On the evening of June 9th, 2016, I attended the King County Library event at JBookwalter Wines in Woodinville, WA. The guest Author Cynthia Nims, discussed her book “Oysters: Recipes that Bring Home a Taste of the Sea”, how she completed the research for it, her travels, seeking out all of the different oysters and how they are harvested, resulted in the recipes in the book and they include a variety of ways to prepare oysters.
The catering provided at this event, Perfect Pair Catering, used a few of Cynthia’s recipes for the guests to taste.
Oysters on the half shell with a Lemon-Rosemary mignonette, Zippy Oyster Shots, Smoked Oysters and more.
Kevin Brendt, Tasting Studio Manager at JBookwalterWines in Woodinville, was the wine host for the evenings event and paired the wines with the fabulous seafood dishes. The event was a great time and Kevin took the time to explain each dish and why he chose the wine he paired with the foods.
J Bookwalters Wines can be found at the tasting studio in Woodinville, or at the winery in Richland, WA. J Bookwalter Wines Website
Rosé wine, whether its in the middle of February on a rainy day in Woodinville, or a hot sunny day in the park at the Celebrate Woodinville Festival, Rosé wine is one of our favorites. There is something about the wine that is exciting to me, because it has such a range of dryness and sweetness, depending on the grapes used and each winemakers creation.
Photo courtesy of Gorman Winery Facebook
This weekend is Valentines Day, the start of an exciting time for Kevin and I in Woodinville. We head out collecting Rosé wines each year, amassing a large collection of wines from Woodinville wine makers. Whether its a seafood dinner on a Tuesday, or a romantic dinner at the LeBrendt Bistro, or our 4th annual Rosé Roundup party in August, a Rosé wine is great at anytime! Get out for a visit to Woodinville Wine Country, there is so much to see!
I really am very happy that Kevin has found his dream job, working at J Bookwalter Tasting Studio in Woodinville. But, with Kevin focusing on his new job recently as the J Bookwalter Tasting Studio Manager, the “LeBrendt Bistro” at home has been empty and the table, getting dusty. I asked Kevin if he could fire up a great meal again and we could dine at our “bistro” at home, unless he forgot how to do all that?? Kevin responded to the challenge with a great meal, great wines and a lot of fun during a kid free evening at home.
I am very lucky, and one way that I express my gratitude is by posting this blog post with great pictures of our dishes! Kevin likes to course it out, small bites, many courses, pairing each course with a different bottle of wine.
Our first course was a fantastic pairing of Kusshi Oysters with Guardian Cellars Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh Kusshi Oysters with a cilantro Aleppo Pepper minuet. These small oysters are easy to eat, and have a great flavor.
Kevin whipped up course number two: a tomato micro green salad with apple balsamic vinaigrette with a Scarborough Rose’ of Grenache. I love balsamic vinegar and the micro greens were fantastic with the tomatoes adding a bit of spicy flavors. This was a Rose’ we had not tried before. It was a nice, dry Rose’ which paired really well with Kevin’s dish.
Course three, delectable five spice grilled prawns with an orange zest sauce, resting against jasmine rice and grilled bok choy, paired with Charles Smith Sixto Chardonnay. Fantastic orange flavors in this dish, this was a new sauce that Kevin created and I loved it! He should try it again with chicken, that would be great too! Kevin never uses a recipe, and has a natural ability to combine flavors that work great together.
Course four, our main course, boneless chicken thighs stuffed with apples, onions and baby shiitake mushrooms, resting on a savory bed of butternut squash puree with fresh Sage paired with Page Cellars 2006 Preface Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (A gift from our neighbor, Thanks Jerry!)
Kevin had a dessert planned, but one of the kids arrived home and the house was busy again!
Thank you Kevin, for a fantastic dinner!! I am one lucky woman! XXXOOO
There are many things to do on a visit to Woodinville Wine Country in any season. A perfect day begins with Kevin checking the WoodinvilleWineCountry.com site to see what new release and live music events are happening. Finding a new release event is like finding a treasure that has yet to be discovered, I always find a new favorite wine to bring home. New release events are usually accompanied by small bites, which are paired with the wines. Last weekend, at Woodinville Wine Cellars release party their wines were paired with stuffed mushrooms, beef, cheeses and chocolates. We picked up a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
Off to The Warehouse Wineries and Patterson Cellars, where wine maker, John, greets us with a big smile. Tasting through his menu, we always take a moment to wander back to where all the magic happens. Towering silver tanks holding precious grapes, fermenting away for a future release. The aroma of the grapes, his wines and welcoming atmosphere are reasons we return to Patterson. Today, we pick up a bottle of his Bordeaux blend and Melange Blanc, a white blend of Chardonnay/Viognier.
Next stop, The Junction, home of a brewery, a winery, and Eastern WA tasting rooms. At Armstrong Family Winery, where Jen and Tim are working away producing fabulous wines in Woodinville, we pick up a bottle of Viognier and enjoy a glass with something tasty from the food truck. Then, we drop in at Dirty Bucket Brewery, chat with Steve, share a pint of his porter, and get an update on his expansion plans.
Next stop, Tourist District/Hollywood Schoolhouse area, tasting at Lauren Ashton, where Kit makes some fantastic Reds and his Roussanne is one of my favorites. Next door, Bottom of the Barrel (at the pink tractor); Jack and his son make furniture out of wine barrels. His workshop is open to peruse and we admire the wine bar he created out of two wine barrels.
The sun is going down, and we wind down at Gorman/Patterson for a glass of wine and some live music on their covered patio. Hungry, we end our evening at Village Wines, enjoying a flatbread and sweet potato fries. Kevin picks out a Dunham Cellars Red out of the shop, in honor of the late Eric Dunham, and with no corkage fee, because we are wine club members, it turns into an affordable date night.
Kevin and I are enjoying the last bits of Summer. Summer is slipping away, what a fantastic Summer we have had here in the NW!
Recently, we had an opportunity to spend kid free time at home, where Kevin always cooks up amazing dishes. Kevin made sure it was a special table for two in our own living room by the window, nice touch!
Earlier in the day, we shopped together at Central Market and picked up some fresh seafood. We tried three different kinds of Oysters on the half shell with a garlic, rice vinegar Mignonette with a Sparkman Cellars Birdie Riesling. Next course, a Arugula Beet Salad served with Gard Rose‘. Main Course, Blackened Sea Bass with Gorman Winery Big Sissy Chardonnay. Sea Bass is one of the most buttery fish I’ve ever had, I loved the texture. There’s something about watching Kevin enjoying cooking up such fantastic dishes, and he knows I appreciate and enjoy every one of them. As usual, Kevin rarely uses any butter in his cooking, everything prepared was healthy.
…..with the exception of the Tiramisu dessert we picked up at the store and the Acid Blondie Cigar we shared on the deck after dinner with a Patterson Tempranillo. Hey, out with a bang! Summer 2014!
Friday night, the 19th, we enjoyed ourselves at the Hollywood Hill Block Party. This years party was a huge turnout and Woodinville Wine Country had more people than expected! The weather was nice, the people were in a great mood, and we met some nice people. Tasting tickets and visits to multiple tasting rooms around the Hollywood Schoolhouse. We enjoy all of the Woodinville Wine Country events!
(King and Queen of the Block Party & Kevin oohing and awwing at an antique motorbike at Mark Ryan Cellars)
HH Block party night, we enjoyed dinner at Sora Sushi in Woodinville, it was really good! Spicy roll, tempura calamari, yum! We will definitely be back to eat here!
I loved surprising Kevin with a red vertical of Shoup from Longshadows, Packaged in a beautifully etched wooden box, this vertical includes one 750ml bottle of each of the 2007, 2008 and 2009 vintages. Allen Shoup is a legandary WA wine maker, recently inducted into the Legends of Washington Wine Hall of Fame. Kevin will drive himself nuts trying to find the perfect time and excuse to drink each of these over the next few years! Cheers!
Sundays at The Junction: Food Truck Sundays at The Dirty Bucket Brewery, great food, beer and a great Viognier at The Armstrong Family Winery, The Seahawks game was on that day, so there were not too many people out, we got to enjoy a front row patio seat to listen to the band!
Get out there Woodinville and enjoy all that this city has to offer!
Now’s the time to watch or give a helping hand during one of the most exciting times in here in Woodinville, WA.
Fruit is arriving daily; I wish we could take a two month sabbatical just to volunteer at the wineries! It is so fascinating, the entire process from bud breaks to harvest. Part of crush time is bottling the wines if they are ready to make way for the fresh grapes and a new vintage. A couple of weeks ago, we helped bottle 120 cases of Syrah for Patterson Cellars.
(Bottling Syrah with John Patterson) (Kevin putting Foils on bottles) (Foiling “machine” one bottle at a time) (Papa Patterson labeling)
Last weekend, we wandered the warehouse district to see the crush action, Patterson just got some brand new tanks and if you are a wine geek this is super cool to watch them try to get these mammoth tanks in place.
The action in the tasting room at Patterson was bustling; Patterson just released their 2012 Tempranillo, which is one of my favorites. Their Forbidden White is just fantastic as an everyday white, maybe that’s why they named it “forbidden”. After Patterson Cellars,
(Kevin and Julia and the new tanks)
We crossed the lot to see Sparkman Cellars; I was on the lookout for Thanksgiving wines and picked up a Pinot Noir and Birdie Riesling. The Pinot Noir by SparkmanCellars is a must this year.
While sipping on glass of the new Sparkman Darkman Syrah, we snuck out back to see Jerry and crew from Guardian Cellars working crush out back, destemming the grapes. These three guys made it look like child’s play! After watching the crush action, a quick sneak into the tasting room at Guardian to grab a bottle of Angel to have with dinner, one of the best Sauvignon Blanc’s out there.
(This process takes a human touch) (up they go to get destemmed)
(Jerry, Guardians wine maker in crush action)
As we headed out to Redmond to pick up some fresh caught Salmon at a friend’s home, we had to land a quick stop at the Funai Farm, which has been serving the valley since the 1930’s. We picked up vegetables for dinner; kale, chard, carrots, beets and plums. Harvey took us down to the field and pulled a couple of ears of corn that we chomped right into, they were so sweet, like fruit.
Stop by the Funai Farm when you see that ladder out with the “white corn” sign on it, they are located at 14209 Woodinville – Redmond Rd NE, right next to Woodinville Lavender. Stop in at Woodinville Lavender for their fantastic lavender products and even lavender ice cream!
If you love wine and food, you must make a stop in Woodinville! We are so blessed to live here and make sure you sign up for volunteering at one of your favorite wineries!
Enjoy wine tasting but don’t like the weekend crowds? Monday is your day. In the summer months, most rooms are open and they are not crowded. Kevin and I took today, a Monday off to enjoy this great weather we are having. After having a great lunch at Chandlers Crab House on Lake Union, we ventured back to our Woodinville neighborhood for some tasting.
Our first stop was Brian Carter Cellars, we tasted through their wines and chose two bottles to take home, the first, a bottle of their Oriana, a white blend, from two grapes originally from the Rhone Valley of France, mostly Viognier and some Riesling adding a sweet touch of pears and apple blossoms. An excellent, light summer wine. Also, the Rose’ was a must to take home, the Abracadabra Rose’ is a blend that uses the same Brian Carters red varietals, it is not overly sweet, its just right with nice notes of raspberry and strawberry and I even tasted licorice on the finish.
Next Stop, DeLille Cellars Carriage House Tasting Room: Picked up a bottle of Rose’ 2013, The Rose’ is great, crisp and Rhone Style with hints of strawberry and watermelon with a low acidity finish. For summer wines, I also recommend the Doyenne 2012 100% Roussanne,100% Red Mountain AVA and 100% Ciel du Cheval. On this beautiful day, you can see the mountain off of their patio seating, the staff was great, not too busy, like the weekends.
We wandered over to Sparkman Cellars to get a This Old Porch Rose’. Every year, Sparkman is my favorite for Sav Blanc and Rose’. This years: 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Malbec, 13% Syrah, 5% Merlot, 7% Grenache, it is a Dry Rose’, I like the floral smell on the nose, and the tastes of strawberries, nectarines and melon. I also enjoyed the Reisling, it was crisp and not too sweet, maybe I’ll be back for that bottle for our Fall Reisling party. Today, I couldn’t leave without a bottle of the 2012 Apparition White Rhône. Sparkman has two tasting rooms in Woodinville, the Hollywood Dist and also at the Wine Warehouse. Hollywood dist: Open Thursday through Monday, from 1-6. Warehouse: Open Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5.
Ending the evening on our deck with Kevin, a margarita and an amazing grilled Salmon dinner!
Brian Carter Cellars:The tasting room is in Woodinville, open from 12:00-5:00 pm 7 days a week. Summer hours: June – August on Fridays and Saturdays the tasting room will stay open until 7pm.
DeLille Cellars Carriage House Tasting Room: Woodinville, WA
Kevin and I arrived in Walla Walla on Thursday afternoon. We were excited to check out the local nightlife. We decided to start our night out at Sapolil Cellars, we didn’t realize that we would also end our night of fun there too! It was open guitar jam night and the place was filling up as we enjoyed a great salad, pizza and a bottle of wine. Every Thursday at Sapolil Cellars is Jam Night. Robin Barrett (of the Coyote Kings) hosts the Jam. We enjoyed meeting new friends, experienced great Blues guitar music and the people of Walla Walla who support the arts and music culture here. Everyone enjoyed themselves and the night was full of great music. What a great way to start out our stay here!
check out the video, our bartender got up there and joined in on this video clip with the band.
follow us as we discover and revisit the tastes of Woodinville, WA out and about and at our Woodinville home.
As Woodinville residents, we embrace all that Woodinville has to offer in local beer, wine, spirits and eateries. On the weekends, we spend our time exploring the local breweries, wineries and tasting rooms of Woodinville. We will be sharing our experiences and promote all that Woodinville has to offer!
Kevin has over 20 yrs. experience in the restaurant and wine industry in both Washington and California. He contributes his expertise on wine and food. He has created many wine lists for his restaurants and in 2011 was presented an award by the WA Wine Commission for his list, which featured Northwest wines. Kevin is also an amazing cook. He frequently “chefs it up” and I must admit, I am spoiled with awesome cuisine on a regular basis.
As we make our way through all of the 100+ tasting rooms and wineries (yes, there is a distinction) in the Woodinville area, we love to discover new and exciting wines and meet fantastic people! After a day of tasting, we return home and talk about the wines, the people we’ve met and what we liked and didn’t like.
In our opinion it’s not all about the wine, it’s about the experience. The more successful tasting rooms have great wine, ambiance, are visually appealing and have pleasant, knowledgeable staff. We’ve had the best tasting experiences at the rooms that have interesting artwork on the walls, music (live or streamed), and a great staff (and please, no Goldfish crackers!). When the winemakers present the tasting room visitor with a great tasting experience, guests are more likely to have a memorable experience, purchase wines and return with their friends. A few standout mentions for a great tasting experience and wines in Woodinville are; Guardian Cellars, Lauren Ashton Cellars, JM Cellars, Page Cellars, Patterson Cellars and Sparkman Cellars.
We look forward to writing all about our experiences and promoting our local businesses!
With over 100 tasting rooms and wineries here in Woodinville, if you haven’t already done so, break out the WWC map and make it a point to come visit Woodinville Wine Country.