Rendezvous and Review
A month ago, Red Mountain celebrated its annual gala, Rendezvous on Red Mountain. Wineries all over the mountain opened their doors for winemaker’s dinners and tasting events, and guests from across the country were able to sample the world-class wines from our small corner of the wine world.
To kick off this year’s Rendezvous, Terra Blanca hosted a winemaker’s dinner Friday night, September 26. Unlike previous dinners, this night was rather special. Only 38 guests were in attendance, all milling about the Terrace and Tasting Room with a fantastic view of the sunset for the pre-dinner wine social. The tables were set in harvest chic to celebrate the season, and the number of glasses for eat setting promised a variety of wines for the evening.
Terra Blanca By the Glass author, Katy Rutland, was able to attend the event, along with many Club ONYX members and William Pollard, writer of Wild 4 Washington Wine, an online blog highlighting the diversity and craftsmanship in Washington wines.
More importantly, the kitchen was filled with a very unique kind of sous chef. Jaime Coulson, Executive Chef of Washington State University’s Hospitality Business Management program and author of The Crimson Spoon, led a brigade of WSU students in crafting the evening’s fair.
Each student created and presented a dish while Winemaker Keith Pilgrim explained the wine pairing. Some of the notable pairings that surprised many around the tables were the 2010 Signature Series Block 5 Chardonnay served with grilled octopus; 2008 Signature Series Cabernet Franc with roasted rabbit; and a trio of 2001, 2003, and 2010 ONYX with grilled WSU-raised Wagyu beef.
The atmosphere was one of reserved elegance. Conversation flowed amongst strangers and friends alike at each table and continued throughout the night as good wine and good food warmed our bellies. The only criticism to be had for the event was that the service from the kitchen was slow in the second half of the meal, after the intermezzo. Everyone was gracious, however, understanding and appreciating the students’ desire for perfection in their presentations and working in an unfamiliar kitchen.
After all 8 courses were served, a coffee social let us all digest the succulent and rich meal as well as sample chocolate truffles made by one of the student chefs. The salted caramel disappeared the fastest, shortly followed by the kahlua crème.
Speaking of chocolate, WSU may be breaking into the business with its own brand of chocolate, house made just like Cougar Gold Cheese. It’s a little early to be divulging this, but, if “Cougar Chocolatier” become a real label, expect to see them in February for Red Wine and Chocolate weekend. We’ve got a few Cougs in the winery, after all.
If chocolate isn’t your thing, stay tuned for Thanksgiving in Wine Country and the Thanksgiving-inspired food and wine pairing brought to you by Katy’s Kitchen. Savory dishes and red wine, what could be better?
As always, Veni, Vidi, Vinum!
P.S. Apologies for the lack of pictures of the night. The author was too busy enjoying herself to remember to pull out a camera.