They call it an Oyster Wine competition; after an elimination round followed by finals in three cities,10 of the original 130 entries are left standing. It's really more of an oyster promotion, created some years back by seafood marketing guru Jon Rowley for Taylor Shellfish. No matter. The winning wines (5 from Washington, 3 from California, 2 from Oregon) will see an immediate increase in sales at oyster bars around the country.
Cornichon was among the judges at the last round, held upstairs at Anthony's HomePort on Shilshole. Next to us, Maggie Savarino Dutton of The Wine Offensive twittered. At other tables, chef Kevin Davis of Steelhead Diner (whose wine list just received a special mention from the Washington Wine Association) and Nancy Leson (Seattle's only full-time, fully paid food blogger).
A very fit, shirtless man emerged onto the balcony of the neighboring apartment complex and stretched like a cat in the afternoon sun. Rowley himself sat by himself at a table overlooking the bay and the Olympics, pondering the lineup of 20 glasses, thinking of the dozens of icy Kumomotos to come. Like Hemingway in Paris, he would smell the oyster, he would chew the oyster, he would sip the wine.
And as we did this, all of us, twenty times over, following the taste of the sea with the crisp taste of the wine, we would lose the empty feeling and begin to make plans.