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Mountains to Metro Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers Event


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#1 Jill-O

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 04:47 PM

OK folks, here's another great local event. The Chehalem Mountain AVA is coming up to Portland to feature their wines alongside bites of food.

Wineries:

A Blooming Hill Vineyard

Adelsheim Vineyard

Alloro Vineyard

Anam Cara Cellars

Anne Amie Vineyards

Archery Summit

Artisanal Wine Cellars

Beckham Estate Vineyard

Bergstrom Wines

Blakeslee Vineyard Estate

Carabella

Chehalem Vineyards

Colene Clemens Vineyards

Cooper Mountain Vineyards

Dion Vineyard

Et Fille Wines

Gresser Vineyard

J.K. Carriere

K&M Wines

Lachini Vineyards

Le Cadeau

Longplay Wine

Ponzi Vineyards

RR Wines

Raptor Ridge Winery

Redman Wines

REX HILL

ROCO Winery

Terra Vina Wines

Trisaetum

Utopia

Vidon Vineyards

White Rose Wines



Food:

Jake's
Food In Bloom Catering
Davis Street Tavern
The Painted Lady
Aquariva
Thirst Wine Bar
Gracie's
Oba!
Vino Paradiso
Ristorante Fratelli
Lindt

That's 32 winemakers and 11 food tables! Tickets are only $40. If this is anything like the Yamhill-Carlton AVA event I went to last year, it should be a great time. There are some really good wines (some of which I have had at the Indie Wine Fest, which is 5/14) such as Adelsheim, Bergstrom, Et Fille, Le Cadeau and many others to explore. See you there?

http://www.mountainstometro.com/
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#2 Jill-O

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 10:54 AM

Instead of hitting a restaurant tonight, why not do something different?

This event will allow you to taste wines from over 30 winemakers as you feast on small bites from over 10 different food tables...all for $40 pp on a Friday night in a ballroom at the lovely Governor Hotel. And you get to chat with the winemakers and learn about the Chehalem Mountains AVA.

...and because it is Portland, you can choose to dress up for a Friday night in a fancy hotel ballroom, or wear your jeans and fleece and make it about the wine...or wear whatever Friday casual is in your office, because the event starts at 5pm! ;o)

These AVA events are a great way to taste a lot of local wines without going out to wine country (you don't want to face the Memorial Day crowds do ya?) - no expensive gas, no individual tasting fees, no having to worry about stopping to eat while tasting...and a lot of the winemakers offer special event prices on bottles and/or cases, so you will be able to purchase those wines you find that you love and can't live without.

See ya later? I'll be there with my camera for y'all... you'll see what was there, but the tasting fun will be all mine if you don't show up!
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#3 Jill-O

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 08:24 PM

Gosh, that was a nice event! I really like events in the old downtown hotels...service is so nice and the rooms are bright and luxurious.

Food was pretty delicious - standouts were the 5 different ceviches from iOba! which were ALL very different and very good (even with the cilantro), the porcini bisque from The Painted Lady, the salad greens with bay shrimp from Vino Paradiso, the chicken liver mousse from Ristorante Fratelli. There were other good bites, and some very nice wines (I even found a couple of rosés I liked! I can hardly believe it!) and bit of news here and there.

Report with pics to follow in a day or two, stay tuned!
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#4 Jill-O

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 11:37 AM

I love going out to wine country. It is beautiful out there, it's nice seeing where your favorite wines are made, it's nice chatting with the winemakers. But there is nothing like one of these events where you can taste so many local wines in one place, have plenty of good food and water all around you, and not have to drive around all day. In addition, many of the winemakers offer discounts on their wines at these special events - by the bottle AND the case, and they are more than happy to ship it to you if you don't want to carry it away there and then.

Let's start with Food in Bloom Catering. They did something I have not seen at any other event I have been to in the last year or two. They went out into the hall about 10 minutes before the doors opened and passed around some of their food to the folks waiting to get in. Very nice touch, and to my knowledge, no one asked them to do it, they rose to the occasion. Good on ya Billy and Co.! They were serving:

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The lima bean hummus was really flavorful and the pepper was a nice added flavor and color. The crackers were really thin and delicate and crispy...they should market them, they are that good.

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The flank steak was tender and well-seasoned, it tasted good, but I was wishing it was served warm instead of at room temp. I didn't taste the salmon so much in the roulade, but they were really attractive on the plate, and the combo of textures worked very well.

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My find of the night, was, oddly, a rosé - Raptor Ridge 2010. I have never been a big fan of rosés, even in sparkling wines (though, yes, they do look so pretty ;o), but I always look to taste a wider variety of things than just my faves. And this rosé was just a bottle I could not look away from - described by the winemaker as "a serious" rosé, I sought to understand what he meant by that. And after tasting it, I understood. The color is deep and bright, this rosé has a backbone. It was NOT a sweet wine at all, yet the dryness of it in no way detracted from the full luscious fruit - the flavor notes of strawberry (to quote one of my favorite movies, "Spinal Tap") "go to 11." There is a richness with this wine on the palate and it finishes with the faintest whiff of vanilla...delivers so much more than most rosés. This wine will pair extremely well with food, but it is lovely to drink on it's own. It was made from grapes from a site that is harvested exclusively for the making of rosé. I tried to take a pic that captured the wonderful color, but my bottle pics were not coming out all that well last night:

Posted Image It is a nice $20 bottle of wine. They also were pouring a couple of nice $35 pinots, Adalfo's Block 2008, and their 2007 Reserve.

Gracie's was there with a savory bite and a sweet bite. Their savory bite was a house cured and smoked salmon with a morel cream and microgreens. The sweet was Gracie's Racy Chocolate Mousse, a spicy chile chocolate mousse with caramel and chocolate shell. The salmon was a bit too smoky and overpowered the morel cream (which on it's own was fabulous), but was well-done otherwise. The mousse was rich and decadent with great flavor and spiciness, a nice version of a chocolate mousse where the mousse was richer than it was sweet, letting the caramel provide more of the sweetness.

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Thirst Wine Bar and Bistro brought a very creamy rich polenta with a sweet 7-hour braised pulled pork that was very satisfying and it was nice to have a hot entree/side since so many of the bites were cold or room temperature.

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Vino Paradiso did a very nice job with their smoked Oregon bay shrimp, wild greens, pepitas, and spring vinaigrette. Fresh, fresh, fresh...almost made me believe that it is spring...almost. This was a fabulous salad, one I would gladly have paid for in a restaurant.

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Aquariva brought arancini with tomato jam. The arancini were crisp and well prepared, though I really do prefer mine stuffed with something in the center. They were kind of bland, not very cheesy...and not helped at all by a very sweet and watery tomato jam. It was way too sweet and not cheesy enough for a good arancini experience, IMO.

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#5 Jill-O

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 01:08 PM

This is the Exec Chef. from iOba!, Scott Neuman, and his assistant Mary Erwin, with their ceviche bar. Not all traditional ceviches, to be sure, they ranged from good to seriously delicious. Not a loser in the bunch, all different - even a vegetarian/vegan mushroom version. They had some of the best food there that night, and they were cleaned out fast by hungry participants.

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There was Honduran shrimp in coconut milk, mushroom, scallops with tropical fruit, rockfish with avocado and capers...

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...and beef ceviche (no, it was not raw, it was seared and in an orange flavored sauce):

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Cooper Mountain makes organic, biodynamic wines...some very tasty ones, actually. In 2002 they were the first U.S. winery to gain label approval for a no-sulfite-added wine under the new National Organic Program standards. They grow some interesting grapes, making a Tocai Friulano (too sweet for me personally, but you Riesling fans might dig it) and an interesting white blend called, "Harmony" which was a nice summer white for sipping on the deck. Their 2008 Reserve Pinot Noir was rich with dark berries and spice and full lush fruit - a great $24 Pinot. And their no-sulfites added Pinot, which they call "Life" (they were pouring the 2009 of this wine) was really very nice too - also a great wine for the price at $28.

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Jake's, of course, was there as they are the flagship restaurant of this grand hotel. They had a gorgeous platter of salmon mousse in endive, and some very tasty chocolate-dipped strawberries. I was surprised at how good the strawberries actually were - the chocolate was rich and had a nice mouthfeel - not at all waxy, berries were sweet. And the gentlemen who was behind the table was a most consummate server - uber-polite, formal yet warm...sir, you are awesome and Jake's and Gov. are lucky to have you.

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Ristorante Fratelli (and they always use that full name, don't look for them alphabetically on any list under "F" - OK?) had a great rockfish crudo at Taste of the Nation and they did not disappoint at this event either. I have never been to the restaurant, but these two events have made me put it on my list...Paul Klitsie (chef/owner) and Adrian Hutapea (sous/pastry/baker) seem to be making some very tasty things there. They had a seriously delicious rich and herby chicken liver mousse with nice pickled veggies, and a great panzanella (bread) salad. The panzanella was heavy on fresh corn (my first taste of it this season, yay!), lighter on bread, and perfectly dressed in a basil/herbes de Provence vinaigrette. Great job, guys. Next time, though, a sign listing your dishes and what is in them on your table would be appreciated...OK? Thanks! ;o) (Sorry for the blurry images, re-did these 3x and could not get a good focus...but it was so tasty!)

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#6 Jill-O

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 01:48 PM

Davis Street Tavern's new chef was there. Her name is Katy Millard. She did the same oil-cured albacore in sauce gribiche w/pickled celery that she had at Taste of the Nation. It was every bit as good here. She did a different soup for this event though, a spring fresh pea soup topped with cream. It was fresh and light, but I would have liked some other flavor note in there with it...herb, lemon, something. Nice food though:

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Tried a new to me winery, Trisaetum. Greg McClellan, one of the winemakers, is a very personable gent with his hair in the air: http://trisaetum.com...greg-mcclellan/ ;o) Had a really nice time chatting with Greg and trying the very tasty Pinots that Trisaetum is making. Their 2009 trisae ($36) is a very well-made wine with flavors of cherry, plum and spice backed by nice cedar-y/sandalwood-y notes...it's smooth with a gentle and pleasing finish. The 2009 Artist Series No. 8 Pinot ($55), entirely made from 777 clones on the coolest spot on the hill, is also nice, but very different. This one isn't as smooth and gentle, it has an assertive earthy flavor with licorice notes backed by caramel, and yet, there is this brightness from acidity that wakes the whole thing up...a nice and complex Pinot. My take is that I would open a bottle of the trisae before dinner, and then sit down to dinner with the other...because that brightness makes it a better pair for food.


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The Painted Lady, a lovely restaurant in Newberg, was there with three different things. There was blue cheese mousse on endive with hazelnuts; wonderful porcini bisque; and roasted asparagus pesto on parmesan crisps. Not a blue cheese fan, so I didn't try the mousse, but it looked very good. The porcini bisque was another of the best bites of the night - top 3 easy. It was rich, and earthy, and creamy, and I wanted to bathe in it...mmmm. Roasted asparagus pesto was good, would have loved a bit of preserved lemon or lemon zest to brighten it up a bit, and the parmesan crisp under it was delicious.

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Utopia makes some very nice wines, and this was my first time trying them. They brought the other dry rosé I found I liked a lot at this event. They are located in the Ribbon Ridge AVA, which is an AVA designation located within the Chehalem Mountains AVA. The rosé they were pouring was dry with cherry and strawberry notes, elegant. They brought a great vertical tasting of their Estate Pinots from '07, '08 and '09 - and that was great fun to taste...such a nice thing to do, thanks Utopia! The '08 was delicious, (oh, the magic year of this last decade...or is it? ;o) but that '09 is gonna be something special. A very nice $38 Pinot.

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#7 Jill-O

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 03:00 PM

Lindt chocolates was there. Kind of odd considering that we have so many awesome local chocolatiers and none of them were there. Still, this is a good place to admit that about a month ago I had a chocolate emergency (hey, it happens) and my only choice of store was Safeway. Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt bars were on sale...and it was really a decent bar for a big mass-produced chocolate bar - creamy, salty, sweet...nice. So don't turn your noses up, this is decent stuff here! They make over 10 types of bars, surely there's something you'd like!

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Archery Summit was there. They make very nice wines, no doubt about it. They also make some of the most expensive wines that come out of our OR wine country. They were pouring their 2007 Premier Cuvée (nice, $48), and their 2007 Looney Vineyard (nicer, $85). The best way I can think of to describe them is that the Premier Cuvée is flowers and fruit and the Looney is fruit and spice.

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Farnucci Oils was there with an impressive array of imported olive oils, balsamics, and condiments. They import all kinds of products for wholesale and retail. You can find them here: https://fanucchioils.com The balsamic glazes (esp. the one with truffle in it) were really good and I very much enjoyed the eggplant spread. Not a huge fan of flavored olive oils, but if you are, you might want to know that the ones they were tasting were cold infused.

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Ribbon Ridge makes lovely Pinots in that AVA (which, again, is located within the Chehalem Mountains AVA). Since Ribbon Ridge has been designated as an AVA, this winery has voluntarily stopped using it's full name, which is the same, so that all of their neighbors might use the AVA designation on their labels without confusion, so if you see RR wines, those ARE Ribbon Ridge winery's wines, OK? Let them tell you directly what these wines are about:

RR wines will be the best wines we can source from our 164 acre Ridgecrest Vineyards estate, which contains the oldest plantings on Ribbon Ridge. They are not designed for a mass market, but for serious aging and for understanding the potential of this special land mass called Ribbon Ridge. Their concentration, their blackness, their elegance, their textural excitement all stem from the vineyard—its maturity; deep penetration of dry-farmed vines to find rock, nutrients and water; organic farming; limited yield and sensitive fermentation to protect vintage characteristics.


So these wines are not released right away, they are held back, and it is expected that consumers will further hold them in their cellars. They are from some of the oldest vines we have here in OR. At $69/bottle (what all of their wines are priced at ;o), these are not inexpensive wines, but these are different and special...and they are lovely.

They were pouring their '06 and '08. The '06 was so lush and full-bodied, almost savory and sweet at the same time, spice, berries...sexy! The '08 was darker and earthier, smoky and spicy...with a bit of age, this is gonna be amazing...if I had a cellar, I'd be buying some now. The bottles now all have this logo and are plain otherwise:

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The other bit of news I uncovered during the event is the creation of PDX Urban Wineries: http://pdxurbanwineries.com/ They are an association of wineries that all make their wine IN the city of Portland, and currently includes: ENSO, Grochau Cellars, Helioterra WInes, Hip Chicks Do Wine, Seven Bridges Winery, Vincent Wine Company. On June 12th they will be premiering their new association with a tasting event - $20 for unlimited wine tasting and some appetizers - tickets available here:
http://pdxurbanwiner...com/news-events

I did not cover a lot of the smaller wineries that I knew would be at the Indie Wine Fest next week (next Sat - get yer tickets!!), so no, this was not a report on every single wine at this event. Still, there were some very nice wines and some very tasty bites and it was a very good event, absolutely worth the $40 they charged (early tickets went for $35). Hope I gave you some ideas for some local wines to check out and try!

As always, feel free to post any questions you might have, etc.
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#8 loofahgirl

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 03:32 PM

great job, Jill! Very interesting. Am bummed I missed this and will be missing the Indie Wine fest. Always a good time.

#9 jennifer

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 02:20 PM

Holy smokes, what a great event and an even better price! For sure next year. Nice job Jill!

#10 Jill-O

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 07:30 PM

Thanks for the kind words!

It was a fun event. These AVA events are a great way to taste a lot of local wines at once.

And, btw, in person folks ask me this question a lot...so, for the record:

YES! I do spit at these events...a lot. I like to try a lot of the wine and the only way to do that is to spill and spit. I will admit to doubling back at the end to drink a couple of taste pours from folks whose wine I really enjoyed. ;o)
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