At the end of the tour we entered a private dining room where no less than seven wine glasses beckoned us at each table setting. Wendy and Culinary Director John Sarich sat at the head table and gave us some more background on the winery and their philosophies while we enjoyed a magnificent food and wine pairing. John had one of the more interesting comments I’ve heard regarding barrel tasting. To paraphrase him, he said he abhorred it and that it was akin to someone walking into his kitchen while he was in the middle of making a dish and asking to taste it. “It’s not ready!” I enjoy barrel tasting, but I got a kick out of what he said and knew where he was coming from. Of the seven wines we tasted, I still have a vivid impression of the first one: 2008 Eroica Riesling. This wine dances on your tongue. It made me rethink my opinion of Riesling. Bright, crisp and aromatic and about $24 a bottle.
With smiling faces and full bellies we headed back to Seattle to drink a little more. This time, however, the beverage wasn’t wine. It was beer. We went to Pike Brewing Company where owners Charlie and Rosie Finkel welcomed us and poured us several of their award winning ales. Charlie gave us a tour of the brewery, let us taste toasted hops and sent us on our way.