Friday, November 29, 2013

Genoa Restaurant, Portland

Heading to Portland for the Wine Tourism Conference, we reached out to the Portland restaurant community and were excited to get an invitation to dine at Genoa Restaurant, open since 1971 and part of Portland's restaurant history. Chef Jake Martin’s five-course tasting menu changes monthly and is expertly paired by Sommelier Michael Garofola. While the wine list is deep and broad, we'd suggest putting yourself in his hands by opting for the food and wine pairing menu available.

Genoa Restaurant Portland

We walked to the restaurant (in the dark), partly to prepare for all the food we were about to enjoy, but also to get a feel for the neighborhood. The area has a funky feel to it; we especially loved the fact that restaurants and other establishments sat side by side with homes and other uses, nothing quite like a mixed-use neighborhood. Approaching Genoa in the dark also gave us an unexpected benefit: seeing it lit up like a jewel box, revealing the beautiful design within. Almost sheer curtains shield most of the dining room from passersby, giving just a tease of what's inside. The exterior is also quite striking, blending the tradition of the old brick building with a more contemporary entry. Nicely done.

The interior is definitely on the formal side, though it is not stiff or uncomfortable. Plenty of dark wood, glass and mirrors, as well as textiles, were lit beautifully and made for a harmonious whole. Sitting by the fireplace was very pleasant on a cool evening. The tables are spaced far apart enough  to provide privacy, but not so far that you can't spy on your neighbors to see what they ordered. Conversation from other tables was audible, but not intrusive; the sound in the space remained at a pleasant level throughout our meal.

As we scanned the menu options, we sipped glasses of François Pinon,Touraine Petillant Rosé, Loire Valley, France NV, and you should too. I have yet to find a fine dining meal that has not started out auspiciously when sparkling Rosé is in one's glass. I have found that they are almost universally romantic and tasty wines and perfect aperitifs for the tastes yet to come.

Genoa Restaurant Food

After a tuna Amuse Bouche, here's what we had for dinner, along with the wines that were paired for each dish:
Antipasti
  • Hamachi - green apple, cucumber, suèdoise with Ermes Pavese, Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle, Vallée d'Aosta, Italy 2011
  • Carote - smoked carrot tartare, hay, yogurt, vadouvan with Agniolino Maule, "I Masieri", Veneto Bianco, Italy 2012
Primi
  • Capellini- brioche, whipped lardo, soft boiled egg, parsley with Ar. Pe. Pe., Rosso di Valtellina, Lombardia, Italy 2009
  • Tagliarini- vodka, sepia, roe, lemon with Taschlerhof, Kerner, Valle Isarco, Alto Adige, Italy 2012
Insalata
  • Coda di bue - oxtail terrine, brioche crust, baby mustard greens, raspberry gastrique with Domaie de Vaccelli, "Granit", Ajaccio Rosé, Corsica, France 2012
  • Zucca - squash variations, pecan, maple with Edi Keber, Collio Bianco, Friuli-Venezia Guilia, Italy 2012
Secondi
  • Fagiano - pheasant, smoked apple, celery root, kohlrabi with Montesecondo, "Tin", Tuscany, Italy 2011
  • Funghi - roasted porcini mushroom, carrot, fregola sarda, spruce with Franz Haas, "Manna", Vignetti delle Dolomiti, Italy 2010
Dolci
  • For the life of us, we cannot remember what we had for dessert and it isn't on the menu, but we do remember it being very tasty. They accidentally brought us a dessert we had not ordered, so we ended up trying all three. One was named Financier, but beyond that...
If that list doesn't make you hungry, I'm not sure what would. While the descriptions are on the understated side, the food certainly is not. And nothing is as it seems -- every dish held a surprise or a taste that went well beyond expectations.  While we had hoped to have Oregon wines with our dinners, the mostly Italian options proved more than adequate. Presentation and information were top-notch, with everyone from the wait staff to the bus boy to the Sommelier helpful and knowledgeable; clearly, training is an integral part of the Genoa business plan.

Cerebral food with equally thoughtful wine pairing make this a great destination to be treated royally. Food presented very simply but nothing simple about it.

Genoa on Urbanspoon

Genoa Restaurant on Foodio54

Genoa Restaurant on Restaurantica

More information can be found on the Genoa website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Disclaimer: This meal was provided for review purposes.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Turkey Leftover Wine Pairings: Sweet and Savory Holiday Pizza

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and your fridge is packed full of leftovers. What to do? Wagner Family of Wine provided us with some recipes and a suggested wine pairing. We tested their offering along with a few others. Of course, any of these wines should definitely be under consideration for your Thanksgiving table!

2012 Meiomi Pinot Noir

This recipe is for Sweet and Savory Holiday Pizza, paired with the 2012 Meiomi Wines Pinot Noir (SRP $22.00).

Sweet and Savory Holiday Pizza
Ingredients
  • 1 lb pizza dough (we used Momofuku Mother Dough instead)
  • 8 oz small firm potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 C roasted turkey
  • 2 whole garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1/3 C dried cranberries
  • 8 oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 2-4 oz Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 C olive oil, reserve some for brushing dough
  • 6 fresh sage leaves (or 3/4 tsp dried)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • Boil potatoes in salted water until centers are tender; after cooled, slice into chunks
  • Fry sliced onion until medium brown; set aside to cool
  • Roll out dough as thin as possible, then brush both sides with oil
  • Top pizza with all ingredients - we found it easiest to mix the toppings together, then spoon them on at once, but that may seem gauche to some :)
  • Bake pizzas 12-15 minutes or until done, slice, serve with the Meiomi Pinot Noir, enjoy!
First off, this is one of the most amazing pizzas I've ever had! Who would have guessed that recreating a Thanksgiving dinner on pizza dough would be so tasty - the potatoes as topping are an especially agreeable surprise. The Meiomi interacted with the flavors in so many ways, sometimes complementing a spice or ingredient, other times acting as a foil. Great choice for this pairing.

Other wines to consider:

There are so many facets to this pizza that I would suspect any of your favorite wines might work - experiment a little and see for yourself. Not sure? Try one of these:

Thanksgiving wines - reds
Re Midas Corvina 2011 (SRP $9.00) - made with Corvina grapes, this is a light bodied red that flatters but doesn't overpower any of the ingredients.

Pertinace Nebbiolo 2009 (SRP $18.00) - nicely balanced with a little more structure and fruit, great food wine that handles the pizza with aplomb.

Domaine Loubejac Willamette 2010 Pinot Noir (SRP $17.99) - herbs in wine reflect the sage and other flavors, subtle tartness brings to mind the dried cranberries.

Soléna Estate 2011 Grande Cuvée Pinot Noir (SRP $25.00) - floral notes add an additional layer of complexity to this pairing, while tannins and acidity add nice contrast to creaminess of potatoes and cheese.
This is recipe three of three in this wine and food pairing series - also includes:
Disclaimer: These wines were provided for promotional purposes.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Turkey Leftover Wine Pairings: Holiday Turkey Panini

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and your fridge is packed full of leftovers. What to do? Wagner Family of Wine provided us with some recipes and a suggested wine pairing. We tested their offering along with a few others. Of course, any of these wines should definitely be under consideration for your Thanksgiving table!

This recipe is for Holiday Turkey Panini, paired with the 2011 Conundrum Wines Red (SRP $22.00).

Turkey Leftover Wine Pairings: Turkey Panini with Conundrum Wines Red

Holiday Turkey Panini
Ingredients
  • Large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp each dried paprika and cumin
  • 8 slices chewy brown bread (we substituted California sourdough for the extra bite of flavor)
  • 4-5 T softened butter
  • 2 T finely minced celery
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano leaves, chopped (we substituted dried)
  • 12 oz turkey
  • 8 thin slices bacon, browned and crisp (we used thicker, homemade bacon)
  • 1 oz pepper jack cheese (this seems low, perhaps 1 oz per serving makes more sense) (or we just like more cheese)
  • Arugula, washed and stemmed
  • More olive oil, salt, pepper for salad dressing
Directions
  • Fry sliced onion in 2 T olive oil until soft and medium brown; stir in spices and set aside to cool.
  • Butter a slice of bread for each panini and place butter side down.
  • Top with remaining ingredients, place other bread piece on top, butter exposed side.
  • Cook in panini press or in heavy skillet, using weight to compress sandwiches slightly.
  • Garnish each plate with arugula salad.
  • Add a glass of Conundrum Red, eat, and enjoy!
This meal worked on so many levels. We were glad that we substituted the sourdough bread in - the tanginess of the bread added yet another layer of good taste to a sandwich which had plenty of it. The Conundrum Red had the heft and fruit to stand up to the wealth of flavors, yet didn't overwhelm the panini either. Great all around food wine and a good addition to this meal as well as the Thanksgiving feast itself.

Other wines to consider:

Thanksgiving Wines
Cultivate Wines The Feast California Red Wine 2010 (SRP $17.99) - another big bodied red blend that stood up to the saltiness and spices of the sandwich without getting in the way of the food. Bonus: Cultivate gives back 10 cents of every dollar to help fund opportunity and hope in communities across the globe.

Cultivate Wines Dream Walking California Chardonnay 2009 (SRP $17.99) - A white wine with enough body, mouthfeel, acidity, and subtle sweetness to be a wonderful accompaniment to the sandwich. Really interesting that both this Chardonnay and their red blend worked with this meal.

Josh Cellars 2012 Chardonnay (SRP $13.99) - plush mouthfeel with appropriate oak and acidity make this a great complement, especially to the subtle spiciness of the pepper jack cheese. Bonus: For every bottle sold between November 1 - December 31, Josh Cellars will donate $1 (up to $50,000) to Operation Homefront, supporting military heroes and their families.
This is recipe two of three in this wine and food pairing series - also includes:
Disclaimer: These wines were provided for promotional purposes.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Turkey Leftover Wine Pairings: Po' Boys

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and your fridge is packed full of leftovers. What to do? Wagner Family of Wine provided us with some recipes and a suggested wine pairing. We tested their offering along with a few others. Of course, any of these wines should definitely be under consideration for your Thanksgiving table!

This recipe is for Holiday Turkey Po' Boys, paired with the 2012 Conundrum Wines White (SRP $22.00).

Turkey Leftover Wine Pairings: Po' Boys and Conundrum Wines White

Holiday Turkey Po' Boys
Ingredients:
  • 1/3 C mayo (we substituted yogurt)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 T white wine vinegar (we substituted apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 tsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 tsp each dry mustard, paprika, black pepper, salt
  • 2 T minced onions
  • 3-4 C shredded cabbage
  • 4-5 T salted butter, softened
  • 6-8 oz roast turkey
  • Large soft French rolls (we substituted homemade Momofuku Mother Dough rolls instead)
Directions:
  • Stir mayo, sugar, vinegar, Sriracha and spices together. Fold in onion and cabbage and let sit at least 15 minutes to soften cabbage.
  • In a heavy skillet, melt butter and heat turkey.
  • Slice rolls, butter, then pan fry until golden brown.
  • Pile ingredients on rolls. (For our second round we cut turkey into small pieces, combined with cabbage mix, and found it easier to keep contained on rolls.)
  • Eat and enjoy.
The spiciness and crunch of the coleslaw, along with the chewiness of the turkey and bread paired beautifully with the slight sweetness and creaminess of the 2012 Conundrum Winery White. Definitely one to include on your holiday table and after.

Other wines to pair with this dish:

Thanksgiving Wines - whites
Soléna Estate 2012 Pinot Gris (SRP $20.00) - spices in the sandwiches reflected in the wine, with its tartness a nice foil for creaminess of yogurt.

Josh Cellars 2012 Sauvignon Blanc (SRP $13.99) - citrus and melon flavors married well with spices in coleslaw dressing. Bonus: For every bottle sold between November 1 - December 31, Josh Cellars will donate $1 (up to $50,000) to Operation Homefront, supporting military heroes and their families.

Mionetto Brut Prosecco (SRP $14.00) - dry, light-bodied, with apple notes make this a perfect foil to the yeasty bread and creamy coleslaw. And who can resist bubbles?

Rocca Sveva 2012 Soave Classico (SRP $17.00) - works with this as a sandwich and also with the filling itself, salad-style.
This is recipe one of three in this wine and food pairing series - also includes:
Disclaimer: These wines were provided for promotional purposes.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

E3 VIP Luxury Tailgating

E3 VIP Soldier Field

A few weeks ago, we were invited to tailgate for the Chicago Bears-Bengals game. Hold on though, this was not your typical tailgate experience, but an over-the-top luxury event put on by E3 VIP. While there is nothing wrong with opening your cooler, popping a few sausages on the grill, and kicking back by your car, why not step it up and have your own chef, bartender, and DJ?
"E3 VIP provides 3 types of travel and event services; VIP Luxury Mobile Tours for groups of 20 and more, offered as mobile cocktail parties; Custom Mobile Luxury Event Services, targeted at corporate event planners that have specific “luxury experience” requirements; and Luxury Tailgate membership and corporate sponsorship opportunities, for professional and collegiate football games offered by E3 VIP in the greater Chicago area."
E3 VIP food and drinks

We parked near the Planetarium, then walked over to the E3 VIP section, with its carpeted space, tent, Pop-Chips truck, and RV (the RV is used for inclement weather, but we poked our heads in for a quick glimpse - nice). So what does E3 VIP provide? Besides the private area (no riff-raff here, though they did let us in, haha), there is food on the grill (prepared by Guy Fieri! not really but fun nonetheless), almost a full bar, and a DJ (maybe I'm just an old curmudgeon, but the music was too loud, hard to talk). Laima opted to start with a  Bloody Mary while I enjoyed a Lagunitas beer. I wish they included mimosas, as 9:30 is pretty early for me to start drinking the harder stuff, though clearly most others have no such compunction. Available food included Polish sausages, pork tenderloin sliders (yummy),  grilled shrimp, lamb chops, and more. The benefits of the open grill are the freshness of the food, the enjoyment of watching it made right there, and the amazing smells. 

Laima and Otis Wilson

What could be better than a little star power to go with the rest of all this pampering? We got to meet Otis Wilson, who won a Super Bowl as a member of the 1985 Chicago Bears. That is a serious sized ring he wears! Gracious with all the guests, Otis chatted freely and posed for numerous photos. I'm sure it must have gotten tiring after a while, but he remained affable as long as we were there. Check out the Otis Wilson Foundation to see the good work he's doing.

Want to make a weekend of it? Hyatt Regency McCormick Place is offering a special: Stay for only $159 a night when you purchase a Bears E3 VIP Tailgate Pass, that includes an Executive Suite with breakfast and parking. Not bad!

E3 VIP has also tailgated at Northwestern games, so if you're a college football fan, you're in luck. Of course, they're happy to set up a custom outing or event for you as well - just ask. E3 is also taking the show on the road, with planned visits to the Phoenix Open, the Super Bowl, the Master's, and the Kentucky Derby.

This is serious fun, combining the luxury of a skybox say and the camaraderie of sitting in a parking lot with your buddies. Only better. We'd be happy to join them again any time they wanted.

More information on the luxury tours, tailgating, and mobile event services can be found on the E3 VIP website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Disclaimer: This event was provided to us for review purposes.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dressing the Part: Wine Casual

Before attending the Wine Tourism Conference last week, one of the things I thought about was how I needed to dress. Professional? Business Casual? Turns out, the answer is Wine Casual (I think that means wine stains on your shirt are okay). Also, being a blogger at a wine tourism industry event meant that I wanted to get noticed, but not look the fool. Hmmmmm....

Enter Allied Shirts - just in time, they offered to let me make a custom t-shirt to test out their services. After a few false starts, I decided on one of my favorite wine sayings: "I'm not a WiNO, I'm a WineYES!" Funny, but not too boorish. Long sleeve, because I wasn't sure how cool the weather would be. The hardest part was picking a color of shirt, so I went with light blue, to bring out the color in my eyes (also a simple black and white design showed up well).

I'm not a WiNO, I'm a WineYES

The process is simple. Pick a shirt. Add text or clip art, or both, in any order you want. Play with the sizes of font and art to make sure it's legible and laid out the way you like it. Finalize. Place order. That's it.

Allied estimated a delivery date range, then proceeded to beat it easily, which meant it arrived on time so that I could show it off at the Conference. I wore it to the Great American Wine Festival, where everyone seemed to enjoy it - one young lady even asked to take a photo of it!

Disclaimer: This shirt was provided to me for review purposes.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Willamette Valley Vineyards, Oregon

“Our mission in growing cool-climate varietals is to create elegant, classic Oregon wines from the Willamette Valley Appellation. As native Oregonians, we treasure our environment and use sustainable practices in growing and vinifying our winegrapes.”

- Jim Bernau, Founder/President
Willamette Valley Vineyards

As part of our participation in the Wine Tourism Conference, we opted for the final event: a wine and food pairing dinner at Willamette Valley Vineyards. This was also the 4th winery we've visited in our project to visit a winery in all 50 states. The winery, founded by Jim Bernau in 1983 and now celebrating its 30th anniversary, is making the tasting experience the main focus of customer visits, believing that wines should be tasted with food. We were the first group, the dress rehearsal if you will, of the newly built space.

Unfortunately, we arrived after dark and did not get the full experience of seeing the winery, but the new tasting room overlooks the estate and sits atop the newly constructed barrel storage facility, which probably is dynamite during the day. Even in the dark of night it is a magnificent space, with homey touches such as an open fireplace near the entry and backlit glassware that creates an inviting atmosphere. It is a large, open space on several levels, though it can be adjusted to create smaller, more intimate spaces as well.

The dinner was all we'd hoped it would be, though I was disappointed when I realized the first course was fish - I could have requested a vegetarian option, but didn't since I had been told there would be no fish courses. The food and wine pairings went thus:
Bread Service
2011 Pinot Blanc
Cascade Baking Rosemary Baguette
Whipped Butter with Juniper Salt

Course 1
2011 Estate Chardonnay
Columbia River Steelhead Cake, Monastery Mustard Aioli,
Fresh to You Roasted Corn Salsa

Course 2
2011 Estate Pinot Noir
Grilled Anderson Ranch Lamb Loin with Porcini,
Oregon Huckleberry Gastrique Jam and
Full Circle Creamery White Cheddar Cheese Scalloped Potato

Course 3
2010 Tualatin Estate Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley Rabbit and Dried Tart Cherry en Vol-au-vent,
Oregon Mushroom LLC Chanterelle and House Smoked Bacon Ragu

Course 4
2011 Tualatin Estate Semi-Sparkling Muscat
Gerry Frank's Konditorei Spiced Pumpkin Cake
Excepting the first course, an outstanding meal - I'm not usually a fan of rabbit, but it was presented amazingly well. Nothing overly artsy or contrived, the meal was a nice reflection of what the Willamette Valley has to offer gastronomically. While all the wine and food pairings were on the money, my favorite was the lamb with their Estate Pinot Noir, though the others were definitely not far behind. Chef Eric Nelson has a large commercial kitchen in the new tasting facility, along with a demonstration area featuring a wood burning stove, so plenty of great food will be had.

As I mentioned, we did not get a chance to see anything outside -- along with the dark, it was also cold, windy, and wet, so most of us explored the interior of the new space. After checking out the library tasting room, we headed upstairs to the mezzanine, then up endless stairs to the top of the tower. I bet the view during good weather is spectacular. I also nipped down to the barrel rooms in the basement, chock full of great wine and the unmistakable aroma of the angels taking their share. We'll definitely return if we get the chance, if only to check out the views from the steep hillsides (though the food and wine would be worth a trip alone).

Willamette Valley Vineyards video

The Estate vineyard, Tualatin Estate, and Hannah's Vineyard, all in the Willamette Valley Appellation, are certified sustainable, and are planted with Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Muscat, and Chardonnay. Elton Vineyards, in the Eola-Amity Hills Sub-AVA, is planted mostly with Pinot Noir, but also includes Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, a small amount of Grüner Veltliner grapes and is also certified sustainable.

Along with an emphasis on using biofuels, recycling, reuse, and reduction of materials, their vineyards have been certified sustainable through LIVE and Salmon Safe since 1997. Additionally, their Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir plantings were certified organic in October 2007 by Oregon Tilth.

More information can be found on the Willamette Valley Vineyards website, on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Grands Crus Classés of Saint-Emilion Chicago

When Balzac Communication invited us to a tasting of Grands Crus Classés of Saint-Emilion here in Chicago, we jumped at the chance. That the tasting was held at the Palmer House Hilton, a beautiful old hotel, was icing on the cake.

Grands Crus Classés of Saint-Emilion Chicago

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Saint-Emilion was founded in the 8th century and is about 25 miles Northeast of Bordeaux. Vineyards totalling about 13,500 acres produce approximately 6% of the red wine production in the Bordeaux area. Grapes are grown in a variety of terroir: southern slopes, plateau, northern slopes and gravely areas.

Saint-Emilion is made up of two appellations : Saint-Emilion and Saint-Emilion Grand Cru. In the second, there is also Classification of Grand Cru Classé and Premier Grand Cru Classé châteaux, reviewed every 10 years, which allows wineries to move up as they meet the criteria.

Most of the vintners present poured us bottles from the 2009 and 2010 vintages, both with subtle aromas, a full palate, and, for the most part, beautifully balanced (though some were quite tannic and need more bottle time before drinking). As is usual, Laima and I preferred opposite styles - she liked the 2009s, while I preferred the younger 2010s.

Grands Crus Classés of Saint-Emilion Chicago

While most of the wines were drinking quite nicely, we did agree on our favorite wines, and it turned out they are neighbors: Château Grand Corbin and Château Grand Corbin-Despagne - they share some great terroir!

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Eola-Amity Hills AVA - Oregon

Eola-Amity Hills AVA

The Eola-Amity Hills AVA (established in August 2006) is an easy 45-minute drive from Portland, located nearly in the center of the Willamette Valley. Approximately 6 miles wide and 16 miles long, the AVA encompasses almost 40,000 acres, with more than 1,300 acres of grapes. Upper elevations are predominantly basaltic clay/loams called Jory, Nekia, and Gelderman, among others, while lower elevations contain sedimentary Steiwer, Chehulpum, and Helmick types.

Bjornson Vineyard were kind enough to respond to our questionnaire and send us a sample of their wine.

"Care for the Land, 
Make Exceptional Wine, 
Enjoy the Journey."

Name: Pattie and Mark Bjornson
Title: Owners
Winery: Bjornson Vineyard
AVA: Eola-Amity Hills

What should people think of when they hear about your AVA?

Eola-Amity Hills: Where you go when you're in it for the wine.

Willamette Valley pinot noir is uniquely expressive of the land. And within this beautiful realm, Eola-Amity wines stand out. They benefit from the powerful and consistent winds that come through the Van Duzer Corridor, one of the only places for cool Pacific winds to cross the Coast Range. This keeps the temperature lower at night. Vines are forced to work harder, and grapes benefit with a balance and acidity that makes them both drinkable now and long-lived.

The Eola/Amity Hills AVA produces more pinot grapes than anyplace else in the Willamette Valley. Wine tasters and wine tourists who make their way a little farther south are richly rewarded when they visit this largely untamed, largely untapped corner of the valley.

How is your winery alike or different from others in the AVA?

Our winery is similar to most of those in our AVA, in that we are a family-owned facility designed to process small lots with minimal handling. Like many wineries in Oregon, we promote conservation by generating renewable energy; however, we are the only winery in Oregon that harnesses both solar and wind energy. We farm sustainably to promote ecological balance in our vineyard, surrounding creeks and woodlands. Our new winery (opening fall 2014) will be one of the most energy efficient in Oregon!

What sets us apart from other tasting rooms is that we pour and sell both our Bjornson Vineyard estate wine, as well as Bjornson Vineyard designates made by other winemakers who purchase our fruit. It is interesting to taste the different winemaking styles imparted on grapes from one vineyard. Our tasting room will also feature winemakers who make wine at our new facility.

This gives our guests an opportunity to taste and purchase wine from several winemakers in a single, beautiful setting.

What should people expect when visiting your winery?

When guests visit our winery, they will most likely be served by the owners, Mark and Pattie Bjornson, who are actively involved in all facets of the farming and winemaking processes, and who are more than happy to discuss our practices in as much detail as you are interested.

Tasting Room Hours:

Currently we are open the weekends of Memorial Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving. We welcome tastings at other times by appointment (503) 877-8189.

Stop by and check out the construction of our new winery scheduled to open for harvest 2014. At that time our hours will be changing, please visit the Bjornson website for details or like us on Facebook.

Other Comments:

Bjornson Vineyard is part of a scenic 107-acre farm, located in Eola-Amity Hills, AVA, a sub-AVA of the Willamette Valley Oregon. The vineyard is planted with 28 acres of vines on volcanic soils (Jory/Nekia) ranging in elevation from 450-550 feet. Our mission is simple: care for the land, make exceptional wine, and enjoy life's journey. Our label art, Fire and Ice, represents our Icelandic heritage, as well as the magnificent volcanic and glacial forces that created the soils of Oregon's Willamette Valley. We invite you to visit our vineyard and enjoy the fruit of our journey.

Tasting Notes:

Bjornson Vineyard 2011 Edward Barrel Sample Pinot Noir

2011 Edward Barrel Selection Pinot Noir: named after Pattie's grandfather, a reserved but intense man, with a strong work ethic reflecting his Midwestern heritage; vibrant ruby red color; smoke, wood, red currant, and violet aromas; truffle, rhubarb, oregano, and vanilla flavors; silky mouthfeel; very drinkable now, but supple tannins mean you can lay it down for several years without worry;aged for 16 months in French Oak; cork closure; 13.1% ABV, SRP $40.00.

---------------------------------------------------------

Before we received the response from Bjornson Vineyard, we found a bottle of Bethel Heights Vineyard at our local wine store.

Bethel Heights Vineyard

Bethel Heights has stayed in the Casteel-Dudley-Webb family since their beginning in 1977. 70 acres planted to (and sustainably grown) Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Grüner Veltliner. Bethel Heights estate wines of the first vineyards to be certified Salmon Safe in 1997 and have been certified LIVE since 1999. Their winemaking emphasizes gentle handling and minimal intervention in order to best express the terroir of the vineyards sourced.

Tasting Notes
Bethel Heights Vineyard 2010 Estate Grown Pinot Noir

2010 Estate Grown Pinot Noir

Deeper dark ruby red color; cherry, violet, cinnamon, and oregano aromas; dark cherry, earthy green tea, subtle mint, and vanilla flavors; medium mouthfeel into a slightly tannic cedary finish; barrel aged 10 months in 33% new French oak; 3,042 cases produced; twist-off closure; 12.5% ABV; SRP $32.
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

McMinnville AVA - Oregon

Located in the Coast Range Foothills of Yamhill County, the McMinnville AVA is a sub-appellation of the all-encompassing Willamette Valley AVA. The McMinnville Winegrowers Association's eight member wineries include Brittan Vineyards, Coeur de Terre Vineyard, Coleman Vineyard, J Wrigley Vineyard, Maysara Winery, Noble Pig, Yamhill Valley Vineyards and Youngberg Hill Vineyards and Inn.

Comprising nearly 40,500 acres, with 600 acres or so of grapes, the region is known for its unique soils, are uplifted marine sedimentary loams and silts with a base of uplifting basalt. The Coast Range Mountains create a weather shadow, with lesser rainfall and more protection from chilling winds. The Van Duzer corridor adds drying winds, which helps control mold and mildew. These conditions allow the grapes to hang longer on the vine, so flavors intensify, and gain more layers of subtlety.

McMinnville AVA

Youngberg Hill

"Taste the Wine...Savor the View!"

Nicolette and Wayne Bailey are the owners of Youngberg Hill Vineyards, a 50 acre estate, having 21 acres of vineyards: 16 acres in three Pinot Noir blocks and 5 acres in a Pinot Gris block. The Natasha Pinot Noir block is 7 acres and located at an elevation of approximately 600 feet on marine sedimentary soil. The Jordan block of Pinot Noir is 4 acres in area and grows on a steep slope of volcanic rock at an altitude of approximately 750 to 800 feet. The Camelot block (at an altitude of approximately 525 to 600 feet) is the third block of Pinot Noir, has an area of 3 acres, is located between the Jordan and Natasha blocks, and is a blend of volcanic and marine sedimentary soils with a wide band of shale running through its middle. There is no irrigation in the vineyards, organic and sustainable farming (moving toward biodynamic), LIVE certified, and Salmon Safe. These practices, along with naming three of the vineyards after their daughters, show how important both the immediate safety and future health of both the land and their children are to the family.

Onsite, and an amazing amenity, the Inn features four suites and four luxuriously appointed guest rooms, with private in suite baths. The entire house is encircled by covered decks overlooking our vineyard and the valley to the Coast Range, Mount Jefferson, Mount Hood and the Willamette Valley.

Name: Wayne Bailey
Title: Owner/ Grape grower

What should people think of when they hear about your AVA?
  • More intense, structured and weightier wines, more black fruit orientated, more earthy components.
How is your winery alike or different from others in the AVA?
  • We are a little higher in altitude with older vine on owned root.
What should people expect when visiting your winery? 
  • The best views in the valley, a homey tasting room atmosphere, deck and picnic area, surrounded by vineyards, and an Inn to spend the night.
Tasting room onsite? Hours or by appointment only?
  • Onsite, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
More information can be found on the Youngberg Hill website, Facebook, and on Twitter.

Tasting Notes:

Youngberg Hill 2010 Jordan Pinot Noir
2010 Jordan Block Pinot Noir

Deep ruby red with lighter edges; cherry cola, rhubarb, and subtle raspberry aromas; dark cherry, sweet wood, black olive, and tobacco flavors; satiny texture into an oregano-tinged finish; beautiful balance, ensuring many more years of pleasure; 24 years old vines; 25% new oak for 10 months; 92 cases produced; twist-off closure; 12.9% ABV; SRP $40.
Soléna Estate

(See the Yamhill-Carlton AVA write-up for notes shared by owner Laurent Montalieu, who owns Soléna Estate, which makes wines from several AVAs and states.)

Tasting Notes:

Soléna Estate 2011 Pinot Noir Hyland Vineyard
2011 Pinot Noir Hyland Vineyard

Luminous ruby, almost pomegranate red in color; subtle tobacco, blackberry, and vanilla aromas; cherry, raspberry, rosemary, and subtle mint flavors; silky body, nicely balanced, cedary finish; grapes hand-harvested and sorted; cold maceration with 18 days of skin contact; gravity-fed into tanks; 100% maceration over 5 months; aged for 11 months in 28% new French oak; bottled unfiltered and unfined; 13.9% ABV; 175 cases; cork closure; SRP $50.
Hyland Estates

"...promise to provide wines that reflect
a sense of place and to honor the land"

Planted in 1971, the Hyland Estates vineyard spans over 200 acres with about 100 acres under vine and is at 600 to 800 feet in elevation. While in the past the grapes were sold to other wineries such as Sokol-Blosser, Erath, and others, the new owners, Laurent Montalieu, Danielle Andrus Montalieu, and John Niemeyer, are now creating the first estate wines.

More info available at the Hyland Estates website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Tasting Notes:

Hyland Estates 2010 Estate Pinot Noir
2010 Estate Pinot Noir

Deep ruby red in color; rhubarb, green tea, and oregano aromas; plum, earth, and tobacco flavors; brushed cotton mouthfeel with nicely balanced tannins; vanilla finish; vines from 24 to 42 years old; 18 months in 38% new French oak; could be laid down for a few more years; cork closure; 13.7% ABV; SRP $35.

Hyland Estates 2011 Coury Pinot Noir

2011 Coury Clone Pinot Noir

Deep ruby red in color; violet, musk, and dark cherry aromas; mushroom, earth, sarsaparilla, and smoke flavors; full-bodied, weighty, satiny mouthfeel; root beer and cedar finish; drinking beautifully now, but will stand cellaring and will probably improve; vines from 24 to 39 years old; aged 10 months in 56% new French oak; 13.3% ABV; SRP $60.
Disclaimer: These wines were sent for review purposes.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Yamhill-Carlton AVA - Oregon

"Down to Earth"

Yamhill-Carlton AVA logo

The Yamhill-Carlton AVA is approximately 35 miles, or about a 70-minute drive, southwest of Portland, Oregon. AVA status was granted in 2004, though first allowed on a label for the 2003 vintage. Entirely contained within the Willamette Valley AVA, Yamhill-Carlton stretches nearly 60,000 acres, with more than 1,200 acres of vineyard. The vineyards are exclusively on hillsides between 200 and 1000 feet in elevation, to benefit from the oldest marine sedimentary based soils (a well-drained sandy loam extension of an old seabed). While Pinot Noir is what the region is best known for, other grapes produced include Chardonnay, Dolcetto, Early Muscat, Muscat Ottonel, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Meunier.


Soléna Estate

Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus Montalieu purchased an 80- acre estate in 2000, naming it Soléna Estate.The vineyard is densely planted at 2400 vines per acre and is farmed with biodynamic principles to encourage a healthy site that will then fully express its terroir. After harvest, the grapes are hand-sorted, then move on to an array of small vessel, temperate controlled, fermentation tanks. The gravity flow winery system allows the wines to gently flow into the below-ground barrel room, where they age for over a year in a range of French oak barrels.

More recently, Danielle and Laurent added the spectacular 100-acre Hyland Vineyard to their portfolio, allowing them to showcase fruit from the McMinnville AVA. They now produce Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah and a late harvest Riesling from select vineyard sites around Oregon and Washington.
Name: Laurent Montalieu
Title: Winemaker and Co-owner (also winemaker for Hyland Estates and Northwest Wine Company, which all together produce over 120,000 cases from combined 625 acres of combined land holdings)

What should people think of when they hear about your AVA?
  • Yamhill Carlton is known for its shallow marine sedimentary soils and dark colored, black fruited Pinot Noirs with mineral notes. The area is home to many excellent quality wineries and a charming town in Carlton. 
How is your winery alike or different from others in the AVA?
  • We are alike in that Soléna’s 80-acre estate vineyard, Domaine Danielle Laurent, produces dark-fruited wines with excellent structure and minerality. 
  • Our farming philosophy makes us unique. We believe that “the land is more important than the hand” when it comes to winemaking so all of our vineyards are farmed using minimal intervention. Our Domaine Danielle Laurent is biodynamically farmed, which means additional investment and incorporation of practices honoring the natural cycles found in nature.
What should people expect when visiting your winery?
  • First and foremost, to enjoy wines that express place. Beginning in May 2014, we will host guests at our new state-of-the-art hospitality facility near the Domaine Danielle Laurent vineyard site.
Tasting room onsite? Hours or by appointment only?
  • Our current tasting room is open daily from 11 am to 5 pm. No appointment is necessary, although groups are encouraged to reserve in advance.
More information can be found on the Soléna Estate website, on Facebook, and Twitter.

Tasting Notes:
2011 Pinot Noir Domaine Danielle Laurent

2011 Pinot Noir Domaine Danielle Laurent

Very light ruby red color; subtle aromas of earth, cinnamon, cherry, and oregano; cherry, raspberry, rhubarb flavors; lighter bodied; medium, slightly tannic finish; nicely balanced, could use some more time in bottle; grapes were hand-harvested and hand-sorted, underwent cold maceration, 100% malolactic fermentation for 7 months, aged for 13 months in 37% new French oak, then bottled unfiltered and unfined; 1,200 cases; 13.7% ABV; cork closure; SRP $50.00.
Disclaimer: This wine was sent for review purposes.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Bonefish Grill, Orland Park

We were really excited to be invited to review the new Bonefish Grill in Orland Park. During our time down in Florida, Bonefish Grill had been one of our favorite restaurants, blending nearly perfectly a slightly upscale romantic feel with an eye towards being kid-friendly as well. The crayons for the white paper tablecloths, simple food were definitely for the kids, keeping them occupied while we spent some quality time together over yummy food and wine. We wondered how much of that magic remained, even though no children came along with us on this outing.

Visually, not much has changed, though the Orland Park Bonefish is quite a bit bigger than the one we frequented in St Petersburg, FL. Similar if not same decor, nothing overtly nautical, but subtle fish images throughout. We found out that, while Bonefish has a national menu, there are attempts to keep it as regional as possible, sourcing things as close to the Chicago area for this restaurant, for example, as well as using freshwater fish such as walleye when in season. Nice.

Bonefish Grill Starters

When we go out to dinner (and sometimes at home), I like to order a glass of both white and red wine, so that I can taste both through the entire meal. It was not to be at this meal - apparently a local ordinance forbids the server from bringing me 2 glasses of wine simultaneously. After the initial disappointment, I relaxed and decided to just enjoy. Plus, Laima always orders red, so, while it may not be the one I wanted, it is something for contrast. I started with the Sokol Blosser “Evolution” White Blend from Oregon , while Laima opted for the La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.

For starters I tried the Wagyu Beef and Ginger Dumplings (pan-seared with crispy shallots, Thai peppers and soy sauce), which were really tasty, though the dumplings tasted just a bit undercooked. Laima ate her entire starter, the Ahi Tuna Sashimi (sesame-seared with wasabi and pickled ginger) - it was so good she decided not to save some for later.

Bonefish Grill Food

With the main courses came our second glasses of wine, the D’ Arenberg “The Stump Jump” GSM Red for me and the Hess “Allomi” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for Laima. Both are outstanding big reds, standing up with no problems to steak, but with enough delicacy for both chicken and pasta. While I had been looking forward to the Fontina Pork Chop, unfortunately they were out - turns out the Lily’s Chicken (goat cheese, spinach, artichoke hearts, lemon basil sauce) was a tasty alternative. I also opted for Potatoes Au Gratin and the Pumpkin Ravioli (with crispy sage and shallot brown butter) as sides. Laima had Ratatouille and the Pumpkin Ravioli with her Filet Mignon (USDA Choice “center cut”) - her steak was amazingly tender, with good flavor and cooked to order.

Bonefish Grill Desserts

We always make sure to leave room for dessert, though it was difficult this time with the good food we'd had leading up to this point. Cappucinos were a great accompaniment to the Macadamia Nut Brownie (flourless brownie, raspberry sauce, vanilla ice cream, sprinkled with macadamia nuts) and Pumpkin Crème Brûlée. We made (actually I made) short work of the Brownie, but Laima held back enough of the Crème Brûlée to bring home for the kids.

Except for some new restaurant missteps, it's clear that there is a commitment to good food and wines to match, with some twists and emphasis on regional fare forthcoming. Judging from the crowd on a Monday night and how much we (and the other diners) enjoyed our evening, Bonefish Grill will be a mainstay in Orland Park for a long time.

More information can be found on the Bonefish Grill website, via Facebook, and on Twitter.

Bonefish Grill on Urbanspoon

Bonefish Grill on Foodio54

Disclaimer: This meal was provided to us for review purposes.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ribbon Ridge AVA - Oregon

Ribbon Ridge AVA

Located 22 miles southwest of Portland, 4 miles northwest of Dundee and 40 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, the Ribbon Ridge AVA (established 2005) is the smallest AVA in Oregon and is entirely contained within the Chehalem Mountains AVA. The area consists of 3,350 acres of land area, with approximately 500 acres planted on the ridge to vines, within 20 vineyards. The AVA is distinguished by uniform, unique ocean sedimentary soils, with grape-growing hillsides that are slightly warmer and drier when compared to the adjacent valley floors. Ribbon Ridge's predominant grape varieties are Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. Limited water supplies mean most vineyards are dry farmed.

Not much information is available on the Internet for this AVA - there is no single winegrowers association or the like. Unfortunately, we did not get a response from any of the producers, so did not get any insights from them.

Since we only found one Ribbon Ridge wine at our local wine store, from Patricia Green Cellars, they became our de facto representative winery for the AVA. :)

Patricia Green Cellars

This is a 52 acre estate, but is noted for producing a selection of Pinot Noirs from vineyards representing sites in the Ribbon Ridge, Dundee Hills, Chehalem Mountains, and the Yamhill-Carlton growing regions. All are dry-farmed. The wines are handled and manipulated as little as possible, with an emphasis on revealing the vineyards' terroir to the fullest extent possible.

Tasting Notes:
Patricia Green Cellars Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir

2011 Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir

Dark ruby red in color; truffle, rhubarb, oregano, and spice aromas; earth, black olive, cherry, tobacco and smoke flavors; medium mouthfeel into a silky finish; from 11 separate sections of younger vines (all planted between 1997-2001); 835 cases; 12.5% ABV; cork closure; SRP $30.
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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dundee Hills AVA - Oregon

Dundee Hills AVA

The Dundee Hills are approximately 30 miles to the southwest of Portland and 40 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. The first grapes in the Willamette Valley were planted in this area. The Dundee Hills AVA, established in 2005, remains the most densely planted locale in the valley and state. Within the 12,500 acres, more than 2,000 acres of grapes are planted in approximately 50 vineyards. The region is unique for its higher elevation, warmer nighttime temperatures, less low-elevation fog and frost, and lava-based Jory soil (Oregon’s State Soil). While best known for Pinot Noir, other varieties planted include Pinot Gris, White Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier, Melon, Muscat Ottonel, and Muller Thurgau.

Stoller Family Estate

The Stoller Family Estate responded to our request for information and samples. The property spans 373 acres with approximately 190 under vine on elevations ranging from 220 to 640 feet. The vineyard is divided into 101 sections of seven varieties: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Tempranillo, Syrah and Pinot Blanc. Stoller wines are made exclusively from their estate vineyard.

It features North America’s first LEED® Gold certified winery and is a solar-generating, gravity-flow winery. The winery is both LIVE (Low Impact Viticulture and Enology) and Salmon Safe certified.

A few additional unique features include a 9-hole disc golf course and three guest homes available for rent.

Name: Melissa Burr
Title: Winemaker
What should people think of when they hear about your AVA?
  • The Dundee Hills is at the epicenter of the Willamette Valley – so many incredible wines are made in this appellation. Our AVA is known for being home to the state’s first Pinot Noir growers and its distinctive Jory soils, which produce elegant, red-fruited, violet and mineral toned wines.
  • More information can be found on the Dundee Hills AVA’s website.
How is your winery alike or different from others in the AVA?
  • Stoller Family Estate is the largest contiguous vineyard in the Dundee Hills with nearly 200 acres under vine across 373 property aces. 
  • With the 2013 vintage, we harvested 525 tons of grapes – 250 tons went into our estate wines, which translates to about 16,000 cases and the remaining 275 went to our vineyard clients who include Argyle, Chehalem and other noted producers.
  • Stoller is alike in that we have predominantly Jory soils and the typical aromatic flavor profiles for our wines.
  • We are different given our aforementioned size and fact that we are also an established grower in addition to being an estate producer. Additionally, we have a honed focus on conservation leadership. Our founder, Bill Stoller’s vision is to build a legacy for the industry and his family that will endure for many generations to come.
  • We are home to the largest privately held oak savannahs in the Willamette Valley; our nature preserve comprises 20% of the property. In 2006, Stoller was named as North America’s first LEED certified, receiving the gold designation. In 2012, we opened a state-of-the-art net zero energy tasting room: the building integrates environmental sustainability with high efficiency design and will harvest at least 100 percent of its energy with a 236-panel solar panel installation. A few notable design features include a green roof, skylights, salvaged timbers and an electric vehicle charging station.
What should people expect when visiting your winery?
  • In addition to valuing conservation, Stoller wants fans and guests to be able to enjoy the property. From the expansive tasting room with views of Mt. Hood and a large patio with Adirondack chairs, to a disc golf course and private park, we want people to relax while here. Those wishing to prolong their stays and explore the valley may stay in one of our three on-site guest homes available for rent year round. 
  • In short, we offer unparalleled hospitality.
Tasting room onsite? Hours or by appointment only?
  • Tasting room on site open daily from 11 am to 5 pm. Appointments encouraged for groups of eight or more people so that we may best host them.
Other comments:
  • In 2012, Stoller was named a Wine Spectator “Vineyard to Watch” and a Wine & Spirits Magazine “Top 100 Winery in the US.” We encourage your readers to join us.
Tasting Notes:
Stoller Family Estate 2011 Pinot Noir

2011 Pinot Noir

6,412 cases produced, estate fruit; approximately 10½ months in oak barrels; beautiful light and bright ruby red color; violet, cherry, and red berry aromas; raspberry, rhubarb, sassafras, subtle tobacco or earth flavors; medium mouthfeel with a nice balance between acidity and tannins; screw top closure; 12.7% ABV; SRP $25.

Stoller Family Estate 2010 Reserve Pinot Noir

2010 Reserve Pinot Noir

3,290 cases produced, estate fruit; aged for 10 months 60% new French oak; ruby tending to garnet in color; rose petal, oregano, and cherry aromas; mushroom, plum, green tea, with cinammon and vanilla flavors; into a cedary finish; full bodied with a satin mouthfeel;  cork closure; 13.5% ABV; SRP $45.
Thanks to Stoller Family Estate for giving us their time and samples of wine - more information about this producer can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclaimer: These wines were provided for review purposes.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chehalem Mountains AVA - Oregon

Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers

Less than 20 miles from downtown Portland, the Chehalem Mountains AVA (established in 2006) lies southwest of Portland in the northern Willamette Valley. It lies completely within the more general Willamette Valley AVA. It is approximately 20 miles by 5 miles, and elevations range from 200 to well over 1000 feet above sea level, with soil types including basaltic, ocean sedimentary and loess. While the AVA boasts almost 70,000 acres, only about 1,600 acres are planted to grapes. The 1,600 acres represent about 150 or so vineyards. The AVA is comprised of 31 wineries, including Adelsheim Vineyard, A Blooming Hill Vineyard and Winery, Hawks View Cellars, Ponzi Vineyards, and more.  Best known for Pinot Noir, this are is also ideal for other cool climate wine grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gamay Noir and Gewurztraminer. 

A Blooming Hill Vineyard and Winery

We reached out to the Chehalem Mountains wineries and were very pleased to get a response from A Blooming Hill Vineyard and Winery.

Jim and Holly Witte are the owners of A Blooming Hill Vineyard and Winery:
What should people think of when they hear about your AVA? Heights and hills overlooking the beautiful Willamette Valley – slopes filled with wine grapes. The Chehalem Mountains are modern day hills – not really high-peak mountains – but rolling, fertile, gentle slopes and benches overlooking river valleys.

How is your winery alike or different from others in the AVA? Our winery is designed to process only our estate grown grapes in small batches from small to medium-size blocks. This artisanal approach makes it easy to supervise and to be hands-on in every facet of the growing, pruning, harvesting, and winemaking processes.

What should people expect when visiting your winery? Our guests expect and receive special attention and very special wines. They should expect to feel like guests in our home, relaxed and comforted. It’s a nice break from the commercial atmosphere of many wineries.

Tasting room onsite? Hours or by appointment only? Our Tasting Room is open from noon – 5 PM Friday – Sunday. Other times, if we are here, we open the door.

Other comments: We have two fabulous Wine Dogs – Gemini and Trouble – who greet guests at their cars and bring them down to the Tasting Room (really, people always remark how the dogs look back to make sure they are following). They are featured in the Wine Dogs USA Third edition.
The vineyard, at an elevation of 480 feet and made up of volcanic soil, is on a southeast-facing slope. The sun warmed grapes are then cooled by the late afternoon and evening ocean breezes flowing down the Columbia River. The vines are pruned by hand, followed by further hand-selection of grape clusters for the wines. Red grapes undergo a cold soak followed by fermentation and ageing in 30% new oak barrels, then racked and topped as needed. The white grapes are whole-cluster pressed and the juice pumped into stainless tanks for fermentation. The wine is left on the lees as needed, then racked, fined, filtered and cold stabilized prior to bottling.

Environmental AND customer-friendly:
"Bring us this bottle empty for a 10% discount on your next bottle!"

Tasting Notes:
A Blooming Hill VIneyard Pinot Noir

2011 Pinot Noir

Ruby red color, paler toward the edges; dusty rhubarb, plum, oregano, and tea aromas; cedar, toast, earth, and vanilla flavors; medium yet silky mouthfeel into a slightly tannic finish; nicely balanced, good to drink now, but will improve with some aging; cork closure; 12.7% ABV; 360 cases; SRP $20. The 2011 Pinot Noir won a Double Gold at the Oregon Wine Awards.

A Blooming Hill Vineyard Pinot Gris

2012 Pinot Gris

Beautiful golden straw in color; floral, pear, and subtle smoke aromas; creamy butter and vanilla flavors to start, almond midpalate, then a tart lemon finish; full mouthfeel and bright acidity; cork closure; 14.2% ABV; SRP $15. The 2012 Pinot Gris won Silver at the inaugural Great Northwest Wine Competition.
 
Blooming Hill Short from gracestudio on Vimeo.

Connect with the owners via the A Blooming Hill Vineyard website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Disclaimer: These were wines were sent for review purposes.

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