Review of 2011 Wine and Chocolate Weekend, Part II

February 15, 2011

My original list for the Wine and Chocolate Weekend had us going to the English Estates Winery on Saturday, and the three Battle Ground wineries on Sunday. Unfortunately, some personal business had to be taken care of, so we only made it out to Battle Ground.

Admittedly, I also got so rapped up in scooping out their business that I didn’t always pay attention to the wine, but when it comes to grape wine, how often do I actually comment on it?

We first went to Heisen House Vineyards, which is a historical site in which they are trying to restore an old barn to turn it into their operation. At the moment, they have a nice covered area in which it looks like they do their crushing on, and then a small tasting room. I liked the rustic feel, and it was very private picnic friendly. As far as the tasting went, there was a melot, Cabernet, sangiovese, tempranillo, with a white sparkling wine to finish. All of the red wines were paired with usually a dark chocolate made by Lindt, and the white sparkling wine was paired with a Lindt white chocolate. There were some crackers, meat, cheese, and some small chocolate cupcakes set out.

Our next stop was Olequa Cellars, which is a private residence that has a few grapes and has built a small tasting room on the property. Apparently, they are open maybe once a month, and together we joked about the lack of parking. They served us three chardonnays with lemon or Irish cream chocolates, and then a leon millot, cabernet, and two syrahs with raspberry or plan dark chocolate. The chocolates were Peggy’s Handmade Chocolates, and were available for sale. The leon millot was the only wine we bought on our trip, as it was a lighter bodied red with strong cherry tones. Olequa Cellars also had the cheapest pricing of the three wineries, and was very comparable to grocery store prices. They didn’t put foil on their product, they work in small volumes that probably take less labor, and coupled with the limited tasting room hours, the labor savings probably helps keep prices down.

Our last stop of the day was at the Rusty Grape Vineyard, which was very crowded, partly due to their growth and marketing. They had invited Majestic Chocolates back from the year before, who served a little tiny spoon’s worth of chocolate upon request, which had been previously selected for the pairing. This was the best and most enjoyable wine and chocolate pairing of the wineries we went to. At the Rusty Grape Vineyard, we tasted a Riesling, seven reds, and an tasty orange muscat and an off balance blackberry dessert wine. Admittedly, recently I’ve grown tired of chardonnays, as it seems like everyone has one, so it was kind of refreshing that the one white table wine that they had was not a chardonnay.

One thing I observed was that the chocolate really seemed to enhance the wine if paired properly, but I didn’t really ever have a moment where I thought that the wine enhanced the chocolate.

The other thing to note was that we sampled 22 different wines at three wineries, with 15 of them being reds. That is too many wines, and I did feel the effects. 15 wines total would have probably been better. If you ask me to really talk about any of them, I couldn’t say much about the reds because they all sort of end up being the same to me after a bit, where as the whites and dessert wines were different, and therefore I can remember them. Call me lazy or call me an amateur, but it is the things that are different, or in this case the non-reds, that are going to be rememberable. Which means, for me, being a cider house among eleven wineries in Clark County will make my product different and customers will remember. Now lets hope my business is worth remembering!


One Response to “Review of 2011 Wine and Chocolate Weekend, Part II”

  1. […] 2010 and 2011, we participated in the Clark County Wine & Chocolate Weekend held ever Valentine’s […]

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