Whidbey tour features decadent pairing: wine and chocolate

  • Fri Feb 5th, 2010 6:22pm
  • Life

By Sarah Jackson Herald Writer

Whidbey Island’s Red Wine &Chocolate event was such a hit last year local wineries are doing it again this year to celebrate the long Valentine’s Day weekend.

This three-day event, which drew more than 500 people in its inaugural run in 2009, will feature five stops, including Taste 4 Wines, a new shared tasting room at Bayview Corner featuring pours by Blooms Winery of Freeland and Ott &Murphy wines by Swede Hill Cellars of Clinton.

Ken Bloom with Blooms Winery can’t wait to pair his many wines with Brix chocolates.

“It’s made specifically to be consumed with wine,” he said of the chocolate he and his wife, co- winemaker Virginia Bloom, discovered when they received it as a Christmas present. “It is absolutely fabulous with wine, red wine.”

The Blooms will serve a milk chocolate to go with lightest of the reds, a semi-dark with medium-bodied reds and a super dark to match up with big, bold reds, including three vintages of their cabernet sauvignon, 2003, 2005 and 2006.

Each was made on Whidbey Island using grapes from Ken Bloom’s brother, Jim Bloom, a noted Northern California grape grower in Mendocino County north of San Francisco.

The Blooms also make white and red blends with Yakima-grown grapes as well as a rhubarb wine called Ambrosia made with viognier and estate-grown rhubarb.

“We grow awesome rhubarb. It’s an amazingly popular wine,” Bloom said. “We just bottled it a couple weeks ago.”

Bloom also hopes to feature Poetry, a 2008 blend of red grapes from Yakima.

He’s just waiting for state approval of the labels.

“People say it’s the best we’ve ever done,” Bloom said.

Greenbank Farm, which is also hosting a Sweetheart Market Feb. 13 and 14, will also feature Puget Sound wines as part of the event, with award-winning treats made by George Brunjes of Chocolates by George in Langley. Winemakers from FishTalk Vineyard of Freeland will also be pouring wines at Greenbank Farm.

If you want to sip wines surrounded by rows of dormant vines, you can visit Greenbank Cellars and Holmes Harbor Cellars, both of Greenbank, and Whidbey Island Winery of Langley, which is celebrating the new decade — and nearly 20 years of vintages — with newly designed labels.

No matter what you do on the tour, you’ll be supporting Whidbey Island winemakers.

Spoiled Dog Winery, a new Langley winery making estate-bottled pinot noir, is also a member of the Taste 4 Wines co-op.

Though winemakers won’t be offering tastes at the event, dog lovers Jack and Karen Krug plan to release a pinot noir and other offerings this spring.

Diane Kaufman, co-owner of Swede Hill Cellars, with her husband, David Ott, and Eric Murphy, said the tasting room, which opened in August, has been a boon to their business.

“Without the tasting room we couldn’t have been profitable this year. We’ve done way better than we thought we would,” she said. “We are kind of blazing a trail here.”

Sarah Jackson: 425-339-3037, sjackson@heraldnet.com.