Sunday, April 21, 2013

SEATTLE: Taste Washington 2013 (FULL RECAP)

Drink. Eat. Learn. That's definitely what we did at Taste Washington!

March is Washington Wine Month and what better way to celebrate than attending Taste Washington, the nation's largest single-region wine and food event! As many as 3,000 people flocked to CenturyLink Field Event Center to attend one of the most anticipated wine and food events of year. March 23rd-24th marked the 16th year of the event, now a two-day event for the second year.

New to Taste Washington, was the Woodinville Wine Country tasting lounge, where ticket holders sampled limited released wines, met top winemakers, and won prizes for events and getaways in Woodinville Wine Country. In addition to that, VIP ticket holders were allowed private access to the VIP Barrel Room, which was presented by Tulalip Resort Casino.


DRINK

There was a lot to choose from at Taste Washington this year. Upon entering the CenturyLink Field Events Center the sheer scope of this event begins to settle into you. Where to go first? Blindly wander any given direction and allow yourself to gravitate to whatever seems familiar? Plan ahead so you can efficiently rome from one top name winemaker to the next, scratching off dozens of must-try bottles from your list? Granted, it is a largely unobtainable goal to visit every winery here, but we sure tried! Simply hitting up a handful of old favorites to sample their current vintage is enough to wear out even an experienced palate. No matter what your approach the beauty of this event is that everyone will have a great time! There's also many breweries and ciders if you're not an avid wine drinker.

Did you know that Washington is the 2nd largest premium wine producer in the United States with an economic impact of $3 billion? Taste Washington features over 225 wineries, 750+ wines and 200,000+ wine pours! That's a lot of juice!

Here were a few of our favorite palate-pleasing pours:
Betz Family Winery
Gorman Winery
Sparkman Cellars

Mark Ryan Winery
John Bigelow of JM Cellars
Chateau Rollat | Columbia Crest
Mark Ryan Winery | McCrea Cellars

Why stop at wine? We visited the Stella Artois Cafe where there were thirsty beer drinkers sampling Stella Artois, Leffe and Hoegaarden. Glasses were also complimentary souvenirs! Pike Place Brewery as well as Cider Makers of Washington were also in attendance.


Cold glass of Stella Artois  

Sparkling ICE Beverages
Live music from local Seattle artists 

Chocolate Box | "Simply the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted...." --Willy Wonka

EAT

Evenly interspersed into the sea of winery booths are the restaurants. Here you can sample delicious specially-prepared bite-sized morsels from more than 65 Northwest chefs and restauranteurs. It was a foodie's paradise.

Here are a few of the mouth-watering culinary delights. Be prepared to be as wow'd as we were! Warning, viewing photos may make you hungry!
The Capital Grille | Kona Crusted Dry-Aged New York Sirloin with Shallot Butter Sauce

AQUA by El Gaucho and Taylor Shellfish | Oysters on the Half-Shelf with Accompaniments
Urbane | Spicy Albacore Tuna, Preserved Lemon, Cured Tomato Relish & Salted Fennel Pollen on a Crostini

Duos Lounge | Corn Dogs Fresh Corn Crust, Chipotle Honey Mustard

Tulalip Resort Casino:


Cedars Cafe | Braised Lam, Smoked Gouda Cheese Purse, Apple Cucumber Salad, Meyer Lemon

Blackfish | Dungeness Crab Salad, Cucumber Wrap, House Sockeye Lox, Taro Root Crisp

Tulalip Bay | Marinated Beef Tenderloin, Pickled Daikon, Carrots, Scallions, Asparagus, Nori Seaweed Vinaigrette

Tulalip Resort Sweet Endings | Black Peppe Popovers, Apple-Pear Compote, Honey Ice Cream, Local Blue Cheese

Relish Burger Bar | Sliders and Fried Pickles
Relish Burger Bar | White Chocolate & Cherry Bread Pudding
Royal Argosy Cruises | Roast Beet Cornet, Stinging Nettle Pesto, Lardo Brulee
Manhattan Seattle | Shrimp and Cheddar Grits, Braised Pork Belly and Scallions, White Wine Cajun Butter Sauce, Red Pimentos & Caramelized Onions

Washington Convention Center | Chimichurri Prawn with Ginger and Lentil Salad
Trace | Smoked Octopus with Soybean Hummus, Tomato Raisin Jam
Seastar | Porcini Mushroom Soup | Assortment of Sushi | Country Pate on Crostini | Prime Top Sirloin with Maitre'D Sauce | Dungeness Crab Cakes with Sweet & Sour Beurre Blanc

Yard House | Ahi Crunchy Salad, Field Greens, Asian Slaw, Crispy Wontons, Soy Vinaigrette
Yard House | Salted Caramel Butterscotch Pudding, Whipped Cream, Chocolate Crumble & Maldon Sea Salt

A wine event wouldn't be complete without some cheese & charcuterie!

LEARN

Taste Washington featured top local chefs cooking live on-site in a state-of-the-art Viking kitchen built right on the show floor. Local chef demonstrations included Chef Kim Mahar, pastry chef of Michael Mina's RN74 Seattle, Chef Matt Brandsey of El Gaucho Seattle, Chef Perry Mascitti of Tulalip Resort Casino, Chef Sam Crannell of Lloyd Martin, Chef Jason Wilson of Crush, Chef Bobby Moore of Barking Frog and Chef Brian Clevenger of Tavolata. We headed over with our glass in hand, took a seat and watched guest, Chef Antonia Lofaso, prepare a quick and delicious dessert.


Medaglia D’Oro cookbook author Chef Antonia Lofaso (The Busy Mom’s Cookbook, Penguin 2012) also from BRAVO’s “Top Chef All-Stars” and “Top Chef” Season 4 has contributed to the Medaglia D’Oro recipe book with custom recipes that will be available online. The book, Medaglia d’Oro Volume One, features innovative coffee-based recipes including dishes from America’s most recognized Italian chefs including Lofaso and James Beard Award-winning Pastry Chef Johnny Iuzzini.

Chef Thierry Rautureau & Chef Antonia Lofaso at the Chef's Viking Stage
Wine and food seminars feature top national wine personalities and sommeliers from across the national leading in-depth explorations of Washington wine, cider and beer. Topics for the seminars showcase various aspects of Washington wine, as well as wine and food pairing demonstrations by reknown chefs. Here are seminars that took place over the weekend:

Washington vs The World!
Intro to the World of Wine
Cure What Ales Ya!
Riedel Glass Tasting
All Mixed Up - The Art of Blending
Yakima Valley 30th Anniversary
Join the Cider Revolution
Another great way to learn about wine was to visit "Taste the Vineyards." In this approach, wines are presented by vineyards, so you can compare and contrast wines that several different wineries have produced from a single source. Patrons can discover a true sense of place from bottle to bottle and learn about some of the state’s most renowned vineyards:

Clifton Vineyards
Corvus Vineyards
Cox Canyon Vineyards
Kiona Vineyards and Winery
Mission Hills
Naches Heights Vineyard
Sagemoor Vineyards
StoneRidge Vineyards
Tapteil Vineyards
Upland Vineyards



Map courtesy of Washington State Wine Commission 

If you want a Washington Wine 101 refresher or just want to learn about why Washington is one of the world's best wine regions, take a look at Learn More in the Perfect Classroom.

Make sure you mark your calendars for Taste Washington next year, as this event is not to be missed!

For upcoming wine events, check out the Washington State Wine Commission.


Couture Corks Etc 
Taste Washington is produced by Visit Seattle in partnership with the Washington State Wine Commission.

About Taste Washington:
Taste Washington is the largest single-region wine and food event in the United States, featuring more than 200 Washington State wineries and more than 65 Pacific Northwest restaurants. The 2013 Taste Washington sponsors include Premier Sponsors: Viking, QFC, Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card, El Gaucho & AQUA by El Gaucho, Tulalip Resort Casino, Seattle Met, KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, Magnum Sponsors: Medaglia D’Oro, TalkingRain, Riedel and Patron Sponsors: Woodinville Wine Country, SuperGraphics, South Seattle Community College, AM 770 The Truth, Fremont Studios and Wilcox Farms. This year’s Event Features include Anheuser Busch and Stella Artois. Held annually in the spring, Taste Washington attracts more than 3,000 wine and food enthusiasts to the Seattle area. The Washington State Wine Commission launched Taste Washington in 1998 and is now produced by Visit Seattle. For more information, visit www.tastewashington.org.

About Visit Seattle:
Visit Seattle, a private, nonprofit marketing organization, has served as Seattle/King County’s official destination marketing organization (DMO) for more than 50 years. The goal of these marketing efforts is to enhance the employment opportunities and economic prosperity of the region. For more information, visit www.visitseattle.org.

About the Washington State Wine Commission:
The Washington State Wine Commission represents every licensed winery and every wine grape grower in Washington State. Guided by an appointed board, the Commission provides a marketing platform to raise positive awareness of the Washington State wine industry and generate greater demand for its wines. Funded almost entirely by the industry – through assessments based on grape and wine sales – the Commission is a state government agency, established by the legislature in 1987. For more information on the Washington State Wine Commission and the Washington State wine industry, please visit www.washingtonwine.org.

AUTHOR: AUTUMN LOOMTHONG
Follow her on Twitter at: @AutumnInSeattle