At Precept Wine, one of the largest privately owned wine companies in the Northwest, they know how to pair decadent flavors. Winemaker Hal Landvoigt combined wine and chocolate in his lab, creating Chocolate Shop, a non-vintage wine. According to the website, it's still the best-selling chocolate red wine in the US.
Hal is just one of the company's 13 winemakers, who are stationed at wineries in Pacific Northwest areas from Washington State's Yakima Valley to Idaho's Snake River Valley. At their posts, they work primarily with grapes cultivated from local vineyards, although some batches are imported from around the world.
Regardless of their grapes' origins, though, their award-winning wines brim with touches informed by plenty of travel. Landvoigt, for one, has traveled through such famed wine regions as Burgundy in France, Salta in Argentina, and the wine waterfall in Dionysus's dreams. At Precept's eight tasting rooms, the knowledgeable staff can help patrons trace a glass of wine's international influences and local roots.
The menu at Eva Restaurant defines itself by its reliance on local ingredients rather than a focus on any particular style of cuisine. Find out more below.
Years before opening Smash Wine Bar & Bistro, Dana Hannon worked behind the scenes, piecing together a vision of perfect portions and wine pairings. In the country-style bistro, Dana's vision now unfurls atop each intimate table and booth. More than 45 different wine selections keep glasses brimming with flavors from grape-bearing countries ranging from France and Italy to Argentina and Narnia. Smash arranges them into 10 different wine flights that play nicely with cheese flights, which feature artisan breads, local honey, and fresh fruits alongside names like "Big Blues," "The Sheep Stands," "Grab Your Goat," and "French Connection." The menu also features several well-portioned specialties such as yukon gold tots with lemon-chive crème fraiche, fig flatbread with Oregon blue cheese, and duck-and-shiitake spring rolls.
At Stomani Cellars, everything blends together seamlessly, from the carefully crafted wines to the name Stomani, which is derived from a fusion of the founders’ surnames. One of those founders, Alex Manoni, presides as the resident winemaker and grape stomper. A certified enologist, Alex works exclusively with the Italian varietal sangiovese, blending it with cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and merlot to create the winery’s signature red blends. In addition to reds, Stomani produces white wines, both of which can be found at retail stores around Puget Sound. Customers also can sample many of those wines at weekly tastings held at the winery, which is conveniently located in the heart of Seattle, or by joining Stomani's wine club.
Sound Excursions describes their carefully curated group experiences as "field trips for adults." It's easy to see why: every outing takes groups to a new realm of Washington, whether it's the frothy shores of Puget Sound, inland forests and mountains, or tables at Seattle's thriving restaurants. The events held at these diverse locations range from culinary workshops on topics such as sushi-making and moonshine-tasting, to adventurous excursions with whitewater rafting or kayaking, to laid-back themed party cruises. For many outings, luxury transportation is provided.
A pair of restaurateurs opened Pair Food & Wine so they could pair local and organic food with local and imported wine. The meat and dairy on the seasonal menu comes from Washington farms, and the produce might even come straight from Pair's back garden, harvested by the tiny farmers who live behind the sidewalk planters. While the wine list is lengthy, the bar-food menu is short, containing just a snack-size handful of dishes. "But each one," wrote the Seattle Times in 2009, "falls in line with Pair's penchant for making simple dishes elegant."