April 29th was a typical Seattle Spring Saturday that started out with windy conditions and rain. That was quickly forgotten once you entered the halls of the Century Link Event Center.
The air is fragrant with wisps of sweet and savory offerings that linger down the aisles. There is a buzz of anticipation as countdown starts before the first patrons are to enter. Corks are being pulled, amuse bouches are prepared and ordered perfectly onto decorative trays.
My friend and I stood for a moment to survey the scene and wondered where to start first? We were slightly giddy and just plain overwhelmed by the choices spread out before us. But being VIP ticket holders, we had the advantage over the general public of being allowed in one slim hour ahead to get to all the good items we’d missed out on in the previous year’s event.
But we had a plan! Oysters, great wines, best wines, new wineries and lots of spitting.
Starting with the Taylor Shellfish Fresh bar; it’s a 40 foot long ice table with oyster shuckers shuckering those tiny, tasty cold water creatures. They featured the sweet little Kumamotos, then the Olympia and Shigokus. Served classically with lemon quarters and mignonette sauces to compliment, it was a delicate start to the day.
How fortunate for us that the organizers placed the chilled wine bar right next to the shellfish. A wonderland of Sauvignon Blancs, Semillions, Aligotes, Chenin Blancs, Rieslings – we were very happy.
The aisles are listed A to Z so even though we had our winery playbooks out, we still had a hard time finding wineries. You would get pulled this way and that by beckoning smiling pourers waving their bottles at us, or being waylaid by friends from wine school or other wine industry related associations.
Before we knew it, The VIP hour flew by and to our dismay, we’d only made it to the ‘B’s by the time the hordes descended. We did our best to finish up the whites but did some zig zagging and finally gave up any ordered tasting march and just enjoyed it.
I came prepared to dump my tastes or spit into my little paper cup which I finally mastered by the end of the event. This avoids the danger of just glugging down every taste you get, which after 4 hours could be detrimental to your equilibrium, and is just not very professional or pretty. I am happy to report that we both came away with sound mind and with the help of the many water stations set up throughout the venue, the ability to drive ourselves home.
If I had the space I could regale you with every wine we tasted. Suffice it to say, we tasted as many cab francs, syrahs, merlots that we could find. If it was from Walla Walla, yes give me some. From Red Mountain, bring it on. Tasty cab sauvs were from Betz. So many tasty offerings it was hard to choose or single them out. You’ll just have go next year.