sniffing out truffles

Digging up the dirt on Oregon truffles

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The elusive truffle is like buried treasure. If only we had a map to guide us to them. The pungent yet marvelous aromas the ugly little culinary nuggets emit — mustiness, garlic, earth, sweat — don’t sound or look appealing. But these gems of the kitchen are expensive and highly sought-after for a reason; they make even the simplest egg or pasta dish sing.

Like wine and other fine foods, truffles confer distinction to the farm and the area where they are produced, and like few other crops, they can be grown profitably on small acreages.

According to New World Truffieres’ mycologist, Dr. Charles Lefevre, “To cultivate truffles, inoculated truffle trees are planted in orchards much like those for fruits and nuts, except that the crop appears below ground and is usually harvested with the help of trained dogs or pigs that can smell the truffles through a layer of earth. Truffles begin to appear several years after the inoculated seedlings are planted, and production can continue for decades.”

While Oregon may have a long history of truffle research at Oregon State University, its truffle industry is still young and relatively undiscovered. Much like Oregon chanterelles… Read the complete story here on Wine Press Northwest. 

pinot paddle

Paddle for Pinot: Willamette Riverkeeper hosts wine-soaked adventure

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We began our trip dipping paddles into the refreshing river water, splashing ourselves each time we switched sides, as we propelled the canoe forward. Stroke after stroke, mile after mile, we kept paddling, knowing at the end of the day, a fully catered dinner and four Willamette Valley wineries awaited our arrival. But as I paddled along, keeping the ultimate goal in mind, I found myself entranced, swept away by the breathtaking scenic beauty of this stretch of river I’d never witnessed.

One of approximately 70 people, from Oregon and beyond, we poured into kayaks and canoes for the 29-mile two-day journey on the Willamette Riverkeeper’s first wine-themed event, Pinot Paddle. The trip began in Salem, with small pods launching inside the city, traffic din all around. It was surprising how quickly the noise fell away, leaving only rural vibrations in its place. In no time at all, it felt like we were remote — without a house, car or person in sight — though in reality, we were merely a few minutes’ drive from downtown Salem.

When I closed my eyes… Read the rest of the story here on Oregon Wine Press.

Adrift distillers bottles

Local is the Word at Long Beach’s First Distillery

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When relationships with local farmers become the foundation of a distillery, you know you’re on to something tasty. Like those that were the inspiration for starting Adrift Distillers, located on the Long Beach Peninsula in southwestern Washington, a sibling distillery to the popular Adrift Hotel. “The distillery started with us wanting to do a cranberry liqueur,” says Matt Lessnau, the chief distiller for Long Beach’s first distillery. “As far as agriculture goes, cranberries have a rich history on the Long Beach Peninsula and Starvation Alley Farms was farm-blazing a new trail with organic fruit.”

That first collaboration with the local cranberry bog and farm then inspired… Read the complete article here on SIP Northwest.

bottles of Oregon Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc Rising: Oregon winemakers give expressive white a proper boost

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Sauvignon Blanc can be polarizing. Either you love it or hate it. And if you enjoy it, you likely feel passionately about one style over another — the tart and floral versions in France vs. the “grassy” glasses from New Zealand.

Although Oregon is probably not an obvious destination when seeking the white wine, you can find various local expressions, from the Willamette Valley to the Columbia Gorge to Southern Oregon. And as Sauvignon Blanc gains in popularity, the state’s selection also grows.

Read the complete article here in the Oregon Wine Press.

 

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bottle of Oregon arak and arak cocktail

East Meets Pacific Northwest: Oregon Arak

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Nothing describes East meets Pacific Northwest better than the story of Bull Run Distillery’s Oregon Arak. Unofficially known as the national beverage of Lebanon, arak is a classic Middle Eastern grape-based spirit. In the case of Bull Run Distillery’s version, the base spirit is distilled directly from Willamette Valley Pinot Noir wine (not just must) combined with anise seed from Syria, providing the best of both worlds. Bottled exclusively for the Gorham Restaurant Group (and available to taste at Bull Run Distillery tasting rooms), arak is best enjoyed with mezze — as it is traditionally served in the Middle East — where it aids in cleansing the palate in preparation for the next food flavor. It also can be sipped as a delicious and refreshing after-dinner digestif, or — as Jamal Hassan, bar director of Mediterranean Exploration Company and Shalom Y’all expertly demonstrates — mixed in cocktails. Check out the complete article with cocktail recipe here on SIP Northwest.

Women in the vineyard

Outstanding in Her Field: Meet the women turning male-dominated vineyard management on its heels

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Actually, some women want to drive tractors. While women have broken through barriers once keeping them out of the winemaker spotlight, vineyard management is still mostly dominated by men. Here in Oregon — perhaps more than any other wine region — women are changing the status quo. Small in number only, these forthright leaders are turning on its heel the notion that managing
vineyards is a man’s job.

Jessica Cortell, owner of Vitis Terra Vineyard Services, is no stranger to decidedly male environments. At 18, she fought forest fires to pay for college; she’s also raced mountain and road bikes among top competitors. Yet she’s always been a plant person. She studied chemistry for her doctorate before realizing her preference to work outside, not in a lab. Early in her career, while working with Dai Crisp in the ’90s at Croft Vineyard, she helped prune vines, a task not routinely assigned to women at the time. She recalls being the fastest and finest on the crew, earning respect from her male peers. Read the full story of these women winegrowers here on Oregon Wine Press.

Domaine Serene wine tasting by Terry Richard

Oregon wine scores are on the rise, and sales tend to follow

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Sometimes what makes a wine great is its score.

Arguably, the wine was great before it received a score in a prominent wine publication. But when a wine earns a high score with the critics, the national or international recognition sells that wine, and likely subsequent vintages as well. Good scores can catapult a wine, winemaker and winery into the spotlight. And some of the most revered critics have been scoring Oregon wines particularly high lately, especially compared to neighboring regions.

Take Colene Clemens Vineyards, a Newberg winery that focuses on pinot noir. Although consistently highly reviewed, this winery broke into Wine Spectator’s top 10 this year, with its 2015 Dopp Creek Pinot Noir ranked seventh out of 100. Try and find a bottle of that vintage somewhere.

All told, Wine Spectator recognized Oregon with six Willamette Valley wines in its Top 100 issue for 2018. That’s 6% of the spots in the top 100 this year, a new record for a state that produces only 1.5% of domestic wines. Read the rest of the story here in The Oregonian.

Saffron fields winery view

The Best Views in Oregon Wine Country

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Planning a visit to Oregon’s wine country? You should; swoon-worthy wines and sublime views await you! Between the snowcapped mountains, pastoral settings, long reaching valleys, and vineyards that provide a tapestry of color, a visual feast is practically around every corner. And though it’s difficult to narrow down the list, the following are 12 views you shouldn’t miss.

Check out Wine4Food for the full story.

Pour Oregon

5 unusual wines that’ll be filling glasses at Pour Oregon 2019

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Cellar 503’s popular wine festival, Pour Oregon, is back for its third year on Sunday, April 28. Festival-goers can taste samples from over 50 winemakers representing 18 of the state’s 19 winemaking regions — all conveniently located under one roof at the World Trade Center in downtown Portland.

The event, in partnership with The Oregonian/OregonLive, features such a wide and diverse range of wines from Cellar 503’s club shipments, visitors are bound to discover some new favorites. And since this is Oregon, there will certainly be a plethora of stellar pinot noir. However, attendees can also expect a host of other interesting wines. In fact, here are five of the most unusual wines at Pour Oregon to add to your “Must Sip” list. Find out and read the whole story here in The Oregonian.

Avidity Cellars sunset

Picture-Perfect Parrett: Chehalem Mountains neighborhood a scenic, sip-worthy treasure

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Parrett Mountain certainly represents one of the gateways to Willamette Valley wine country. With its convenient location between Sherwood and Newberg, close proximity to Portland and expanding number of small-production, family-owned wineries, this particular area in the Chehalem Mountains AVA is coming into its own. While some of these wineries have been there for a while, others are new, boasting exceptional wines, impressive views and personalized service. Just like anything worthwhile, Parrett Mountain won’t stay a hidden gem for long. Read the whole article to plan your visit here on Oregon Wine Press.