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.

lambic beer

Lambic – The wine-minded beer

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Lambic, thought to be the oldest beer in the western world, may also be the most unusual and most polarizing: Some see it as the ultimate expression in the art of brewing; others don’t think of it as beer at all.
True Lambic is produced in a specific part of Belgium, where the style originated. If made here, the beer is “Lambic-inspired.”  Because of its fermentation style, it’s one of the closest beers to wine, expressing a sense of place, or terroir.

Exposed to wild yeasts and bacteria — as opposed to cultivated strains of brewer’s yeast — the beer develops distinctively dry, vinous and cider-like flavors with high acidity and a sour aftertaste. Brettanomyces (Brett), a volatile yeast strain typically unwelcome in both breweries and wineries, dominates Lambic’s fermentation, delivering the funky, earthy, tart flavors people either love or hate. Click here to Read the full article with reviews of Oregon lambic-inspired beers.

New Willamette Valley Harvest Website

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Harvest has officially kicked off in the Willamette Valley, and the WVWA’s new harvest website will help us all feel a part of it. Featuring winemaker stories, blog posts, delicious recipes, grape-friendly Spotify playlists, and event listings that all revolve around harvest, it’s like we’re practically in the cellar—except for the punchdowns.


The familial nature of harvest also reaches beyond the intimate work environment of the cellar and into community meals, shared equipment and celebratory events open to all. And while wine is the main focus, harvest season includes the entire Willamette Valley farming community and their bountiful crop of outstanding produce. The age-old combination of good wine, good food and good company is on full display during this plentiful time of year. For social media fans, follow harvest conversations at #wvwines2017 on Facebook and on Twitter @wvwines.

Website visitors can enter-to-win a curated wine country package for two featuring lodging, a winemaker’s dinner, dinner at a select Willamette Valley restaurant, wine tasting passes at hand-picked wineries, and $150 toward a car rental. The contest will run until November 1, 2017.


Building #Björnson – Eola-Amity Hills #winery opens tasting room

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In the heart of the Eola-Amity Hills, between Salem and McMinnville, a new tasting room has opened on Bethel Heights Road, a welcome addition to the popular Polk County neighborhood.

Opening July 1, the Björnson Vineyards tasting room is a dream realized for owners Mark and Pattie Björnson. Having met in college, the couple discovered they shared a desire to live in the country, plant an orchard and raise a big family. After a month-long bike trip through Europe that included stops at many small wineries, the plans for their land changed into establishing a vineyard, building a winery and, now, a tasting room. (Click here to read the rest of the article on Oregon Wine Press.)

Townshends Fernet

Introducing Oregon’s First Fernet

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Intriguingly aromatic and bitter, fernet is typically somewhat an acquired taste. In fact, it?s one of those beverages most of your friends probably say they don?t like. But maybe that?s all the more reason to drink it. Much like a hoppy beer or peaty Hyland Scotch, it takes a bit of work to develop a lasting relationship with the bitter and boozy fernet ? and by work, I mean repeated tastings. To learn?more about Oregon’s first fernet, read the complete article on Oregon Wine Press.

Q Restaurant and Bar Makes its Mark in Portland

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Q menu items
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Q Restaurant and Bar has been reborn in the rubble of VQ. Well, down the street and around the corner. Located in the financial district of downtown Portland, on the corner of SW 2nd and Taylor, Q Restaurant and Bar is poised to take over where VQ left off and continue the long history as one of the city?s foundational eateries.

With the same chef, much the same staff, and many of the same menu items, Q will have a familiar feel to most. But under new ownership by Mazen and Katherine Hariri, and in a new location, there?s no quandary about it. You?ll appreciate the hat tip to the former establishment and at the same time embrace the legacy they?ve just begun to build.

Chef Annie Cuggino (with 22 years of experience at VQ), along with sous chefs Victor Martinez (who started out as a dishwasher and rose through the ranks) and Natalie Gullish, are embracing their new-found freedom in the decked out spectator kitchen. While the family of regulars will still find old favorites like bacon-wrapped dates, butter lettuce, poached egg and house bacon salad, osso bucco, and of course, the chocolate Nocello souffl?, Chef Cuggino will continue to work with the season and local purveyors to satisfy and delight her patrons by turning out Northwest inspired dishes.

Of course we?ll all miss the classic and historic brick building with its luxurious garden dining we?d come to know and love. But the new Q is sure to invite the same loyal patrons and power lunch crowd and is destined to become your new favorite hang out. The atmosphere is inviting and full of warmth, it?s elegant without being stuffy. While the wood-paneled bar is cozy with low ceilings and just a touch of austerity, the friendly bar staff, well appointed cocktail menu and wine list, and large storefront windows provide the perfect pick-me-up.

Q cocktail menuThe wine list, curated by Wine Director Amanda Winquist to reflect the vision of Q, is locally-focused and Northwest dominant, with a generous nod to the more traditional wines of California and Europe. The by-the-glass program is balanced and well thought out and includes two Oregon wines on tap, one of which is a barrel of St. Innocent Freedom Hill made exclusively for Q. If wine isn?t your thing, choose from six local draught brews or get lost and found in the extensive and creative cocktail menu with heavenly drinks like the BFD, You Only Live Twice, and the Peaceful Protest.

Open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week, as well as for weekend brunch. Visit for more information or to reserve your place at the table. You?re in for a treat.

Let’s Meet at Accanto for Dinner, Shall We?

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Accanto_ ChefChris(Portland, OR) — Accanto,the hip and stylish neighborhood Italian restaurant in Southeast Portland, is all about fresh, seasonal Italian food, wine and cocktails. Simple yet sophisticated, with the warmth and welcome of a true neighborhood corner caf?, now Accanto has?announced their new Executive Chef, Chris Frazier. Frazier’s?diverse and distinguished background is bringing a new level of creativity to the kitchen, where his authentic, approachable, and grounded style shines.

Over the last decade, Frazier has been a lead member of several of the most celebrated Italian kitchens in both New York and San Francisco, including 3 years as Chef de Cuisine at DellAnima and L?Artusi in New York, and a similar turn opening Locanda in San Francisco. Rounding out his background are turns at Del Posto (one Michelin Star), Bouchon Bakery, managing the hearth at Saison (two Michelin Stars), and a stint as Chef De Partie of Momofuku Ko (two Michelin Stars). He returned to his hometown and took the helm at Accanto in May 2016, reimagining the entire menu and infusing the restaurant with fresh energy and perspective. In his free time, Frazier enjoys taking things apart and putting them back together, especially old scooters.

Accanto?s new menu demonstrates Frazier?s extensive knowledge of classic Italian cooking techniques, from perfectly simple Roman-style pastas to house-made charcuterie, and exceptional entr?es that showcase the best ingredients of the season. Highlights from Chef Chris? menu at Accanto include:

? CRUDO di CAPESANTE – Scallop carpaccio, cr?me fr?iche, lovage and cured egg yolk
? ROASTED BEETS – House made ricotta, radicchio, rhubarb, cocoa nibs, bee pollen, licorice and saba
? PEACHES – Seared with chorizo, basil
? BUCATINI alla’MATRICIANA – House guanciale, rosemary and pecorino
? CAVATELLI con PECORA – Braised lamb neck and rib, mint, ricotta and english peas
? CAPELLINI con ARAGOSTA PICCANTE – Lobster knuckle and claw, garlic, anchovy, calabrian chili, dandelion greens, shaved lobster roe, bread crumb
? POLLO al DIAVOLO – Roasted summer squash, arugula and honey agrodolce
? GRASS FED OREGON BISON – Top sirloin steak with seared cherries, slow roasted cipollinis and shallots, smoked gorgonzola

Accanto is open for dinner daily (Sunday-Thursday 5:30-9:30pm and Friday-Saturday 5:30-10:30pm) and open for Brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-2pm.

Get Your Calendars Ready: Announcing the 2016 “Dinner in the Field” Events Schedule!

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If you?re anything like me, you?re already thinking about summer. A time of the year when?long summer days seem to go on forever, and evenings are filled with dinners that encapsulate all the flavors of the season, exciting your senses with every flavor. We?share time with friends and family lingering into the colorful sunset with glasses of wine in hand and conversation and the memories of dinner drifting into the air, as the warmth of that connection matches the warmth of the sun on your backs.

It may just be February, and the days still cold and dreary gray, but it?s never too early to be thinking about the bounty of the upcoming summer. In fact, all the more reason. And since Field and Vine Events just released their 2016 Dinner in the Field schedule, it?s?just the right time?to be planning for it. Check out this list of?amazing events from Spring through Winter, that include some of the Willamette Valley?s best farms, wineries, breweries and cideries, and get your planning underway. There?s certainly so much to look forward to.

April 12th ?-SE Wine Collective with Pitch Dark Chocolate
May 14th ??Kestrel Barn with Owen Roe
May 21st ??Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm & Vineyard w/Portland Cider Company
June 4th ?-AlexEli Vineyards with Portland Creamery
June 11th ??St Josef?s Estate Vineyard & Winery
June 18th ??King?s Raven Winery
June 26th ??Pete?s Mountain Vineyards
July 9th ??Stoller Family Estate with Chef Jaco Smith of Lechon Restaurant
July 16th ?-WillaKenzie Estate w/Goldin Artisan Creamery
July 23rd ??Lange Estate Winery with Portland Creamery
July 30th ? Lee Farms with Methven Family Vineyards
August 6th ? Christopher Bridge Winery
August 13th ? Fiala Farms with Erath Winery
August 20th ? Beckham Estate Vineyards
August 28th ? Rare Plant Research Center and Villa Catalana Cellars
September 3rd ? Fir Point Farms with Ecliptic Brewery and Ribera Wines
September 10th ? Terra Vina Wines
September 18th ? Alpacas at Marquam Hill Ranch with AlexEli Vineyards
September 24th ? Ardiri Winery & Vineyards
October 22nd ? Stoller Family Estate
November 5th ? Rosse Posse Elk Farm and Forest Edge Vineyard
December 3rd ? Dobbes Family Estate
December 1oth ? WillaKenzie Estate

For more information, and to purchase your tickets, visit their website here.

Sol?na Estate Unveils Their New Yamhill Tasting Room

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Sol?na Estate opened the cellar doors to their warm, inviting and stunning new tasting room in Yamhill, Oregon on June 21st, 2015.

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Boasting an enormous fireplace and surroundings of weathered wood and stone, the tasting room seems to?natrually bring the outdoors in. Set amidst the owners vineyard estate, Danielle Andrus Montelieu and Laurent Montelieu offer a homey feel for visitors and club members alike.?The grand?3,500 square foot tasting facility?features a private Members Only lounge, a commericial kitchen for events, a wrap-around patio and barrel room.

Laurent Montelieu is not only making gorgeous Estate Pinot Noir, guests will also enjoy Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon (sourced from select Washington and Southern Oregon vineyard sites).

Sol?na Estate?s roots are deep. Beginning in 1999 as an engagement gift to each other, the story goes that instead of registering for china, the couple registered for Pinot noir clones to plant their ?Wedding Vineyard? instead. The 80-acre vineyard, located in Yamhill Carlton AVA is biodynamically farmed

In 2004, the first commercial vintage of Sol?na Estate was released and in 2009, they started construction of their new winery which they would eventually sell to the Jackson family in 2014. Moving just up the road to their charming lakeside location, Sol?na continues to make the same exceptional wines and offer the same generous hospitality, while the wines are now made at the Estate?s custom winemaking facility in Dundee.

Sol?na is open daily from 11-5, stop by for a taste, pull up a comfy chair, and stay for a while.