Sunday, September 18, 2011

Summer's Last Stand

This week marked the last week of summer here in Washington. Though the past few weeks of sun and above-70 degree temperatures seemed out of the ordinary, it's hard to welcome the 50-60 degree misting and grey skies that mark the onslaught of Washington's fallwinterspring season. The bright side is pumpkin flavored treats, a rekindled interest in drinking tea, and the chunky sweaters that can be brought out of storage and worn again.

Inspired by's end-of-summer everything-peaches recipes and our local gourmet grocery store's Peach-O-Rama month, I planned on making a peach and brie quesadilla with peach salsa and drinking a Pinot Grigio/Gris as a pairing. Unfortunately, I decided to have a lemon drop (or two) between dicing up peaches and ended up forgetting about the Pinot Gris I'd bought entirely. Tipsy and covered in melted brie, I ended up saving the wine for a time when my palate wasn't completely destroyed by Absolut Citron and sugared martini glass rims. The peach quesadillas were delicious though, and I'd recommend giving them a try if you still have great peach prices in the store (they're still 99 cents a pound in Safeway).

Peachy rambling aside, I ended up rediscovering my 2009 Chateau Ste. Michelle Pinot Gris ($8.99) this week and thoroughly enjoyed it regardless of my criminally terrible pairing (a brown rice make-shift Yumm bowl). This Pinot Gris embodied everything I love about a good Pinot Gris: a beautiful oaky-yellow color, a fruity and floral bouquet without being sweet, and a dry finish that made the wine seem almost sparkling. Though Ben swore that he couldn't smell the notes of the bouquet (he'd been cooking onions), it distinctly smelled of pears. The finish was oaky and well-rounded with lingering notes of pear. Though we paired it horribly, I'd suggest seafood with this wine. The Wine Enthusiast awarded this Pinot Gris 88 points and it's well worth every single one. If you're a fan of dryer Pinot Gris (this wine is definitely dryer than the Columbia Crest Two Vines Pinot Gris I tried the other day), this is the perfect, well-priced wine for you.

I know that I'm constantly trying Washington wines, often from Chateau Ste. Michelle, but this winery never seems to disappoint and I often find that their wines are not only the best value but embody the best characteristics of the varietals. If you're in-need of a good wine and don't have time to hunt around the wine aisle, head to Washington wines and pick up a Chateau Ste. Michelle wine.

As a deviation from my normal wine writing, I feel compelled to share with you the above-mentioned lemon drop recipe as it turned my summer lemon-centric and turned some dull parties into great ones:

Absolut Lemon Drops
3 shots Absolut Citron
1 shot Triple Sec
Juice of 1/2 lemon

In a large shaker combine ice, 3 shots of Absolut Citron, 1 shot of Triple Sec (increase or decrease depending on your desired sweetness level), the juice of half a lemon (again, modify depending on your tastes). Sugar the rims of two martini glasses, shake, and pour. And then beware, these lemon drops are extremely strong.

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