Washington Barbera: Lost Mountain Winery Delivers a Food Pairing Success

What comes to mind when you think of Italian wine? Barolo, Sangiovese, Asti Spumante, or the popular rule-breaking Super Tuscans? I normally do. But a few weeks ago, I was re-introduced to Barbera in, of all places a winery on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State – hundreds of miles away from grape growing territory.

I was researching Mt. Townsend Creamery, an artisanal cheese making company in Port Townsend. Their three cheeses have become hugely successful in a short time

view counter

and I wanted to find out more about them: Cirrus, a camembert style, Seastack, a Chaorce style (cow’s milk cheese masquerading as goat’s milk), and Trailhead, an aged Tomme style. Of course, when food people get together talk turns to wine pairings. We tossed ideas around, and agreed that you need a wine with some acid to cut through the fat in the cheeses. Beaujolais and Sparkling wines seemed to fit the bill.

Ok, I thought, that works for me. Then I started to think. I’ve visited Port Townsend nearly every year for the 13 years I’ve lived in Seattle – it’s a beautiful little Victorian port town, a charming weekend getaway. But I’ve always ignored the wineries west of town. After all, they don’t actually grow the grapes here, so what’s the point? This time I decided to get beyond my own snobbery and check a few of them out in what I thought would be a quixotic quest to match a locally produced wine to these local cheeses.

I found what I wanted at my second stop – Lost Mountain Winery, at the edge of the Olympic Mountains. The directions said that it was six miles off the main highway, but I became nervous as the nose of my car maintained a vertical tilt, climbing ever higher. The snow banks on the sides of the road were alarming, as was the steep drop in temperature.

For more than 25 years, The California Wine Club founders Bruce and Pam Boring have explored all corners of California’s wine country to find award-winning, handcrafted wine to share with the world. Each month, the club features a different small family winery and hand selects two of their best wines for members.