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Love on Brian Luscher Day: Andrew Chalk Talks

Which wine producing state has:

1) Over 650 wineries?

2) A rattlesnake problem?

3) Summer temperatures that can reach over 100ºF?

4) Less than 10” rainfall a year?

Yes, you have to jump!

If you guessed Washington State, you guessed right.

Washington produces more wine and has more vineyard acreage than any state other than California. Yet, it is virtually anonymous. I think this has to change. In fact, I think Washington will be hailed as North America’s next world-class wine producing region because the wines are so good. To help publicize their cause, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates brought three of the best winemakers to Dallas where they served their wines to an audience at The Grape, accompanied by a four-course menu prepared by Executive Chef Brian Luscher.

The winemakers were David “Merf” Merfeld of Northstar Winery , Marcus Notaro of Col Solare, and Serge Laville of Spring Valley Vineyard.

Their wines were:

2006 Northstar Vineyards Merlot, Columbia Valley, Washington.

A blend of 76% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc.

2007 Spring Valley Vineyards, “Uriah”, Walla Walla, Washington.

A blend of 60% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot and 6% Malbec.

2006 Col Solare, Columbia Valley, Washington.

A blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Syrah

Rather than present detailed tasting notes on each of these, let me just summarize that all were outstanding (90+/100) wines and are, because of their anonymity, comparative bargains at between $25-$50. All are ready to drink now but would keep 5+ years if cellared. They are available in local specialty wine stores and liquor chains.

In this video the winemakers talk a little about making wine in Washington.

The menu gives one an idea how these full-bodied reds were matched with food…

1st course

sauteed striped bass

white wine tomato broth

chef’s bacon-cannollini bean ragout

Northstar Merlot, 2006

2nd course

pappardelle pasta

shredded braised veal, caramelized cippolinis,

fava beans, oven dried tomatoes, & parmesan reggino

Spring Valley “Uriah”, 2007


roasted flank steak roulade

with roasted peppers, tellegio, & spinach

chef’s mustard jus, & creamy polenta

Col Solare, 2006


giant Valrhona chocolate truffle

with fresh strawberry coulis

Domaine Ste. Michelle blanc de Noir, NV

8 comments on “Love on Brian Luscher Day: Andrew Chalk Talks

  1. This is good to see, especially since I live 20 minutes away from Chateau Ste. Michelle. Almost every wine I’ve tasted has been excellent. Some are a bit green for their latest releases, but they show incredible promise with some good aging.

  2. Is it over? Streets safe again? This is the same guy that denounced food blogs and commenters, the very people that dine in his restaurant. Since that time I haven’t stepped foot in the bloody place.

  3. The State of Washington has less than 10 inches of rain per year? The folks on the Olympic Peninsula, where west-facing valleys get more that 180 inches a year, might be surprised to hear this fact. The desert in south-central Washington does get less than 10 inches, but I don’t think that is the wine-producing portion of the state, is it?

  4. Worzel start your way around at this food blog on October 14th of 2009 and see what Brian really thinks of his clientele weilding cameras and why they should eat and STFU, then ask yourself if you care to indulge this pretentious monkey of a chef.

  5. Kirk: The largest wine growing area in Washington (by acreage and output) is Columbia Valley. Annual average rainfall is 8 inches. These wineries are all in this area.

    Google “Columbia Valley Rainfall” for a list of several government and private articles on local variation.