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  • Jenny

A little Washington in Ohio

This dinner meant so much to me. It felt like the beautiful mash up of my Ohio and Washington lives. Eddie Merlot’s spring surf and turf wine dinner was enjoyed the night before heading into a bachelorette weekend, celebrating a best friend I met in Seattle. It couldn’t be more fitting, and rattled all of these Washington memories and thoughts. It reminded me of everything I love about experiencing food, and how I learned so much about it in Seattle. Every bite was delicious and meaningful, with the perfect pairing of wines that were all too familiar to me.

Woodinville is a neighborhood about 30 minutes outside Seattle and was our Sunday activity at least a couple times a month. We went for the first time May 22, 2015, twelve days after I graduated from Ohio State that Mother’s Day Sunday, and twelve days into starting my real adult life. Little did I know, I was also beginning my journey toward becoming a wine person. This little neighborhood quickly became our second home, as we acquired memberships at a handful of wineries and visited them regularly to taste new releases and have ourselves a Sunday. One of the first tasting rooms we visited was Chateau Ste Michelle. I vividly remember trying the Indian Wells Chardonnay. Though a much later vintage, the characteristics felt intimate. It flooded the distinct memory of that first sip in a wine flight as you’re getting settled into your barstool and having your first volleys of small talk with your wine guide of the day.

The A to Z pinot reminds me our former neighbors who we met too late due to 2020’s curveballs. We met only a year before the move to Columbus, but immediately knew we found lifelong friends. Oregon natives, they opened up an A to Z the very first time we went into their home for dinner, which was but 20 feet away and looked like the cousin of our exact townhouse. Same appliances, same floors, same finishings, new friends for life paired with a few glasses of Oregon pinot.

The cold creek cabernet reminded me of Renae. Well the whole dinner did really, right from the start. I couldn’t help but tear up. Red labels from Chateau Ste Michelle decorated our First Hill apartment kitchen counter often, as the prized gift from Renae and Travis (her husband, my co-worker at the time) every time we’d watch Gracie, their sweet Boston Terrier. Always a handful of bottles, always a blast to try. Renae worked at Chateau Ste Michelle when I had first met her. She was the digital marketing manager for them and I always thought that was the coolest gig. Sounded like a fun job, well-matched a fun and kinetic spirit like Renae. The free bottles of wine didn’t hurt either. I’m so incredibly glad I got to see Renae over our mutual friend Antonio’s dinner party at his Ballard apartment in June 2020. Little did I know that would be my last time spending time with her. Renae passed a few months ago and having Chateau Ste Michelle feels like a commemoration of her amazing spirit. So the tears fell, and the meal fell, nothing short of truly special.


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