Pearrygin State Park
We just got home from a couple of days in the trailer at Pearrygin State Park in Winthrop. Our visit found a mix of rain, thunderstorms, gray skies, and intermittent sunshine. And at this time of year the entire landscape stretches out in shades of green, the straw and brown tones of the hot summer as yet nowhere in sight.
click images for larger views!
We don’t get to the Methow Valley very often, but when we do we are always struck by the beauty of the area. The near views present plants and trees in a lighter color range and density than we are used to here on the Wet Side, and the panoramas of steep hills add a definite drama to the landscape. Because the contrast between here and there increases as the Eastern slope gets hotter and dryer, a short trip over the mountains can fill your wet tank and your dry tank very nicely in a single day…one of the wonders of Northwest living…something about that contrast nourishes the soul somehow, don’t you think?
Duck Brand Hotel and Cantina
For us, no visit to Winthrop would be complete without a stop at the Duck Brand, a singular establishment near the center of Winthrop that dates back some 120 years; the original building still stands nearby. On this occasion we met up for lunch with fellow Lummi Islanders Jo Ann and Tom P. and Jim and Ellen R., coincidentally camping at the same park (no, I am not making this up!). I recommend the duck breast quesadilla shown at left… (very tasty!).
And we shared a little dish of the last four pan-fired jalapenos in the place (so, no, these are not grasshoppers!). This was our first exposure to this flavorful method of pan-frying peppers in olive oil and rolling in salt, very simple, and which brings out the flavor of the pepper as well as the heat. CAUTION: individual peppers vary WILDLY in their comparative fire…taste first, pop later!
Despite the many charms of the Methow Valley, no trip would be complete without a stop at Lost River Winery, of which we have written on numerous occasions. Yesterday, although the tasting room was closed and we had not heard back on our emails and phone calls, by serendipity we happened by just at the time that winemaker (and former Whatcom County Engineer) John Morgan was driving in to meet with another account. That turned out to be Mike Cooney, owner of The Vogue….A Liquid Lounge in Lake Chelan, a sort of wine & espresso bar. He is also owner of a vintage 1979 VW camper van, still looking good and going strong (all you need to know is that I have owned one VW van or another for most of the last 30 years!). We had a great time tasting through the current Lost River lineup with Mike and his daughter. The Vogue sounds like a great place to visit, and the next time we are anywhere near Chelan we will certainly make it a point to visit, and so should you!
Not surprisingly, we liked a lot of the wines we tasted, and we have brought back a bunch. Therefore this weekend’s tasting will be entirely Lost River wines. See the list below for details. I think their wines just keep getting better and better, and I know you will like them!
This Week’s Tasting: Lost River Latest Releases
Lost River Pinot Gris ’12 Washington $15
Aromas of citrus, pear and tropical fruits. Their most popular wine, the crisp acidity is balanced with a small amount of residual sugar.
Lost River Rose’12 Washington $15
Merlot and cabernet franc, harvested early to preserve crisp acidity and bright notes of strawberry and cherry. Maybe even better than last year!
Lost River Rainshadow ’12 Washington $15
60% Semillon and 40% Sauvignon Blanc Crisp, fruity, and bright, a classic Bordeaux blend.
Lost River Cote-Wall ’09 Washington $25
Co-fermented from syrah and viognier harvested on the same day, this lovely syrah shows deep layers of stone fruits and black pepper that grab your attention from the first sniff.
Lost River Merlot ’09 Washington $21
A near perfect vintage for Washington Merlot; notes of black currant, cassis, cherry, and licorice.