El Gaucho Seattle’s annual wine event, the Legendary SWIRL, which took place Saturday, January 25th, lived up to its name this year.
Over 150 guests mingled throughout the restaurant and had the opportunity to taste over 100 wines from 60 represented wineries, all while sampling scrumptious bites from the kitchen. SWIRL went through a major transformation this year, as the staff made ambitious changes to the event, some of the most notable included moving the event from its usual date in March – which is Washington Wine month – to January.
While the event still highlighted local wines, invites were extended to notable wineries throughout the world, including Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, the wines of Augustin Huneeus, Silver Oak, Stag’s Leap, Botega Catena Zapata, just to name a few. Additionally, the event was moved to a Saturday from a weeknight, which allowed the ability to offer three amazing winemaker dinners to guests following the event.
The changes were well received. “I heard nothing but jubilation from our guests,” El Gaucho Wine Captain James Parsons exclaimed. “The event was a huge success. The staff really performed at a high level, and (Executive Chef) Matt and his team dominated.”
James went on to explain a couple of his favorite highlights from the event: “Fall Line (a Washington winery) and Ornellaia were pouring at tables right next to each other. I watched a guest who had made a bee line for Ornellaia ($228 retail) finish his taster and then, after a bit, move to try Fall Line ($30 retail). The best thing was watching him go back later for more Fall Line. Ornellaia was still right there, but he chose the Washington wine he had probably never had before. That was cool.”
Another highlight was the addition of the wine dinners. “Especially the Grape Killers,” James said. “It was loud and fun – a wine dinner in the middle of one of the busiest restaurants in Seattle on a Saturday night. It was electric. People loved the food and the wine pairings.”
The seared duck, with orange reduction, truffle mascarpone, smoked marble potatoes, and duck jus, was the stand-out course for the wine dinners. “The duck course with the wines paired sounds simple and safe, but it was one of the best pairings I’ve had in a while,” James said. “Not to be trite, but I had one guest compare the duck to Tour d’Argent. High praise!”