For Valentine's Day, instead of trying to pick a spot for a fancy, romantic dinner, my wife and I decided we would go on a day-time date instead, taking advantage of the 'Red Wine and Chocolate' event that was being conducted at a lot of the wineries in the Columbia Valley. Basically, you could buy a 'Premier Passport' that got you around the normal tasting fees at some of the wineries, and then you had some chocolate based tasties matched up with some of your wine samples.
It was a great idea for a date...and I actually remember like 90% of it. Unlike the East Coast, our weather the last week has been pretty freakin' perfect...mostly sunny, highs in the 55-60 range...and it continued on through this weekend, which meant my wife could dress all kinds of cute and spring-like.
So...let's see if I can remember all the stops:
Started at Kestrel, then went to 14 Hands, and then DavenLore, which deserves a post all it's own. After that, things moved in a hurry, with us wrapping up our time in Prosser visiting Airfield Estates, Milbrandt Vineyards, and Thurston Wolfe, before heading back towards Richland, and stopping in Benton City at Chandler Reach, Tucannon Cellars, and Terra Blanca, which seemed to be a good place to stop.
Wait a minute...only 9 places? I could have sworn it was closer to 14-16. I was doing really good up until the very end. Most of the places early on were doing samples that were closer to 'splashes' then full on samples...which was nice, and my wife was being responsible and setting a good example by using the dump bucket to dispose of wine that she didn't want to drink. But gosh darnit...Tucannon and Terra Blanca make such good wines that I told her to stop dumping her wine and give it to me! Huge Mistake. Also a huge mistake was not accepting the occasional rice cake that my wife packed in the car, and that she was eating in between stops.
She is SOOOOOOOO much smarter than me...and so gosh-darn pretty it hurts to look at her sometimes.
I'm not sure I can put my finger which wine was the best...there was a lot of variety, and it's tough to compare things that be as varied as wine to one another. I do know the ones that stuck out in my mind: Kestrel's 2012 Port, DavenLore's 2012 Tempranillo, Thurston Wolfe's Sweet Rebecca(a white desert wine), and Terra Blanca's 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon. Oh wait, and look...most of those are on my dining room table!
10 bottles of wine from 9 wineries is not bad for me.
As for the tasty treats...one of the most common offerings were some of the gourmet chocolate covered cherries and other fruits from Chukar Cherries...and the most surprising of those were the Tangerine Cherries...a tart cherry covered in chocolate with citrus essence in it. Yummy...but the best treat of the day was early on, at Kestrel...they made a flatbread with Nutella and Strawberries on it...AMAZING...especially since it was served with their 2012 Port. Great combination.
After that fun day we had a nice dinner at home with the kids, including our traditional heart-shaped pepperoni pizza from Papa Murphy's. And there was no wine drunk with the pizza or after dinner.