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March Is Washington Wine Month: Please Drink Accordingly

Brace your liver for 31 days of continuing wine education.

By Allecia Vermillion February 28, 2012

March will be awash in Washington wine. Photo: Erik Skaar.

Some people in the spirits industry are gearing up for March 1 for entirely different reasons. But for our state’s wine community (and wine-drinking community), the date ushers in our annual Washington Wine Month. These weeks boast wine events aplenty, culminating with the local wine bonanza known as Taste Washington. Wine Wednesday columnist Julie H. Case will be ruminating shortly on this hallowed month and how best to celebrate it. But meanwhile, here are some already-on-the-calendar events for your consideration. If these don’t grab you, the Washington Wine Commission has set up an entire website dedicated to wine month events.

El Gaucho
The steakhouse’s annual Legendary Swirl taste-fest gathers together more than 20 of Washington’s most esteemed wineries, including Andrew Will, Betz, SYZYGY, DeLille Cellars, and Fidelitas. The $75 ticket buys you an evening of highly educational comparing and contrasting that’s less overwhelming than some of the giant wine gatherings. The host of snacks from the El Gaucho kitchen doesn’t hurt matters either.

Hat-sporting chef Thierry Rautureau may be an unabashed Frenchman, but he’s not afraid to support domestic vintages. The wine list at his Madison Valley destination restaurant includes a nicely curated selection of Washington bottles. And all of them are 50 percent off through March 29 in honor of the month.

Michael Mina’s restaurant arrived last year with serious wine bona fides, and the recurring Behind the Bottle winemaker dinners are dedicated to Washington vintners this month, namely Pepper Bridge Winery on March 13 and tReynvaan Family Vineyards on March 26. A seat at the table runs you $135, which is a solid value when you factor in the five-course tasting menu from newly installed chef Seis Kamimura. And, you know, the wine. These events attract people who know their wine, so do your homework in advance, or drink enough to fake it. Lead sommelier Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen is also planning a series of happy hours dedicated to Washington wine, to be detailed soon on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Metropolitan Market
Lest you think this month is all about shmancy dinners, the aspirational local market chain has scheduled 10 different tastings at its various locations that are totally gratis. Even better, you won’t have to surreptitiously snack from the produce section; each tasting includes pairings of either local snacks or meatier offerings like roast lamb, King salmon, and Kurobuta ham. The entire schedule will be posted here shortly.

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