Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Wine Club: East Coast vs. West Coast

Last week, the East Coast and West Coast threw down in a way they haven't since we lost Biggie and Tupac (RIP). We pitted varietals against each other in an epic showdown for Wine Club! I hosted and prepared an admittedly strange combination of foods that struck me as particularly West Coast or East Coast.

We agreed to pit cabernet sauvignons and rieslings, because they're basically two of the only varietals that would give each side of the country a fair shake. We had:
  • Souverain North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon: A smooth California cab sav with notes of vanilla and mocha, along with the fruity tones of blackberry and cherry. I really liked this one!
  • Biltmore Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: A slightly fruitier varietal...very good, but I personally felt the Souverain had more depth of flavor. The Biltmore has a very nice finish, however.
  • Millbrandt Vineyards Riesling: This Washington state wine has flavors of peach, apple and key lime with a "pronounced minerality," according to the makers. It was crisp and refreshing!
  • Rapidan River Dry Riesling: For those of you who don't love a super sweet Riesling, this Virginia wine is for you! Its sweetness is balanced by acidity, making it crisp but still super drinkable.
  • Oliver Strawberry Honey Wine: This one was a just-for-fun dessert wine Erica brought from Indiana. It's super sweet but super delicious. The website recommends mixing with ginger ale to make a spritzer for enjoying poolside...GREAT idea.
  • Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel: This is a great Wine Club fall standard; it's fruity, spicy and oaky and perfect with spicy food!

To bring some West Coast flavor to our gathering, I made this delicious chicken avocado salad, which was delicious packed into some pitas. I have no idea how it would keep overnight, but when served fresh, it's super good!

I also staged a West Coast-East Coast cheddar throwdown, with Oregon's Tillamook smoked cheddar taking on Finger Lakes champagne cheddar. Both delicious, but super different flavors!

I couldn't resist buying a California roll at my local Fresh Market. It's in the name!

And for East Coast, I'm not sure why, but Italian food felt like the way to go. I made my baked gnocchi with sausage sauce and it was delicious! 

All in all, I think I would say the West Coast wines were slightly better, but the East Coast certainly held its own! Ashleigh had a funny story about shopping for her wine: her salesperson at Total Wine tried to talk her out of even trying to find an East Coast cabernet sauvignon. He said there is no competition! And there you have it. 

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