Saturday, July 9, 2011

Barrage Cellars at Tulalip BBQ

It could have been a weekend get-together at the foot of any highrise apartment complex: fire pit, barbecue wagons, kobe beef sliders. It was, however, a wine tasting on the patio of the Impulse Lounge at the 350-room Tulalip Resort Casino. They do this every month or so, under the tutelage of the resort's sommelier, Tommy Thompson, whose guest this time around was Kevin Correll, the owner of Barrage Cellars. As the wines were poured this cool, early-summer afternoon, executive chef Perry Mascitti and his crew stood ready at half a dozen grill stations (steak, shrimp, pizzas, sliders, Cuban corn).

Correll hasn't given up his day job at Boeing, where he essentially teaches people how to build airplanes. But he's applying the elements of his profession (breaking down a vast, complex process) to a no-less daunting craft: making wine.

His winery produces two whites (riesling, chardonnay) and several reds (merlot, syrah, cab franc, cab sauv, plus a proprietary blend that's sold only in the tasting room), all quite respectable. The inky-black syrah was the ideal accompaniment to a rare slice of mushroom-topped New York steak and a playful deconstruction of a potato salad.

Barrage Cellars (a blend of barn and garage; nothing to do with the French word barrage. a dam across a body of water) is currently producing about 3,000 cases, not enough to be commercially profitable, but Correll's not worried. He's buying high quality grapes from good vineyards, and getting set up with hardware and French barrels. As long as he's on the Boeing payroll. he'll be fine.

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