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Bottled Beauties of Oregon Wine for Valentine’s Day

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The bottling line at Apolloni Vineyards

The bottling line at Apolloni Vineyards.

Sometimes while perusing a wine collection, a specific bottle will jump out at you and it’s simply love at first sight—no taste even needed. While it’s what’s on the inside that counts (booze!), we have to admit that the bottling and labeling process of the wines in the northern Willamette Valley are indeed stylish, thoughtful and deserving of praise. Today, we’re focusing on the Valentine-inspired bottling beauties of the wines in Oregon’s Washington County.

Cupid is getting in on the bottling fun! Montinore Estate will host a Valentine’s Day Bottle Up Your Love event. Here lovebirds will not only craft their own unique Pinot Noir from three of Montinore’s vineyard blocks, but that special blend will then be bottled and given a personalized label. Drink the love potion that night—or save it for a special occasion in the years to come. Since Bottle Up Your Love is pretty much the perfect Valentine’s Day affair, spots fill up rather fast. Don’t miss your chance to put your mark on the northern Willamette Valley’s bottling game. Make a reservation today!

Valentine’s Day is an explosion of red, white and pink—the same color choices as wine! Just last week, both Elk Cove Vineyards and Ponzi Vineyards Winery were bottling their 2014 Rosé of Pinot Noir blends. It’s no surprise that these pretty in pink blends were poised to be released just in time for Valentine’s Day.

To get a glimpse and taste of the newly-bottled Rosé beauties, make Ponzi Vineyards Winery your first stop on the Valentine’s Wine Loop. With Valentine’s weekend overlapping with the President’s Day holiday, you’ll have ample time to explore the wines of the northern Willamette Valley, including Ardiri Winery and Vineyards, Alloro Vineyard, Cooper Mountain Vineyards and Raptor Ridge Winery. Each tasting room will host a romantically-inclined wine tasting and food pairing to help create the ultimate Valentine’s getaway.

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With your own collection of bottles growing from your wine weekend, don’t forget to make use of Alaska Airlines’ “Oregon Wines Fly Free” promotion, running through April 30, 2015!
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Holiday Wine Pairings

Posted on: December 12th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment
Pop open some bubbly from the Tualatin Valley when celebrating the holidays.

Pop open some bubbly from the Tualatin Valley when celebrating the holidays.

The holidays are all about excess. And hey—we’re not complaining. With all the decadent cheese plates, buffet spreads, and candy-cane treats, you’re going to need a plethora of drinking options to pair with the best holiday grub. Below, see our suggested beer, wine and cider pairings for each course of your most extravagant holiday meal.

Appetizers
During this time of year, the appetizer course can linger for hours as something delicious slowly roasts in the oven. So drink something smooth, easy and of which you can have a few. Enter, Two Kilts Brewing Company’s Belgian Brune. The Oregon craft brew taste good with just about anything (especially stinky cheeses) and it’s hard to tire of it.

Additionally, amp up your bread and olive oil game by adding Cooper Mountain Vineyards’ 12-year barrel-aged balsamic vinegar to the mix. The vinegar is made from the winery’s organic and biodynamic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes and, point blank, it’s fantastic.

Toasts
Cin! Cin! Cheers to family and the coming new year with Kramer Vineyards’ 2013 Celebrate Müller-Thurgau. The tropical notes of hibiscus, banana and kiwi will bring a little summer pep into your winter grumbles. Kramer Vineyard’s Celebrate Rosé of Pinot Noir is a cheery choice, too.

Main Course
Let’s switch it up this year. Why not try cider with your honey baked ham? A nice, crisp one like Bull Run Cider’s Powerhouse Dry Cider can also be used in the cooking liquid for a truly tasty dish.

Dessert
We recently re-discovered the greatness of port after dinner. The rich digestif is the perfect send-off to a great meal. Try one of David Hill Vineyard & Winery’s two delicious ports. Sweet lovers sip on the 2008 Estate Muscat Port, while those who prefer a bit more spice will enjoy the 2008 Estate Pinot Noir Port.

Next Day Brunch
After a night of merriment via food and booze, you may need a little hair of the dog in the morning. For a great Bellini, mix a bit of bubbly Provincial Vineyards 2013 Estate Nova Sparkling Pinot Gris with peach purée.

Happy holidays! Drink well and responsibly during this festive season. Cheers!

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North WIllamette Harvest Trail

Posted on: September 12th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Summer has been good to the Tualatin Valley, which means that fall—and the wine harvest that comes with it—is going to be even better. Yes, wine lovers, the vines are looking supremely good right now. Watch the video below with R. J. Lint of Plum Hill Vineyards to learn more:

Don’t just reap the rewards of the upcoming harvest. Be a part of it, too, at the North Willamette Harvest Trail Weekend (October 4 and October 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; $95 per person). The day-long and hands-on wine tour from the North Willamette Vintners Association connects wine lovers and wine makers for a day of winemaking during the vineyard’s prime.

Let’s detail your vine-and-wine day. First, hop on a bus and meet your tour guide, who will be a winemaker, winery president, tasting room manager or wine glass supplier. It’s sufficed to say that a total wine pro will be on hand to answer your toughest questions. Next, travel to three different wineries, where you’ll experience the following:

  • Walk the vineyard to learn about farming methods
  • Work the freshly-picked fruit on a crush pad
  • Follow the science of wine with a close-up look at the testing equipment
  • Be lead through each step of the winemaking process
  • Watch rebarreling and bottling demonstrations
  • Enjoy wine and food pairings at each stop

As a bonus, the tour also includes a visit to SakéOne, the leading brewer of craft saké in America. The Tualatin Valley makes great wine because of our soil and climate. Similarly, the Tualatin Valley makes great saké because the east slope of our coast range creates amazing water quality that’s needed for premium sake.

After a day of wine tasting, make sure you have some place to unwind that night. Choose for our array of hotels. The Century Hotel even offers an Adventure in Wine Country Package, complete with two meals, wine and an artisan cheese plate.

Reserve your spot on the North Willamette Harvest Trail now! Get your tickets here. And be sure to use the discount code “HarvestFriend” for $5 off of each ticket.

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Ask a Local: Cooper Mountain Vineyards’ Barbara Gross

Posted on: July 28th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment
Barbara Gross of Cooper Mountain Vineyards gives visitors her inside scoop on the Tualatin Valley.

Barbara Gross of Cooper Mountain Vineyards gives visitors her inside scoop on the Tualatin Valley.

When it comes to vacation planning, nothing is more valuable than the local scoop. So, we turned to Barbara Gross of Cooper Mountain Vineyards. As a born-and-raised local of Oregon’s Washington County, she has the ultimate tips.
 
What makes Cooper Mountain Vineyards so special?
The soils. The place. We own and manage four vineyards throughout Oregon’s Washington County. And our philosophy is simple: craft authentic wines while respecting the soils and the land they originate from.
 
What do you love most about interacting with visitors?
The most satisfying interaction I have with visitors is being able to point to the specific acre of Pinot Noir, tell them the story of how Mother Nature provided us with that vintage and have them taste the Tualatin Valley.
 
What will visitors find happening in the vineyards now?
The North Willamette Valley is buzzing during the summer. She wears her colors well. Full canopy on the vines. Toward the end of the summer, the grapes begin to change color. Clear blue skies provide visuals of the mountains, reminding us of the volcanic nature of the soils where the vines reside.
 
Other than a visit to Cooper Mountain Vineyards, what’s one can’t-miss attraction for visitors to the area?
All the other wineries!
 
Describe a perfect day in Washington County.
Picnicking on one of our vineyards, with local Pinot Noir in your glass after you’ve spent the morning at a local berry u-pick farm.
 
What’s a favorite “hidden gem” of the area?
NAK WON! The Tualatin Valley boasts some of the best Korean and Vietnamese restaurants in the country. And Syun Izakaya has been a longtime and outstanding gem.
 
Where do you go when you want some seriously good grub?
See above! In addition, decarli restaurant and The South Store Café.
 
What should every visitor take home as a souvenir?
I would hope they would take away the impactful memory of the beauty of the place. And come back and visit.
 
Describe Oregon’s Washington County in 5 words or less.
Where the city meets the country.

Other tips from locals:
Curiosities Vintage Mall’s Travis Diskin
Maggie Buns’ Maggie Pike
Clean Water Service’s Sheri Wantland
SakéOne’s Steve Vuylsteke
Bag&Baggage’s Scott Palmer
Vine Gogh’s Jenny Schildan

Vineyards After Hours

Posted on: May 30th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
At Ardiri Winery, friends can enjoy a summer evening toast, fire and movie.

At Ardiri Winery, friends can enjoy a summer evening toast, fire and movie.

It’s the end of Oregon Wine Month, but guess what?…The grapes are still growing ,vineyard dogs are still wagging their tails and the long summer days ahead will having our wineries open into the late evening. We’re listing the best dusk-hour sipping spots below:

Ardiri Movie Nights
June 14, July 12 and August 9 | 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. | $15 per person
Cozy up to one of the winery’s patio fire pits. Your entry cost covers food, a glass of wine and a classic movie. This is a popular event; so, RSVP early to info@ardiriwine.com.

Neighbor’s Night at Cooper Mountain Vineyards
Various Fridays June-September | 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. | $8 per person
When visiting Oregon’s Washington County, locals will treat you like one of their own. Example: “Neighbor’s Night” welcomes all who enjoy live music and stellar wine (pretty sure that’s you).

Oak Knoll Toast to the Tunes
Various Thursdays June-August | 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. | $5 per person
Enjoy a leisurely wine tasting while chowing down on James Gang Dinner’s lip-smacking BBQ. Your picnic isn’t complete without a sweet serenade from a local band. Kids and leashed pups welcome, too!

Plum Hill Date Nights
Every second Friday of the month | 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. | Free
Summer lovin’, had me a blast. Summer lovin’, had me some snacks. Okay, we made up that second line, but couples keep the romance alive here with wine tastings, music and—yes—snacks.

One-Time Evening Wine Events

Field & Vine Dinner at Tualatin Estate Vineyard
June 17 | 5:30 p.m. start | $80 per person
A vineyard tour leads into an enchanting outdoor dinner. With six courses and a rustic-chic community table, foodies come together for a summer evening you’ll never forget.

Patio Grill Night at Apolloni Wines
June 20 | 6 p.m. start | $45 per person
In the last official day of spring, usher in summer with a gourmet four-course menu and wine pairings.  

Field & Vine Dinner at Beckham Estate Vineyard
August 16 | 5:30 p.m. start | $80 per person
Good food, good wine and good friends. What more could you want? Get it all at this very special outdoor dinner.

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Cheers! It’s Oregon Wine Month!

Posted on: May 7th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

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Hooray! It’s Oregon Wine Month! We Oregonians don’t need a mere month to celebrate our Pinot—we do so year round. Still, we’re thrilled to honor the vines, winemakers and wine lovers in an official capacity each spring. In its third year, Oregon Wine Month is a time to make a hullabaloo over our favorite labels, as well as discover new ones.

Kick off Oregon Wine Month with your mom. As an adult, trade the rattle of macaroni necklaces for clinking wine glasses as a Mother’s Day gift. Head to brunch and a day of wine tastings with our impressive list of Mother’s Day Weekend happenings.

Wineries close to Portland, like Hawks View Cellars, will be celebrating Oregon Wine Month throughout May.

Wineries close to Portland, like Hawks View Cellars, will be celebrating Oregon Wine Month throughout May.

Sip your way through the rest of the month:

Evening Hour at Hawks View Cellars
May 8 | 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. | $15 per person
Catch the sunset over the sweeping views at Hawks View Cellars. The scene is further mellowed by the estate’s sustainably grown Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

Date Night at Plum Hill Vineyards
May 9 | 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. | $15 per person
Plum Hill Vineyards takes date night seriously, encouraging couples to connect over its Red Velvet Pinot Noir.

Summer Wines Release at Alloro Vineyard
May 17-18 | 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. | $10 per person
Jump start summer with Alloro Vineyard, whose 2013 Estate Riesling and Rosé pairs beautiful with grill-out fare.

Bag & Baggage’s Private Lives at the Venetian Theatre
May 8-25| varying times | $20-$30 per person
Wine and art go hand-in-hand, which is why Bag & Baggage’s season-closing production, Private Lives, is best followed by an after-show drink at the Venetian Theatre. Take your pick of local favorites from Árdíri Winery and Vineyards, Ponzi Vineyards and
Oak Knoll Winery.

Oregon Wine Month goes out with a bang as Memorial Weekend Wine Events infiltrate our hills and valleys.

Don’t be afraid to take your favorite blends home by the case. Simply take advantage of the Oregon Wines Fly Free promotion from Alaska Airlines, happening through the rest of the year!

Sparkling Wine Trail

Posted on: December 27th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment
Uncork the holidays with some bubbly from our Sparkling Wine Route.

Uncork the holidays with some bubbly from our Sparkling Wine Route.

When it comes to New Year’s Eve, celebratory toasts call for the razzle-dazzle, the spumante effect, and the tickle-your-nose flair. That said, we endorse sparkling wine as an all year affair. We drink sparkling wine whenever we want to make a happy hoopla of things. But why not make a hoopla of finding that perfect sparkling wine? Have a radiant day tasting Oregon’s best bubbly along the Sparkling Wine Route of Oregon’s Washington County.

Just 25 miles west of Portland, start at Apolloni Vineyards. The winery’s Sparkling Rosé and Sparkling Pinot Blanc are light and dry bubbly floral aromas and a citrus finish. Apolloni’s owner and winemaker, Alfredo Apolloni, stays true to his roots producing both sparkling wines in the traditional Italian style. For those who can visit this weekend, Apolloni Vineyards is offering a Bubbles & Seafood Weekend, which will highlight seasonal seafood and complimenting sparkling wine for your New Year’s Eve dinner.

The next two stops along the Sparkling Wine Route of Oregon’s Washington County were choice picks for 1859 Magazine’s article, “Ring in 2014 with some of our favorite sparkling wines.” So many wineries in the North Willamette Valley are known for great Pinot, which J. Albin Winery’s  has parlayed into its Brut Rosé. With notes of strawberry and jasmine, you’ll be in a sparkling nirvana.

Kramer Vineyards knows sparkling wine is key to any swanky soirée, which is why they created their  Celebrate! Müller-Thurgau and Pinot Gris varieties. Get that punch of bright acidity and drinkable fruitiness from these bottles.

The next leg of the Sparkling Wine Route takes you to Shafer Vineyard Cellars for the Shafer Cuveé. The winery is committed to producing its sparkling wine in the traditional French champagne method, Methode Champenoise. This attention to bubbles will fill your flute with something extra classy.

For that last glimmering sip, taste the Semi-Sparkling Muscat Frizzanté at Tualatin Estate Vineyard. The hint of nutmeg adds festive holiday flair. For a Spanish twist during your New Year’s Day brunch, try this sparkler mixed into an Oregon Bellini.

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The Route Less Traveled: Sip 47

Posted on: December 20th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Rudy Marchese of Montinore Estate is passionate about sharing the beauty, wine, and food along the Sip 47 Route.

Rudy Marchese of Montinore Estate is passionate about sharing the beauty, wine, and food along the Sip 47 Route.

While some say get your kicks on Route 66, here in Oregon’s Washington County we say get your sips on Route 47. What we lack in rhyme we make up for in wine…and sake, cider, and cuisine.

Over the years, Rudy Marchesi, owner of Montinore Estate, has loved meeting wine lovers from all over the world. It seemed that many travelers made their way into his tasting room after spending a few days in Portland. But Rudy was always a bit perplexed as to why people always journeyed from Portland to Oregon wine country via Highway 99, especially when Highway 47 was just as accessible and much more picturesque.

Rudy and a collaboration of proud winemakers, farmers, and business owners in the Northern Willamette Valley created the Sip 47 Wine Passport to show off 17 delicious delights along NW Highway 47. For urban dwellers and peace seekers, the Sip 47 route is one of the best ways to escape the city grind for a few days of pastoral relaxation.

Until February 28, this collective of culinary attractions along Highway 47 provides a fun passport for visitors to fill as they explore the route’s wineries, saké kura, cider brewery, creamery, and restaurants. To determine your first stop, download a PDF printable map of the route. Once you arrive, you’ll receive a hard copy passport and map, along with your first stamp. The Passport will be signed as you make your way along each stop, whether you do it in one day or over multiple weeks.  

Upon receiving the last stamp in your passport, your name will be entered into a drawing for great prizes. After hitting up so many tasty finds, you’ll be eager to win some of the Oregon Pinot, fancy cheeses, effervescent sake, or naturally cured meat samplers that are up for grabs!

Looking for a place to stay as your trek the Sip 47 route? Book a few nights at one of the route’s nearby hotels.

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Just in Time for the Holidays: Red Wine Truffles

Posted on: November 27th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Pinot Noir

Oregon Pinot Noir is what makes this recipe extra special.

Now that the holiday season is in full-throttle, you may find yourself elbows deep in tree trimmings, gift wrap, and baking. Holiday baking is one of the many great joys of wintertime, which is even more reason to keep it stress free. Our red wine and dark chocolate truffles with peanut butter drizzle are not only a cinch, but combine three fan-favorite foods.

Red Wine and Dark Chocolate Truffles with Peanut Butter

Ingredients:
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
½ cup red wine (we did one batch with David Hill Vineyard & Winery’s Pinot Noir and another with Oak Knoll Winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup peanut butter chips

Instructions:
1. Chop chocolate into fine pieces and place in a heat-safe bowl
2. Heat red wine in a sauce pot until it begins to lightly boil
3. Pour wine over chocolate and let sit for one minute
4. Stir chocolate and wine until smooth
5. Add butter and stir until melted and fully incorporated
6. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 24 hours
7. Remove bowl from fridge and, using a melon baller, scoop chocolate out and form into a ball with hands
8. Roll truffle in small bowl of cocoa powder
9. Place onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper
10. Repeat until all chocolate has been used.

For peanut butter drizzle:
Melt peanut butter chips and drizzle over truffles with a small spoon

Place baking sheet of truffles in freezer for 24 hours before serving.

Find the perfect red wine for your truffles while on the Sip47 wine route!

Winning Wines

Posted on: November 8th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Montinore's special biodynamic vineyards earned them top marks with Portland Monthly.

Montinore’s special biodynamic vineyards earned them top marks with Portland Monthly.

Wine lovers unite! With December in sight, Oregon’s wine critics craft year-end best-of lists. It’s no surprise that the wineries of Oregon’s Washington County are gems in the crowds.

Portland Monthly’s October 2013 issue made a Pinot-colored splash with its “50 Best Oregon Wines.” Within the Breathtaking Bubbles category, the 2010 Brut Nethode Traditionelle from Kramer Vineyards was commended for sweet done right. The 2007 Brut Rosé from J. Albin Winery was noted as a perfect Thanksgiving treat. Pick up a bottle during the Thanksgiving Wine Weekend.

Portland Monthly celebrated environmentally conscious wineries with the The Biodynamic Brigade category. Montinore Estate’s Pinot Noir “Swan Song” lives up to its name as grapes from an ugly duckling vineyard are transformed into a cheery blend.

Wine & Spirits Magazine also got in on the Washington County love, naming Elk Cove as one of its 2013 Wineries of the Year.

In the digital age, snooth.com connects over a million wine users from around the world. The Snooth team announced Oregon as the 2013 Region of the Year, taking note of the Willamette Valley’s long-loved Pinot along with its innovative Riesling and Chardonnay.

Come visit soon! We cannot wait to show you our world-class, award-winning wines.

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