13 Sep 2010
Paul Gregutt has written the book on Washington wine…literally. Paul’s book, Washington Wines and Wineries; Second Edition, provides an in-depth look at the history, viticulture, and wine making of the second largest wine producing region in the United States. Paul, wine contributor to Seattle Times and Spokesman Review and contributing editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine has covered Washington wine for 25 years. His longevity and vast tasting experience contribute to making this book the quintessential reference on Washington wine.
“Washington has moved out of the shadows of California. My sincere hope is that this book will help you understand what makes this state and its wines unique and memorable, so that you can make your own delicious discoveries.” P. Gregutt
As I read through Washington Wines and Wineries, the yellow glow of my Sharpie highlighter grew more and more with each page. Several times, since the first read through, I’ve returned to the book as a reference or a quick insight. Paul’s years of writing come through as each section is entertaining and informative. The book is divided into two main parts;
Part 1: History and Terroir – this section’s 77 pages cover the brief history of Washington viticulture, the AVA’s, grapes and the top 20 vineyards. Of particular enjoyment to me was the exploration of Paul’s “best varietally bottled” list of several wine grapes. While highly debatable, I found Paul’s list to be quite accurate as I related it to my significantly inferior experience.
Part 2: Winery Profiles – The heart of the book, with over 200 pages, Mr. Gregutt rates 205 wineries as 5 star, 4 star, 3 star or rising star. An awkwardly placed “want more” section highlights an additional 30 wineries of potential noteworthiness. In all, Paul’s ratings are of course subjective in nature, but can be tempered with his experience and knowledge of Washington wine.
Some argue Paul’s bias is for Walla Walla wines, based on his homes proximity in Waitsburg. While I can see the point, with 90% of Walla Walla’s wineries being reference in the book (approximately 40% of the remaining wineries in the state get a nod), one person would be hard pressed to provide an accurate accounting of all of Washington’s 700 wineries. While the book does not give an accounting for Paul’s opinion on every Washington winery and vineyard, it does provide a comprehensive guide for some of the best Washington has to offer.
As with any book of this nature, change is bound to make information quickly outdated. Paul’s reference to Spokane’s Lone Canary winery as a ‘rising star’ does not take into account the recent sale (Summer 2009), and the dismissal of winemaker Mike Scott (Spring 2010). While I still feel that Lone Canary is a rising star (even at 7 years old), the oversight of information is one that the editors should have taken note of.
I was also quite proud to discover five area wineries made Paul’s 5/4/3/rising star lists and a total of eight Spokane wineries were called out for their “best varietally bottled” wines. A more in-depth accounting of these can be found at Spokane Wine Magazine’s web site. Taking into account that Paul probably has little to no experience with newcomers Nodland Cellars, Liberty Lake Cellars, Vintage Hill, Barili, and Overbluff (all new in the last 4 years); a great majority of Spokane wines are honored.
Washington Wines and Wineries; Second Edition, is a must have for anyone interested in Washington wine and should be a part of any wine lover’s book collection. The aggregate of information, history, and winery profiles make for a valuable reference and resource. The book is a great companion for wine aficionados and explorers alike. Shop on Amazon.com or ask for it at your local book retailer. For more information on Washington wine, visit Paul Gregutt’s daily wine blog at www.paulgregutt.com.
Review from Sean Sullivan; Washington Wine Report http://www.wawinereport.com/2010/08/washington-wines-wineries-indispensable.html
Review from Wine Beer Washington http://wine-beer-washington.com/wine/paul-gregutts-second-edition-washington-wines-and-wineries/
10 Aug 2010
When you think of backyard BBQ by the pool, what typically comes to mind? Burgers, hot dogs and if you’re going gourmet, maybe some chicken, fish or steak. How about if you’re boating all day, what ends up in your cooler? Chances are it is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, some fruit, and maybe a juice box or two. Can you do gourmet cooking on the back of a boat? With a little bit of prep and the book Back of the Boat Gourmet Cooking you can be eating in style with creative, fun and easy to prepare dishes.
Why a cookbook review on a wine blog? Back of the Boat Gourmet Cooking is written by two local Spokane writers, Bonnie Clark and William Maltese, AND the majority of the recipes in the book feature wine pairings! I love this concept and would love to see more cookbooks move this direction (even if just generic varietal suggestions). Bonnie and her husband Bruce are avid boaters. While their gourmet adventures started quite modestly with sandwiches and chips, Bruce and Bonnie quickly learned that with the use of small hibachi grill (gas or propane), a few essential tools and some basic ingredients, there was more to the world of weekend cuisine than weenies and burgers. William, Bonnie’s cousin, avid boater and accomplished author of over 200 books eloquently states in the prologue:
“Of course, for those of you who don’t own a boat, large or small, probably never will, or don’t really ever want to, there’s nothing here that you can’t whip up just as easily on solid ground, whether or not at a back yard barbecue, or on a picnic, or just while camping out.”
Back of the Boat Gourmet Cooking is laid out like a typical cookbook with thought out categories including Starters and Snacks, Eggs, Salads, Fish and Seafood, Pasta (yes on a boat), Pizza and even Dessert. Each of Bonnie’s tried and true recipes provides the ingredient list along with sections that outline any prep that needs to be done “at home” and how to prepare “on the boat.” As I thumbed through the 100+ recipes, I couldn’t help but notice how simple yet flavorful most of the meals seemed to be. It was also exciting to see many Spokane wines featured as the suggested wine pairing.
Curious, I decided to put a recipe to the test. While I’m not a boat owner, I’m always looking for new barbecue creations. My eyes landed on page 80, “Inside out Blue Cheese Buffalo Burgers”
- 1 ½ pound of ground beef or buffalo
- 4 ounces of blue cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup French’s French Fried Onions
- 3-4 pepperoncinis, minced
- 2 tablespoons of wine or water
- Jalapeno Focaccia bread
While Bonnie and William explain in more detail about grilling and cooking (with a few side notes as well), the basics are you mash all the ingredients together (except the bread) and form patties to cook (see pictures). A few minutes on each side the grill and some condiments and you’re eating a gourmet burger. For boating / camping purposes, you would pre-make and refrigerate the patties to cut down on prep time. The suggested wine pairings were three locals Grande Ronde Cellars “Cellar Red”, Whitestone Winery Lake Roosevelt Red, and Townshend Cellars Malbec. Each of these are great wines but we paired it with a 2005 Nodland Cellars Red Blend. The result, a delectable gourmet burger!
Back of the Boat Gourmet Cooking is a must have for any person or family that enjoys camping, boating or is in need of some quick fun and tasty barbecue recipes. The book is available on Amazon.com and locally at Aunties Bookstore (currently order only), at a suggested retail of $14.99.
Win a Gourmet Basket and More
Bonnie and William have a limited number of books available locally that they will sell for $12 to anyone contacting them and mentioning this review (contact info below)
One lucky person will win a gourmet basket that includes the following:
- Signed copy of Back of the Boat Gourmet Cooking
- All ingredients to make the recipe Strawberries Dipped in Xocai Chocolate Fondue
- Extra Xocai (pronounced “show*sigh”) Chocolate
- Bottle of recommended wine – Latah Creek Muscat Cannelli
*Due to availability winner must able to pick up prize in Spokane
Here is how you enter to win:
Go to http://www.facebook.com/backoftheboatgourmetcooking and become their fan. Leave a comment here indicating that you did. That’s it. Contest goes for 1 week. One lucky winner will be cooking poolside (or on the boat, campsite, etc) in no time!
Bon Appetit and Drink Happy!
13 Jul 2010
Fancy yourself a social media guru? Think you know it all when it comes to implementing a successful social media strategy? Are you a business or brand, just now thinking of taking a bite out of Twitter and Facebook? Quick Bites (Rick Bakas, Baldwin Press 2010) book has something for everyone.
I first met Rick Bakas in November 2009 when I jumped into blogging. Being the new kid to the playground I knew enough to watch the other kids to see who was an influencer, who was a bully and who the popular kids were. I quickly saw how Rick used social media to engage people in his work with the St. Supery brand. In fact, this very concept is bite number 61 in the book, “Engage Influencers.”
“Find people on social media sites that align with your brand who can become brand ambassadors…” (There is more to it, but I’ll let you discover it yourself)
Rick was even kind enough to provide a quote for an article I was writing. I misspelled his name in the article and to make matters worse, I did it again about a month later by misspelling his title. Feeling slightly embarrassed, I reached out and offered my genuine apology. Rick was gracious to forgive.
Forward the clock several months into the future, Rick announces the launch of his new book, Quick Bites 75 Savory Tips for Social Media Success, on May 6 during one of his signature Twitter tasting events. I immediately ordered the book. Why? Why would I order a book, having very little knowledge of what its contents would be?
- I know Rick and I’ve seen him in action. Whether you agree with his approach or not, he is seeing results.
- He has a track record of success. From his days at NIKE to working on accounts like the Denver Broncos and Oregon State University, Rick has shown he knows a thing or two about branding.
- Trust. Over the month’s I’ve grown to trust that Rick’s message through twitter was consistent, sincere and engaging.
When you receive the book, be prepared…it is not something you necessarily sit down and read like a self help book or novel. In fact, it’s only 80 half sized pages in length. This is a book of aha moments, reminders, and behavior motivators. I would venture to guess that even the majority of the top “gurus” out there could be reminded of a few things.
I’m going through a crisis of action with my brand as I work through the next steps of leveraging momentum for business ideas. I have to say, I keep a copy of Quick Bites next to my PC just as a friendly reminder. Whether it’s from the seemingly no brainer #8 “Don’t be a Spammer,” to the ouch reminder #24, “Be Humble,” I’ve been inspired to create a more consistent brand and message with every bite that I digest.
Quick Bites is a cookbook full of ingredients to be successful using Social Media. I highly recommend it for anyone serious about developing their brand using Twitter, Facebook and other social tools. If you’re a business that doesn’t know a tweet from a twit, consider this your first bites to chew on. One important reminder that crosses over from cooking to social media is the last item in the book:
Know When to Turn It Off
Just like in cooking if you forget to turn it off, you’ll end up burning out and ruining the whole thing.