Innovation is the key to unique Limited Addition wines

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In a practice that is hundreds of centuries old, employing new techniques is often not easy, or at least not easily embraced. That’s especially true in Old World wines, with their traditional methods perpetuated generation after generation. But in the New World, innovation is generally well received, especially in the Northwest, where traditions are at most decades old.

Limited Addition (Ltd +) could easily be the poster child for a brave new world of wine innovation in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Chad and Bree Stock, a husband and wife team, have merged their superpowers… Read the full story on WinePress NW.

Troon: A vineyard reimagined

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The expression, “What goes together, grows together,” is often used by chefs and winemakers to describe successful food and wine pairings. But in the case of Troon Vineyard, the expression also applies to their whole vineyard philosophy.

Troon is a place where vines have been replanted using the biodynamic model, additional crops have been added, animals have been introduced and staff are educated, all to create an improved biome that leads to better wines.

Founded by Dick Troon in 1972, the vineyard has changed hands several times and has undergone a complete transformation since its early days. Dr. Bryan and Denise White purchased the property in 2017, fully invested in a model of change, which was initiated by winegrower Craig Camp.

Camp fell in love with and saw the potential of the land in 2016. He envisioned a healthier estate but knew a long-term vision would have to start with a whole lot of science, data and experience. After a complete analysis of the property, soil and microbiology, they started…

Read the complete story here on Wine Press NW.

Merry Meunier: Fruity Red an Unexpected, Offbeat Holiday Delight

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As households gather at the dinner table for what promises to be an unusual pandemic holiday, the meal demands a surprise, something different.

Pinot Meunier is one of the three varieties in the traditional Champagne trifecta — with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay — adding bright fruit and verve to the balance of flavors. Although it remains the backbone to some of the world’s most coveted and notable sparklers, it’s also a wine we hear very little about. On its own, Pinot Meunier is mostly uncommon in the Old World, but in Oregon, it’s proving a cult favorite.

Meunier means “miller” in French, referring to the flour-like dustiness often found on the leaves. It’s generally a high-acid, cool-climate grape, both light and fruity. These features are part of the reason it’s such a great addition to Champagne blends, but it’s also what it makes it so delicious as a single-varietal wine. Though somewhat maligned in France, perhaps because…

Read the complete story here on Oregon Wine Press

Old world city slickers at Division Wine Co.

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As is often the case, the start of a winery began with a sip. Thomas Monroe, co-owner of Portland’s Division Winemaking Co., says he and partner Kate Norris were initially inspired to create a winery in Oregon in the mid-2000s after tasting the dynamic yet restrained New-World-meets-old-winemaking-style of the Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs. The two were living in California at the time and about to head to the Midwest for business school.

Business school ultimately led to winemaking school in France during the great recession, but all the while, Oregon and the amazing wines of producers such as Belle Pente, Evesham Wood, Domaine Drouhin and others really stuck with them. They also had a chance to visit the area and connecting with the Portland community and family wineries really made an impression on them. Monroe says,

“The climate of this state — not only in terms of weather, but also in terms of the spirit of those that live here — inspired us to make the move to Oregon and start thinking about growing a winery after our studies were complete,” Monroe said.

While working and studying in France, they were exposed to a wide variety of wines, many of which were made with less well-known varieties in the U.S., such as Gamay and Chenin Blanc. They also discovered what winemaking and growing techniques resonated with them and realized… Read to complete story here on WinePress NW.

Wine farms – A new trend in grape growing

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You’re likely familiar with organic farming, and might even know about biodynamic farming, but Stephen Hagen, farmer of Antiquum Farm, does neither.

Instead, he practices a technique he calls Grazing-Based Viticulture, incorporating a variety of rotating livestock to help manage his crops and provide nutrients for the vines. The result? Wines with a true sense of terroir and land that is responding generously, Hagen says.

He’s obsessed with growing the best wines possible. “My wines are not made, they are grown cluster by cluster, with my own hands. They are a marriage of place, its people, and a moment in time,” he said.

When asked about biodynamic farming, Hagen replied honestly. “I’m not a joiner or team player; I despise recipes and checklists, and I think that certification lists come to the detriment of creativity and innovation. I want to think for myself and work from my gut. I call our method, grazing-based viticulture.” It’s basically agriculture from before the ease of fertilizers and easy mechanization, a method that saves about 12 tractor passes per year. It’s biodynamics with a curmudgeonly old-school twist. “We take the sheep poop and specificity and leave the moon and stars to wiser people.”

“I think biodynamics are awesome and I deeply admire the commitment to something deeper and more meaningful for anyone moving in that direction. We’re all on the same team. Any farming method that makes a farmer have a more intimate connection to their place is a very positive step,” he added.

But he also wants to keep the conversation going and continue to think critically. One of the things he loves about grazing-based viticulture is…

Read the complete story here on WinePress NW.

Saké & Cheese: Japanese rice spirit meets its mmmatch

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For many American consumers, saké suggests a certain mystique. Although it’s often referred to as “rice wine,” it’s really not wine. Nor it is cider or beer. So, what exactly is it?

Saké is an ancient alcoholic beverage made by fermenting rice. Unlike grapes made into wine by the fermentation of fruit sugar, the rice’s starch is converted into sugar and then fermented into alcohol. While the process relates more to brewing beer, saké sommelier Miyuki Yoshida emphatically states, “Saké is a category on its own. Saké is saké!”

According to SakéOne’s associate brand manager, Jessie Sheeran, “Saké is killing it in U.S. markets. It’s kosher, sulfite-free, vegan-friendly, gluten-free and histamine-free, so it checks a lot of healthy boxes.” Ranging from the clear and bright Gingo to the sweeter, cloudy Nigiri, saké’s variety comes from the polishing of the rice. More polish — removing impurities, proteins, etc. — results in fragrant, fruity, elegant aromas.

“There is a challenge of getting people to understand what saké is and what it isn’t,” says SakéOne president Steve Vuylsteke. It’s not all from Japan; it’s not only consumed with Japanese food, and it’s not only drunk cold.” He suggests trying it with salumi or chorizo, or even grilled cheese.

Read the complete story here on Oregon Wine Press.

Carlton Grain Elevator

How Carlton’s grain elevator became part of Oregon’s wine scene

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If you’ve passed through the Yamhill County town of Carlton recently, you may have seen that its giant grain elevator has undergone a complete transformation. Though the massive remodel is a feat in and of itself, even more remarkable is how it models the unique history of the Oregon wine industry.

Like Oregon’s wine pioneers, who planted grapes and ripped out crops against the advice of the local population, Martin Doerschlag, owner of Flâneur Wines and its new hospitality center at the Carlton Grain Elevator, says, “When people tell me I’m crazy to do what I’m doing with Flâneur, I know I’m doing the right thing.” Read the full story in the Oregonian here…

Inside of Pullman Wine Bar

4 Questions with David Holstrom of Pullman Wine Bar & Merchant

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With more and more luxury hotels dotting the Portland landscape, their influence on the city’s food and wine scene can be seen with the surge of trendy new eating and drinking hotspots that have been opening — take Hey Love in the Jupiter NEXT and Abigail Hall in the Woodlark Hotel, for example. Though Hotel Eastlund is far from a new player, with David Machado’s popular rooftop destination Altabira, the Lloyd District hotel has taken its vision to new heights with the chic, yet down-to-earth, street-level bottle shop and wine bar, Pullman Wine Bar & Merchant.

Inspired by a French bistro that Machado and wine consultant David Holstrom experienced in Paris, the team has created a warm and welcoming space in Pullman, fusing a tasting room experience with modern European touches, while providing an opportunity for… Read the full story here on SIP Northwest.

Mencia grapes on the vine

Mencia makes its mark in the Columbia Gorge

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If you’re a fan of Spanish wines, you’re going to love this! And if you’re a fan of wineries that take risks to bring consumers something unique, you’re going to love it even more.

Experimentation is at the core of Oregon wine grape growing. After all, it’s what started the Pinot Noir movement in the Willamette Valley during the 1960s and ‘70s. And what could be more experimental than being the first domestic producer of a grape that’s primarily grown only in Spain?

The vineyards of Analemma Wines, in the heart of the Columbia Gorge AVA, are in, what’s by nature, a cool climate AVA. It’s this unique climate that has stirred Analemma Wine’s owners Steven Thompson and Kris Fade to plant and produce the very first Mencia (pronounced Men-THEE-a) grown in the United States… Read the full story here in WinePress NW.

Tailgating party

Tailgate Gourmet: Score big before the game with delectable dishes and fine wines

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With football season upon us, tailgate parties are in force. After all, there’s nothing like the ambiance of a parking lot for eating and drinking to excess. And while throwing some juicy dogs on a grill or bringing a plate of savory charcuterie is always welcome, there’s a whole world of tailgate ideas that will inspire even the non-sports lovers to come out in droves.

Duck or Beaver — or Viking or Pilot or Wildcat or Raider, etc. — one thing we can all agree on is tasty food. The following recipes were generously provided by local restaurants, caterers, as well as local food blogging geniuses, serving to unite fans everywhere. Paired expertly with the recommended Oregon wines, these dishes will surely make you a game-day winner.

Read the full story and get all the recipes here on Oregon Wine Press.