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).

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.

Eat Dirt – Not Your Typical Wine Dinner

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eatdirtLooking for something unusual do this coming?Valentine’s weekend? How about?a tasty, educational and interactive wine dinner truly like nothing else you’ve every experienced?

Explore the part soil plays in the terroir of wine through a 5-course dining experience paired with Authenique Wines that’s based (as crazy as this might sound) on the concept of ?eating dirt.?

Under sculptural light installations, you will dig through edible soil flavored with foraged nuts and mushrooms, crack open warm oven-baked clay to reveal roasted root vegetables, and experience the excitement of never quite knowing what you will unearth next. Each guest will experience a delicious dinner paired with many interactive components and surprises?that will culminate in?a better understanding of the local soils and how they influence the taste of wines accompanying the dinner. Guests will also receive?a special treat to take home at the end of the night.

Buy your tickets now for an experience you won?t soon forget!
Price: $150 – Click here for tickets

Date and Time: Friday, Feb. 12th from 6:30-9:30 pm

Location: Keeler Estate Vineyard
5100 SE Rice Ln, Amity, Oregon 97101

Presented by Artist Betsy Hinze and Authentique Wine Cellars as a benefit for the Portland YouthGrow Program.

Sparkling Wines Take Oregon’s Willamette Valley by Storm

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BubblefestPoster_v1Come on, who doesn’t love bubbly? It’s like a party in your mouth!

A simple bottle of sparkling wine evokes fabulous images of romance, merriment, success, luxury and most definitely ceremony. And though it should be enjoyed daily?year-round, it’s always the perfect libation for kicking off celebrations, holidays, enjoying with a festive meal or just lifting the darkest spirits.

And yes, Valentine’s Day is coming up. But that doesn’t mean that you have to be in love or even a part of couple to enjoy a bubbly celebration. So, brighten your Valentine’s weekend (coupled or not) and discover who’s making the best sparkling wine in the Willamette Valley at Anne Amie’s 2nd annual Bubbles Fest.

February 13th, 2016
11am to 4pm
6580 NE Mineral Springs Rd., Carlton

Tickets: $45 – Click here to purchase

Raise your glass and toast to Anne Amie?s incredible view and convivial ambiance, while sipping from 12 extraordinary small production local producers you might not even know?craft sparkling wines. Small bites and live music are an added bonus.

Anne Amie
Division Wine Co.
Native Flora
R. Stuart
Raptor Ridge
Sokol Blosser

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

WillaKenzie Gamay Noir – Even Pinot Lovers Will Love

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For those who love Pinot Noir,?I give you WillaKenzie Estate Gamay Noir.

Gamay noir (primarily known as Beaujolais) is something like zinfandel, in that cheap, poorly made yet widely distributed versions have damaged our impressions of what should be a great wine. Let this wine?dispel any negative opinions you may have.

WillaKenzie 2012 Gamay Noir is notable with its bright and food friendly acidity, subtle minerality and fruity presence. Brandied sour cherries make the first impression while crushed raspberries and bacon (yes bacon!) sneak in from behind. Laced with an elegant yet subtle perfume of violets and the hypnotic aromas of cassis, the complexity is astounding.

A cross between pinot noir and gouais blanc, gamay noir is one of those varieties that is still flying under the radar, making it a more affordable alternative to its more grown up and sophisticated cousin (pinot noir). When it’s crafted like an honorable and traditional red Burgundy, the wines rich color, deep flavors and smooth tannins are elevated exactly as they should be.

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.

Chaberton Siegerrebe?Don’t Say it, Just Drink it.

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chabertonIf you thought gewerztraminer was hard to pronounce, try siegerrebe. Pronounced zee-ga-rey-buh, it literally means ?victory vine? in German. Siegerrebe is the result of cross breeding between Madeleine Angevine and Gewurztraminer in the early 1900s. So, kind of a victory. Today, it is grown throughout Germany, Washington State, and British Columbia. Maybe that’s the real victory.

Siegerrebe is a delicate and aromatic grape best suited to cool climates. Though the grapes are blush colored, the pressed juice runs clear and bright. Bud break comes late and the sweet smelling fruit ripens early, making it vulnerable to birds and pests. Highly aromatic, similar to Muscat and Gewerztraminer, the finished wines tend to be lower in acidity and alcohol and have historically been used in blended white wines. Fortunately, despite this wine not being particularly well known for high quality fruit, there is an emerging trend (perhaps from wine lovers seeking something a bit different) in producing the varietally pure versions.

I remember tasting Siegerrebe for the first time many years ago at Purple Cow in Oregon and being completely dumbfounded by the sweet nose and then the bone dry wine in my mouth. Sadly, I don?t think they are still producing it. Since my visit to the Fraser Valley in British Columbia early this year, Siegerrebe has become a personal favorite of mine.

Siegerrebe might trick you into falling in love with its austere and elegant appearance, but its robust aroma and flavor profile is what will ultimately woo you. It?s these qualities that make it perfect to pair with food. It?s vibrant, clean, off-dry and yet incredibly well balanced. My advice to you?don?t be afraid of wines you can?t pronounce.

2014 Chaberton Siegerrebe:?Aromas of honeysuckle, candied apricots and lychee fruit tickle your sensations. Sipping this wine will reward your mouth with flavors of peaches, mandarin oranges, meyer lemon and a kiss of honey. The tropical flavors reveal hints of residual sugar in perfect balance with the wine?s acid.

Serve it as an apertif or with spicy prawns, thai food or strong cheeses. I paired it with Curried Cauliflower Soup (click for the recipe), which was uplifting and completely satisfying.

Wine Deals – For Realz

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DSC_0209When I was growing up, I think I must have heard the words “I never pay retail” almost daily. Let this be my confession, I am the daughter of a serial bargain shopper. And while I have learned to appreciate the high quality and good value you get from many expensive things, I also admit that I love a great bargain; I guess it’s in the genes. However, the word bargain rarely crosses my mind or my lips when I consider buying?wine.

The opportunity to explore Grocery Outlet‘s wine section recently proved to be a fun and eye opening experience. Honestly, I’d not really considered Grocery Outlet when purchasing?wine. Maybe it’s due to my loyalty to Oregon’s small producers (or just my inner wine snob), but I now can safely recommend a stroll through Grocery Outlet to see what treasure you might uncover.

Though you might be raising your wine hackles right now, seething with speculation, swelling with scrutiny, nestled amongst the Outlet’s racks were intriguing bottles that might just soothe your inner inner sceptic?wines like Anderson Valley pinot noir, bordeaux from France, as well as Amarone and Valipolcella from Italy. ?And since most of these wines were marked down anywhere from 30%-60% off their retail value, at worst, even if the bottle isn’t the greatest wine you ever tasted, it will likely be an enjoyable and interesting experience. I invite you to keep an open mind.

With holiday parties around the corner, you can stock up on cases for your entertaining pleasure, and not feel like you’re breaking the bank. And with a big wine sale on top of their already reduced prices (November 4-10), now’s the time to make your move. Enter to win a Grocery Outlet $25 gift certificate below.

Inventory changes all the time and the good stuff won’t stay on the shelves for long, so if you see something interesting, take a chance and snatch it up. You might just discover your next favorite everyday wine at a fraction of the cost.

The following wines will be on sale in the Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Nevada?markets:

Pine and Post Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Cline Zinfandel
Schlumberger Chardonnay
Wandering River Sauvignon Blanc
Hayes Ranch Zinfandel
Mission St Vincent Bordeaux RSV
Bedford Chardonnay
Goss Creek Red Blend Sonoma
Cathedral Creek Chardonnay
Villa Veneta Pinot Grigio
Red Autumn Chardonnay
Four Star Red

Enter here for your chance to win a $25 gift card to Grocery Outlet where you can take advantage of the great prices and see for yourself.

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2013 Owen Roe Sinister Hand – An Evil Good Wine

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IMG_2439Owen Roe Winery ? 2013 Sinister Hand (Columbia Valley)
64% Grenach, 16% Syrah, 12% Mourvedre, 8% Cinsault

Each year, Sinister Hand proves that French Rhone-style wines can be made in true Northwest fashion with strength, beauty and consistency. Using the same fruit, varying only the percentages, each vintage promises enjoyment. The 2013 is no different, and might just be one of the best Sinister Hand vintages I?ve yet to taste.

The satisfyingly dense garnet color first captures your imagination, hypnotizing you, as you get lost swirling in the depth. Ripe and juicy plum, succulent blueberries take over your mouth with the first sip, followed by a pleasant stony minerality on the mid-palate and a delightful lingering finish of raspberry jam, cherry cola and baking chocolate.

There is absolutely nothing evil about this wine, except maybe the label, which particularly appeals to the dark part of my personality. When the wine shelves are fully of wines?featuring cute critter labels, a bloody hand is sure to catch your eye. Yeah, you?ll look twice, and be glad you did. Legend has it, back in 11th century Ireland, a rowing competition for land took place between the O?Neil and the O?Reilly families. The first person to cross the lake and touch land would lay claim to the contested land. As the O?Reilly boat was in the lead, Owen Roe O?Neil used?his own sword to cut off his hand and threw his?severed limb onto the shore, winning at nearly all costs. The O?Neils were declared the rulers and still own the land today. The label, which has become part of the family crest, shows the hand of the legendary Owen Roe O?Neil, the wine is made by winemaker David O?Reilly?how?s that for keeping it all in the family?

Wine that’s perfect for Halloween, blustery autumn days and stormy winter nights. Really, the wine is just perfect. And it would be positively sinister if I didn?t encourage you to go buy a bottle.