Wine maker’s dinner: Trio Vintners & South Fork Grill

Happy May Day 2014!
Happy May Day 2014!

Happy May Day to all, hoping Spring has managed to make itself known in all regions of the northern hemisphere and Autumn harvest in the southern hemisphere is coming along well.

Karen LaBonte, owner and winemaker for Trio Vintners with me during tonight's winemaker's dinner.
Karen LaBonte, owner and winemaker for Trio Vintners with me during tonight’s winemaker’s dinner.

We were thrilled to spend the evening at one of our favorite Walla Walla restaurants, South Fork Grill with a favorite wine maker, Karen LaBonte from Trio Vintners.  Even with my food allergies I was extremely pleased with the pairings with the diverse reds so well represented by Trio Vintners.

Washington state is remarkably diverse in the grapes we grow successfully and Trio Vintners makes the best of several red varietals.  This evening’s line up was: Carmenere’, Grenache, Mourvedre’, Tempranillo and she does a stellar Sangiovese which was not part of this evening’s line-up.  Yakima, Red Mountain and Walla Walla AVA’s (American Viticultural Area) make up the growing regions for grape varietals better known for their origins in France, Spain and Italy.  No doubt, defining Washington State wines by one varietal would be to ignore so many great interpretations of these grapes.

Back to the dinner – which is still filling my belly and messing with my head as I write.  From first to fourth each course that Chef David Belcher prepared was exquisite!  I have food allergies that were admirably worked around despite a full house.  More than words could explain:

First course of melon & prosiuitto with Trio 2011 Carmenere.
First course of melon & prosciutto with Trio 2011 Carmenere.
Second course of spinach soup with shrimp and Trio 2010 Grenache.
Second course of spinach soup with shrimp and Trio 2010 Grenache.
Special second course for me and tempura asparagus with garlic aoli with Trio 201 Grenache.
Special second course for me was tempura asparagus with garlic aioli with Trio 201 Grenache.
Third course pork chop with mustard sauce and Trio 2010 Mourvedre'.
Third course pork chop with mustard sauce and Trio 2010 Mourvedre’.
Fourth course of cracked pepper cookie and espresso pudding to pair with Trio 2011 Tempranillo.
Fourth course of cracked pepper cookie and espresso pudding to pair with Trio 2011 Tempranillo.

Each wine was delightful, fruit forward, well-balanced and paired with an equally delicious dish.  If you believe that asparagus doesn’t pair well with wine you are missing out; I had two courses with asparagus and two different red wines (Grenache and Mourvedre’) with asparagus from a local grower as well and it was the highlight of this lovely, warm evening.

Sunset in southern Walla Walla.
Sunset in southern Walla Walla.

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