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About this Episode

Whitney Grant, wine educator and certified sommelier and Robert Tas head west to Seattle where they explore the wine list at the Purple Cafe and Wine Bar. A thirty-foot tower of wine sits in the middle of this glass-panelled restaurant, so you know their attention to their wine list is front facing. The menu and wine list have been carefully curated to pair well with food and wine from regions in the northwest and beyond.  Whitney explains which type of wine works best with spicy foods and why, how aging on the lees affects the wine, and which types of food pair well with tannin-heavy wines. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2019 Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc
  • Domaine Jerome Gradassi, Cotes du Rhone, Chateauneuf du Pape
  • The Chateau Musar “Musar Jeu
Transcript: Purple Cafe & Wine Bar

Purple Café:

RT: Hello and welcome to CorkRules!

A podcast where (in each episode) we will review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Whitney Grant, wine educator and certified sommelier.

Hello Whitney, it’s great to have back on with CorkRules.

WG: Hi Robert! Thanks for having me! I’m excited to share these wine selections with you and the CorkRules listeners.


Before we jump in, let’s talk about CorkRules.

We created CorkRules to demystify wine list’s because we know from experience, that sometimes when we get that list handed to us, well… it can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.

Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, or value wines or that special bottle that will take your dining experience over the top.

RT: So, sit back and listen as we review your favorite wine list.

RT: Today we are talking about Purple Cafe & Wine Bar located in the heart downtown Seattle offers a host of wine bar favorites made from fresh season northwest ingredients and wines from the northwest and around the world.

Whitney I can’t wait to hear what you think of their extensive wine list.

WG: This is such a great wine bar! Not only do they have an extensive selection of wines both by the glass and by the bottle, but they also include pairing suggestions for most of the menu items. Now if you are just starting to explore the wine world this is a great way to start learning about food pairing. It takes the guesswork out of finding a wine and the servers and wine experts can help you understand why these particular wines were chosen.

Because there are SO many pairings I can’t walk you through all of them today but Robert how about picking just a few to highlight to get us started?

RT: Sounds like a great place to start, what is the first pairing you’d like to highlight?

WG: SPICY SHRIMP LINGUINE with the 2017 Clos de Nouys Demi-Sec Chenin Blanc Vouvray, France. From the Lorie region of France in the Vouvray AOC where chenin blanc is the variety permitted but wines can be produced here in a range of styles. The demi-sec indicates that this wine is off-dry or medium-sweet. The sweetness will complement the spicy shrimp nicely. Chenin blanc tends to have great acidity and a wonderful minerality that I really enjoy in the summertime.

RT: A little sweetness with a spicy dish is always nice! What is the next pairing?

WG: The STEAK FRITES with the 2019 Lobo Hills 'Right Bank' Red Blend from the Columbia Valley in Washington. This blend is a nod to the Merlot-driven style of the blends made in the right bank appellations of Bordeaux in France. The 2019 blend is 73% merlot, 18% cabernet sauvignon, and 9% cabernet granc. This wine has vibrant aromas of mint, cloves, strawberries, and cherries. Carefully balanced with a lasting finish. This younger vintage’s tannins work well with the fattiness of the steak and fried potatoes.

RT: And at last we have the GRILLED SALMON with another Washington wine the 2020 Ashan 'Barrel Fermented' Columbia Valley, Chardonnay. As the name suggests this Chardonnay is fermented in neutral French oak and aged on the lees giving the wine more body and texture that pairs nicely with the grilled fish.

RT: Those pairings sound delicious in. So Whitney, is here anything you would recommend for someone looking to try something outside of the box?

WG: I would recommend the AMBER WINE from DAVID HILL ESTATE discovery series '6000 B.C.' Natural and organic this wine is a blend of gewurztraminer and pinot gris produced in contact with the skins giving the wine that beautiful amber color. Aromas of honeycomb, rose water and cinnamon with slight tannins and sea salt salinity balanced by fresh pear.

This wine gets the name 6,000 BC because the wine is produced in clay amphora. These ancient vessels date back as far as 6000 BC in the Republic if Georgia.

RT: Great suggestions, Is anything on the list jumping out at you as a great value?

WG: I love sparkling wine and while true champagne can only be produced in the Champagne region of France, you can get some delicious sparkling wine made in the traditional method used in champagne right here in the states. The Schramsberg 2019 Blanc de Blanc is a great option if you are looking for a more affordable alternative to champagne. This wine is made from 100% chardonnay with aromas of granny smith apples, lemon-lime, baked bread, and toasted almonds.

The traditional method of sparkling wine in short is produced by bottle fermentation. A base wine is made, this wine is typically dry in style, high in acidity, and low in alcohol. Sugar and yeast are added to the base wine, which is then bottled and sealed with a crown cap. The second fermentation takes place inside the sealed bottle, and CO2 dissolves within the wine creating the signature bubbles.

RT: Schramsberg is a fantastic domestic producer of traditional sparkling styles. Now, what about a wine if you are looking to impress someone you’ve invited to Purple Cafe & Wine Bar?

WG: One of the great things about this place is that the wines they have selected are very reasonably priced in comparison to many other wine lists. One wine that I would recommend is the Domaine Jerome Gradassi Cotes du Rhone Chateauneuf du Pape. This wine comes in at $125. This wine is 80% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre. Flavors of ripe black and blue fruit, fresh violet, dried herbs, licorice, and wood smoke with subtle foral U spice notes. Rich yet lively with supple tannins and a lingering finish.

Domaine Jerome Gradassi is one of the region's smallest producers with about 12 acres of vines. Chateauneuf -du-pape is one of my favorite French regions. Known for producing full-bodied, richly textured wines with concentrated spiced red fruit that balances the high alcohol of the wines. Another fun French Wine history fact Chateauneuf-du-Pape was the 1st area to have the Appellation Controlee status.

RT: I’ll have to remember that for my next trivia night! Before we wrap up are there any other wines you’d like to highlight?

WG: Yes there are two wines I’d like to mention before we go. The  CHÂTEAU MUSAR 'MUSAR JEUNE'  white blend from the Bekkah Valley of Lebanon. I love wines from Lebanon, they have rich history of winemaking that dates back thousands of years. Chateau Musar in particular first planted grapes back in 1930 and are producing incredible wines. This Musar Juene in particular is a blend of Viognier, Vermentino, Chardonnay. At $45 a bottle, this is also a great value for such an iconic producer.

Lastly I’ve got to shout out a hometown favorite! Cooper Mountain Vineyards “Cooper Hill” Pinot Noir. This Willamette Valley vineyard produces organic and biodynamic wines made with only native yeasts. Super clean, super sustainable, and one of my favorite tasting rooms to visit just outside of Portland. This 2020 vintage is easy drinking, with lots of red fruit, cherries, currant, and raspberry, with lovely earthly flavors. A great value for such quality wines at $45 a bottle. My partner and I may just have to open a bottle of this tonight!

RT: Whitney Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate the Purple Cafe & Wine Bar Wine List.

WG: Thanks for having me, Robert, this was an exciting list to review and I hope you get the chance to enjoy some of these awesome wines!

RT:To our audience, Thank you all for joining us here on CorkRules.

If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to: Info@CorkRules.Com or visit our web website where we have a request form available and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quickly as possible.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists.

And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.

Thank you.





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