How We Create Splash! Dinners

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We believe we have a unique process for how we develop winemaker dinners at TASTE. The winemakers who have partnered with the TASTE team have echoed that sentiment and they have encouraged us to share what’s behind the scenes. Once we’ve chosen the featured winemaker, we sit down with the selected wines and a tableful of raw ingredients including: several types of cheeses, raw sauces and vinaigrettes, cooked and cured meats, seared and smoked fish, briny olives and capers, savory cocoa nibs and bittersweet chocolate, dried and fresh fruits, assorted nuts, raw and pickled onions, stewed tomatoes and hot peppers.

About six of us (the restaurant director, chefs, manager, winery representatives) will taste each wine, noting the aromas, flavors, complexities or nuances. We then discuss potential pairings and the weight of each wine to determine its placement in the order of the dinner. Next, we taste raw ingredients according to how each wine speaks to us. We continue to discuss the matrix of flavors and narrow down the pairing possibilities for each wine to two-to-four strong matches. Finally, we create a first-round of dishes that are based on those flavors and the potential order of how the wines will be served.

Within 48 hours of the initial discussion, executive chef, Craig Hetherington, will have created a dish for each wine/course that embodies the flavor palate the group established in round one. We taste each wine again with its respective dish in the intended order and discuss the nuances of the pairings. Some pairings are spot-on and others require some tweaking of the dish so that the flavor combinations are mutually and fully beneficial.

Finally, just before the wine dinner, chef Craig takes a random sample from each flight of wines and tests them against each dish to make certain there aren’t any issues with the wines and food. He makes any necessary minor adjustments and finalizes the presentation of each dish before the TASTE team begins production for dinner.

As for why we invest this kind of effort: We at TASTE have always supported our local producers and artisans, which is why we feature wines only from the Northwest. We want to provide the most intimate experience for our guests at our Splash! wine dinners and leave a nuanced, insider’s impression of the featured winery. We hope to keep our guests coming back for more.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Events, Splash!

2 Comments on “How We Create Splash! Dinners”


  1. […] your calendars for Saturday, November 22nd, 6pm, for our Splash! Wine Makers Dinner as we feature one of our favorite NW wineries, DiStefano Winery.  Check back soon […]


  2. […] your calendars for Saturday, November 20th, 6pm, for our Splash! Winemaker Dinner We invite you to experience the 6-course prix-fixe dinner, with pairings from one of our favorite […]


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