Duke’s Chowder House, Mercer Estate Wines, Taste Washington
We’re a short two weeks away from Taste Washington, the annual event showcasing Washington wines (this year there will be over 230 wineries at the Grand Tasting!) and Seattle area restaurants. It’s a really fun, interesting event and I highly recommend it – especially if you’ve never attended.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a wine and food tasting/pairing at Duke’s Chowder House. Remarkably, this will be the first year they take part in Taste Washington. They wanted to get their offering right so they brought in a small group to try several dishes they were considering for the event. For this tasting, Mercer Estate Wines poured several samples from their lineup to see how the food would work with various wines.
This was a really fun, well-planned event. It was a seated tasting with two or three generous, food bites served for each “course”. Mercer Estates poured a red and white wine to accompany each course.
I can honestly say I enjoyed every single bite and sip that night. The group unanimously chose the Lobster Mobster Pernod Chowder (recipe below) as the overwhelming favorite. Made with langostinos and a lobster base, it’s rich, creamy, delicious! And, surprisingly, it paired well with the Mercer Cabernet Sauvignon as well as, the Mercer Chardonnay which were served with it. If you’re attending Taste Washington look for this chowder – you’ll love it. As a bonus, this chowder can be made Gluten-free and I believe that’s how they’ll serve it at Taste Washington.
They will also be offering their Pesto Salmon, another big winner in my book. I had hoped, however, that they’d choose they Halibut Quesadilla we sampled that night. It was different than what is normally served at wine events. Not only was the fish perfectly cooked, a cucumber pico de gallo was a fresh counterpoint to the lightly-blackened fish. Luckily for me the halibut is on Duke’s Happy Hour menu so I can pop in and get it anytime!
If you haven’t been to Duke’s for a while get back in there and give them a try. The Duke’s closest to me always seems to have a longish wait and I’ve let that keep me away. But this tasting reminded me why they have long lines. I mentioned the chowder could be made gluten-free, but Duke’s also offers a Gluten-free menu – I know many people who will appreciate this.
In addition to the great food we sampled six of the Mercer wines. Again, I enjoyed all of them and am really happy I had the opportunity to taste so many during this event. Two of my favorites were the Reserve Ode to Brothers, a Rhône blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvèdre; and Sharp Sisters Red Blend, primarily a fruit-forward Merlot but nicely blended to bring balance and structure.
Mercer Estates will also be at Taste Washington. The event can be overwhelming with so many winemakers but keep your eyes open for the Mercer table!
As an added bonus both Duke’s and Mercer believe in sustainable and conservation practices, which is great. I love when good taste combines with good stewardship.
The chowder recipe and location information are after the jump.
Click on the image for a larger view of the recipe.