Earlier this month we had the unique opportunity to have dinner with Guy Barnes, winemaker at Columbia Crest. And while winemaker dinners aren’t uncommon, what was unique about this particular meal was the guest sitting to the left of Guy: Shirley, the winner of our Facebook giveaway on May 23. Spunky, quick-witted and a lover of wine, Shirley was just the guest we were hoping would win the contest and join us for dinner. (For more opportunities like the one Shirley won, like us on Facebook.)
But back to dinner.
A welcome glass of Sauvignon Blanc brought us through the first course of melon-topped scallops. With an entry of citrus aromas and light flavors, this crisp Sauvignon Blanc made by Guy primed our palates for the subsequent pairings. You can get a similar wine here.
The second course showcased a roast rabbit with blackberry sauce paired to a delicate Merlot. Notes of dark cherries danced with the blackberry sauce while complex fruit flavors and subtle chocolate nuances paved the way for a velvet finish. In Washington, east of the Cascade Mountains, where Columbia Crest is located, Merlot grows particularly well. Little rainfall and cool nights make for a climate suitable to this red varietal. At Columbia Crest, Guy makes wines that showcase all the best characteristics of Merlot: body, finesse, dark fruits and hints of oak, chocolate and sometimes vanilla.
It was at this point during the meal that I thought we would be served dessert. Even the dishes topped with silver plate coverings didn’t clue me in that the next course was the main one. So imagine my surprise and relentless salivation to find a thick, perfectly cooked steak placed before me. Multiply that feeling by 10 and you’ll know what it was like to watch as Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon was poured into my glass. It’s hard to write about the wine without teasing my taste buds into a fury. The Cab was rich and round, bursting with flavors of ripe berries. Balanced and full-bodied, it was a perfect contender to the steak. The pairing was easily the best of the evening, but the result of this delicious contest? I couldn’t finish the steak. I requested an extra pour of the Cab.
The final dish of the evening was a decadent chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache and paired with a classic, well-rounded Cabernet. For those of you aching to mimic the meal described in this blog post, here is a Cabernet perfect for your dessert. With its balanced body and red cherry flavors, it is the cherry on top of an incredible meal. No Bing, Ranier or maraschino varieties necessary.
For a taste of Columbia Crest’s Washington wines, click here. You won’t be disappointed.
Meghan Guarino, copywriter