Promotions (Table Talk Northwest) are hopefully planning another event for later in the year. We can't wait!

Juli Crompe is a Conference Services Manager in Seattle, Washington. She writes about wine and wine events for Kiwi Daydreaming and Wild 4 Washington Wine.

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