This past weekend I had the good fortune to attend Taste Washington, an extravaganza of Washington State wines put on in a few places around the country every year. I was at the mothership incarnation of the thing, in Seattle, a mighty cool town (like you need me to tell you). For me, festivities started off with a seminar I led, in which three of our former F&W Best New Chefs—Johnathan Sundstrom of Lark, Jason Wilson of Crush, and Ethan Stowell of Union (and Tavolàta, How to Cook a Wolf, and the new Anchovies & Olives)—chose some of their favorite Washington wines to pair with recipes made with some of their favorite Washington foodstuffs.
I left it to the chefs to do most of the talking, meanwhile enjoying the heck out of the pairings they'd come up with. First up, Ethan Stowell produced a local mussels-fennel-citrus salad—details forthcoming, as I was too busy moderating to take notes—to go with the 2007 Mark Ryan Klipsun Vineyard Viognier ($29) from Red Mountain. Along with the other Viogniers I tasted throughout the weekend, it made a strong case for Washington as an impressive source for New World Viogniers that can balance the grape's natural lushness against a good spine of acidity.