On the Second Day a Viognier

Maryhill Viognier With Thai Food

As we move to the 2nd day of our “12 days of Wine” we head to Washington to pair a Washington Viognier with one of our favorite traditional holiday foods, Thai take out!  Yep…Carry out at the holidays always takes me back to “A Christmas Story”.

on the 2nd Day…

Maryhill Winery 2017 Viognier Columbia Valley

We were lucky enough to visit Maryhill back during harvest and get a behind the scenes look at their winery, as well as take in the spectacular views.  This beautiful Viognier was sent to us as a sample for review following our visit.

This wine is 100% Viognier, has a touch of residual sugar and was partially fermented on oak staves. Here is a bit from the winery on the vintage:

“2017 was a warmer than average year and the growing season began slowly. Bud break occurred
a couple of weeks later than usual, especially when compared to the last few harvests. The late
bud break was due to the substantial cold weather that occurred in Washington State during the
winter of 2016. Temperatures then rose dramatically in late June through July. The extreme heat
caused vines to shut down, which further delayed harvest. Some grapes that are customarily
picked early were harvested significantly later than historical dates, although this varied
throughout the state. The upsides to the lengthened harvest were longer hang times and
agreeable flavor development in the red varietals that need more time to age on the vine. In
white varietals, acids were held which resulted in improved balance. Wines from this vintage
will age longer if red, and whites will have more pronounced zing.”

Cassie with Maryhill included a fun fact when she responded to me:

“Fun fact – Maryhill is the largest producer of Viognier in the northwest and best selling in the northwest, also the 2nd best-selling in the nation.”

The winery pulls from the Columbia Valley AVA and this wine is 35% Tudor Hills Vineyard, 26% Gunkel Vineyards (Estate), 23% Coyote Canyon Vineyard and 16% McKinley Springs Vineyard.

Viognier and Asian Takeout

Maryhill Viognier with  Lemongrass & Lime Thai food.
Maryhill Viognier with Lemongrass & Lime Thai food.

In addition Cassie was kind enough to send some suggestions for food pairings:

“Suggested food pairings.. Spicy Asian food due to the natural sweetness in Viognier. Viognier also works in wine and food pairings with a wide variety of seafood and shellfish, roasted or grilled chicken, veal, pork, spicy flavors and Asian cuisine.”

As I said before, my brain went straight to Thai Takeout and there is a new place nearby I had been wanting to try. So…off we went to Lemongrass & Lime  It was cloudy and rainy so soup seemed like a no brainer.

They had a pumpkin coconut milk soup on special so we picked that up, as well as some Tom Yum with Shrimp, Pad Thai with Shrimp, and Orange Peel Chicken.  We went with spice level 3 (the waitress alerted me that 5 was pretty spicy and 10 well…)

The Viognier and the pairing

When you put your nose in the glass it is undeniably Viognier, with beeswax and honeysuckle.  This had some warmth and spice from the oak staves.  It is comfortable with a medium body and it went well with all the food.

I found I enjoyed it to balance the spice in the Tom Yum soup and the Pad Thai and that it really accentuated the flavor of the coconut milk in the soup.

Maryhill Winery Courtesy of Washington Wine Board
Maryhill Winery Courtesy of Washington Wine Board

If you find yourself in Washington, Maryhill is worth looking up, they have spectacular views of the Columbia Gorge, a lovely tasting room and often live music on the weekends.

Tasting Room

9774 Hwy 14
Goldendale, WA 98620
Open Daily 10am – 6pm
Phone: +1 (509) 773-1976

Want more?  Click through to all of our 12 Days of Wine posts!

As always be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date on all of our posts.  For more on Maryhill Vineyards

Bella Luna Winery

Bella Luna Winery

Ages ago we had tasted some of the Bella Luna wines at a tasting at Vino 100 here in Vegas. Their Fighter Pilot Red as well as the guy pouring Kevin Healy were both memorable.

Bella Luna Trucks in Yard

Bella Luna Trucks in Yard

On our last trip to Paso Robles we were driving the east side early in the morning for some great photos in the rolling hills and decided to stop by.  The winery is located in Templeton off of Templeton Road.  We drove up to the tasting room.  This looks like a 2 car garage with an apartment above.  The tasting room is downstairs and upstairs is the winery loft apartment.  Members of their 6 or 12 bottle clubs get one or two nights free stay here. You will typically find one of the owners Kevin Healey or Sherman Smoot pouring.  This morning it was Sherm.

Bella Luna Winery Tasting Room

Bella Luna Winery Tasting Room

When we arrived at around 10 there was already a quartet of people in the tasting room.  These were wine club members and they were tasting through their next shipment.  Before we jumped into tasting Sherm asked if we had left our car windows open.  Evidently the vineyard cat loves to nap in cars and more than a few guests have gotten a ways down the road and had a little cat head pop up in the back seat!  We had a chuckle, assured him our windows were closed and set about tasting.

Their Estate Vineyard is Carly’s Vineyard, named for Sherm’s daughter.  This 5 acre estate gets cool moist evening breezes from the Templeton Gap.  The 5 acres also has 4 different soil types.  “Rock Pile” is alluvial river bottom soil with lots of rocks and this section produced the most intense fruit.  There is an area of clay loam that holds the most moisture, and then sandy loam on their southeast hill, where the Cabernet seems to grow best.  In the bottom you find loamy soil, the Cab likes this too and does well because in the bottom they get later frost protection.  They dry farm organically and head train both their Sangiovese and cabernet.

They are working on being greener,  having recently added solar panels to generate power for the winery.

This is a family affair with Sherm, Kevin and Sherm’s son, Jimmy working as the winemakers and Kevin’s Daughter Nicole their Enologist and Viticulturist.

Bella Luna Fighter Pilot Red

Bella Luna Fighter Pilot Red

Their wines are meant to go with food in the fine Italian tradition. We tasted through the 2012 Estate Dry Rose, the 2009 Estate Riserva which is a Cabernet Sauvignon/Sangiovese blend, the 2010 Estate Sangiovese, the 2011 “Fighter Pilot Red” Zinfandel, the 2009 Lot One Barbera and the 2009 Tempestuous Tempranillo.   The Fighter Pilot Red, that I remembered tasting before was still beautiful in this vintage.  As the wines are in the Italian Style and are meant to go with food, they tend to lean toward acidic.  This is the place to come for a wine dinner or pairing, these are beautiful food wines.