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The Walla Walla Wine Experience w/Catch 35’s Wine Boss, Carl Jensen

Wine is a very important part of your dining experience at Catch 35 Seafood and Premium Steaks restaurant. Whether you are a casual or experienced wine drinker, Catch 35 offers a wide variety of wines from various regions throughout the world. Catch 35’s very own Wine Boss, Carl Jensen, recently took a trip to Walla Walla Valley to “touch the soil & taste the quality” of this region’s wines. This blog, we are sharing Carl’s trip in Walla Walla to enhance your future dining experience at our Catch 35 Chicago location or Catch 35 Naperville location.


What is Walla Walla?

Walla Walla Valley wine region is located in Washington and Oregon. The wine region is broken up into six different sections all distinctly different yet with the same appreciation and love for wine and winemaking. Wine making began in this region with the immigration of Italians to the area in the mid to late 1800’s and is heavily influenced by the many travelers who stopped here when traveling the Oregon trail. This area is called “Walla Walla” meaning many waters which is needed in growing, making, and drinking wine.   Although, this area had a rich history of wine making from earlier settlers, the wine industry began to take shape in the 1970’s, when families began to develop some of the first wineries in the region. Today, more than 100 wineries and 1800 acres of grapes are grown for wine-making in Walla Walla.

wallwallThe Soil

This began millions of years ago with an abundant and layered natural process of lava flows, floods, and glacial ice. This repeated process developed rich soil combined with arid climate allows for the perfect region to make wine. The area as well as the soil is beautiful and rich in history & culture.

The Wine

The Primary varietals that are offered from this region are:

Cabernet Sauvignon



However, there are small percentages of grape grown each year for Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Other varietals, Chardonnay, Viognier, Gewurztraminer, Pinto Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon.

The Wineries

There currently over 100 wineries from the area and I will only name a few that are offered at Catch 35, as our wine list is quite extensive.

Let’s begin with a Red Varietal from Spring Valley Vineyards, 2011 Syrah:

This vineyard is 12 miles northeast of Walla Walla. The vines are grown on a slope in vertical rows and are surrounded by wheat hills and blue mountain backdrop. Spring Valley Vineyard has been one of the most critically-acclaimed producers in the region.wawa

Tasting notes from the Winemaker: “This 100% Estate-grown Syrah offers inviting aromas of violet and raspberry with a hint of pepper and orange zest. On the palate the wine is full and rich and loaded with concentrated blackberry and almond paste flavors that linger on a juicy finish.”

Next is Merlot. Catch 35 offers a 2011 Merlot from Tamarack Cellars:

A family owned winery with the goal of making elegant and balanced wines at a fair price.

Tasting notes from the Winemaker: “Dark aromas of cherry, mocha and blueberry lead to ripe plum, blackberry pie and flavors of a savory red wine reduction steak sauce, layered with intense chocolate and rich, velvety tannins.”

We offer a few options of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Walla Walla region.

Let’s begin with a 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon by Gramercy Cellars:

Master Sommelier Greg Harrington and his wife, Pam, founded Gramercy Cellars in 2005. This winery is an expression of their deep love and passion for wine making.

Tasting notes from the Winemaker: “A combination of finesse and power. Red and black fruit. Cedar, gravel, smoke, vanilla and baking spices. Firm acidity and tannin, but elegant.”

Another option Catch 35 seafood and premium steaks restaurant in Chicago offers is a 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon from Browne Family Vineyards:

A family vineyard developing the highest quality handcrafted wines from the Columbia Valley winemaking region.

Tasting notes from the Winemaker: “Inky red, almost black in color, this classic Cabernet Sauvignon is heavily concentrated with ripe cherry aromas and dark fruit flavors, backed by vanilla oak notes. Layered with texture that belies its silky smooth tannins, this wine’s perfectly balanced alcohol and bright, clean acidity make it a perfect companion for red meat and savory dishes.”

Appreciating Wine

As with most trips, we come back with a love and appreciation for the people, landscapes, cultures, food, and wine that influenced us each day. Looking to the future of the wine industry Carl is so passionate about, he believes “American wines have developed to equal those of the European countries. Wine is so versatile and subjective, all varietals have their place.”

Future Wine dinners at Catch 35 Naperville:

Throughout the year, Catch 35 in Naperville hosts Wine dinners each month featuring wines from various regions throughout the U.S. and the world. Our next wine dinner will be featuring the wines of Hamilton Russell from South Africa on Wednesday, November 2nd. Chef Eddie and Chef Jesus are preparing 5 mouthwatering dishes to accompany 5 rare South African Wines from Hamilton Russell. Join us for a Unique and Memorable Dining Experience. See you there!

Hamilton Russell Wine Dinner Info