Archive for March, 2011

Farm-to-Table Relationships Brought to Bear at Tendrils Vineyard Restaurant

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Tendrils Restaurant at Cave B Inn at SageCliffe has emerged from the cold and snow of winter like the proverbial bear, embracing the new spring sunshine and all this wonderful season has to offer.  And it has a lot to offer:  a new Executive Chef to take the helm, and chart an amazing culinary course for this fine dining restaurant on the cliffs.

Chef Bear:  a.ka. Henry H. Ullman

Here at SageCliffe we’re thrilled to welcome Chef Bear.  Coming from ten years as Executive Chef at Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center in Walla Walla, Bear is well-versed in the art of culinary and wine excellence:  during his years at Marcus Whitman, Bear worked closely with many of the area’s best winemakers in the creation of unique wine pairing dinners and events.  He created The Chef’s Table, which allowed diners a special, intimate wine & dining experience in the kitchen.  And he cultivated deep relationships with local farmers, resulting in pasture-finished meats, organic produce and artisan cheeses gracing the hotel’s menu.  And now those same relationships–plus new ones formed with the Columbia Valley region’s farmers and producers–will be brought to bear on Tendrils’ menu.  What a magnificent treat is in store for Tendrils diners.

Chef Bear’s passion for excellence (“I like to do things right,” he says), for where our food comes from, how it’s cared for, and ultimately what kind of experience it gives the diner, is contagious.  His enthusiasm and vision for SageCliffe’s onsite Chef’s Garden is inspirational, and will result in a rich farm-to-table experience that is not merely a buzzword, but a reality.  We can’t wait to see what Chef Bear will bring to Cave B, and we’re thrilled on behalf of all Cave B Inn guests and Tendrils diners for what they will  have the chance to experience.

To read more about Chef Bear, his background, passions and philosophy, please visit our Tendrils Restaurant  page on our SageCliffe website. Help us welcome Chef Bear to the Cave!

Stump the Chump Super Challenge: Start Your Wine Engines at Cave B

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011 marks Cave B Estate Winery’s annual Spring Wine Release.  The hallmark event is the tasting of Winemaker Freddy Arredondo’s newly-release red and white wines.  This is a first taste of these first wines….and definitely worthy of celebration.

 But what is this about “Stump the Chump?”  With a good-natured dig at that feeling we all get at times when tasting wines–that we don’t quite know what we’re doing–this contest is a Cave B Spring Wine Release tradition.  How does it work? Guests are presented with several varietals cleverly disguised in plain brown bags. Then guests are “challenged” to taste through each of the disguised wines and attempt to identify the varietals.   This year is our first Super Challenge, so the winery’s sure to turn up the challenge and the heat.  Always a great amount of fun, this contest has also proven to be a wonderful way for wine-lovers old and new to test their palate, refine their senses, and come away with a greater appreciation of each distinct varietal.

 So, what are you doing the weekend of March 25-27?  Come on down for our Spring Wine Release, challenge the wine chump inside us all, and come out victorious!  Then, don’t worry about driving home:  stay the night of March 26 at Cave B Inn with our special reduced Spring Wine Release Inn rates–a wonderful way to extend the fun, and give you another opportunity to visit the tasting room with your newly-awakened palate.  Visit the winery page on our SageCliffe site to get ticket and room prices, and place your easy room reservation.  But hurry:  Inn rooms are going fast.  See you at the Super Challenge!

The Best Cave B Wines Yet: at Spring Wine Release 2011

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

They say it takes time for every Winemaker to hit their stride.  If that’s the case, then Cave B Estate Winery Winemaker Freddy Arredondo is walking tall these days. 

Freddy came on board over four years ago as Assistant Winemaker under then-Winemaker Rusty Figgins.  Previously he had worked at Cougar Crest Winery, and earned his stripes there and in his enology courses in Walla Walla.  As Assistant Winemaker Freddy took on increasing responsibility, but knew that his heart would truly get full rein when he had the chance to become full Winemaker.  This occurred in November of 2007.  For the next few years the wines of Cave B Estate Winery were a combination of those  begun in bottle and barrel by Rusty Figgins–with assistance from Freddy–and, slowly, those begun by Freddy.  And, slowly, as the talent and tenaciousness of Freddy Arredondo became more and more ever-present, the Cave B wines took on a character of increasing distinction. 

It’s been tremendously exciting to watch the wines evolve; to see a Winemaker pour his passion and expertise into every bottle.  His touch is everywhere; from walking the vineyards and evaluating the grapes in the over 100 acres of Cave B estate vineyards, to that first swirl and whiff, to the subtly complex finishes that linger on the tonge and back of the throat.

 Spanish varietals such as Tempranillo were planted, cultivated, brought along, and now share space with the over 17 other Cave B  and SageCliffe wines.   Critics who questioned whether a winemaker could create consistently great wines across such a wide spectrum of varietals have been won over by the results.  In this case, the breadth of Freddy’s talent is equal to the breadth of the wines.  There is no spreading thin here, with quality and nuance suffering as a result.  Instead, year after year the wines have grown and evolved and improved and matured until now, in 2011, we feel we have wines of a tremendous nature.  And we have no doubt whatsoever that this is due to our Winemaker–a true talent.  It’s a thrill and a pleasure to see our grapes into the hands of a consummate wine creator, in the truest sense. If you have enjoyed Cave B’s wines all along, thank you and get ready for the best yet.  If  you are new to Cave B, good timing; choose a bottle, a lovely companion and a beautiful spot, and then get ready for a wine experience that will truly enthrall.  They are that good….sometimes, when it’s truly deserved, it’s okay to toot your horn a bit.  Toot and salute!

Our 2011 Annual Spring Wine Release is Saturday, March 26th.  A full day with the newly-released wines of Freddy Arredondo as its centerpoint.  Come meet these wines and others who share in your love of all things good.  Visit the winery page on our website for full details.