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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 1, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 5
Sweet, Savory, and Scenic! Red wine and chocolate on the Olympic Peninsula
Arts & Entertainment
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Sweet, Savory, and Scenic! Red wine and chocolate on the Olympic Peninsula

What could be better than sharing chocolate and a perfectly paired red wine surrounded by the natural beauty of the Olympic Peninsula? Take your Valentine - or a group of friends - and indulge the senses during the Olympic Peninsula Wineries' Red Wine & Chocolate Tour, to take place over two delicious weekends, February 9-10 and 16-18 (Presidents' Day weekend), from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

See the snow-capped Olympic Mountains, fertile farmlands, and scenic Strait of Juan de Fuca; hear the pounding of copper hearts, the clinking of glasses, and the happy chatter of friends; taste the subtle flavors that come alive in hand-crafted wines paired with the perfect sweet or savory chocolate; feel the plush softness of cashmere scarves honoring American Heart Month (February); and smell the delicious aromas of cocoa-rubbed slow-roasted pork and Chocolate Chile Molé. Red Wine & Chocolate on the Olympic Peninsula is a full sensory experience to be enjoyed for a day or over a long Presidents' Day weekend.

Tickets for the self-guided tour are available online for $30 and include a commemorative wine glass and wine and chocolate tasting at all wineries. Independently, each winery charges a $5.00 tasting fee. Visit www.olympicpeninsulawineries.org or call 1-800-785-5495 for further information.

A SENSUAL JOURNEY
In Port Angeles, Olympic Cellars, Camaraderie Cellars, and Harbinger and Black Diamond Wineries will take visitors' senses on a sweet and savory journey.

'The Best of Red Wine & Chocolate' kicks-off a year-long commemoration of all of Olympic Cellars 'Bests' as 'Chief Working Girl' Kathy Charlton moves behind the scenes into a consulting role and co-owner Lisa Martin takes the helm. The winery will bring back past Red Wine & Chocolate favorites, including Cashmere, Cabernet & Chocolate and Copper Heart Pounding with Master Coppersmith Walter Massey, while adding a new tasting twist - chocolate bark incorporated with cherries, almonds, sea salt, and orange for special wine pairings. The winery will pair its new release 2009 Syrah, rich, spicy and full-bodied, with vegetarian Chocolate Chili Molé, a 'Best' from 2009.

From Olympic Cellars, a 10-minute westward drive along Highway 101 will take visitors to Camaraderie Cellars, where winemaker Don Corson will pair his newly released 2009 Syrah with Camaraderie's signature cocoa spice-rubbed pulled pork, cooked in an outdoor wood-fired oven. Chocolate drizzled popcorn, a sweet and salty combination, will complement Camaraderie's sassy Tempranillo, and Molly Baby bittersweet chocolate cookies are especially delicious paired with Corson's luscious Merlot. All these culinary delights can be enjoyed in the winery's lovely garden setting.

SHARE YOUR SECRETS
Sara Gagnon, winemaker at neighboring Harbinger Winery, invites visitors to 'get their umami on' with the winery's 'holy trinity sample,' the award-winning Dynamo Red Wine paired with Harbingers' own chocolate/potato chip invention. Afterwards, visitors can blast into another realm via a Petite Sirah-infused 'chocolate rocket,' and share their 'dirty little wine secrets' in the 'Confession Room' while trying a secret bonus pairing that inspires one to be a better wine drinker! Bar Hop Brewery, co-located at the winery, will treat beer lovers to their annual Venezuelan Chocolate Porter.

On the way back into Port Angeles proper, fruit-wine lovers won't want to miss a stop at Black Diamond, an estate winery sitting on 20 acres overlooking Tumwater Creek. Raspberry wine will be featured during the tour, paired with chocolate truffles and chocolate pomegranate pieces.

WIND ROSE CELLARS OPENS SEQUIM TASTING ROOM
Continuing eastward from Port Angeles, tour-goers can check out Wind Rose Cellars' new tasting room in downtown Sequim (143 W. Washington St.), and enjoy four Italian wine varieties paired with chocolates by local chocolatier Cocoa d'Amici - and some extra elbow room! A VIP area will feature additional one-on-one wine and chocolate pairings with the winemaker.

FairWinds and Eaglemount Wineries, both located in the historic seaport city of Port Townsend, offer more fun, delectable pairings - and cider!

Visitors can once again experience the tallest chocolate fountain on the Peninsula at FairWinds Winery - back by popular demand - with a delicious assortment of fruits and sweets for dipping. The rich, dark chocolate pairs exceptionally well with FairWinds' Port O' Call, and the combination has been described as giving tasters 'happy mouth!' Visitors can also enjoy the latest vintages of Gewürztraminer and Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend, and taste barrel samples of the soon-to-be-released 2005 Champeaux Vineyards Cabernet and a 2005 Merlot.

CIDER FROM LOCAL APPLES
Eaglemount Wine & Cider crafts fine wines as well as hard ciders made from apples grown on its homestead orchard. Apple varieties include Gravenstein, Winter Banana, Jonathan, Roxbury russet, and more. Visitors can sample wines, ciders, and a newly released Malbec Port - paired with truffles and caramels by Chocolate Serenade.

Tour-goers from the Seattle and Kitsap areas can start or end their trip with a not-to-be-missed stop at Finnriver Farm in Chimacum, an unincorporated area of East Jefferson County just outside Port Townsend. Finnriver is a 33-acre organic family farm and artisan cidery offering hard ciders, dessert wines, and spirits from organic and homestead fruits. Owners Keith and Crystie Kisler welcome Red Wine & Chocolate guests to sample their sweet brandy wines and fine craft ciders, including a special 'Valentine's' release of ripe, red Raspberry Wine with Apple Brandy and a lively Cranberry Rosehip winter seasonal cider. Sweets and savories will include artisan wood-fire pizza with Sauce Chocolat Salé, a French salted chocolate sauce by Jennifer Michele Chocolat, and Finnriver black currant Brandywine truffles made locally by Elevated Candy Company.

Special pricing will be available at most wineries throughout both event weekends.

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