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Guerra's, Steppe Cellars team up for culinary treat

OUTLOOK - It was such a success at the recent Spring Barrel Tasting that Guerra's Gourmet of Sunnyside and Outlook-based Steppe Cellars will again pair up for a pizza/wine event tomorrow, Saturday.

The event will include wood-fired pizzas created by Guerra's in the wood-fired clay oven at Steppe Cellars.

Chef Chris Guerra will prepare pizzas with cheeses, meats and vegetables from the Yakima Valley.

Some of the featured toppings will be chorizo, grilled onions, salami, chili flakes, roasted chicken, cilantro and Gouda cheese.

"When we did this during Spring Barrel Tasting we sold out both days," Guerra said of firing up handcrafted pizzas at the winery. "It worked out a lot better than we expected."

Pizza prices will range from $5 to $13, with soft drinks available for a dollar.

Steppe Cellars will offer their wines and the best views of the valley, Guerra notes. The winery, located at 1991 Chaffee Road near Outlook, will host the event from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Neil Garrison is the manager at Steppe Cellars and he said wines by the bottle will be available, as well as by the glass for $6.

As for what kind of wine pairs best with pizza, Garrison said it ultimately depends on personal preference.

His recommendation?

"I would suggest people try our 2007 Merlot," he said. "It's a nice, full-bodied red that has some fruit and tannin. It's a nice balance with the red sauce."

For those who are unsure, Garrison said wine tasting will be available for customers.

As to how the winery ended up with a clay oven, Garrison explained it all started when he built one in his back yard a few years ago.

"It was a tremendous amount of fun," he said. "It's been a nice addition to the winery."

Garrison added, "When people are out wine tasting they always ask where they can go to get a lunch. We decided to offer lunch a couple times a month."

Guerra said the round clay stove with a wood fire does wonders for pizza.

"It gets to over 500 degrees in there, it provides radiant and convection heat all at the same time," Guerra said. "It puffs up the pizza crust and it has a smoked flavor."

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