We all have them, those friends that we enjoy meeting for supper (out or at home) because we can fully appreciate the food, the wine, the companionship. I am, very happily, married to one of those friends (you know him as my partner in wine) but when we have the opportunity to share a meal with others the appreciation is increased exponentially. For months we have been discussing where and when we would go to dinner with a school-friend. She has a fabulous palate and delights in food as much as we do.
Meeting this friend at a restaurant she hadn’t been to before, one we really like, became the reason unto itself this week. T. Maccarone’s, here in Walla Walla, was our destination. This is the restaurant we ate at on our honeymoon, this is where we bring friends and family that visit us, this is where we celebrate our anniversary each year. But I digress…
We shared two bottles of wine and bites of each of our meals and found we were sated beyond ordering dessert. Both wines were red, a Washington blend from Syncline Wine Cellars, 2012 Subduction and Cantina Zaccagnini 2011 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Red Wine.
I ordered the Syncline Subduction purely because we have had a couple of their wines before and loved them. The geologic reference in their wines warms my rock-loving heart… not likely to give up my passion for rocks any time soon, so it is nice to see someone pushing geology at the same time they are pushing wine; even if only a few of us get the reference without explanation. It is a blend of six grapes (28% Mourvedre, 26% Grenache, 23% Syrah, 13% Counoise, 8% Carignan and 2% Cinsault), 14.2% ABV from Columbia Valley fruit. It is certainly a Rhone-style blend with smooth tannins and minimal acid allowing for the fruit to come forward in both the nose and palate. Despite ordering it before we ordered food it held its own nicely. We added the Carignan grape to our Century Club list, nice addition without actually looking to do so.
Second up was the Cantina Zaccagnini, ‘Twig’ as she calls it due to the small branch tied to the bottle. This came at about the same time as our meals: pork shank, lamb gnocchi, and (oddball that I am) blackened cod. Both wines were delightful with the pork and lamb, with the lamb dish matching both wines slightly better than the Syncline, but they weren’t bad with the broccoli and cream sauce that I had with the cod. Also a light bodied red wine, made with the intent to pair it with food, it was still a very nice drinking wine. Less fruit forward, more acidic, but well-balanced. Finishing this bottle was our ‘dessert’.
Food was outstanding, wine was lovely and company the best. My partner in wine speaks Danish, the best summation of our evening is a word with no actual English definition, but we all ‘know’ what it is once we experience it: ‘hugge sig’ (pronounced huggah sigh) – sharing a comfortable, heart-warming experience. This was our evening.