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Bethel Heights Winemaker Dinner at Primo Grill

Photo: Courtesy of Jacqueline Plattner Winemaker Pat Dudley at Bethel Heights Winery in Oregon

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On September 27, Primo Grill is hosting a very special wine and dinner event-the Bethel Heights Winemaker Dinner. Bethel Heights is a well-rated family-owned winery from Oregon. Primo Grill is a family-owned restaurant in Tacoma that values using locally sourced ingredients.

"We consider events like this a way to thank a lot of our regulars for coming, but it's also a really great opportunity to try out Charlie's food and meet a prominent winemaker," says Jacqueline Plattner, who co-owns Primo with her husband and chef Charlie McManus. "It's going to be a really special and unique night. There won't be throngs of people so it will have a feeling of intimacy."

The evening will include a five-course meal with four wines, each paired with one of the courses. The five courses will be: a salad of local heirloom tomatoes from a small, organic garden in Lakewood; a crudo of scallops with preserved lemons with Trampetti extra virgin olive oil; pasta with wild local mushrooms; and then the main course of porcini-encrusted halibut from Oregon with clams and parmesan gnocchi. Dessert will be olive oil cake with local berries.

The four wines will be: pinot blanc, chardonnay, Willamette Valley pinot noir, and an Estate Grown pinot noir. All four wines were carefully selected from the Bethel Heights Winery, which is located in the Eola Hills, situated in the Willamette Valley in Salem, Oregon.

"All of their wines have good acidity and balance so it's easy to pair their wines with food," says Plattner. "I actually visited the winery in late July and walked the vineyards and tasted all the wines with the owner. The whites both are really bright and have got good acidity. They're both easy pairings and don't present a lot of obstacles."

But it's the pairing of the Estate Grown pinot noir and the main halibut dish that is perhaps most exciting. Pinot noir is often paired with salmon, but to shake things up a bit, Primo is pairing it with another Oregon fish-halibut, which will be encrusted with dried porcinis ground into a powder.

"The Estate Grown Pinot Noir is a little bit bigger and earthier and we think it will go well with this earthy preparation on the halibut," says Plattner.

The winery has been owned and operated since 1977 by three families-the Dudlies, Casteels, and Webbs-and puts a special emphasis on sustainable practices. Pat Dudley, President and Marketing Director at the winery, will be at Primo Grill for the event to chat with people, talk about the winery and its sustainable practices. Indeed, Bethel Heights' consideration of the environment is just one of three main reasons Primo Grill chose to pair with them.

"I'm attracted to the winery because of their sustainable land practices," says Plattner. "They have this beautiful land in the Willamette Appalachian and they take really good care of it. They're mindful of water runoff, they try to do a lot of sustainable practices with the land, and they have a LIVE certification. This is a family owned operation. And their wines have always been very present, delicious, accessible, and very consistent."

Oregon's LIVE certification is granted to wineries that focus on preservation of natural resources.

Tickets for the Bethel Heights Winemaker Dinner must be pre-purchased by calling Jacqueline at 253-383-7000. Tickets should be available until about September 25 and it's unlikely you'll be able to get in at the door. Tickets cost $80 and include all five courses, four wines, tax, and gratuity.

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