Master of Wine

Call me old-fashioned, but when the TV mini-series, ‘Scarlett’ recently ran I was close to devastated when I read she had a 21-inch waist.

That lead me directly to the tape measure where I whipped it around my middle and immediately fell into shock.

When I awoke, I found that my children found it funny to measure my head.  It was 22 inches.

Needless to say, I couldn’t shake the depression.  I can never get it right.  No, seriously, I am always a work in progress trying to improve my body and mind through new adventures.  The risk is great.

Sometimes you find yourself in Cinderella situation knowing that at midnight you’ll be back sweeping floors.

This is what happened to me recently.  It was the perfect beginning to the New Year holiday season and so far the best party of the year Woodinville’s Columbia Winery Winemaker Dinner. 

Just take a look at the menu:

The hors d’oeuvres:  Southwest Beef in Puff pastry, Jamaican Chicken Chalupas, Spicy Pesto Scallops in Phyllo.  All served with a ’93 Sauvignon.

The Salad:   Sea Bass Escabeche with Sweet Greens served with a ’93 Wyckoff Chardonnay

The TWO entrees:  Rhubarb Horseradish Stuffed Quail on top of a Wheat Berry Galette with  Cabernet poached pear served with a ’91 Cabernet Sauvignon.   Broiled Lamb Chops with a dried Cherry and Shiitake Mushroom Milestone Merlot Demi Glace, tarragon mashed potato, glazed pearl onion, and carrots, served with  ’92 Milestone Merlot.

TWO Desserts:  Asian Pear and Apricot Tart with Johannisburg Riesling, Almond sauce, served with  ’94 Cellarmaster’s Reserve—assorted Cheese and Chocolates served with an ’87 Red Willow Cabernet Sauvignon.

There I sat at the table surrounded by elegance, half-crazed with a desire to lick my plate.

Even more exciting was the fellow sitting at my right, David Lake, Winemaker, and my other six table mates all very serious enologicalists.


Help! I desperately looked around for the exit so no one would see my glass slipper when I put my foot in my mouth. 

I thought what would Scarlett say?  “Fiddle De De… eno who?” feigning dizziness.  However, the passionate people at my table were more than delighted to share their enthusiasm:  Enological, the science of wine and wine making.

Lake spoke to me with an accent like James Bond and started the evening by standing in front of his guest.

Each table held eight, and all heads were turned to listen.  Lake welcomed Edmonds Community College’s John Casey, Management Service Instructor for the college’s Culinary Arts program. 

Lake explained that tonight was the opportunity to give the students a chance to practice what they had learned.  Thus, providing the evening’s Enological with the magic of pairing fine wine with excellent food.

As Lake spoke, 14 waitpersons began to serve.  Seventeen cooks in the kitchen;  all culinary students.   After a three-day preparation, they arrived at Columbia Winery kitchen with the production for the evening ready in hot boxes.  They began the culmination of their groundwork by preparing the finishing touches.

Walter Bronowitz, the Chef instructor of the culinary arts program and John Casey, were the creators of the menu.

“The menu was designed with the wines in mind,” Casey explained.  “Everyone has a different reaction to the incredible experience in one’s mouth when the wine is pared with food.  It creates an explosion in the mouth and the layers of flavor to some are dramatic, to others more sullen—but to all exciting.”

Lake began his career in Britain where in 1975 he passed a rigorous set of exams to become a ‘ Master of Wine’.  This is the most prestigious title in the world of wine and Lake is the only master of wine currently making wine in North America.

“Master of Wine’ is a false impression as no one ever truly masters wine, it is something that is forever expanding,” said Lake.

As we all raised our glasses in a toast to begin the meal. Lake explained, “That to release the bouquet swirl the wine in the glass – this gives pleasure to the nose.  You know wine delights all the senses—smell, taste, sight and since there is nothing for the ear, you touch classes so you can enjoy the ring.”

It was a wonderful party, and everybody can have a chance to feel like Cinderella.  By attending the next winemaker dinner at Columbia Winery.

To enhance your parties try these delightful wines.

Bon Appetit!

MERLOT (mair-low)  Aged lazily in oak.  This full-bodied red wine has a soft, woody disposition, at its best savored with hearty meals, pasta, meat and cheese.

CABERNET SAUVIGNON (Ka-bair-nay – So-veen-yon)  The robust, dry flavors are mellowed through extended oak aging and several years of bottle aging. This is the classic accompaniment to fine cuts of meat.

JOHANNISBURG RIESLING (Yo-hahn-is-burg Rees’-ling)  A crisp, fruity flavor of this classic lingers on the palate providing the perfect accompaniment for fowl and seafood.  Delightful as an aperitif.

FUME BLANCE (Foo’-may Blahnc)  This full bodied wine has an herbaceous aroma and flavor, mellowed by Limousin oak aging, crisp and dry.  An excellent complement to poultry and seafood.

SEMILLON-BLANC (She’mee-yahn Blanc) Herbaceous, apple like aromas harmonize with the delicate, dry flavor creating an ideal complement to fowl and shellfish. =

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