Rioja Fun

A group of us had a very tasty and fun meal at the Harvest Vine, a tapas restaurant just outside of downtown Seattle. The event was a special "Crianzas of Rioja" wine dinner with coursed Riojas (Spanish red wine). I don't have a lot of experience with riojas, so it was great to try so many with good descriptions. This was also my first time to Harvest Vine despite many, many recommendations from friends.

The meal started out with "sea urchin and trout roe lightly scrambled with aracana egg, accented with chorizo powder" and paired with Bodegas Primicia Gran Deizmo Crianza de Mazuelo 1999 (which is a very young Rioja, like Beaujoulais Nouveau). The dish was fantastic and the wine was good and interesting.

I won't bore you with the full menu/wine list (click here for that list). Sufficed to say it was great. However, I will comment on the amazing dessert. I'm not a big dessert guy, so it's hard to impress me with a super dessert. Joseph Jimenez de Jimenez (the chef, and a colorful guy with big mustache and floppy beret) and his wife Caroline (who I think is the actual mastermind behind the desserts and wine) poured a strawberry-rhubarb soup over a goat's milk gelatine (like a custard). The sweet tangy soup was a nice counter to the creamy gelatine which was also a bit tangy from the goat's milk. Great flavors and paired with a stunning El Grifo Malvasia 2001 dessert wine. Yum.

I also really liked the Lanzaga 2000 the most. We wound up buying a bottle each of the Lanzaga and El Grifo to enjoy at home (they have a retail liquor license too.)

The owners were charming, the food and wine were great, and the company (my wife Michelle plus Christopher and Kellie from work, and Kellie's friend Barbie) were super fun as always. Great evening.

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