Walla Walla in Montana

We hosted our first annual Walla Walla in Montana event earlier this month and it was an amazing time.  Representing the Walla Walla valley were Casey & Vicki McClellan, owners and winemaker for Seven Hills Winery.   If you haven’t had an opportunity to try the wines from Seven Hills, do yourself a favor and pick some up at your favorite bottle shop.  Casey makes fabulous wines that are extremely food friendly, a great value and are certainly worth seeking out.  Here in western Montana we consider Walla Walla our “local” wine region and are big fans and supporters of their wines.  Seven Hills was the 5th winery established in the Walla Walla valley which now boasts over 100.

Chef Coffel worked directly with Casey and the pairings for the dinner were amazing.  We started with the Alaskan King Crab with a Green Apple Gelee, Compressed Celery, Cilantro Mint Butter which paired brilliantly with the 2007 Riesling, Columbia Valley, followed by a Marcona Almond Crusted Snook (my favorite course of the evening) with Toasted Cous Cous, Marcona Almond Butter, Jicama Salad paired with the 2007 Pinot Gris; Slow Roasted Goose Breast with Seared Foie Gras, Pomegranate Glaze, Chocolate, Candied Black Trumpet Mushrooms with the 2006 Merlot, Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley; Grilled Elk Loin with Red Currant Stuffing, Smoked Turnip, Kale, Black Pepper Demi Glace paired with Seven Hill’s flagship- 2005 Pentad Vintage Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley; Bison Prime Rib with Risotto, Midnight Moon Goat Cheese, Sautéed Ramps Crispy Fiddlehead Fern with the 2006 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Vintage Red Wine, Red Mountain and finally, Strawberry Clafouti with White Peach, Pistachio, Fennel Syrup paired with the 1st course wine,  the 2007 Riesling, Columbia Valley.

In addition to the great dinner wines, we also got the opportunity to taste Seven Hills 2008 Talcott Vineyard Viognier at the Friday night reception.  It was the first time it had been tasted outside of the winery and it was a big hit.

All in all, a great weekend – we welcomed back old friends, meet new friends and all of us had a great weekend of fine wine, gourmet food, wilderness adventures, and complete relaxation – not a bad way to open the season.

-Jim Nielsen

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