This last Friday we joined Lobo Hills for another ‘At The Tasting Room’ experience for a “Wine, Chips and Dips” pairing event. They have extended their hours and are now open Fridays. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the weekend. Before we dive into our experience, let’s take some time getting to know Lobo Hills. They are anything but ordinary.
One bright Sunday afternoon in April, Tony Dollar was riding his road bike down a hill when a driver of a large car turned left, into him. Waking in Harborview Medical Center’s emergency room, lying on a gurney, he found out that he had flipped over the hood, landing on his head, fracturing his spine.
It’s true, what they say about near-death experiences. Priorities shift. He found himself contemplating what is truly important: his faith, his family, and where he wanted to spend the remaining years of his life. In reflection, the best moments of his life have been spent in community with friends and family, drinking wine and eating food. He had detoured from wine. Now, he found himself back home, now making this fantastic beverage and bringing it to you.
Tony attended the Northwest Wine Academy, focusing on wine making. His wine roots go back to his college days where he ran tours out of one of California’s first wineries, Almaden Vineyards in San Jose, California. From there, he traveled to Sweden, Denmark, England, Scotland and the Netherlands, before returning to San Jose and J. Lohr Winery. There, he ran the tasting room and served as Hospitality Director. One day, bored with tasting rooms, he bought a VW van – inspired by On the Road and Travels with Charlie and toured the country before settling in Seattle. This is where he found wine to be the most promising. He served briefly as a wine steward at the world-renown Canlis Restaurant, left to write, wrote, and now he’s back in the business, but this time making wine… wine that he hopes you find to be full of promise and flavor.
Disciplined by design. They think wine is best when part of an ensemble—be that a meal or a good conversation. And they’re most inspired by the winemaking traditions that result in balanced, nuanced wine, perfect for enjoyment alongside food and made without chemical additives.
This is why Lobo Hills wines are made with minimal interventionist methods, most closely resembling the French traditions, and are perfect for enjoyment with food or with company. They’re still exploring of course, with forays into yeasts, soils, and even oyster shells, but their belief remains the same: perfect doesn’t mean having everything – it means lacking nothing.
What do they mean by “Minimally Influenced?”
- No chemical additives: They don’t use additives to enforce their opinion of how a wine ought to taste. They believe letting the wine achieve its full expression which, more often than not, exceeds our expectations.
- Unfined and Unfiltered: Fining and filtering can strip wine of its more delicate flavors. They think a little natural sediment and color is worth letting you taste the full flavor of the wine.
- Exploring new traditions: Fermentation on oyster shells. Customized yeast cocktails. There’s always more to discover in winemaking, and they never stop exploring.
~ Written by Amber Schmitt, Marketing Director of Woodinville Wine Country
As soon as I found out Lobo Hills was hosting a ‘Wine, Chips, + Dips’ event, it was game over! All jokes aside, this event was tons of fun. I will happily take the opportunity to get my hands on a wine pairing any day of the week. The fact it was a Friday… Just icing on the cake!
Lobo Hills is located in the Warehouse District here in Woodinville. More specifically, they are located in an enclave we like to call Artisan Hill. Artisan Hill lies just south of North Woodinville Way as it winds up the hill. The name is all too ﬁtting, as this burgeoning enclave is home to a growing community of wine and food craftspeople. It’s bursting with distinctive ﬂavors and characters, but it’s easy to miss, so be sure you don’t. This is where the person pouring is often the winemaker himself, and the personalities you’ll meet and the methods and opinions they share make the perfect pairing to any glass.
Lobo Hills is offering indoor seating once again. They encourage you to dress warm as their large roll-up door remains open throughout the day. If you prefer outdoors, they have a single heated tent with space for a single group up to 6 people. Walk-in guests are welcome but they recommend making a reservation.
*Insider tip: their tasting menu is smaller than usual, so if you have a favorite, please note that in your reservation or call them at 425-485-1097. Their standard appetizer menu with artisanal cheese and meat will also be available.
I mentioned above that the personalities you’ll meet and the methods and opinions they share make the perfect pairing to any glass. I emphasize the word “pairing” as that brings me to Lobo Hills’ Wine, Chips + Dips event I attended last week.
Lobo Hills regularly hosts wine pairing events each month. If you have not attended in the past, I recommend you do. This food pairing event was brought back to life this year to honor National Potato Chip Day. This time, they partnered with the creative culinary minds of Della Terra to present hand-crafted chips to custom dips.
Lobo Hills hosted this event over the course of the weekend (Friday-Sunday) in order to make sure everyone had the chance to taste wine, chips and dip. After all, life is too short not to enjoy a good wine with a good chip and the appropriate dip. This event cost $12 per person ($10 club members) and included 4 unique chips/dips with four unique wine pours.
LET’S TALK WINE
Pairing #1: Yukon Gold BBQ with Green Goddess Dip paired with 2019 Sauvignon Blanc
Amber’s Notes: Started this pairing off with a bang! I loved the Yukon Gold BBQ chip on its own, but the Green Goddess dip took this pairing to a new level. I think the subtle tang of the dip paired very well with their Sauvignon Blanc. Overall this pairing was fresh and flavorful.
The 2019 Sauvignon Blanc lifts with aromas of gooseberry, sweet apples, and yellow grapefruit. The mouthfeel is carefully balanced with food-friendly activity and flavors of lemon, stone, honeydew and mint.
Pairing #2: Sweet Potato Pimenton with Red Pepper & Hazelnut Romesco paired with 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Mountain)
Amber’s Notes: This pairing might have been my favorite of the night. I am a die hard sweet potato fan and the Hazelnut Romesco was beyond amazing. Embarassingly enough, I asked their tasting room team if I could take what I did not finish home. It is that good. Hazelnuts, pine nuts, almonds, or a mix of any of these are most typical nuts in romesco sauce. When blended with the red peppers, the sauce becomes creamy and thick with a rich nutty-sweet flavor.
This 2016 wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Red Mountain. It is aged in 50% new, tight-grain French oak and lees stirred for 1 year prior to its first racking. Flavors of cassis, strawberry jam, blackberries, hay, dark cherries and black tea.
Pairing #3: Naan Chips with Roasted Garlic Hummus paired with 2018 Right Bank Blend (Columbia Valley)
Amber’s Notes: You cannot go wrong with naan chips and hummus dip. What I liked most about this pairing was that the roasted garlic was not over powering. It was the perfect balance against the naan chips and the 2018 Right Bank Blend. I am assuming this was very intentional as a more potent garlic may have distracted from the fruit forward nature of this wine.
The 2018 Right Bank Blend is predominantly Merlot with a blend of 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc. It has vibrant aromas of strawberries, Bing cherries and hazelnuts. On the palate this merlot heavy blend is carefully balanced with a lingering aftertaste of blackberries, cherries and dark chocolate. Unfined and unfiltered.
Pairing #4: Russet Potato Chip with Charred Poblano Crema paired with 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley)
Amber’s Notes: I have a very weak tongue when it comes to spice/heat in a dish. I was a bit fearful of this dip at first, but the Charred Poblano Crema was earthy with a slightly smoky flavor – not spice/heat like you would get from jalapeños. This paired very nicely with the darker fruits I tasted within the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon. *P.s. I also took this dip home with me… 😉
The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with 4% Petit Verdot, delivers a heady aroma and a rounded fruit forward palate. It brings aromas of blackberries, raspberries, fig and molasses. On the palate it is supple and lingering with flavors of dark cherries, anise, butterscotch and mixed berry jam. Unfined and Unfiltered.
That wraps up the pairings of the evening. Like I mentioned above, Lobo Hills regularly hosts pairing events. If you were unable to make it to the “Wine, Chips, + Dips” event but are interested in attending other pairing events, I recommend subscribing to their email list or giving them a follow on social media to stay updated on future opportunities.
This event was only $12 ($10 for club members) and such a great way to kick off my weekend. Now that they are open Fridays too, you have all the more reason to start your weekend in Artisan Hill with Lobo Hills.
Until next time! Cheers