March 14, 2013 at 09:46 AM — Wine Guy
Thursday Miscellany. Please attempt this at home…
A lovely time (and dinner!) was had by a couple weeks back at Ray’s Boathouse with Herb Quady of Quady North Winery and Kay Simon and Clay Mackey of Chinook Wines, with another 50 friends getting in on the conviviality. It wasn’t just great food and wine(duh!), but a chance to taste well-balanced, elegant, soulful, honest wines from two quite different regions as well as two accomplished, non-interventionist, diverse wine-making styles.
Each course’s pairing of two glasses showed the wines in an incredible food context, made even more brilliant by the stylistic contrast between the two wineries. First was Chinook Chardonnay and Quady North “Pistoleta” (a Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier Blend). Pure Chardonnay fruit , highlighting bright notes of apple and a clean, crisp richness without any gratuitous, over-the-top weight to distract from its bold, but elegant purity – its dancing-on-point grace contrasting with the deeper, satiny lushness of peachy fruit of the Pistoleta, its muscular fruit dancing on acidity-driven agility, accented by an undercurrent of stony coolness (cool stoniness)and hints of fir-infused balsamico.
Course two: a study in pink, two 2011 roses of Cabernet Franc, drinking fabulously a year and a half after vintage. By now, a definite theme was showing itself, the Chinook rosé’s bright rainier and bing cherry fruit infused with spice and brush and showing a graceful but muscular femininity, while the Quady North shows darker cherries with a splash of huckleberry zing and the coolness of river rocks and evergreen forest – cooler, darker, more mountainous tones.
Course three, the main event, the pièce de résistance and the coda to the building intensity supplied by the previous two featured yet another Cabernet Franc duo – two distinctly different iterations that showed power and finesse in completely different shades.
Feminine, the melody in the violas and cellos -- alto voices and tenors, with violins carrying the soprano part in counterpoint, lively cherry fruit seemingly bearing the brightness of a Yakima summer’s day and a suggestion of wild, aromatic, sun-kissed green brush in every sip. The Quady North was all the more masculine in comparison, tenor notes of the cellos trading melodic lines with the basses, playing arco. Darker cherry fruit, laced with notes of tobacco and an evergreen – tinged savory accent.
And so on. While I could spew an endless stream of adjectival puffery, why take my word for it? Reading the notes always takes a back seat to practical experience. Why let me have all the fun, when you can do it yourself? You can easily build three different dinners around the three pairs of wine described above. Add a few friends, a little home cooking and voila! Life is good, isn’t it?