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Domaine Divio: A Touch of Burgundy in the Willamette Valley

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Nestled on a pastoral hillside in the prestigious Ribbon Ridge AVA of Oregon?s Willamette Valley, lies Domaine Divio, a quaint little farm-style tasting room sharing exceptional wines and the stories behind them.

barndoorsShe wanted the doors, he wanted the fireplace, so they designed everything around those elements.

It might look like a large wooden barn, as it blends seamlessly into into serene surroundings, but inside, you?ll find composed grandeur in the heavy wooden barn doors that open to bring the outside in, the high ceilings with extensive windows inviting in the sunlight, and the massive stone fireplace to welcome guests with its cozy warmth.

barStep up to the apothecary-style bar and let the owner winemaker Bruno Corneaux pour you tastings of his superbly made wines. Bruno?s philosophy for making Domaine Divio wines is done in the style he learned growing up in France. He is passionate about growing his grapes biodynamically, making small production wines that are true to his 4th generation French winemaking roots, and crafting his pinot noir and chardonnay with as little intervention as possible.

Bruno speaks lovingly about his little 23-acre spot on Ribbon Ridge. He appreciates the recognizable marine sediment in the soil and the spicy flavors it gives the wines grown there. Though his estate is currently planted to 12 acres of pinot noir and chardonnay, until the grapes are ready for wine production, he?s sourcing fruit from neighboring regions, including the Dundee Hills, Chehalem Mountains and Eola Amity AVAs. And tasting these all side-by-side is a great opportunity to learn about the different areas and what impact the varying soil types and conditions have on those wines. You may consider it an important lesson in terrior. According to Bruno, ?he wants to make sure that the fruit is giving him what the soil is all about.?

The wines are flawless and captivating, but it?s Bruno?s passion and generous hospitality, telling stories in his charming French accent of his heritage, growing up in Beaune France, and how he met his lovely wife Isabelle in Dijon where he studied that will ultimately connect you. You?ll understand how the name Divio, which is the Roman name for the town of Dijon, and the congruence of all their experience has become an icon for their brand. Even the logo is modeled after the handcrafted painted roof tiles from Dijon. Ask them the stories for yourself. They?ll wax poetic about France, about wine and you?ll feel like a part of it all.

chard2013 Willamette Valley Chardonnay ? With a mere 25 cases of this heavenly wine in existence, I suggest you make your visit soon. Showing classic citrus with flinty minerality, and caramel notes without being buttery, it?s bright and brilliant acidity is focused and laser sharp. Its versatility makes it perfect with a variety of dishes such as butter leaf salads, crab, corn, and risotto.

2012 Pinot Noir Dundee Hills ? Cherry, raspberry, moist earth, dried herbs and milk chocolate notes emanate from the glass. It?s elegant and light in color, with both clarity and finesse. Sourced from Thistle Vineyard (ask Bruno to say this just for fun ;).

2012 Pinot Noir Eola Amity Hills ? You?ll be lured in by dark berries, baking chocolate, violet, and white pepper. Far from simple, the structure and complexity of this wine will continue to evolve for years.

2013 Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountain ? One of the earlier ripening areas in the Valley, this wine is full of red currant, ripe strawberry jam and juicy but tart cherry flavors complemented by steely minerality and earthy components.

 

winery view tastingroom

 

Spring is in the Air? Stoller 2015 Ros? is in Your Glass

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As you feel the number of daylight hours increasing by the minute, pink bottles start lining the shelves of your favorite wine shop. They trumpet the incoming spring, much the way the bulbs popping up in your yard do, growing in almost the same proportions. I love this time of year, life is practically bursting at the seams.?When that first bottle of the?2015 ros?s, made an appearance on my table, I wanted to throw my hands up in celebration. Are we really through our darkest hours? Is it time for pink wine already? Well, I’m here to tell you, yes and YES!

The Stoller Family Estate 2015 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir Ros? is my harbinger of spring, thank you very much. The stunning pink color gently wakes your winter weary soul while Ruby Red grapefruit, watermelon and honeysuckle tickle your senses, teasing?them with lively aromatics and playful acidity. I want to pair this wine with bouillabaisse or crudit?s, as its restraint is reminiscent of the finest classic wine from Provence, but I think it is an extremely?versatile wine and would taste simply divine with a fennel, blood orange and arugula salad topped with a?simple honey and lemon vinaigrette. Or you could do what I did and eat with pepperoni and pineapple pizza? damn that was good (don’t judge me).

Furioso: Furiously Good Pinot Noir

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New wineries seem to be popping up in Oregon like wildflowers; beautiful blooms that add fragrance and color to the already magnificent landscape. As if we thought it couldn?t get any better.

I am hoping to visit them all and share their stories here.

The first, in the roundup on recents is La Linea Furioso, located in Dundee Oregon. As the name is a bit of a mouthful, and I?d like to focus the mouthful on the wine, so we?ll just call them Furioso and hope they won’t mind too terribly.

Furioso, owned by Giorgio Furioso, purchased the old Crumbled Rock site to create a new winery and reclaim his Italian winemaking family?s heritage. Mission accomplished

There is a new tasting room to explore as well as?the first commercial vintage of 2014 pinot noir. I hear from winemaker Dominique Mahe, that there is chardonnay in the works and that they have just planted friulano (which is quite rare in the Willamette Valley). Though it?s a good three years before we see the fruiliano, my interest is most definitely piqued.

2014 L?Altra Linea Furioso Pinot Noir
This wine is ripe and truly authentic to the warmer vintage. It?s also rich, young and fruity with a mouthful of tart cranberry relish reminiscent of turkey dinner, sweet blackberry jam and hints of spice that’s all wrapped up in warm supple leather. The balance of sweetness, acidity and smooth tannins make this a wine that plays well with food. Let it linger long like a welcome friend.?$45

Red Wine Poached Pears

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pears_wineMy dear friend Claudia is one of those natural cooks, the kind you envy in their effortless way about the kitchen. She?doesn?t need to follow recipes, just cooks by instinct and experience. I could start a food blog for her recipes alone ?Cooking with Claudia? (hmmmmmm, idea engine turning).

When she made this dessert for Christmas Eve dinner, I knew it was one of those recipes I?d make again and again. The color is gorgeous, the simplicity is impressive, the taste is decadent and delicious, and well, it?s made with wine. And since it?s easy, elegant and even somewhat healthy, I begged her for the recipe and am excited to share it?with you now.

First and foremost, don’t skimp on the wine.?The recipe calls for pinot noir, but any light bodied?red with good?acidity will do. I used this bright and exciting WillaKenzie Estate Gamay Noir (full review here), but you could most certainly use a pinot meunier also. If you?re looking for a lighter variation (say for an all seafood dinner), use a dry white wine like Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc. You?ll be missing the lovely color, but none of the flavor.

Ideal recipe for gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo diets.

Other phenomenal Oregon reds to consider using:
Teutonic Pinot Meunier
The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Meunier
Brickhouse Gamay Noir
Division Wines Gamay Noir
Chehalem Gamay Noir
Evening Lands Gamay Noir

WillaKenzie Aliette ? A Wine for all Seasons

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willakenzieThough red and white wines can be?perfect any time of year, there?s something to be said for drinking with the seasons. The heavy, hearty stews of fall and winter scream for big red wines; holiday season means a glass of bubbly at the ready; and summer salads and lighter fare typically call for bright whites.

And then there?s pinot noir. Its flexibility and food-friendly acidity makes it a perfect wine for all seasons, and WillaKenzie Estate 2012 Aliette (named after a beautiful woman and not to be confused with the french word “Alouette“) fills that bill and more.

Made of 100% pommard fruit, this wine is lithe, lush, silky, smooth and sexy. It?s a glass of pure romance and is exquisite when paired with the warmth of a crackling fire and someone to snuggle with. Add a mix of dinner and some enticing conversation and you’ll have yourself a night to remember.

Pay attention to the wine and you may notice flavors of red plum, ripe raspberries, soft vanilla and a dazzling spicy white pepper finish. The flavors are harmonious, the wine?s clarity is as translucent as Oregon pinot noir is known for, and for a warm vintage, you?d never know it, for the wine is perfectly balanced. Winemaker Thibaud Mandet is some kinda winemaker genius; his wines are dependable, distinctive, consistent and always, always delicious.

Pair this wine with seared duck breast and savory compote, braised short ribs with parsnip pur?e, duck confit with ratatouille, pork sugo over polenta and any salmon preparation. Enjoy with dinner or all on its own, this wine not disappoint.

Oregon Wine Country – Thanksgiving Weekend 4-1-1

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KBP_4529-24-1763x1177If you live in Oregon, you’re probably familiar with all the winery Pre-Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving weekend Open Houses. It’s something of a yearly buzz and a harbinger of the holiday season. With so many choices, planning a wine country outing might seem more?like a game of Risk. ?But rest assured, I’m here to help you with your planning strategy. Put my experience to good use with this?insider’s guide to planning a winning?Thanksgiving wine country excursion.

Raise your glass and toast the opportunity to taste wines you might not normally get to taste.

The strategy?is actually quite simple. While the big wineries are deliciously dependable, most of them are open year-round, so you can visit them anytime. Save this outing for the wineries only open a couple times a year and those that are having their “coming out” parties.

WINERIES RARELY OPEN – BUT OPEN THANKSGIVING WEEKEND:

1. iOTA Cellars – Open just two times a year, so seize the day. Located in Amity, so a visit to Brooks new tasting room and Keeler Estate would be conveniently accessible. Lucky you!
2. Bells Up Winery?- Small boutique winery in Newberg, hmmmm, practically on the way to Argyle! How ’bout that plan???Taste their symphony of wines, but their inaugural vintage is selling out fast, so grab a bottle or two while you can.
3. Shea Wine Cellars?- Go straight to the source (in Yamhill) and discover?why so many?wineries make a Shea Vineyard wine.
4. Archer Vineyard?- The tiered decks and forever countryside views will melt your holiday stress away.
5. Leah Joregenson Cellars is pouring her wines Pre-Thanksgiving weekend on Saturday, Nov. 21st at Staver Locomotives – which means she’s right in town and you don’t even have to drive out to the valley. That means you have?no excuses. And you get to see cool trains! On Friday of?the Thanksgiving weekend, you’ll find her at the best little wine shop in Newberg, Valley Wine Merchants.

brooksargyle2NEW WINERIES/TASTING ROOMS:
1. Argyle Winery – In my opinion, ALL Oregon wine country outings should either begin or end at Argyle?with a bubbly toast. Combine their sleek and sexy?new tasting room with great wines and easy accessible along the Highway 99 corridor and you have yourself a no-brainer.
2. Domaine Roy & Fils?- Taste the inaugural vintage from Dundee’s newest winery team, Roy and Etzel.
3. Domaine Divio?- Another debut – Burgundian style wines crafted in hillsides of Newberg. Domaine Divio promised?traditional wines along with graceful valley views.
3. Dusky Goose?- This grand opening event features limited production Pinot Noir?crafted by the illustrious Lynn Penner Ash.
4. Keeler Estate?- Allow yourself to?be greeted with warmth and hospitality and feel like you never left home. With wines as stunning as the grounds, it’s a treat for all the senses.
5.?Brooks Winery – With sweeping vistas and stunning wines, you could easily spend all day here. Craft your own flights from?exceptional Pinot noir, Pinot blanc, Gewurtzraminer and 17 Rieslings. Let me say that again, so you hear me loud and clear. 17 RIESLINGS!

TASTING HOUSES: Places to taste a wide variety of limited production vino from artisan producers
1. Carlton Winemakers Studio – Andrew Rich, Dukes Family, Lavinea, Asilda Wines, Quintet, Merriman, Mad Violets, Lazy River, Bachelder Wines, Wahle, Trout Lily and Hamacher
2. Beacon Hill – Harper Voigt, WildAire Cellars
3. Southeast Wine Collective – Be thankful for?urban Thanksgivings. Wines from up-and-coming resident winemakers including Division Winemaking Company (ok, these guys are more up than coming), Fullerton Wines, Gersing Cellars, James Rahn Cellars, Laelaps Winery and Ore Winery.

Places to drink great wine and get your shopping on:
1. WillaKenzie Estate‘s Holiday Market – Taste award winning?wines while you select?thoughtful holiday gifts for all your favorite peeps.?You’ll be able to sample?tasty food items from the following local vendors: The Beautiful Pig, Briar Rose Creamery, Smitten Artisan Truffles, The Spice and Tea Exchange, the Tamale House,?Fanucchi Oils and more. Mmmmm.

Perhaps your Thanksgiving weekend tradition includes a visit to wine country. Or perhaps you’re more of a sit-on-the-couch-and-watch-sports type, or a hit-up-all-the-big-sales type, in which case I invite you to please make a new tradition. You’ll thank me.?Where ever you end up this Thanksgiving weekend, I hope you have a wonderful holiday and enjoy every precious moment! #ORthanks

*Check individual website for details, times and specific offers.

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.

Ring Around the Oregon Ros

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Each year, the new vintage of Oregon ros?s emerge much as a harbinger of summer. The pink bottles excite my gray, rain-soaked Oregon senses, practically quivering with anticipation of long, warm summer days, picnics on the freshly mowed grass and dinners al fresco. These wines somehow trigger the deep inner desire to dust off the patio furniture, sweep the decks and clean the grill in preparation for sunshine, relaxation and lingering evenings full of conversation and sumptuous food. Now, summer and Oregon ros? is finally here in full swing, and all I can?envision is serving these stunning beauties?with succulent seared scallops, rich and tasty bouillabaisse and fresh, seasonal summer salads (stay tuned for recipes).

Ros? is made from red grapes typically used for producing red wines?but how it is vinified will determine the color and style of the finished wine. Depending on the area and the type grape, winemakers will either choose one of three vinification techniques:

  1. Maceration (or direct pressing) yields a very light color, as the skins have very little contact with the pressed juice.
  2. Bleeding (also known as Saign?e) is when the crushed grapes cold soak much as a red wine would, but for far less time, before they?re ?bled off? into tank. The result is a darker pink color, with more tannins?(depending on how long the grapes soak for).
  3. Blending the juices of white and red grapes together ? a method actually forbidden in many wine regions around the world, but practiced readily in others.

Sometimes, producing a ros? is more like an afterthought, a way to use leftover or subpar juice, or a way to use fruit that is not as ripe as a winemaker would like it to be for their red wines. Many winemakers, however, still adhere to their principles that a great Ros? is created in the vineyard. They preselect which grapes they intend to use for their ros? and ensure the wine is the same high quality as the rest of wines in their portfolio, not just a means for generating quick cash flow.

Satiate recently hosted a blind tasting of 10 different Oregon ros?s, In the end, what was easy to see was?that each taster seemed to have their own preferences. While this is not really a surprise at all, it was interesting to see how one person appreciated bracing acidity, while another preferred a softer, rounder wine, and yet another seemed to welcome a hint of residual sugar. The take away was that there is no definitive style as to what a ros? ?should? be, and the beauty is that there is, and will always be, something for everyone. Here are the top 5 recommendations and a few other charmers I tasted later. Yeah, I just couldn’t help myself.

  • Reviews:
    • Alexana 2014 Ros? of Pinot Noir ? Delicious mouthwatering watermelon Now and Later candies, beautifully balanced with just the right amount of acidity, a hint of smokiness, ripe strawberries and delicate floral notes.
    • Helioterra 2014 Pinot Noir Ros? ? The gorgeous pale salmon color is exactly what your eyes expect and hope for from a ros?. The nose delivers pink grapefruit, citrus and rose petals which all follow through in a delightfully long finish.
    • Teutonic 2014 Laurel Vineyard Ros? ? Fantastic expressions of rhubarb, red plum, Rainier cherries and ruby red grapefruit. The color of a candy apple, and in a word, mesmerizing. This wine showed classic minerality and a deep, rich complexity that left you wanting more.
    • Brooks 2014 Ros?A full and bright nose of citrus and orange blossoms, a mouthful of tart cranberry and creamy strawberries with hints of dusty undertones. This dry and berryful wine was every bit refreshing and the perfect complement to summer cooking.
    • Soter 2014 North Valley Ros? ? Primarily Pinot Noir, with a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Gewurtzaminer, this beauty will stop you in your tracks with notes of lemon zest, honeysuckle, red currants, and cherries. Bone dry, with a nice mineral mouth feel, this wine reminds me of a ros? you?d expect to find in Provence.
  • Additional recommendations (because I can and you should):
    • Anne Amie 2014 Huntington Hill Ros? of Pinot Gris
    • Quady North 2014 Ros? of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre
    • Abacela 2014 Grenache Ros?
    • Stoller 2014 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir Ros?


*In full disclosure, these wines were a combination of samples provided by?the wineries and some purchased by Satiate.

 

Recipes

Red Wine Poached Pears

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pears_wineMy dear friend Claudia is one of those natural cooks, the kind you envy in their effortless way about the kitchen. She?doesn?t need to follow recipes, just cooks by instinct and experience. I could start a food blog for her recipes alone ?Cooking with Claudia? (hmmmmmm, idea engine turning).

When she made this dessert for Christmas Eve dinner, I knew it was one of those recipes I?d make again and again. The color is gorgeous, the simplicity is impressive, the taste is decadent and delicious, and well, it?s made with wine. And since it?s easy, elegant and even somewhat healthy, I begged her for the recipe and am excited to share it?with you now.

First and foremost, don’t skimp on the wine.?The recipe calls for pinot noir, but any light bodied?red with good?acidity will do. I used this bright and exciting WillaKenzie Estate Gamay Noir (full review here), but you could most certainly use a pinot meunier also. If you?re looking for a lighter variation (say for an all seafood dinner), use a dry white wine like Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc. You?ll be missing the lovely color, but none of the flavor.

Ideal recipe for gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo diets.

Other phenomenal Oregon reds to consider using:
Teutonic Pinot Meunier
The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Meunier
Brickhouse Gamay Noir
Division Wines Gamay Noir
Chehalem Gamay Noir
Evening Lands Gamay Noir