This Time Last Year – Part 24: A Lazy Day in Birch Bay

Part of a series of posts that cover my travel to Greece and the USA in April/May 2016.

May 11 2016 – Birch Bay, Washington, USA

A quiet lazy grazing day eventuates. I’ve got washing to do, we’ve all got emails to catch up on. There’s a bit of a lie-in zizz.

Lunch is on the patio. Did I mention Jenise is a home cook extraordinaire? Taste and presentation every time.

Prawns and Asparagus for lunch

Leftovers from last night’s wine tasting accompany the food. I like the crisp acidity in the Grammercy Cellars Picpoul 2015 – it reminds me a little of Chablis.  Mercouri Estate Foloi Roditis / Viognier 2015 has a dry mouthfeel like you get when you suck a peach stone. It’s a crisp, fresh wine with a flinty undercurrent and a salty nuance to the finish. Both excellent with the food on the table.

Lunch with last night’s leftovers

Later in the afternoon, as a pre dinner teaser, it’s time for a little wine and cheese. Jenise has decanted the Damascenos Xinomavro 2011 – one of the wines in my gift box from the Vaeni Co-op in Naoussa, Greece. She’s also put a Californian pinot on the table.

A little bit of wine and cheese, if you please

The cheese is Cougar Gold, a rich, sharp cheddar style cheese made at the Washington State University creamery. It’s notable for being sold in a can and is recommended for ageing up to a year. It’s a perfect foil to the tannins in the xinomavro and melts in the mouth with the pinot.

Damascenos 2011 – Xinomavro from Vaeni Co-op in Naoussa, Greece

Damascenos 2011 looks a little like pinot noir in the glass. The bouquet has a dry smoky tannic quality. Dried cherries make it a little reminiscent of pinot (for me) with some interesting cigar box/smoky complexities. Smooth and almost heading towards creamy with the acidity skilfully honed. Jenise says the acidity is in the Piedmont range for her. The tannins are quite firm, heading towards nuggety, with succulent fruit and mixed spice. The ‘Cougar Gold’ cheese is an awesome match. There’s a sweetness to the cheese that balances the acidity of the wine. It’s all about harmony and contrast.

The other wine is The Fort Ross Symposium Pinot Noir 2011 from the Sonoma Coast in California. The bouquet has a very attractive spicy, savoury smoky allure and the mouhfeel is sensual with smoky bacon, juicy and ever so slightly jammy red fruits; silky tannins and a dry finish.

We sip on the patio. Sea birds roost on the gravel bank making the most of it before the tide comes in. Then they will fly away – to where, I don’t know.

Birds roosting on the tidal gravel bank at Birch Bay


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