Kicking off our “Year of Walla Walla,” we are so pleased to host a winemaker dinner featuring Five Star Cellars on Thursday night, April 20th. Most of you know about the explosion of wineries and convergence of talent and opportunity that makes the Walla Walla Valley a winemaking mecca. It’s in the air when we travel to Walla Walla. The generosity and congeniality we experience as we engage the wine and hospitality community in Walla Walla is like a warm bath. One senses an ease with which these folks associate with each other that comes from attending the same weddings, funerals and soccer games. As if by osmosis the people of this valley have acquired the ability to make great wine, grow luscious fruit and drive a burgeoning industry that makes it possible for the younger generations of family members to stay put – and thrive.
David Huse is one of those fellows. Dave initially retired in 1999. That makes him kind of old, with a story to tell. The Five Star website declares that Dave “…needed something to occupy his time.” Considering the level of energy he then demonstrated over the next twenty years, one suspects his wife, Sandy, might have needed the same thing. Beginning with just 120 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon in 2000, they doubled that production in 2001 and produced an equal amount of Merlot. Then, in 2002, they did what folks in Walla Walla do: they got things done. In the fall of 2002 they crushed at their own facility and in December of that year they opened a tasting room, where they promptly sold out of all of the just-released 2000 Cabernet. Meanwhile, Dave’s son Matt had enrolled in the Walla Walla Community College Enology and Viticulture program. The 2002 vintage was his first as winemaker, adding a small amount of Syrah to the mix for a total of 1,450 cases! Production doubled again in 2003. Did I mention that these folks get things done?
All of the fruit used in making the wine for Five Star Cellars comes from the Walla Walla Valley. In addition to their production of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, Five Star’s offerings now include Bordeaux blends, Super Tuscans (Bordeaux grapes with Sangiovese), Sangiovese and Malbec. It is perhaps this culture of offering a top-notch product without pretense that gives us a special affinity for this family and the work they do. Those of you who are already familiar with Five Star already want to be at the dinner. Those of you that have not yet been introduced to this excellent Walla Walla wine… well, take our word for it. Don’t miss this event! Make your reservation by clicking here.
Janet and I tasted through the entire lineup of red wines stocked by locally. (Janet tasted, I mostly just drank. It’s what we do.) Five Star makes an excellent Rosé and a Semillon but they are not distributed in this market. So, in a highly unusual shift in our usual approach, we are tasting exclusively a selection of Five Star’s red wine offerings. (Dave Huse will bring along some Rosé and a Semillon for those who are interested.) Here is a preview of the wines Janet has selected and the pairings she has designed to accompany them. Warning: This meal is entirely meat-centric. Meaning no disrespect to you vegetarians, but this dinner is not for you.
Here is a brief outline of what we’ve selected:
Greeting: 2012 Sangiovese accompanied by chicken liver mousse and crackers.
Starter: 2011 Syrah paired with juicy pork sausage on grilled flat bread with onion jam and piled with fresh arugula.
Mezza: 2010 Malbec complimented by char-grilled bavette with chimichurri.
Main: 2012 Merlot with super-whipped mashed potatoes and celery root with baked potato fixings and thin sliced prime rib. Yes, two “steak” courses in a row.
Finish: 2012 Stellar! Sharp blue cheese, dark chocolate with cocoa nibs and spiced nuts. Janet thought this wine simply stood on its own but she threw in something to nosh on while you savor this granddaddy of Five Star’s lineup.
Five Star – Five Wines – Five Courses. Thursday, April 20th.
Meet and greet at 6 PM. Dinner begins at 6:30.
$85 per person plus $15 gratuity.
If you have any questions or experience difficulty reserving online you can call us at 503.614.0267 and we’ll take care of you.