Since its inception in 1988, the Auction of Washington Wines has raised more than $23 million, with this year’s dinner-auction bringing in a perfectly respectable $1.5 million for both uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Washington Wine Education Foundation. Cornichon's alter-blogger (and alter-eater/drinker) Jacqueline Pruner attended this year's opening picnic and barrel tasting. Here's her illustrated report.
About 100 wines from across the state were poured at the kickoff on the grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle. Impending rain didn’t keep moisture-loving Washingtonians from enjoying a tasty picnic presented by Andaluca and Tulalip Resort Casino.
Chef Wayne Johnson--celebrating ten years at Andaluca--came up with a mojo grilled chicken with soft polenta (not much of a polenta fan, but I really enjoyed it); Tulalip chef David Buchanan served a sweet-meets-savory, blackberry-glazed Copper River salmon; and Chef Charles Ramseyer (back in Seattle after a figurative brush with death in New York) and with help from the students of the Seattle Culinary Academy--presented BBQ-perfect sides like mesquite-grilled asparagus & heirloom tomatoes and green pea and Tillamook cheddar salad – both worth going back for seconds. Or thirds.
The highlight came from Dean Shinagawa – Chef and GM of Tulalip Bay Restaurant, on the right in the photo below -- who provided a Thai-style pesto-crusted filet mignon, served with Yukon gold potato hash, baby mixed greens, Oregon blue cheese, and raspberry mint dressing. The filet literally melted in the mouth and had by far the most complex flavor mix of the evening. A treat with virtually any of the wines!