Walla Walla

March 5th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, that’s a funny name for a city. But, Walla Walla, Washington, and its surrounding valley make HG/BSK’s favorite wines. Charles Smith, a California-born, innovative winemaker, is an HG hero. After world travel (nine years in Denmark), he opened a wine shop in Washington’s Puget Sound and then moved to Walla Walla to begin winemaking. His first effort was House Wine, an inexpensive, very tasty red blend. Both House and Steak House, a Cabernet, were later sold to a Seattle company (the wines remain splendid). Now, Smith produces the pricier (but still affordable) Velvet Devil, a Merlot; Boom Boom!!, a Syrah, and Chateau Smith, a Cabernet. All outstanding. HG/BSK learned about the grandeur of Walla Walla wines in an unlikely place: Big Timber, Montana. On their motor trips from Denver to Vancouver, a city where they owned some long sold residences, HG/BSK would always stop for dinner at the restaurant in Big Timber’s Grand Hotel. Served the best rack of lamb the duo ever tasted.(Robert Redford ate it almost every night when he was filming “The Horse Whisperer” at a nearby location). The restaurateur was a wine aficionado and the wine list was capacious. He touted Walla Walla wines and HG/BSK drank some wonders (this was before the prices of these important wines deservedly soared upwards). HG/BSK still consume gallons of the previously mentioned Walla Walla moderately priced wines but augment them with Beaujolais, Italian varietals, Argentine and Chilean Malbecs, whites from New Zealand and Roses from Provence.

Denver Surprises

September 26th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

Smooth, pleasant flight from LaGuardia to Denver on Southwest Airlines. Picked up the HG/BSK car and were off to Applejack, the giant liquor and wine shop (biggest volume in the USA) in Wheat Ridge. After paying inflated prices (because of high Canadian taxes) for plonk during the last three months on Prince Edward Island, it was a delight to revel in Applejack’s bargain prices for superior wines. HG was off to the Walla Walla, Washington section for the lush House wine and Steak House Wine bottled by Charles Smith. Yes, Walla Walla is a funny name but you will only smile with pleasure not derision when you drink the robust reds from the town and its environs. HG also picked up some nice reds from Peter Lehmann, HG’s favorite Australian vintner. BSK was in charge of whites and she filled her cart with sauvignon blancs from New Zealand’s Marlboro region and pinot grigios from Italy’s Friuli and Venezie regions. The excursion sharpened HG/BSK’s appetites and the duo stopped at the Hillstone Restaurant in Cherry Creek. Hillstone is a chain restaurant, a very professional, upscale and delicious chain restaurant. Modest prices for a menu of pure comfort food. Not reaching for the gourmet stars but providing very tasty and approachable dishes. One big surprise, however — HG/BSK reveled in a Kampuchi roll that would have been worthy of a sushi master. Constructed of yellowtail, chopped spicy tuna, avocado and topiko, it was a revelation. The restaurant is beautifully designed, decorated with superior art and the service is worthy of a Michelin-starred establishment. Good night’s sleep at a Marriott where (after watching some football) HG and BSK remarked upon the ability of big American chain hotels to provide clean rooms, good TV, comfortable beds and showers that have plentiful hot water and great water pressure at affordable prices. In Europe one would only find those services at the most expensive hotels. Notch one up for the U.S.A..

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