FOOD
Michael (right) and Linda Armellino, with friend John Ginter, enjoy a visit to Oregon with John Paul (middle) of Cameron Winery.

A-List Q&A

Bilbo Baggins Global Wine Café & Restaurant

Bilbo Baggins

Where: 208 Queen Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Website: www.bilbobaggins.net

Michael and Linda Armellino, owners of Bilbo Baggins Global Wine Café & Restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia, are proud supporters of Oregon wine and recipients of a 2015 Oregon Wine A-List Award, an OWP and OWB program honoring restaurants that support and promote Oregon wine.

What makes Oregon wine unique?

MA: My first thought is the classic terroir in all of the different AVAs, followed by the exceptional handling of the vineyards and grapes. For the most part, small winemaking operations who put everything they’ve got into following their passion. I think Oregon winemaking today must be what Napa and Sonoma were back in the ’70s… a group of passionate winemakers working in a collaborative way to share their passion and knowledge.

What do your customers generally know about Oregon wine?

MA: First and foremost, they know that my wife and I are extremely passionate about our love of Oregon wine, and those friends we have made over the years who make the wonderful wine we serve at our restaurant and consume personally. That being said, they know that Oregon produces exceptional wine at a great perceived value; especially the Pinot Noirs as compared to Burgundy.  They also know that Oregon produces other fantastic varietals such as Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewürztraminer, as well as Pinot Meunier, Gamay and rosé of Pinot Noir.

Name the last bottle(s) of Oregon wine that super-impressed your palate.

MA: I would say 1998 Tall Poppy Pinot Noir from Yamhill Valley Vineyards, Bergström 2002 Arcus Pinot Noir and the 1995 Maresh Red Barn Pinot Noir.

What is the most memorable food and Oregon wine paring you have ever made or tasted?

MA: A vertical tasting of 2001 Oregon Pinot Noirs featuring Shea Wine Cellars Estate, Beaux Frères Upper Terrace, Bergström Arcus, Brickhouse Tonnelier, St. Innocent White Rosé, Cameron Clos Electrique, Rex Hill Marsh, Roads End and Ken Wright. The menu featured fresh fruit and assorted cheeses served with artisan baguettes and crackers, a wild mushroom duxelle served with French bread, a mixed grille entrée of duck breast, lamb chop with wild lingonberries and beef fillet served with Yukon mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus spears and roasted butternut squash, followed by a Port wine sabayon served with assorted fresh berries and a chocolate plum sauce… Fabulous!

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