Tag Archives: woodinville wine country

The LeBrendt Bistro Is Open!

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.

Photo Sep 25, 6 56 49 PMI 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!)

Photo Sep 25, 9 19 14 PM Photo Sep 25, 8 52 28 PM Photo Sep 25, 9 19 04 PMKevin 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

Crush Time: Visiting the Back Alleys of the Woodinville Wine Warehouse District

Did you know that there around 80 wineries that make wine, right here in Woodinville? I’m not talking about Chateau St. Michelle, which was the first winery here and created an anchor for the local wine industry over 25 years ago. These are small to medium sized wineries making anywhere from 500 to thousands of cases of wine every year with most of the grapes grown in Eastern Washington.

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Our Back Alley Tour begins with a slow drive in our car in the Woodinville Wine Warehouse District. Circling like a hawk, searching for sounds of forklifts or conveyors humming. Kevin spots activity at Patterson and Guardian Cellars, and we hurry up and park. We stopped in at Patterson Cellars, where Jack Patterson was in the back alley, assisting another wine maker, processing several tons of Chardonnay grapes. Of course, Kevin jumps right in and helps with picking out the leaves from the grapes before they go up the conveyor. Jack was fork lifting the huge ½ ton bins of Chardonnay grapes and we got to taste them, they were amazing! The grapes are picked through by hand as they run up a conveyor to be destemmed. Here is where the MOG (Material Other than Grapes) is picked off before the destemming occurs. Then, off to the destemming machine, and after destemming process, more hands need to pick out the bits that the machine missed called “jacks”.

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I  pull Kevin away from his work to go visit Jerry Reiner, winemaker over at Guardian Cellars. Jerry had posted on Facebook that he was processing twenty tons of Syrah grapes today. But, by the time we arrived at 2pm, Jerry and his team of two others were already done for the day, cleaning the equipment when we arrived. Jerry had already taken care of the twenty tons of Syrah grapes! Chatting with Jerry about their speed, he said they have it down to a science at this point. We saw them in action last year, it is very impressive.IMG_5619

Check Guardian Cellars Facebook to see when their next tonnage of grapes arrive for processing, he usually posts something about it. Kevin and I finished off our visit by going into Sparkman to check out their new patio and enjoy a glass of wine and reflect on how cool it is to see crush activities, participate in the fun, and how lucky we are to live so close to the action.

IMG_5616If you arIMG_5621e a wine lover who is interested in seeing firsthand how local wine is made, you should make a trip out to the Warehouse Wineries in Woodinville during Crush time. It’s happening now and over the next few weeks. “Crush” is used as a synonym for harvest time. There is a lot of action happening at the warehouse these days, tons and tons of grapes are arriving and they need to be processed quickly. The harvest activities require equipment to first get the grapes removed from their harvest bins to begin the wine making process. Some of this equipment is co-owned by multiple wineries, and there is a lot of camaraderie in supporting one another here. In getting the grapes from bin to barrel, for white wines, this means destemming, and crushing the pressed white wine grapes, extracting the juice to begin fermentation. For red wine production, the wine is made from the “must” (pulp) of red grapes and fermentation occurs when the grape skins and combined with the must.

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You too, can visit the Warehouse Wineries, step out into the back alleys and chat with the winemakers. They are happy to answer questions and explain what part of the process they are working. During your visit at the Wine Warehouse District during crush, you will see firsthand, the passion and labor that the winemaker and their team puts into making a great bottle of wine. Some of these winemakers also work full time jobs as techies at Microsoft, some are Engineers at Boeing, an Airline Pilot, a Seattle Police Officer, a Bio Chemist, and a Wine Director at a top Seattle Restaurant, to name just a few.

There are always volunteer opportunities to help out, and during the bottling times, check the wineries Facebook page or sign up for their emailed newsletters to be in the know.

8/28/2015: John Patterson is requesting any volunteers interested in a hands on crush experience, to email him, as they process grapes everyday right now. email John at john@pattersoncellars.com

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Guardian Cellars:
Woodinville’s Warehouse District, 19501 144th Ave. NE, Suite E-600. Open Saturdays and Sundays from 12-5PM.
Patterson Cellars:
Woodinville Winery & Tasting Room:
19501 144th Avenue NE, D-600, Woodinville 98072
Hollywood Hill Tasting Room:14505 148th Avenue NE
Open Friday, 3:00-7:00 PM Saturday & Sunday, 12:00-5:00 PM

It’s Going To Be A Great Weekend! The TastingFoodWine Guide to Woodinville

There is nothing quite like a beautiful spring weekend in Woodinville. In all of my years living here, my best memories are of being outside, in wine country, with Kevin, tasting fabulous wines and bringing home many bottles to treasure and enjoy with Kevin’s fabulous cuisine he creates at home, AKA “Café LeBrendt”. Here is a link to the latest weather info online: http://www.king5.com/weather/

Friday 4/17:

Start the weekend off right @ Patterson Cellars/Gorman: Music on the patio James Coates from 6-8 pm, glass pours, and one of the best spots to be on Friday night at the roundabouts.

Novelty Hill-Januik Winery: This is the opening day of their release of their 2014 Spring Run Rosé. Every year we enjoy this fantastic wine, and we love to visit the winery. Many of their wines are rated 90+ and another great reason to visit is the winery’s is the architecture and spectacular outdoor grounds. They serve small brick oven pizzas Fri-Sundays. http://www.noveltyhilljanuik.com/ Photos: http://www.noveltyhilljanuik.com/visit/photo-gallery/

Saturday 4/18:

Michael Florentino Cellars: 12pm to 5pm. Celebrate Spring with the release of thier 2014 Rosé and Gecko Cellars 2014 Pinot Grigio. Warehouse District: 19501 144th Ave NE, Suite C1200. http://www.michaelflorentinocellars.com/

Woodinville Wine Cellars: 2014 Rosé and 2012 Cabernet Franc Release: Release party for their 2014 Rosé and our 2012 Cabernet Franc! This is going to be an awesome PARTY with BBQ, outdoor activities (weather permitting) entertainment, and a great time of socializing and having fun! 17721 132nd Avenue NE. http://www.woodinvillewine.com/.

Force Majeure Winery: 1pm to 5pm. Release Party for featuring samplings from their estate wines and collaboration series Rhône wine offerings. Also, live jazz from John Seman Quartet and delicious food from Crisp Creperie Food Truck. This is one winery Kevin and I have not yet visited, and I am looking forward to checking out their wines. Warehouse District: 18720 142nd Ave NE. http://www.forcemajeurevineyards.com/ Please email Carrie at carrie@fm-wine.com for more info.

Novelty Hill-Januik Winery: Release of their 2014 Spring Run Rosé. Every year we enjoy this wine, and we love to visit the winery, many of their wines are rated 90+ and besides the wines, a great reason to visit is the winery’s is the architecture and spectacular outdoor grounds. http://www.noveltyhilljanuik.com/ Photos: http://www.noveltyhilljanuik.com/visit/photo-gallery/

Do you have the time to enjoy a 9 course dinner at one of only 42 Restaurants in North America rated 5 Diamond?

The Herbfarm, a 5 diamond restaurant, right here in Woodinville, WA!
Enjoy this last weekend of the Current Seasonal Menu “Chambers of the Sea”

Winter’s firming waters and the converging spring warmth serve up the best seafood of the year. Join us for our annual tribute to the bounty of the Sea in the Pacific Northwest.
http://theherbfarm.com/dining/

Reinvigorating the bee colonies at The Herbfarm restaurant. Fantastic top notch cuisine starts right here:
A BEESY DAY at The Herbfarm

It is Halibut season and WA Wine month. Tonight at home (aka “Café LeBrendt”) Kevin cooked up fresh blackened Halibut resting in a bed of spicy fruit salsa puree and topped with a mango papaya salsa. The fish was so fresh, the spices of the blackened seasoning (from World Spice Market in Seattle) went really great with the fruits and paired well with a beautiful Washington Rosé.

Spring is upon us, and there is no better way to start off spring than with a vertical of Long Shadows Julia’s Dazzle Rosé of Pinot Gris, and a great reason to open up two bottles.

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At first glance you notice the color between the two wines, the 2013 has a light copper color compared to the 2014 with a light rose petal hue. Tasting both vintages, the 2013, I get notes of raspberries, strawberries and a hint of sweetness in the finish. The 2014, I get vibrant kiwi and melon notes and it finishes with a slight effervescent. They were both a great accompaniment to the halibut, cooling the palate from the heat of the spiciness of the dish.

Spring has sprung, which means more Rosé releases, and Julia and I heading out to cover ground here in Woodinville, visiting many wineries to collect all of the Rosé wines for our 3rd Annual Rosé party here at our home this summer. We are excited about this year’s party, as we will have music by Larry Murante. Along with the wines, of course, I cook up spectacular bites, including a salmon and chicken taco bar.

Need suggestions for a great Rosé? Afraid of pink wine? Here are some great ones to try: A Maurice Cellars, Longshadows Vintners, Gramercy Cellars, Charles Smith (Walla Walla wineries). Woodinville: Patterson Cellars, Gorman Winery, Page Cellars, Woodinville Cellars, and Lauren Ashton Cellars Rosé release event is Saturday the 4th of April. I am lucky to have had an early preview of LA Rosé recently and I must say, it’s fantastic once again this year. So, go out and get your Rosé on!

and as Charles Smith says “Yes, you can drink pink wine and be a badass!”

Cheers!

– Kevin

@tastingfoodwine

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Get your crush on in Woodinville Wine Country!

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.

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(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.

        Johns New Tanks

 

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,

 

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                (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 Sparkman Cellars is a must this year.

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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.

 

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(This process takes a human touch)                                    (up they go to get destemmed)          

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(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.

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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!


LogoColorNoText           – Cheers! Kevin Brendt @tastingfoodwine

We Love Woodinville!

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We both enjoy writing on Woodinville Food, Wine, Beer & Spirits. We are local Woodinville residents and are very supportive of our community!

@tastingfoodwine is our Twitter Account

Our website: www.tastingfoodwine.com

Facebook: tastingfoodwinewoodinville

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.

You can download the maps here: http://woodinvillewinecountry.com/maps/

Here is a link to Woodinville Wine Country Tour Guide

Also, if you are local here, there are many volunteer opportunities to experience the wine making process first hand, working side by side with the winemaker on bottling, labeling or crush activities.

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