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Updated: Dec 18, 2023

There are few things that go together as well as food, wine and friends. JJ Compeau, the owner of Northwest Wine Collaborative knows this well. With three different lines of wine, Compeau has hit the trifecta of materializing what it means to be a longstanding member of the food and beverage industry – creating great wine centered around community, cuisine, and fair cost.

The launch of “The Collaboration” line of wine started during COVID when he and two other of his reputable winemaking friends came together with their favorite barrel samples to create a cost-effective blend that supports the collaborators and those looking for great wine without breaking the bank.

“Savour,” his secondary label, produces varietals with the intent of serving them at restaurants for a fair price — something that benefits both diners and businesses. With classic and balanced flavors across the portfolio, this line makes itself the perfect companion for food.

His primary label and tasting front, “Narratif,” is the emergence of an idea that Compeau holds dear: “Everything, every wine, has a story.” This has produced a brand focused on telling the stories of single-vineyard wines from around Washington state. For example, one wine highlights the Red Willow vineyard, which is home to some of Washington’s oldest Cabernet Franc.

Another, Compeau’s 2018 Red Blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, speaks volumes about the good that comes out of pouring your passion into a barrel. Just like a satisfying story, this wine is well rounded and true to its finish. The herbaceous exposition rises into notes of jammy fruits stewed in brown sugar with balanced oak, vanilla and slight leather. Our resolution brings an apex of tannin that dissolves effortlessly on the palate. For this wine, a warm dish with plenty of its own history — and just enough spice and natural sweetness — creates the perfect pair.


Serves 2+


1½ pounds lamb stew meat 2 yellow onions, diced large 5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced ¾ cup cilantro, rough chopped, half set aside, plus more for garnishing ⅓ cup dried Turkish apricots, quartered 2½ cups chicken stock 1½ tablespoons Ras El Hanout spice 1 teaspoons harissa powder 1½ tablespoons tomato paste Zest of 1 lime Juice of ½ lime ⅓ cup pomegranate pearls ⅓ cup toasted slivered almonds 3 tablespoons high heat oil 1 cup couscous 2 tablespoons butter Kosher Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 325°F. Cover lamb meat with plenty of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, let sit at room temperature for an hour. Gently pat dry with paper towels. Meanwhile, place a dutch oven or heavy bottom pot over medium high heat and add your oil. Once your oil just starts to smoke, add your lamb meat and sear until golden brown (Note: for a proper sear, it’s important to not overcrowd your pot; work in batches if you need to). Remove lamb and set aside.

Lower your heat to medium. In the same pot, add the onions, garlic, lime zest and a large pinch of kosher salt. Saute for 5 minutes. After that, add tomato paste, Ras El Hanout, harissa, apricot and half of the cilantro. Saute until the tomato paste gains a slightly golden color and sticks to the bottom of the pot, about 10 minutes. Finally, mix in the lamb and 1½ cups of chicken stock. Cover with a heavy lid and roast in the oven for 1½ hours.

While your tagine is cooking, put 1 cup of chicken stock, butter and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once simmering, mix in couscous, cover and remove from heat, let stand for 10 minutes. Add lime juice and the remaining cilantro. Fluff and incorporate with a fork.

To serve, place a heaping spoonful of tagine on a bed of couscous and garnish with plenty of pomegranate, cilantro and toasted almonds.



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