Pairing Wine with Potato Chips

Don Carlo Vineyard

One of my favorite experiences at the 2010 Wine Bloggers’ Conference was hopping on one of the many buses waiting outside the Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla on Saturday, not knowing where it would take us. All we knew was that our first stop would be a vineyard. Then, as we pulled out of the parking lot we were informed by Michael, our tour guide for the day from Tourism Walla Walla, that we were headed to Oregon. Roger and I exchanged glances knowing that this meant we would end up in territory we had not yet visited. I was eager with anticipation.

As our group of 15 wine bloggers representing sites including Enobytes, A Wine to Die For, and Winery Advisor got off the bus, we walked out onto a beautiful grassy area where tables topped with wine bottles, wine glasses, and freshly picked cherries from the neighboring property awaited us. The vineyard provided a beautiful backdrop. We were informed, “Tim will be out in a moment; he wanted to make some fresh chips for you.” If you are from the northwest and hear “Tim” and “chips” in the same sentence you might think of Tim’s Cascade Style Potato Chips. Indeed, that Tim was making homemade garlic and parmesan potato chips for us. Best darn potato chips I have ever eaten.

It turns out that in Tim’s retirement, he and his wife Lori have become the owners and vineyard managers of Don Carlo Vineyard on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley AVA. They have planted 10 acres of grapes including Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. When I asked Lori if it was what she expected, she admitted that the work is a lot harder than she imagined.

Wine Pairing

Tim Kennedy

I enjoyed the Don Carlo 2008 Chardonnay with those warm homemade garlic and parmesan potato chips, an experience that I will always remember. Note that this vintage was produced with grapes from the Columbia Valley, as the Kennedys  acquired their property in 2007. At that time, apple and cherry trees covered what is now the vineyard. I look forward to tasting their future vintages as they transition to producing estate grown wine. This is a winery we will be sure to watch.

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