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When you think of chop houses, you naturally think of steaks and chops.

At chop239 steak lobster wine bar, there is a reason for including lobster in our name. We have a live lobster tank by the front door that displays Maine 1 ½ lb. lobsters. We only carry Maine lobster because the meat is much sweeter and more succulent than its Florida counterpart.

To go even further, when most people think lobster they think chardonnay.

Of course, what comes to mind for most people are chardonnays from California, Napa, Sonoma, Carneros, etc.

What I propose is a chardonnay from Washington Columbia valley. And, L’ecole no 41 is producing some great chardonnays.

Why I love pairing this wine with lobster is because you get a buttery richness up front, with a clean minerality lingering on the finish.

Some of the best chardonnays in Washington State are grown in the slightly cooler growing conditions of Yakima valley and in the northern latitudes of the Columbia valley. They winery is a second generation, family-owned artisan winery located in the historic Frentown school depicted on their label.

The winery was founded in 1983, and is the third oldest winery in the Walla Walla valley.

Today it is at the forefront of sustainable farming. To elaborate from the winery’s own explanation: The sustainable program in Walla Walla is called VINEA, meaning “vine” in Latin. It has been designed to take into account the climate and terroir of the Walla Walla Valley. This holistic program employs environmentally friendly and socially responsible viticultural practices that respect the land and conserve natural resources.

They also support biodiversity, exercise responsible relationships with workers, neighbors and the community, and provide continuing economic and biological vineyard viability.

VINEA encompasses a number of the key organic and biodynamic practices with an emphasis on low input, soft practices that nurture soil health by encouraging biodiversity and soil microorganisms through the use of organic composts and compost teas.

The use of newly engineered synthetic applications is permitted, as long as the end result is softer on the vines and health of the vineyard. VINEA partners with LIVE in Oregon (Low Input Viticulture and Enology) to provide third-party sustainable certification through the European organization IOBC (International Organization for Biological Control).

So when in the mood for Maine lobster, put down those California chardonnays and try one from Washington’s Columbia valley, and your palate will be in for a sure treat.

Marco Porto is owner of chop239, and is a wine connoisseur. Along with Laura Owen of CJ’s on the Bay, he is a regular contributor to this column.

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