My favorite summer beverage is a nicely chilled Chelan Valley Rose. I even have the shoes and t-shirt to prove it! So when I heard that the Lake Chelan Wine Valley was sponsoring the first annual “Rose’ Soiree” I knew that I had to get a ticket. Here was an opportunity to taste a plethora of Chelan Valley Rose’s all in one place. More than 15 wineries showcased their luscious rose’s and there was a lovely array of delicious hor d’oeuvres to accompany the wine. The event was held at the Chelan Chamber of Commerce which allowed ample space for all of the wineries and participants. Our tickets gave us 10 tastes, delicious food, and a beautiful Reidel wine glass with the Lake Chelan Wine Valley logo. Needless to say, I was in heaven to have so many rose’s to taste all in one spot! It is so interesting to experience such a wide array of one style of wine. There was everything from the traditional French single varietal Pinot Noir rose to numerous grape varietals in one. As such, the beautiful pink hue of rose’ ranged from a pale pink to a rich reddish pink – all dependent on the grapes used by the winemaker. Rose’ has become such a popular summer varietal it can sell out quite quickly. So if you have not had a chance to check out the Chelan Valley Rose now is the time – as the sun fades away so does the Rose’.
My sister-in-law Phyllis and I have an annual birthday tradition. No gift necessary - instead a birthday card and lunch is preferable. Due to busy schedules, the celebrations are not always during the birthday month. My birthday is in February and this year we celebrated in April – much to my benefit. According to our tradition, the “birthday girl” gets to choose the venue, and I made a great choice! The Friday prior, two women came into Culinary Apple raving about the lunch they had just had at Siren Song Winery. Their description of their meal was all I needed to decide I wanted that same experience! I definitely made the right choice. The food, the wine and the atmosphere were all wonderful.
We started out with a quick wine tasting so as to choose the correct wine to accompany our lunch.
We then decided to split 2 of their most popular menu items – an Heirloom Caprese Salad and the Parisian Picnic which is a delicious plate of French cheeses, charcuterie, olives and their wonderful French baguette.
The view was lovely, the food was delicious and our servers were very gracious – they even helped us get some nice photos on the patio. Before we had finished our lunch we were given a little peek at the desserts. That helped us decide to get a “doggy bag” for the remaining items on our plates so that we had room for the gorgeous French Macaroon Trio. They were as delicious as they looked and there were none left for the doggy bag!
What a fabulous way to celebrate my birthday! Phyllis is going to have a tough decision to make when it's her turn to pick our lunch. We love to try new places, but I'd be happy right back at Siren Song Winery!
“It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!” That’s what Sally and I told each other as we strolled down Woodin Ave. last Friday on our way to join the celebration at Rocky Pond Winery’s new tasting room in downtown Chelan. It was opening day, and the place was packed with people ready to welcome the Rocky Pond crew to Chelan! The renovation to the building is beautiful and elegant with a mix of natural materials like dark brick and light wood. They offer lots of seating, too. The tasting bar is long to accommodate those wishing to taste. Couches and tables are available for those that prefer to buy a bottle or a glass to enjoy while chatting, or watching the shoppers stroll by.
The tasting staff is very friendly, and worked hard to make everyone feel welcome. There are four wines on the tasting menu now, three whites, and one red. All are made from grapes grown in their Clos CheValle vineyard in the Lake Chelan AVA. Start with 2013 Glacial Treasure, a lovely blend of Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Viognier. Next, try the 2013 Dry Riesling which has a crisp mineral taste highlighted with citrus. The 2013 Chardonnay will surprise you with notes of honey and fruit. The 2014 Syrah is the final wine on the tasting list, and is smooth, earthy and delicious.
The personal touches throughout the tasting room really give a sense of what is important to David and Michelle Duffenhorst, the owners of Rocky Pond Winery. They have a striking display of a picture of the Columbia River, which spans the depth of the tasting room, and have overlaid it with the route they took on a bicycle trip through France – bringing their inspiration for crafting great wines home to Washington, and our beautiful valley. We can definitely envision this tasting room quickly becoming a favorite place for shoppers to take a break, or a fun place to meet for a glass of wine before going out for dinner.
Sally and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at the Rocky Pond Winery opening, and the whole Culinary Apple team is excited to welcome them to downtown Chelan!
It is just over a year since I authored my first wine blog. At that time there were right around 24 wineries within our Lake Chelan Wine Valley. We have now grown to 30 and expect to reach 33! Several of the wineries expanded to a second location, but the rest of the growth is new wineries popping up and sharing the fruits of their labors. It is so exciting to see the talent and passion of the new wine makers. So many are family run wineries with involvement of the entire family in the operation. A perfect example of that is Radiance Winery in Manson. Located in a renovated 100 year old red barn on Klate Road, Radiance Winery has created a warm and welcoming place to taste and enjoy their wines. On a recent visit to the winery I was greeted by the entire Crowder family, as I entered the tasting room. I felt so welcomed and comfortable – just like being at home. The purpose of my visit was to have a second taste of their Chardonnay since we had just added that to our selection of wines at the Culinary Apple. It was just as delicious as I remembered. Lightly oaked with a silky texture and clean finish, it is a very enjoyable Chardonnay. Equally enjoyable was the opportunity to visit with the Crowder family and hear their story. I am excited to watch them grow and develop their wines. Radiance Winery is a wonderful addition to the Lake Chelan Wine Valley and a great addition to the wine shelf at Culinary Apple.
With Chelan Nouveau quickly approaching, my excitement rises at the thought of all of the wonderful Rose’ wines about to be released. For me there is nothing better than a chilled glass of Rose’ on a beautiful spring or a hot summer afternoon. I first experienced a dry Rose’ while visiting in the south of France which is the epicenter of Rose’. Initially I insisted that I would not drink “pink wine” as it was way too sweet for my palate. After much persuasion I tried a glass and was immediately hooked. Rose’ was my beverage of choice for our long afternoon lunches. I was amazed at all of the different hues to the wines and the different characteristics of tastes. So when I returned to the states I made it my mission to find “French” Rose’ wines. Now that I live in the Chelan Valley, my mission is to seek out the Chelan valley Rose’ wines – and I have been having a great time doing it. Here in the Chelan Valley, the wine makers do a fabulous job of crafting Rose’ wines from many different varietals of grapes. The wine can be made from a single varietal or a blend of several. In the Chelan AVA the Syrah grape seems to dominate. Some winemakers use Syrah as a stand-alone varietal, others use it as a part of their blend. Grenache, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, and Mouvedre’ also play a strong role. Rose’ wine achieves some of its color from contact with the grape skins during fermentation. Also the amount of time the skins are in contact will determine the hue. The shorter the time on the skins during fermentation, the lighter the color. The grape varietal also plays a big role in determining the shade of pink which will vary in color from a very pale pink to a brilliant hot pink. Take my advice: grab a chilled bottle of Rose’, find a spot with a view, and enjoy!
Enjoy Chelan Nouveau for one more weekend April 25 - 26. And check out the Lake Chelan Wine Valley website for more information!