carbonic maceration wine bottles

Inside Out – Fermentation within the grape makes for fun, fruity wine

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The Oregon wine industry straddles a fine line, keeping one foot firmly planted in tradition and the other in innovation. Some avant-garde Oregon winemakers are experimenting with carbonic maceration, a style traditionally used for Beaujolais Nouveau — Gamay Noir known for its swift fall release — in Beaujolais, France, but adapting the technique to work best in their wine cellars and with Oregon fruit.

Sterling … of Holden Wines says, “I like bright, fresh wines and love Beajuolais, where this process is intrinsic to the style. I keep it in my brain as a way to make a more vin de soif style, an approachable wine, as well as something that can mitigate potential problems.” Whitted describes how this technique worked to his advantage in 2017…>> (read more in Oregon Wine Press)


For other articles on winemaking techniques:

Lambic – The Wine Minded Beer

Barrel of Possibilities – oak programs a matter of taste

Treasure of Trousseau – Red Jura could be Oregon gold


Pinot Noir Auction Slam Dunk

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Two days to taste 81 lots of the Willamette Valley’s best 2016 Pinot noir is a big job for anyone, but buyers (and writers) rose to the challenge. April 6-7, 2018 marked the third annual Pinot Noir Auction at the Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, OR. Producers brought their A-game, generating over $800,000 in revenue to benefit the marketing and educational initiatives of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association.

The auction presented 78 lots of one-of-a-kind Pinot noir wines and three collaborative lots of Chardonnay from the 2016 vintage. Each wine was produced in quantities of five, 10 or 20 cases, and will only be available to the public through resale by the winning bidder.

Veteran wine auctioneer Fritz Hatton ran the show. Opening bids throughout the auction were greeted by a flurry of raised paddles, resulting in frequent bidding wars and rapid price escalation.

Not surprising, the top selling Pinot noir came from winemaker Maggie Harrison of Antica Terra (watch the video of the action below). The five-case lot produced entirely from the Antica Terra Vineyard, sold for a whopping $33,000.

Reflecting what is clearly a stellar vintage, the top five auction lots were:

• Lot 26: Five cases of Antica Terra “Alder Creek” Pinot noir: $33,000
• Lot 82: Five cases of Zena Crown Vineyard “Barrel and Foot” Pinot noir: $24,000
• Lot 11:Five cases of Alexana Estate Winery “By A Landslide” Pinot noir: $20,000
• Lot 83: 10 cases of Hyland Estates “The Perfect Pair” Pinot noir: $20,000
• Lot 75: Five cases of Bethel Heights “Vesper Bell” Pinot noir: $19,000

According to 2018 auction chair Laurent Montelieu (owner/winemaker for Solena Estate and Hyand Estate), “The 2018 auction exceeded our highest expectations. There was tremendous enthusiasm among the trade for the Willamette Valley region, as well as for the 2016 vintage, which we expect to go down in history as a benchmark year for Oregon.”

Laurent Montelieu and David Lett

Dick Erath and Laurent Montelieu

Wild French Food and Killer Wine Bar “Canard” Opens in Portland

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From the award-winning team behind Le Pigeon and Little Bird Bistro, Canard is opening April 16. A cafe by day, wine restaurant with great cocktails by night, Canard will be serving breakfast, lunch, plus weekend brunch. Boasting wild French bar food, the menu at Canard will be conducive to snacking and dining. Evenings will focus on wine, cocktails, and an ambitious dinner menu. Canard offers the building blocks to an incredible meal, and showcases Rucker’s playful, no rules style in the form of dishes like Steam Burgers, Ducketta, and Foie Gras Dumplings.

“The sky’s the limit here. Our goal with Canard is to make anything possible, for anyone, at any time of day. Andy and I want Canard to be a place people want to hang out, and not take anything too seriously,” says chef/co-owner Gabriel Rucker.

Evening Menu Highlights: (available 4pm until close)

Oysters – zinfandel mignonette, green chile juice
Uni “Texas Toast” – avocado, finger lime, fish sauce
Ouffs in Mayonnaise – trout roe, bacon, roasted garlic, smoky maple
Chips & Dip – smoked mackerel, lemon pepper jam, chips
Rabbit and Prosciutto Terrine – apricot-green pepper relish, frisée, herbs
Pot de Canard – duck rillette, duck liver mousse, port gelée
Steak Tartare – chinese sausage, broccoli, parmesan, cashew
Cabbage Salad – strawberry, cheddar, green onion, ranch
Shrimp Toast – cucumber, avocado, chili mayo, furikake
Foie Gras Dumplings – peanut sauce, truffle, miso-roasted shallots
Chicken Wings – dry-fried, truffle ranch, shaved truffle
Garlic Fries – 18 mo. aged gouda, green goddess
Spring Greens – crunchy quinoa, honey herbs-de-provence
Roasted Carrots – sweet-pea hummus, sesame, radish honey
Mushroom Salad – garlic rosemary breadcrumbs, blue cheese
Baguette – european butter, flaked sea salt
Steam Burgers – pickles, onion, mustard, american, Hawaiian roll
Dry Aged Petite New York – french onion soup sauce, swiss cheese toast
Ducketta – chutney, frisée
Swordfish Oscar – crab, asparagus, béarnaise
Spaghetti – artichoke, asparagus, dill, parmesan

Wines are curated by co-owner and wine director Andy Fortgang, heavy on wines by the glass, with a large bottle list. The wine program at Canard is meant to be broad, deep and fun. Fortgang’s hope is people come in for a glass and a snack and leave hours later after dinner and several bottles. Just as the food menu is conducive to both snacking and dining, the wine list will be, too. Canard will offer 20 wines by the glass, over 250 bottles including a range from the inexpensive to the unique, and a big list of bottles that Fortgang has been slowly collecting over the years. Canard will have Burgundy, sure, but not just collectibles. The restaurant will also have well priced wines that show the value that is there if you look. Canard will have delicious fruity prädikat wines from Germany, many with some bottle age, but also the drier racier wines blowing people away these days. Oregon Pinot of course, but California, too. Loire, Rhone, Galicia, Catalonia, Italy from the north and the south, and many other regions. The only rule, is that it must taste good.

“This wine list is meant to spark conversation. Some of the wines on this list are about innovation, and some are about tradition. We hope our guests will feel encouraged to ask questions, explore, and enjoy,” says co-owner and wine director Andy Fortgang.

Cocktails at Canard do not take themselves too seriously. Crafted by bar manager Aaron Zieske, they compliment Rucker’s food in a way that maintains the aesthetic of the restaurant by being inventive and whimsical, yet still approachable. Featuring unique European herbal spirits throughout the menu, as well as a thoughtful brandy list for after dinner. Once lunch begins in May, Canard will feature boozy milkshakes, with sprinkles. Cocktails will include the Foie Turn, foie gras fat-washed bourbon, sauternes, apricot brandy, sherry, bitters, with a house candied apricot, the Breakfast of Champions, gin, caper brine, dry vermouth, celery bitters, garnished with a lemon twist and optional oyster side, and the Great Pyrenees, tequila, bruto aperitivo, grapefruit juice, lemon, salt. Canard will have two happy hours, from 4-5pm and again from 10pm to midnight. The happy hour menu will include ½ off oysters and steam burgers, as well as $5 aperitifs and a daily wine that will constantly rotate


Canard will initially be open daily at 4pm, and will add breakfast, brunch, and lunch in May. Follow along on Instagram @CanardPDX, Twitter @Canard_PDX, and Facebook Canard PDX.

Located at 734 E Burnside Street Portland, OR 97214.