“Taste Washington” at Noe in the Omni Los Angeles Hotel

Have you noticed some of the great wines coming out of Washington?  The region is definitely garnering some much-deserved attention lately.  So, when I was invited to try the “Taste Washington” wine and food pairing menu at Noe restaurant in the Omni Los Angeles Hotel, I excitedly accepted the invitation.

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Noe is located in the Omni Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, which sits atop beautiful Bunker Hill.  When my husband and I arrived, we were graciously welcomed and seated in their well-appointed dining room.  We started off the evening with a glass of Charles Smith Wines “Kung Fu Girl” Riesling from the Columbia Valley growing region.  A great choice for an aperitif, offering notes of white peach, melon, and citrus with noticeable acidity.

Chef Christopher Tunnell then arrived at our table with a beautiful cheese plate featuring local Washington cheese, fig jam, and honey.  One of the cheeses, “Sleeping Beauty” from Cascadia Creamery, really won me over.  Organic, smooth, creamy, and delicious.  Along with the Riesling, we were served a glass of Canoe Ridge “Expedition” Pinot Gris from the Horse Heaven Hills region.  Both wines paired nicely with the cheese and accompaniments.

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Next to arrive was a “Fennel and Apple Salad” with arugula, spiced pecans, blue cheese, and a cherry dressing. Simple, enjoyable flavors that paired well with the Pinot Gris.

Our third course of the evening was a “Dungeness Crab and Snap Pea Soup.”  The peas are shelled daily and you could really taste the purity of the fresh pea flavor in the soup.  The Dungeness was a delicious touch and this was easily our favorite dish of the evening.  Luckily enough, we were also brought our an alternative preparation of the soup as well.  Our second version was served chilled and it actually brought out the flavors in the soup even more.  I really hope they keep this on their menu for the summer!

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“Dungeness Crab Fritters” was the next plate to grace our table.  Crispy, crab-filled fritters served with a smoked tomato bacon sauce on the side.  I preferred them without the sauce and really enjoyed the fritters with our next wine, The House of Independent Producers Chardonnay.  The wine is unoaked so the authentic flavors of the Chardonnay really came through and elevated the taste of the fritters.

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Our entrée for the evening was “Cider Braised Beef” with celery root slaw, parsnips, and brussels sprouts. This dish fell a little short for me as it seemed to be a bit over-salted.  The beef, however, was tender and cooked well.

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We really enjoyed the thoughtful pairing of Nelms Road Cabernet poured with our entrée.  This sustainably made wine is balanced, fruit forward, and was a nice complement to the braised meat.

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To finish, we were presented a “Granny Apple Crisp” served warm and topped with vanilla ice cream.  A simple dish with a straight-forward preparation.  Definitely not innovative but the sweet, Washington apple flavor was a nice note to end on.

Overall, I am impressed with the spotlight that Noe and Omni Hotels & Resorts have put on Washington wine and food.  The “Taste Washington” menu will be featured in Omni Hotel restaurants across the country through May 31st, 2014, so definitely check it out for a taste of what the region has to offer!

Noe Restaurant Downtown Los Angeles – 251 S Olive St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, (213) 356-4100

Omni “Taste Washington” program

*Hosted meal

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Mini-Review – Columbia Crest H3 2010 Chardonnay

Last week, I participated in a live Twitter tasting with Thirsty Girl and Columbia Crest Winery.  In the lineup for the night was their 2010 H3 Cabernet (which I have previously reviewed http://wp.me/p1vdhr-RZ), 2010 H3 Les Chevaux red blend, and 2010 H3 Chardonnay.  I have already been won over by Columbia Crest’s wines in the past because of their great quality price ratio.  The H3 Chardonnay was no exception!

This Washington Chardonnay has aromas of citrus and tropical fruit with tastes of green apples, spice, vanilla, and sweet oak.  The palate is a bit rich (I am more of a fan of unoaked Chardonnay) but the spiciness adds a nice dimension.  For the price ($12), if you are a fan of a rich, oaked style of Chardonnay, Columbia Crest H3 is hard to beat! (B+, 13.5% alcohol)

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Cabernet Day Wrap-Up!

While I didn’t have a full evening to celebrate #CabernetDay (I was stuck sitting in an accounting class!), I did uncork two bottles over the course of the night.  I went with two Cabernets at complete different price points and decided that BOTH wines are great VALUES.  Here are the tasting notes for each wine.

Jordan 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

I definitely set myself up for a good night as Jordan has consistently been one of my favorite, moderately priced Cabernets.   The nose has a bouquet of cassis with a hint of oak.  The palate features sophisticated flavors of plum, blackberry, pepper, and a touch of vanilla.  The tannins are round and the finish is lengthy.  Jordan’s 2007 Cabernet is lighter and more elegant than a lot of other Cabernets from the region.  I honestly think that for $45, this is a hard wine to beat.  I have tasted it against California Cabs that cost twice as much and Jordan often upsets the higher priced competitors.  (A-, 13.5%)

Columbia Crest H3 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a great, everyday Cabernet from Washington state.  Aromas of toasted oak, cherries, and tobacco lead into an earthy palate with tastes of dark berries, caramel, and vanilla.  This straight-forward wine delivers in price ($12-14) and flavor.  Grab a bottle and enjoy any day of the week!  (B+, 14.5%)

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Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills (H3) 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

 A few weeks ago, I was perusing the aisles of a local wine store and came across Columbia Crest’s H3 Cabernet from Washington.  Over the last few years, I have had the chance to try many wines from Washington.  I feel that, overall, the wines from the region deliver a lot of value for the price.  I really love wine from California (and buy them on a weekly basis), but when it comes to the state that offers the most value, I think Washington easily takes the title.  Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet is no exception.   

About the Wine- From the Winery

Columbia Crest H3 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 88% Cabernet, 7% Merlot, 3% Syrah, and 2% Malbec from the Columbia Valley region of Washington.  It has 14.5% alcohol and retails for $10.  For more information visit www.columbiacrest.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

This Cabernet pours a deep garnet in the glass.  Rich aromas of cherry, plum, and coffee make me want to dive in to take a sip.  The palate has round flavors of blackberry, plum, and black cherry surrounded by soft tannins.  Mineral and dark chocolate tastes linger in the finish.  Such a sophisticated Cabernet for the price…skip buying a bottle and grab a case!

My Wine Rating- B+ (A- for value)

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pair with short ribs, herb-roasted rack of lamb, or dark chocolate

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Wednesday Wine Pick- Hogue Genesis 2007 Meritage

Every week I am going to try and recommend a mid-week wine that is priced under $15.  It’s going to be an everyday wine that you can pick up somewhere like Trader Joe’s in hopes that it gives you a lot of good wine for an affordable everyday wine price.  Maybe it will even help relieve your mid-week stress:)

This week I am opening up a bottle of Hogue Genesis 2007 Meritage from Columbia Valley.  I picked it up last week at Trader Joe’s as it was on display in the wine section.  This Meritage is a blend of 49% Merlot, 44% Cab, 6% Malbec, and 1% Cab Franc.   This Washington wine is priced at $7.99 and has a 14.4% alcohol content.

The wine pours dark garnet and has aromas of dark cherry, blackberry and earthy spice.  It tastes of cherries, oak, and spice and finishes long with nice, smooth tannins.  I enjoyed the Genesis Meritage and I think it’s a nice buy for $7.99.  I am not sure how long Trader Joe’s will have this wine but I recommend picking up a bottle while it’s in stock.  Let me know what you think of my Wednesday Wine pick.  Cheers!

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