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|Greetings! |Happy Spring, everyone! While it may seem like the temperature is more fall-like, the flowers have begun to pop up, giving us all the more reason to believe we will soon have two days in a row of clear, sunny skies! It has been a great year for Women For WineSense and the Seattle Chapter so far. WWS turned 21 years old, and we have been celebrating with special chapter events, membership discounts, a 21st birthday logo, the reworking and printing of a 1994 poster done for WWS by artist Beth Whybrow Leeds, and interviews on why WWS was started with our founders, Michaela Rodeno and Julie Johnson-Williams (go to YouTube and type in Women For WineSense to see the interviews). Our chapter celebrated with a birthday dinner at Dunham Cellars in Walla Walla on April 16th, which just happened to be 13 years and 1 day after we had held our first meeting with a goal to becoming the Seattle Chapter.
We hope you will be a part of the next 21 years of
Women For WineSense!
|Get The Word Out Contest!|
We know there are women and men out there who would enjoy our relaxed, fun, and educational events, but how do we reach them? We feel the best way to let wine lovers know about Women For WineSense is hearing about it from the people who attend our events. That is where YOU come in! From now until December 15th, 2011, we are conducting our first Get The Word Out Contest. For each new name with an email address you send us you will receive one point towards a 2 year membership (or renewal) to Women For WineSense - a $70 value! The person with the most points will receive the membership. If you have renewed recently to take advantage of our 21st Birthday 2 year renewal offer, that amount will be reimbursed to you. The rules:
- You must have permission from the person to submit their information.
- The email address cannot reject or be marked as spam when we email them, and the address must be valid through the end of the contest.
- If they are already in our email invitation list I will let you know (no points for that!).
- And most important of all, only submit names of people who are interested in wine and learning about Women For WineSense! We know we are all adults, but it had to be said!
If you submit a new name and they attend an event prior to the end of the contest you will receive a bonus point towards a free membership!
Contact me with names & email addresses at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will send your submission an email welcoming them to our invitation list and give them more information.
Terese Flaherty-Vaniman, Seattle Chapter President
|Upcoming Events & A Meet-Up Announcement!|
Our First Meet-Up!
May 23rd (Monday) - please join us for our first Meet-Up! Meet-Ups are a bit different than our regular events. They are a more casual way to get together and enjoy some wine with WWS friends. You don't RSVP, and you don't pay in advance. You just show up at the place and time on the Meet-Up announcement and pay on your own. Occasionally no payment may be required, but we will let you know how it will work each time we send out an announcement. Locations will vary, and you may find a winemaker or sommelier there to talk about the wines a bit, or it may simply be a gathering at a wine bar with a great by-the-glass wine list. But each Meet-Up will have a common link - fellow wine lovers who want to relax and enjoy wine!
Let's Meet-Up On
Monday, May 23rd at 5pm to 7pm at
bin on the lake
Restaurant and Wine Bar
1270 Carillon Point
bin on the lake has more than 80 wines by the glass, available in 1, 3 and 6 ounce pours. Wine flights are half off for women on Mondays, but we hope you men will still attend! Also, until 6pm they offer a selection of half off wines and bar bites as part of their Happy Hour menu (which is from 5pm-6pm). This will be a pay on your own Meet-Up. Separate checks will be given, and a 20% gratuity is added for groups. For questions, or to share ideas for future Meet-Up locations, contact Carol Frieberg at email@example.com, at home at 206-542-950, or her cell at 952-451-2500.
Save-The-Date - Future Events
June 15th (Wednesday) - Classic Vacation Hot Spots & Their Obscure Wine Varietals, with Winemaker and WWS member Susannah Harris. At Flying Fish Restaurant, Seattle. More information very soon!
July day TBA - Sweet Basil's School of Cooking annual event. Plans are being finalized, and we will keep you updated.
August 5th (Friday) - Summer Event with a View, with Winemaker Trey Busch of Walla Walla's Sleight of Hand Cellars. More details will be available on our website shortly.
|Spring in the Vineyards |
Spring has sprung....or should I say "rung"!
Bright pink cherry blossoms and beds of yellow daffodils. Chocolate covered rabbits and green Easter basket grass. While most people have fond memories and pleasant visual cues that they associate with spring, my correlation is an auditory one....the telephone ringing at 1:00 am!
Growing up in a family with a grape farmer, you learn at an early age that April and May represent the onset of frost season in the vineyard. And while I wasn't tuned into the weather channel as a child, I was still able to gauge the severity of the season based on how many times our phone would ring each night over this two month period. This notification system, no matter how annoying it is to a teenager who is trying to sleep as much as possible, is a critical component to the health of a vineyard. One night of oversleeping could mean the loss of your entire crop.
There are numerous schools of thoughts when it comes to frost protection including heaters, wind machines, helicopters, sprinklers or some combination thereof. The method that my dad, Charlie Barra, still uses today after 65 years of farming is the application of water pumped onto the vines via an overhead sprinkler system, coating young shoots with a protective layer of ice. In fact, Charlie was one of the first grape farmers in the North Coast of California to implement this style of frost protection that originated in Israel and Germany in the early 1960's.
When the outside temperature reaches 35 degrees Fahrenheit, our frost alarm sounds and the calls from our Vineyard Manager begin. Because the pumps that run the sprinkler system take a while to start up, the span of time between 35 degrees and 33 degrees (the reading at which we will start the pumps), is critical. Knowing exactly when to start pumping and when to hold off comes only with years of experience. And in some instances, as we experienced in 2008, even these age-old methods aren't enough to protect the young buds. If exposed to temperatures below 28 degrees for an extended period of time, the delicate blooms will not survive. Over 40 percent of our crop was lost this year, and we were the lucky ones.
So while we welcome you to visit us during any season, just a warning that if you come in the Spring you may want to bring your earplugs!
A Seattle resident & Seattle Chapter member, Shelley works for her family's California-based vineyard and winery, BARRA of Mendocino. BARRA of Mendocino grows over 200 acres of organic grapes and produces 5 different wine brands including BARRA of Mendocino, Girasole Vineyards, 59th Harvest, Sweet Thang and Bella Dolce Port.
Visit www.barraofmendocino.com for more information.
|My Favorite Italian Pasta Sauce and It's Story|
My favorite Italian pasta dish is Spaghetti alla Puttanesca. The region where this recipe comes from is Campania, in southern Italy in the area around Naples. This part of the country is poor in wealth, but rich in the abundance of sun-ripened produce. It is called the land of the midday sun and the searing heat and rich volcanic soil from Vesuvio produces the best flavored tomatoes in the world.
The recipe for Spaghetti alla Puttanesca is said to have originated in the 1950's when brothels in Italy were state-owned. Italian housewives shopped at the market every day to buy fresh food but the "ladies of the night" were only allowed one day per week to shop. Their specialty became a sauce made from ingredients kept in their pantry.
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic
4 anchovy fillets, drained
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 28 ounce can Italian roma tomatoes, broken into
pieces with juice
1 cup pitted and halved Kalamata olives
3 tablespoons capers
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 pound spaghetti, cooked to al dente (with a bite)
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped for garnish
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil, garlic, anchovies, and crushed red pepper. Saute mixture until anchovies melt into oil and completely dissolve and garlic is tender, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, olives, capers and season to taste with
salt and pepper. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
Toss with spaghetti and top with Italian parsley. Serves 6 to 8.
The sauce can also be used as a dipping sauce for fried Mozzarella or served over fried calamari. An Italian Sangiovese or Chianti would be a perfect match.
Sweet Basil's School of Cooking
|Seattle Chapter Past Events Recap|
Our first event of 2011 was February 16th, featuring Kevin Cedergreen of Cedergreen Cellars, at Bennett's Pure Food Bistro on Mercer Island. Bennett's is owned by Kurt Dammeier, of Beecher's Handmade Cheese fame, and is a new location for us, and one we look forward to using again. As the group arrived, Kevin poured his 2009 Chenin Blanc - Old Vine, then told the group how growing up in a family with an orchard ultimately lead to the creation of Cedergreen Cellars in Kirkland in 2002. We moved on to the 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, paired with Bennett's Tomato Flagship Soup with Roasted Garlic, a great combination! We sampled Cedergreen Cellars 2006 Thuja Red Wine Blend, the 2006 Merlot, and the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. Dinner main course options were a choice of Caponata Cavatappi Pasta or BBQ Pork Shoulder. The entrees were excellent, and were, of course, paired with a bit more Cedergreen Cellars red wines! To finish the evening, a sampling of desserts was accompanied by Kevin's 2007 Riesling. For most of us this was the first time we had tried Cedergreen Cellars wines, and we were very impressed! For more information on the winery and Bennett's go to
www.cedergreencellars.com and www.bennettsbistro.com .
Next up was a Sparkling Wine Sensory Evaluation program on March 23rd with Winemaker Hillary Sjolund of Sonoris Wines. We gathered at Wine World Warehouse to sniff and taste our way to a better understanding of sparkling wines. Hillary presented an array of scents, including various berries, sour cream, vanilla, clove, apple, citrus and honey. Attendees worked their way through them, and some of us found if we inhaled with our mouths slightly open the smells were even more intense. We then sniffed and sipped the international sparklers Hillary picked for us from Wine World's large selection, concentrating on picking out the various scents in the glass that had been in Hillary's examples. Our sparklers for the evening:
Lucien Albrect Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose
Szigeti, Gruner Veltliner, Brut
2007 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs
Vignaioli di S. Stefano Moscato d'Asti
This event was an excellent way to train us to use our noses and our palates to help us enjoy what is in our glass of sparkling wines. I suspect there will be other sensory evaluations in our future!
Sonoris Wines - www.facebook.com/sonoriswines
Wine World Warehouse -www.wineworldwarehouse.com
Dinner catering was provided by Seasoned In Seattle.
April brought back our out-of-town wine tasting weekends, when we visited Walla Walla the 15th through the 17th. We will recap the trip in the next newsletter.
|Member Spotlight - Meet Irene Eggerman|
How did you find out about WWS, and how long have you been a member? My husband and I went to the Taste of Washington one year and I found info on WWS. I didn't know anything about wine and this was my driving force, to learn more than, there was red, white and rose... thought this would be a fun way to learn.... I really have learned so much through WWS. It must have been the early 2000s, at the Warwick Hotel. It was a beautiful event, I took a friend and we had a great time. This club has been more than just learning about wine. I've met some terrific friends, enjoyed some delicious gourmet meals, and it's my opportunity to dress up and get out of the house.
What do you enjoy most about WWS? Lots of things, the good friends, the new places we go for the events, and the great wine!
Do you have a favorite past event or type of event? So many wonderful events! The events we have spent with the Oregon WWS were always fun, traveling and spending the weekend, being with friends. The Holiday events are special, maybe because of the season....especially the one I won a whole case of wine! Whoa! My lucky night.
Red or white? This question reminds me of when we (Irene and Terese) were at an Italian restaurant in Portland and the waitress asked you "Red or White?" your response was yes! I thought wow, great answer. I do drink more red than white, and enjoy both. Sort of go with my mood, and what I'm eating.
You have been to a number of the WWS Grand Events in California. What is your favorite memory of those weekends? The Grand Events have been so much fun! Great weather, friends, wine, food, and wine education. Everything that was set up for us to do, and was done well. Of course I took lots of photos, made a little photo movie to share, enjoyed great wine and food. The Saturday wine tasting and food is always a highlight, so much and everything is excellent. (And Terese...you made the in between program times terrific!) One fun thing I learned at the last Grand Event is that popcorn goes with seemingly everything!
You are the person behind the camera at many of our events. What drew you to photography? One of the first cameras I owned was one I sent away for with a bunch of gum wrappers! Needless to say it didn't work very well. The second one was a Polaroid camera called a Swinger. It was from the late 1960s. I always enjoyed taking pictures. I took classes in high school and college, then about ten years ago, got back into it when the kids got old enough to spend time at it. I moved on to a medium format and large format camera, showed some of my work around the area. But lately have been spending more time learning to dance, taking care of my elderly mother and youngest son, hoping I'll again get back into it in a serious way.
What is your ultimate food and wine pairing? I don't know about ultimate. Even though I mostly stay away from eating red meat, one of my favorite combinations is a juicy steak with a Cab or Malbec. Surprise, surprise!!
|Spring Wines |
We asked members what the combination of spring and wines make them think of.
The spring time for us is exciting because not only is the outside world budding out and turning green but our sensory glands start harking for wines with a "zing". Out of our vault come: the Roses - tempranillo, grenache, blends, American and French, the crisp Rieslings, and the mouthwatering Sauvignon Blancs. Out on the patio we start to grill on the barbecue again and smell the neighbourhood and mothernature awakening. Linda and I are not bound to one favourite wine but a style that matches this mood - fresh, crisp, alive, with hints of green and the sensation of the floral notes that late spring and summer will bring.
My answer to you is a question, "what wines and foods do my words evoke in your palate?"
In spring I start thinking more about white wine. It's when my favorite vegetables start showing up at the market-artichokes, asparagus, green peas, spinach, and green beans. Sauvignon Blanc with its herbal and grassy aromas, is my favorite wine to pair with salads and fresh veggies. I adore Sauvignon Blanc, especially from New Zealand. Here are three favorites, all from Marlborough and under $12. Nobilo-citrus and tropical fruit flavors with herb and grassy notes. A favorite to serve with summer salads.Giesen-- a clean, light wine with grapefruit and mineral flavors and a crisp tart finish. Delicious with raw oysters.
Dashwood-gooseberry, grapefruit and passion fruit flavors with a nice balance of acidity. Excellent paired with goat cheese.
|I am sure we all put our empty wine bottles in the recycling bin, but what happens to all of those corks? Do they end up in a landfill, ending their useful lives? We have a solution for all of you who aren't saving them to make trivets or cork message boards! At each of our events we will collect your corks and give them to a program called ReCORK by Amorin. They have collected well over 16 million corks, which are made into flooring, insulation, and much more. Let us know how many corks you bring each time, and as an added bonus for being "green" wine lovers, we will keep track, and reward you with a raffle ticket for every 20 corks you give us. That should be pretty easy for all of us! For more information on the ReCORK program to to www.recork.org. Thank you to Ray Sundstrom for this great idea!
Don't forget - if you are traveling to a location with a WWS chapter, you can attend any chapter's events at the member price. Women For WineSense AND the Seattle Chapter are on Facebook! Connect with wine lovers, both in our area and across the US. Not a member of WWS? Go to Reasons to join Women For WineSense
or, to become a member, just click now and Join Us!
Thank you, and we hope to see you at an event very soon!
Women for WineSense - Seattle Chapter
Women For WineSense