Thanks to Foodbuzz, Jim and I were able to check out the Seattle Food and Wine experience and witness first hand the globalization of the worlds of food and wine, meet a woman winemaker doing amazing things with Meritage, and chat up an Iron Chef challenger.
The world of wine is constantly evolving and changing and a global influence is becoming more and more pronounced in American wines as consumers become more open to different varietals. Gone are the days when Chianti was considered exotic.
We started our global tour with a Marsanne, which is made from a Rhone style blending grape, and a Grenache Blanc by Washington winemaker McCrea Cellars. Not only does McCrea Cellars make interesting Rhone wines, it’s dedicated to making Rhone style wines!
California winemaker J. Lohr was showing off a tasty Valdique, a red wine made from a South Rhone grape that in taste is between a gamay and a pinot. J. Lohr’s Valdique has notes of cherry, boysenberry, and raspberry and at $9.99 a bottle, it’s an absolute steal.
Pinot Grigio was in abundance and has become as standard on the American menu as Chardonnay. We chatted with a Spanish and Argentinian importer and learned that there has been an absolute surge in Spanish and Argentine wine imports in the past three years. Argentinian wines are doing especially well as they don’t have that pesky Euro problem. If you want Spanish flavor made closer to home, Beresan is making Malbec in Walla Walla, Washington. Jim, who’s a Malbec devotee, fell in love.
Wine isn’t the only thing that’s gone global, however. In between our wine tasting we noshed on Asian BBQ Pork Sliders with Cucumber Kimchee from Tulalip and Lamb Merguez Sausage with Chickpeas & Herbs from French restaurant Cafe Campagne.
- Speaking of Cafe Campagne, I was lucky enough to get to chat with Iron Chef Challenger and Campagne and Cafe Campagne Executive Chef, Daisley Gordon, who might possibly be the nicest person I’ve ever met. We talked about his Iron Chef experience, which he said he would do again in a second, even though he lost to Iron Chef Bobby Flay (he was robbed, in my opinion – if only Jeffrey Steingarten had been a judge!); his amazing secret keeping ability (his episode was filmed almost a year before it aired). And other things I cannot disclose . . . Jim quizzed Daisley’s sous chef while I spoke with the man himself, and he said that Daisley truly is a good guy, the best to work with, a perfect executive chef. Now that is a man whose food I want to eat! Book me a reservation at Campagne. STAT!