October 09 Portlandâ€™s Magazine of Food + Drink
Shockingly cheap tempranillos What to eat in Tacoma, the Pearl, McMinnville A fab fall dinner menu
Care for some wine?
The craziness of crush /p32 A wine cellar for now â€” and later /p45 Walla Walla airport wines take off /p52
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It’s Time To Start Eating Better
Breakfast Lunch Happy Hour
There’s always a lot to drink in an issue of MIX, but every fall we serve up a bit more wine than normal, which is why I asked Katherine Cole, our wine columnist and impresario extraordinaire of the SELECTS tasting panel, to write the editor’s note this time. — Martha Holmberg, editor Here at MIX, we think of wine as a process rather than a product. It’s a living, changing thing that reaches its peak not according to the dictum of a vintage chart, but when it’s sitting in a glass, on a table, surrounded by good food and better friends. And even after that, it lives on in our memories. That’s why, when our SELECTS panelists gather to blind-taste through 25 examples of a certain style of wine, we don’t bother
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bickering over numerical ratings. Instead, we go by the recipe rule: If I notice that a certain bottle causes us to stop tasting and start swapping recipes and planning our next dinner parties, I know I’ve got to write it up. History tells us that medieval designers modeled early printing presses after wine presses. Back then, a person either could mark vellum with ink or glean juice from grapes by turning the same style of simple crank. Winemaking and publishing have become more complex processes since then. But at MIX, we strive to be simple. We honor handcrafted wines. We favor artisanally produced foods. And we write about these things with honesty. So don’t flip through this magazine looking for vintage charts and scores. Instead, just read us to find out what’s cooking, and what we’re drinking with it.
pHoToGrApH By BETH NAKAMurA
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Crush pad We hang out at a winery as they hustle through harvest. Lots of grunt work, squeegees, crazy energy and, of course, great food.
Buyers and Cellars Life’s too short not to have a basement full of good wine.
52 Wine flights
Walla Walla’s indie wine movement takes off, thanks to entrepreneurial spirit and some sheds near the airport.
in every issue 13 WalKaBOut Northern exposure — why foodies should head to the north end of the Pearl. 17 radar McMinnville just got more delicious with the opening of Thistle.
21 MiXMaster Cocktails get lively with eau de vie. 25 friday night dinner party For your next big bash, hire yourself as the caterer. 59 i.d. We report on OPB’s April Baer at her favorite place to get a drink.
65 seleCts/ teMpranillO Our panel is shocked and awed by the quality of these affordable Spanish wines. 69 puB CraWl The little brewery that could, did.
73 eat here/ taCOMa There’s a bit of sparkle in this once-grungy city, and it’s pretty tasty.
84 One shOt “You are what you eat,” a photography project by Mark Menjivar.
78 sCene What to eat where.
ON THE COVER: Joel Waite, co-owner and winemaker of Cavu Cellars in Walla Walla, pauses for refreshment. PHOTOGRAPH BY BRIAN LEE
83 shOp Contact info for people, places and things in this issue.
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If Oregonian critic-at-large Grant Butler had to give up big-city life for a small town, Walla Walla would be his destination. First, it’s home to amazing farms that grow some of the besttasting sweet onions in the world. Second, those onions turn up regularly on the menus of the town’s stunningly good restaurants. Finally, it’s home to incredibly diverse wineries, featuring both bigname players and tiny start-ups. In this issue, he uncorks the story behind the Walla Walla Wine Incubators (Page 52), home to some of the newest, smallest and most-interesting vintners on the scene.
Nancy Rommelmann, who writes regularly for MIX as well as LA Weekly, City Arts Magazine, Bon Appétit and other publications, was delighted to take April Baer out for wine … lots and lots of wine. “She was really a girl after my own heart,” says Rommelmann of her date with the OPB radio host (Page 59). “After we polished off a bottle of wine, I asked if we should have some more, and she said, ‘Well, yeah.’ ” Rommelmann is currently at work on a nonfiction book, “On the Bridge: A Meditation on Murder and the Case of Amanda Jo StottSmith.”
Lee Emmert shot our wine cellars story this month (Page 45) but wishes he’d played it a little smarter. “I should’ve told the owners, ‘You know, I’ve photographed quite a few wine collections for this story, and all the other folks have offered me a couple of good bottles to take home.’ ” Emmert teaches advanced photojournalism at the University of Oregon. His work has appeared in Time, Fast Company and Forbes. He’s just finished a story for Barron’s that took him to a hazelnut farm and cattle ranch; he’s going to trade the owners prints for beef … which has got to be a first.
Talking to local experts about wine cellars was liberating for Leslie Cole (Page 45), whose own cellar is some smartly arranged cardboard boxes in a melamine cabinet. She’s busy implementing the first rule of building a cellar: Taste widely to better inform your choices. When she’s not writing for MIX or cooking something to serve with a good bottle of wine, Cole is staff writer for The Oregonian’s FOODday section.
Oregonian staffer Torsten Kjellstrand barely knows which end of a wine bottle to open. But once he gets at the contents of a good bottle, he knows how to appreciate it. Working on the story about Anne Amie’s harvest and crush (Page 32) took him right to the heart of the winemaking. His biggest surprise was how much fun the crew had — almost as much fun as he had making photos of the mayhem, then writing about it.
The last time photographer Brian Lee worked in Walla Walla he was a 19-year-old college student driving a lumbering wheat truck as a summer job. So returning to his hometown to photograph the Walla Walla Wine Incubators (Page 52) was a bit of a homecoming. “My parents still live in Walla Walla, so this was the first assignment of my life where after the shoot I ate home-cooked barbecued ribs and slept in the same bedroom where I used to play Hot Wheels!”
Greg Mably studied illustration at The Ontario College of Art in Toronto and graduated in 1991. He says, “When MIX contacted me about this assignment, I was intrigued by the subject matter as I’d never tried eau de vie (Page 21). I researched the subject via the Internet and, of course, my palate. Putting a new twist on tradition is very appealing; it’s something I try do in my work and it’s certainly what I explored in this assignment.”
OTHER CONTRIBUTING WRITERS KATHERINE COLE, JOHN FOYSTON, KAREN LYNN, CHRISTINA MELANDER, MICHAEL ZUSMAN OTHER CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS MIKE DAVIS, JAMIE FRANCIS, BETH NAKAMURA, MOTOYA NAKAMURA, SUSAN SEUBERT
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[ North of Northwest Lovejoy ] By GraNT BuTLer PhoToGraPhy By BeTh NakaMura
nce upon a time (five years ago), there was a real estate boom. The Pearl District north of Northwest Lovejoy Street was considered the next big thing. Developers broke ground on high-rise condos, the city unveiled an intriguing eco-park, and a smattering of businesses gambled on the area’s future once the construction cranes went away. Then the bottom dropped out. Condo buildings were converted to apartments, but sat empty because of super-sized rents. Businesses suffered from a lack of foot traffic, with places like the upscale Mexican restaurant D.F. eventually calling it quits. The area still is struggling, but there are glimmers of hope that at least a food-oriented turnaround has begun. There’s the lavish new Safeway, with its own wine steward and sushi bar, that’s impossible to miss. But look closer: North of Lovejoy, some interesting things are cooking. Tanner Springs Park sort of looks like an abandoned lot (on purpose), which gives the northern edge of the Pearl even more of a remote feeling than the empty condos do. But hang on, because amid the vacancies are some delicious signs of life.
walkabout/north of northwest lovejoy cont. 1
Start your North of Lovejoy tour at the intimate Wine Unwind, which took over the space that had been Vinideus wine shop late last year. There are small but carefully curated selections of vintages from the Northwest, California and Spain, and shoppers get the personal touch with tags bearing handwritten recommendations on many of the bottles. It’s the “unwind” portion of the business that really stands out. During the day, there are a dozen by-the-glass options for sipping, as well a small menu of panini and charcuterie. Not laid-back enough for you? Drop by on weekend evenings, when small bluegrass and jazz combos offer live music. If you’re lucky, you might catch a set by ashia Grzesik, a New age cellist with a cult following from her days playing with Cirque du Soleil’s lavish “o” in Las Vegas. Wine Unwind: 1019 N.W. 11th Ave. 503-946-8482 wineunwind.com
When Via Delizia first opened five years ago, it offered two dozen gelato options, a novelty before gelato shops became fixtures in many Portland neighborhoods. But it also had elaborate desserts with spun sugar and architectural chocolate decorations that were pretty to look at, and sometimes (but not always) delivered on their promise. These days, the gelato remains, but the vibe is more neighborhood coffee shop and lunch spot than dessert destination, with Italian panini with names like “umbria” and “Firenze” dominating the short menu. Diners sit underneath boughs of artificial olive trees, amid walls decorated to look like the facades of some Tuscan farm town, sipping glasses of red and white from the mostly Italian wine list. at night, illuminated lanterns set the mood. Squint hard, and you just might think 4 you’re in a square in Sienna. N.W. NorthrUP St. Via Delizia: 1105 N.W. Marshall St. 3 503-225-9300; viadelizia.com taNNer
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From the outside, because it’s so tiny, Little Green Grocer may have you thinking it’s an upscale 7-eleven. But step inside and you realize the tiny market is living up to the mantra of “eat Well, Drink Well, Be Well” that’s stenciled on its windows. Shelves are lined with gourmet olive oils, balsamic vinegars, Dijon mustard and hard-to-find teas. For the chocophile, there’s highly coveted bars and truffles from kansas City chocolatier Christopher elbow. If you still can’t shake the mini-mart identity, there are organic burritos and other grab-and-go fare. There’s a bit of a David vs. Goliath feel to it all, given it’s just a three-block walk to the new Safeway … but then things worked out ok for David, didn’t they? Little Green Grocer: 1101 N.W. Northrup St. 503-297-4728; littlegreengrocer.com
Serious wine fans, you have a new can’tmiss destination: MetroVino. This new bistro and wine bar, which opened earlier this year in the D.F. space, has 80 still and sparkling wines by the glass, thanks to an elaborate enomatic setup that keeps wine fresh without danger of it being spoiled by exposure to air. This place is about more than what goes into the riedel stemware: Former Lucier sous chef Gregory Denton has crafted a menu of mostly small plates (with seven entrees for heartier appetites) that emphasize rich flavors, such as roasted marrow bones and crispy sweetbreads. MetroVino: 1139 N.W. 11th Ave. 503-517-7778; metrovinopdx.com
While the Pearl was undergoing its big transformation from warehouse district to upscale neighborhood, the venerable BridgePort Brewpub & Bakery underwent its own transformation. Some longtime fans worried that remodeling the brewpub would sacrifice its character. But the spruce-up left plenty of the old charm intact, including loading-dock seating and beautiful, exposed hardwood beams. What’s new are Wi-Fi throughout, signs alerting diners when the next streetcar will rattle by, and baking facilities producing breads for all the brewpub’s sandwiches and even croutons for its terrific smoked salmon Caesar. another constant: Pints of terrific India Pale ale, Porter and seasonal brews. This year marks BridgePort’s 25th anniversary. here’s a toast to its next quarter century. £ BridgePort Brewpub & Bakery: 1313 N.W. Marshall St. 503-233-6540; bridgeportbrew.com
[ McMinnville just got more delicious ]
Portland restaurants may get all the national love, but local insider buzz has turned to the emerging dining scene down along Highway 99W, in the Willamette Valley wine country towns once regarded by Portlanders as mere bottlenecks on the way to the coast. The recent opening of Thistle restaurant in McMinnville by chef Eric Bechard and partner Emily Howard is the latest and, potentially, greatest example of the trend. It’s a breeze to get there — and you should. After the obligatory one-hour drive southwest — through Newberg, Dundee and Lafayette — park the gas-burner on Third Street, downtown McMinnville’s main drag, then stroll a few paces south along Northeast Evans. You can’t miss it; the street names are alphabetical. Just past Serendipity, the corner ice cream store, you are apt to find Bechard on display behind a big square of storefront glass in his one-body kitchen. OK, maybe it’s rude to gawk, but it’s hard not BY MIcHAEL ZuSMAN to as Bechard alternately slices, dices, braises and browns at either
PHOTOgrAPHY BY MOTOYA NAKAMurA
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his six-burner Wolf stove or, at a right angle, the custom-built butcher block that runs the length of the window. The space is obviously designed with visibility in mind, so staring must be all right. Don’t just stand there, though — walk in and be greeted by Howard, a McMinnville native daughter (McMinnville High, ’94). While Bechard cooks, Howard simultaneously serves as Thistle’s lone hostess, waitress and sommelier. She’s smooth, no doubt about it, sweetly serving as many as 26 patrons at a time, five at the chef’s counter, the balance scattered among the half-dozen tables spread around the compact dining room. And now that Howard is back home after a decade away, there’s catching up to do with childhood friends and relatives who drop in for a bite. Looking around the room and asking the ebullient Howard a few questions, you learn that Thistle is ensconced in an 1886 building, with artifacts such as an old window pane and a scary backroom root cellar to prove its provenance. Post-renovation (with much of the work done by Bechard and Howard), once-hidden hardwood floors have been revealed. Furnishings are primarily composed of reclaimed and restored materials: a hundred-year-old chandelier; indestructible French gray metal Tolix chairs; and maple table- and countertops (plus the windowside butcher block), all crafted from an old bowling alley lane. The dining room’s dominant design feature is
McMinnville’s Thistle restaurant serves the gifts of the land in a warm-as-wood environment punctuated with, among other treats, honey-colored maple countertops made from a reclaimed bowling alley lane.
the bold black-on-cream, thistle-print wallpaper from Scotland. It’s hand-screened and the one thing the Thistle partners splurged on, so be nice and compliment them on it — and for goodness’ sake don’t mess it up. Bechard and Howard became enamored with the wall covering after learning that the thistle — an artichoke relative — was indigenous to the Willamette Valley and also was believed to protect the early Scots from predations by rampaging enemies. Bechard’s sweet spot is still seasonally and regionally focused modern American cuisine. According to Bechard, however, what he’s making at Thistle is simpler — more “product focused” and less “technique driven” — than anything he’s done in the past. All the better to satisfy locals and visitors. The menu rotates daily according to what local farmers bring by in the morning and is limited to five appetizers, four main dishes and a couple of desserts posted on a big blackboard, with nothing priced above the $20 threshold. If it’s available, why not try the pancetta-wrapped sockeye or gnocchi with goat cheese, along with a smoked sturgeon starter and thistle-honey crème brûlée for dessert? Meanwhile, sharp eyes will laser in on Howard’s well-constructed wine list,
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divided three ways, between McMinnville (and vicinity) vintages, other Oregon offerings and “old world” European selections. Keeping with the rustic theme, Howard handtyped the 20-bottle list on one of the vintage typewriters in her collection. The gradual emergence of McMinnville and other Willamette Valley locales as culinary destinations worth a special trip is attracting people with street cred like Bechard and Howard. Bechard, 30, a graduate of the california culinary Academy, earned his kitchen chops at Acquerello, an Italian fine-dining favorite in San Francisco. Opportunity brought him to Portland, where his high-octane skillet skills earned him The Oregonian’s rising Star accolade in 2006 as the head chef at the critically acclaimed, but nowclosed Alberta Street Oyster Bar and grill. Howard began working in a local wine tasting room and as a restaurant server right after college. She moved among several Portland restaurants before settling in at El gaucho, the pricey downtown Portland steakhouse. By dint of fate, she soon ended up running the wine program
Thistle’s namesake wallpaper — which cost the team a fortune — is the anchor high-style element in a mostly DIY decor.
there (“without a clue,” she exaggerates) at the tender age of 23. After four years at El gaucho, she brought her formidable oenological expertise and service skills to Alberta Street, where she was first paired with Bechard. Following a short (and less than satisfying) stint in Seattle after financial problems derailed Alberta Street, Bechard and Howard decided to return to Oregon to open their own place at the center of wine country. And that’s where they can be found these days five or six nights a week. Lunches may follow later, but for now they’re hustling just to keep up with the dinner crowds. The thistle-clad walls may repel rampaging enemies, but they have the opposite effect on diners. £ Thistle 228 N.E. Evans St. McMinnville 503-472-9623 5:30-10 p.m. TuesdayThursday, 5:30-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday
mixmaster [ Eau de vieâ€™s secret life â€” as part of your cocktail] By Ashley GArtlAnd illustrAtion By GreG MABly
For centuries, eau de vie has been sipped and savored as a digestif. the potent but sophisticated clear fruit brandy operated in the same spiritual universe as a glass of fine cognac or armagnac, serving as a bracing coda to a meal, helping to settle things down and close out a big evening.
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A traditionalist would have you believe that eau de vie should remain unadorned, and certainly doesn’t belong in a … cocktail. But as eau de vie producers such as Portland’s Clear Creek Distillery have given these spirits more visibility and accessibility, local bartenders are shifting perceptions by experimenting with eau de vie in cocktails, giving it a new purpose behind the bar. not surprisingly, when Clear Creek’s founder steve McCarthy started making oregon eau de vie in 1985, he wanted his clientele to sip his spirits as digestifs. “We don’t invent our products for the cocktail trade,” he says. “We invent them to capture oregon fruit in eaux de vie.” And though today the Clear Creek crew still markets their eaux de vie solely for post-dinner sipping, even purists like McCarthy recognize that talented bartenders are successfully using these bone-dry brandies in refined cocktails that treat the spirits with respect. Portland’s idealistic bartenders take advantage of eau de vie’s intense aromas and pure, direct flavors to give cocktails a fruit-forward quality without an overbearing sweetness. “i don’t think you can get any other flavor that is that rich without the sweetness,” says the Driftwood Room’s Michael robertson. “it mixes very well with other fruit liqueurs and juices. it also mixes well in tea and hot toddies, and i use it in several champagne cocktails as well as some martinis to add complexity.” Clear Creek’s eau de vie roster includes 10 flavors (see the list of some other eau de vie producers on Page 83), but the most popular cocktail contender in town is the local company’s pear eau de vie. the pear brandy is approachable for customers — bartenders rarely have to explain what pear tastes like — and has a strong flavor that
a substitute ingredient such as pear purée could never bring to the bar. At Park Kitchen, bartenders capture the essence of pear in a nuanced Pear sidecar that remains popular even though it isn’t listed on the menu. “People ask for it at least once a week,” says bar manager shane King Feirstein, who credits former Park Kitchen bar manager Kevin ludwig with the recipe. “you wouldn’t necessarily think that pear and citrus play off each other so well, but i love the combination,” Feirstein says. “the pear hits you right at the finish, and i think it kind of lightens it up and brightens it up.” “Park Kitchen made a name for the pear brandy sidecar,” says Clear Creek retail manager Jeanine Koszalka. “talk about a great drink made with the pear brandy. i think that was the first time steve recognized that people are doing some things that are really interesting with our spirits — maybe not traditional, but interesting.” robertson of the driftwood room also uses pear eau de vie in a sidecar, but he’s more apt to mix it with Champagne in his Portland 85, a festive cocktail that smells like a pear orchard tucked into a glass. “Champagne cocktails tend to be very sweet and i wanted to get something that had the fruit flavors but that wasn’t as sweet to mix with the Champagne,” he says. While the pear eau de vie’s virtue is its approachability, Clear Creek’s douglas fir eau de vie intrigues curious bartenders by being slightly off the wall. “our douglas fir brandy is just strange enough that people view mixing with it almost like a challenge,” says Koszalka. Gin is an obvious partner for this brandy because of the juniper. “Juniper and pine have an affinity for each other. And the douglas fir eau de vie is very focused, so the gin has to be a
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little bit more nuanced and layered, because adding those other botanical elements is important,” says Park Kitchen’s Feirstein. “if you just shook it up with vodka, you’d essentially be just diluting the spirit, not adding anything to it.” Feirstein rounds out the gin and eau de vie combination with absinthe and egg whites in his by-request-only Cascadia Fizz cocktail. At northeast Portland’s Belly, bar manager Chris Grant mixes the two spirits together in a refreshing Pine needle Press. the striking cocktail attracts customer curiosity and can serve as a gateway so they’ll try eau de vie on its own for the first time. “especially with the douglas fir brandy, people want to try it on its own after trying it in a cocktail because it is so different. it’s a draw to get them to try something new,” says Grant. With so much cocktail innovation going on, the brandy purists are starting to come around, and bartenders are acknowledging that eau de vie is both a wonderful digestif and a beneficial cocktail mixer. “there are a lot of bartenders that understand where steve is coming from,” says Koszalka of Clear Creek’s founder. “sometimes it’s strange walking the line between trying to be respectful but at the same time letting the product shine.” £
A FeW eAu de vie ProduCers: Clear Creek Distillery, oregon clearcreekdistillery.com
Pear Brandy sidecar 1½ ounces pear eau de vie ½ ounce triple sec ½ ounce fresh lemon juice ½ ounce (barely) orange juice Pour pear eau de vie, triple sec and lemon and orange juices in a cocktail shaker over ice. shake together and strain into a martini glass garnished with a sugar rim. — From Kevin Ludwig, Beaker and Flask
the Portland 85 ½ ounce pear eau de vie ½ ounce pear liqueur 5 ounces Champagne Amarena cherry Pour eau de vie and pear liqueur into a Champagne flute. Float the Champagne on top. Garnish with the cherry. — From Michael Robertson, Driftwood Room
503-234-1614 825 NE Multnomah, Suite 280 Lloyd Center Tower across from the skybridge from Nordstrom
Cascadia Fizz 1 ounce douglas fir eau de vie ½ ounce absinthe (or pastis)
½ ounce gin 1 ounce pasteurized egg whites 1 teaspoon simple syrup Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. shake well with ice, strain and serve up. — From Shane King Feirstein, Park Kitchen
the Pine needle Press 2 ¼-inch thick cucumber slices, one diced and one reserved as a garnish 1½ ounces gin
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¾ ounce douglas fir eau de vie
St. George Spirits, California stgeorgespirits.com
1 ounce (barely) simple syrup
Westford Hill, Connecticut westfordhill.com
Put the diced cucumber in an old fashioned glass filled with ice. Pour the gin, eau de vie, lemon juice and simple syrup over the ice and top off with soda water. stir to combine, then use the whole cucumber slice as a garnish.
½ ounce lemon juice soda water
— From Chris Grant, Belly restaurant
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friday night dinner party [ Hosting a big meal? Hire yourself as the caterer â€” youâ€™ll do just fine ] By Karen Lynn / photography By Motoya naKaMura
The Menu Canapés made from crackers and toppings that you buy (tapenade, fava bean purée, tomato jam, goat cheese, smoked salmon spread, for example) Chilled Red Pepper Soup With Sumac, Basil and Lemon Yogurt Boeuf à la Niçoise With Roasted Tomatoes and Pappardelle Meyer Lemon and Chocolate Tart
friday night dinner party cont. Normally Friday Night Dinner Party focuses on great meals that can be pulled together in a flash at the end of a long workweek, but for this issue we decided to look at a different type of entertaining: more organized dinners you might do for holidays or other special events. These are meals where you can’t just be a laid-back host stirring the risotto while your friends hang around the kitchen island and drink. You really need to be your own caterer. So we turned to Pomarius Nursery owners Karen and Peter Lynn, who we knew were throwing an elaborate Mediterranean dinner in the nursery, a kitchenless haven for plants at the base of the Fremont Bridge in Northwest Portland. The dinner is one they host every year as part of the Dinner at My House for Our House series, benefiting the AIDS residential care facility Our House of Portland. The feeling they achieve is as warm and casual as an intimate dinner at home but it’s their knack for strategic planning that makes it possible. learned to cook when I met my husband, Peter, in France when I was 21. Before that, I knew how to steam broccoli and that’s about it. But I’ve now cooked for our family for 27 years. Peter loved to eat but never cooked — it was just beyond him. Then in 2007, I gave him a copy of Los Angeles chef Suzanne Goin’s “Sunday Suppers at Lucques” for his birthday. I found it at Powell’s, and I loved the forward by Alice Waters. We both had been talking a lot about her style, and her “living food” approach. He slowly started making some simple dishes like a Caprese salad, and I encouraged him: “It’s really meditative. This will really help change your mood.” Then he started making soups at our nursery, Pomarius, where he installed a little burner, and people would drop by for lunch. Little by little, we both started cooking out of this book a lot. It totally taught Peter how to cook — he carries it back and forth between home and the nursery — because it’s very textural, sensuous and meditative, and that really appealed to him. When we decided to host a dinner in the Dinner at My House for Our House series, we knew we wanted to have it at Pomarius — it’s such a beautiful atmosphere with all the plants, the garden and the lights on the bridge, and the nursery really feels like home to Peter. And we knew we wanted to do recipes from this cookbook.
We’d had dinners down there before just for fun, like barbecues with friends. But we wanted to try something more complicated. In choosing my menu for the dinner, I looked for recipes that could be done as much ahead of time as possible, allowing me to prep all the ingredients and cook as many things as I could before bringing everything down to the nursery. This is something I learned when I used to work as a caterer, and it’s how I like to entertain so I can actually be with the people coming to the dinner. Before guests arrived, we set the table and assembled appetizers, and when people showed up, they all headed out into the garden with Peter, who showed them our beehive and shared stories about peregrine falcons that swoop down from the Fremont Bridge to hunt urban wildlife. That gave us a chance to warm up the dishes that were already prepared over a single gas burner and a little camp stove. After serving the first course, we cooked the pasta and put the finishing touches on the rest of the dishes. While people were eating, the sun went down and it started to get chilly, so Peter loaded up a wheelbarrow with wood and lit a little bonfire. There’s nothing like a fire — it’s mesmerizing, warm and beautiful, and makes a great focus for the end of the night. We’ve camped for years, so this really wasn’t too much of a challenge. It’s a lot of work in advance, but as long as you have a fire or a heat source to get things going, you can do just about anything.
See? You can have fun at your own party, even when you have lots of guests and no kitchen. Karen Lynn applied her experience as a caterer to pulling off this charity event at her outdoor nursery.
The Dinner at My House for Our House series continues through March 2010, with an array of meals prepared by professional chefs and talented home cooks. Information: 503-736-9276 or ourhouseofportland.org/events/ dinnerseries Pomarius Nursery is at 1920 N.W. 18th Ave.; 503-490-6866; pomariusnursery.com
friday night dinner party cont.
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Chilled Red Pepper Soup With Sumac, Basil and Lemon Yogurt MAKES ABOuT SIx 1-CuP SERvINGS
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 5-inch sprig rosemary 2 to 3 chiles de arbol or other small dried chiles, crumbled 2 cups diced onion 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 7 large red bell peppers (3 to 3½ pounds) 4 large cloves garlic, smashed 2 teaspoons ground sumac (divided) 2 cups water 1 cup whole-milk yogurt, preferably Greek style
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1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 1 tablespoon lemon juice 2 tablespoons sliced fresh basil Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the olive oil, rosemary and chiles. Let them sizzle a minute or so, and then add the onion, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and a good amount of pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft, translucent and starting to color.
While the onion is cooking, cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise, through the stems. Use a paring knife to remove the stems, seeds and membranes. Cut the peppers into rough 1-inch pieces. Add the peppers to the onion mixture along with garlic, 1 teaspoon sumac, 2 teaspoons salt and more freshly ground black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the peppers are well-caramelized and soft. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer about 10 minutes. Strain the soup over a large bowl. Put half of the peppers and onions into a blender with ½ cup of the strained liquid. (You will need to purée the soup in batches.) Blend at the lowest speed until the vegetables are puréed. Begin pouring in the liquid, a little at a time, until the soup has the consistency of whipping cream. Turn the speed to high, and blend at least a minute, until the soup is completely smooth. Transfer to a container, and repeat with the second half of the vegetables. Thin with more cooking liquid or water if the consistency is too thick. Taste for balance and seasoning and then chill. While the soup is chilling, stir the yogurt, lemon zest, juice and ¼ teaspoon salt together in a small bowl. When the soup is cold, serve it in chilled bowls and garnish with large dollops of lemon yogurt; sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon of sumac and the basil. — Adapted from “Sunday Suppers at Lucques” by Suzanne Goin
Get by with a little help from your friends. Extra hands come in handy when it’s time to get the main course from the makeshift kitchen to the table, and friends Jeff Freeman and Lucy Neilson juggle ceramic bowls by California artist Aletha Soulé that Karen has collected over the years.
Boeuf à la Niçoise With Roasted Tomatoes and Pappardelle MAKES 6 SERvINGS
3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1½- to 2-inch cubes Freshly cracked black pepper 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus 6 sprigs (divided) 6 cloves garlic, smashed
Prepare the day before: In a large bowl combine the beef, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, the garlic and the orange zest. Toss to coat and combine, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Take the meat out of the refrigerator 45 minutes before cooking. After 15 minutes, season it on all sides with about 1 tablespoon of salt. Reserve the garlic and orange zest.
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
1 cup diced yellow onion
Heat a large (at least 12-inch) skillet over high heat for 3 minutes. Pour in 3 tablespoons olive oil and wait a minute or two until the pan is very hot and almost smoking. Place the meat in the pan, being careful not to crowd it. You will likely need to brown the meat in 3 batches. Sear the meat until well-browned on all sides, adjusting the heat as necessary. This is a very important step, so do not rush it. As the batches of meat are browned, transfer to a large (about 6-quart) Dutch oven.
Zest of ½ orange, removed in large strips
½ cup diced fennel ½ cup diced carrot 1 28-ounce canned plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano), drained, purée reserved ¼ cup balsamic vinegar 2½ cups hearty red wine 2 cups low-sodium beef broth 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 1 bay leaf, preferably fresh ½ cup pitted niçoise or kalamata olives, halved if using kalamata ¾ pound pappardelle pasta or wide egg noodles 6 ounces young spinach, cleaned ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley (divided) 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, fennel and carrot to the skillet. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up the crusty bits in the bottom of the pan. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes until the vegetables are caramelized. Add the tomato purée and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to coat the vegetables. Add the balsamic vinegar and reduce to a glaze. Pour in the red wine, turn the heat to high cook until reduced by half. Scrape the contents of the skillet into the Dutch oven, along with the beef and chicken broths. Tie the thyme sprigs, bay leaf and reserved garlic and orange zest in a square of cheesecloth and add to the pot. Bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and braise in the oven until the meat is tender but not falling apart, about 1½ hours.
While the meat is cooking, cut the whole canned tomatoes in half lengthwise. Slather the bottom of a baking dish with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then lay in the tomatoes, cut side up. They should fit pretty snugly. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt, pepper and the remaining ½ teaspoon of thyme. Roast the tomatoes in the same oven for 1½ hours, until they are shriveled and slightly caramelized on top. Remove from oven, cool, cover and refrigerate. Take the Dutch oven out of the oven and uncover, being careful of steam. Cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight. On the day of dinner: Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the Dutch oven from the refrigerator. Skim off and discard any congealed fat. Discard the cheesecloth bundle. Ladle all but 1 cup of the braising liquid juices into a large saucepan; set aside. Put the Dutch oven and the pan with the tomatoes in the oven for about 15 minutes, until both are heated through and the meat is slightly caramelized. Keep warm. Meanwhile, bring the saucepan of braising juices to a boil and reduce by half. Just before serving bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente and drain; return the pasta to the pot it was cooked in and turn the heat to mediumlow. Add the reduced braising juices, olives, spinach, ¼ cup chopped parsley and the butter; toss for 1 minute, until the spinach begins to wilt. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a large, warm platter. Spoon the meat and its juices over the noodles. Tuck the roasted tomatoes in and around the noodles and meat. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons chopped parsley over the top. — From “Sunday Suppers at Lucques” by Suzanne Goin
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Meyer Lemon and Chocolate Tart MAKES 6 SERvINGS
½ recipe Pâte Sucrée (see accompanying recipe) 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate 4 eggs 4 egg yolks 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 1 cup Meyer lemon juice (or ¾ cup regular lemon juice and ¼ cup orange juice) 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest 10 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces Pinch of kosher salt 1 cup whipping cream, whipped
Prepare the day before: Heat oven to 375 degrees.
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Line a 10-inch tart pan with the prepared pastry. Prick the bottom with a fork and line it with parchment paper or a few opened and fanned out coffee filters. Fill the lined tart shell with beans or pie weights and bake 15 minutes until set. Take the tart out of the oven and carefully lift out the paper and beans or weights. Return the tart to the oven and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is an even and deep golden brown. Set aside on a rack to cool completely. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. Spread the chocolate evenly on the crust; chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, until the chocolate has solidified completely. While the crust is chilling, make the curd. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk in the lemon juice and zest. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, alternating between a whisk and a rubber spatula until the lemon curd has thickened and coats the spatula (draw finger along the spatula; if curd does not flow back and fill in the path, it is thick enough). Remove the lemon curd from the heat. Add the butter a little at a time, stirring to incorporate completely. Season with the salt. Let the curd cool about 8 minutes and then strain it into the prepared tart shell. Chill the tart in the refrigerator for several hours. Prepare the day of dinner: Just before serving, whip the cream in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or by hand) until it holds soft peaks. Cut tart into wedges and serve with dollops of whipped cream. — Adapted from “Sunday Suppers at Lucques” by Suzanne Goin
Professional Plantscaping PĂ˘te SucrĂŠe MAKES ENOuGH FOR TWO 10-INCH TARTS
This recipe makes enough for two tarts, so you can freeze half to use later. Âź cup whipping cream
2 egg yolks
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2Âž cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour Â˝ cup granulated sugar Â˝ teaspoon kosher salt 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into Â˝-inch cubes
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Refrigerate dough for at least 10 minutes. Place on lightly floured plastic wrap on a work surface, sprinkle a little flour over the dough, and roll it out into a Âź-inch-thick circle, flouring as necessary. Starting at one side, lift the plastic wrap to lift the dough and gently roll it around the rolling pin to pick it up. Unroll the dough over a 10-inch tart pan. Gently fit the dough loosely into the pan, lifting the edges and pressing the dough into the corners with your fingers. To remove excess dough, roll the rolling pin lightly over the top of the tart pan for a nice clean edge, or work your way around the edge pinching off any excess dough with your fingers. Chill for 1 hour. ÂŁ
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In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, salt and butter on medium speed until you have a coarse meal. Gradually add the cream and yolks, and mix until just combined. Do not overwork the dough. Transfer the dough to a large work surface and bring it together with your hands to incorporate completely. Divide the dough in half, shape into 1-inch-thick disks, and wrap one of them to freeze and use later.
Whisk the cream and egg yolks together in a bowl.
www.tricountyfarm.org Enjoy life any day of the week at Greek Cusina
â€” From â€œSunday Suppers at Lucquesâ€? by Suzanne Goin
We advise you to . . .
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Develop a menu where you can do 90 percent of the cooking in advance, with just a few finishing steps executed when guests arrive. Think soups, stews, braises. Or if you want a dish that needs last-minute cooking, make sure itâ€™s the only thing you have to pay attention to for that course.
M-T: 3-7, 10-close F: 3-6 10-close Sat: 10pm-close Sun: all day after 11
Make lists! Plan your shopping trips, and map out your game plan for finishing your dishes, including a timeline showing how many minutes youâ€™ll need. Start with the time the first guest will arrive and work backward. And donâ€™t forget to account for things like how much time it takes for a big pot of pasta water to boil, or how long it takes to unload your car and park it. Those â€œin betweenâ€? tasks can add up.
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Chop all of your herbs and garnishes and store them in containers ahead of time. Label everything, so you know just what to reach for â€” horseradish sauce can look a lot like crĂ¨me anglaise when youâ€™re in a hurry.
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crush pad Harvest time at a winery is about hard work, urgency, long days. But at this winery, itâ€™s also about fun . . . sort of summer camp, with fermentation
the morning sun pokes over the trees to the east of rows of pinot noir vines, just down the hill from the winery at anne amie Vineyards. It’s quiet as pickers snip, snip, snip until their buckets are full of ripe grapes, then run to a bin at the end of the row, unload and run back to where they left off. a tractor picks up the first bin of fruit and takes it up the hill. the arrival of the bin at the winery marks the end of winemaker thomas houseman’s calm for the day. someone pulls the “ON” lever of the sorting table, which roars to life, and the sleepy crew falls in along the belt. Music spills from the sound system — workers take turns hooking up their ipod for a while each day. the madness begins, signaling another day of the crush, that time when workers in wineries all over the world struggle to keep up with the onslaught of fruit that needs picking, sorting, pressing and sending on the long journey from grape to glass. the work is relentless, sleep is scarce and the crew at this winery
love it — some so much that one guy has come from New Zealand for the last seven years, and others come in on their days off, just so they don’t miss the experience. It’s like a party that never ends, but with a point. and they work with a guy who knows how to strike that balance. “during harvest, we’re all working seven days a week, long days, and you have to make it worth it,” says houseman. “We have a lot of fun, but not at the expense of doing what we have to to get it done.” part of the fun is the food, which is up to professional chefs JanMarc and Barbara Baker. they came on board for the season after getting to know houseman several years earlier. “at this winery, the vibe is not so much intense as it is celebratory,” says chef Jan-Marc. “that’s because of thomas’ personality. he’s a great planner and he’s really good with people. here, it’s more like the romantic ideal that anyone who doesn’t work in the business might think it is.”
story and photography by Torsten Kjellstrand
â€œYou can treat people like labor or you can treat people like family,â€? says anne amie Vineyards winemaker thomas houseman, clearing dishes to make room for dessert as the workers gather for a late lunch on the patio of the wine-tasting room. during crush last fall, the vineyard hired professional chefs Jan-Marc and Barbara Baker to make sure that each meal felt like a reward for the long hours required to turn ripe fruit into wine.
the anne amie garden starts early, growing food all summer in anticipation of the crush (upper left). houseman wears a sexy orange rain suit (upper right) so he can crawl into the grape press (lower left) to clean it after a full day of grapes. the juice ferments over the winter and spring, then in summer houseman and winemakers andy Gribskov (lower right) and tammie crawford go through hundreds of barrels to blend the best wine from the vintage.
â€œthere were those days when they had just gotten a truckload of fruit in and it was going to be another hour or two before they could pause for a meal. so you have to learn to put the meal on hold without compromising the quality,â€? says Jan-Marc Baker, who put together sandwiches of tapenade, fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes, all on bread from Kenâ€™s artisan Bakery. Barbara Baker focused on snacks and desserts. Food came from local purveyors, as well as from the garden behind the vineyard kitchen. a few times, Jan-Marc found time to walk in the woods for some mushroom picking, a special surprise for the workers.
cleanup is equal parts fun and exhaustion. “Let’s keep moving! I am so tired that if I stop moving, I’ll fall down,” yells someone on squeegee detail. and they do keep moving, because for all the fun, the winery has to stay clean, with water and steam, to make consistently good wine.
the carnage after a pizza dinner (top), when the crew gathers to make pizzas from leftovers, another installment of the food-as-rewardfor-hard-work ethic. at the end of one particularly long set of days during crush, the crew relaxes in the vineyard with food, champagne, home-brewed beer (the preferred beverage of most winemakers during crush) and the knowledge that tomorrow, it all starts again.
how to eat like a winemaker Salad of Roasted Chanterelles, Apples and Butternut Squash
Rabbit Braised in Pinot Gris With Coarse-grain Mustard Makes 4 servings
this dish is wonderful served with soft polenta, boiled potatoes or risotto. We strongly recommend cooking the rabbit a day or two ahead, then cooling and resting the dish in the fridge, which really improves the flavor when the dish is reheated. 1 whole rabbit, skinned and dressed, and cut into 8 pieces (you can ask the butcher to do this; see note) Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 6 tablespoons olive oil (divided) 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut to bite-sized pieces 1 medium onion, peeled and cut to bite-sized pieces 4 whole cloves garlic ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley 3 5-inch sprigs fresh rosemary 1 bushy sprig fresh thyme 1 bay leaf 1 750-milliliter bottle pinot gris 2 teaspoons coarse-grain dijon mustard 2 tablespoons butter ¼ cup whipping cream
preheat oven to 325 degrees. season each piece of rabbit with salt and pepper. heat a dutch oven or large sauté pan over high, add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and add enough rabbit pieces to fit comfortably in one layer. Brown the meat well on all sides, transfer to a plate; repeat with the remaining rabbit, if working in batches, adding up to another 2 tablespoons of oil if needed In the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of oil, add the carrot and onion and cook until onions begin to turn golden, 3 to 4 minutes; add the garlic, parsley, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf. pour in the wine, simmer for 5 minutes, then nestle all the browned rabbit pieces into the pan, pushing them under the liquid as well as you can. cover the pot with the lid and bake in the oven for 1 to 1½ hours. check during cooking to see if the liquid is evaporating too quickly, adding a little hot water if things seem dry. to test for doneness, remove a bit of meat with a fork from a leg piece. If it comes away easily, it’s ready; if still firm, return to the oven and check again in 15 minutes. transfer rabbit pieces and vegetables from the cooking liquid to a platter; cover and keep warm. remove and discard the herb sprigs and bay leaf. place pan of liquid over high heat and boil until liquid is reduced to 1 cup. reduce heat to a simmer and whisk in the mustard, butter and cream; cook until heated through. season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with rabbit and vegetables. Note: Whole rabbit is available by order from Viande Meats, Nicky usa, Zupan’s and Whole Foods.
Makes about 8 servings
1 pound fresh chanterelles, cleaned, tough ends trimmed, and cut to bite-size pieces ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided) about ¼ cup fresh thyme leaves, chopped about ¼ cup fresh marjoram leaves, chopped Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 tart apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks 1 small (2 pounds) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ¾-inch chunks 1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks ¼ cup champagne vinegar heat the oven to 450 degrees (425 degrees if using a convection oven). toss the chanterelles with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil; season well with a sprinkle of thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper. spread in a single layer on a baking sheet, place in the oven and roast until beginning to turn gold around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. remove and let cool slightly. repeat with more oil and the apples, squash and onion, cooking each separately on its own baking sheet. (Make sure you cook the squash long enough to develop a nice browned color and roasty flavor.) When cooled a bit, combine the roasted vegetables in a large bowl and toss with the vinegar and the 3 tablespoons olive oil. taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed, and toss again gently by hand to combine the flavors. serve warm or at room temperature. — From Jan-Marc Baker, cuisine Bebe catering
— adapted from Jan-Marc Baker, cuisine Bebe catering
Granny Smith Apple Crisp Makes 8 servings
7 Granny smith apples (about 4 pounds), peeled, cored and sliced ¼ inch thick pinch of salt 1 teaspoon minced or grated lemon zest 1 teaspoon minced or grated orange zest Juice of ½ small lemon 2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur 2 cups granulated sugar 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar 2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
It’s like summer camp, only with really good food — and lots of wine and beer. during crush of 2008, Barbara and Jan-Marc Baker kept the crew healthy and happy with meals that often were based on produce from the winery garden.
1½ teaspoons salt 10 ounces cold unsalted butter (2½ sticks), cut into ¼-inch cubes
heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the salt, lemon zest, orange zest, lemon juice and amaretto. transfer apple mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In the same bowl, mix together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, salt and butter. using a pastry cutter, two table knives or just your fingers, cut or pinch the butter into the dry ingredients until the largest piece is about pea-sized. crumble the crisp topping evenly over the apples, squeezing some of the mixture into larger clumps as you go. Bake until the topping is golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving. £ — From Barbara Baker, cuisine Bebe catering
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buyers and cellars
Life’s too short to not have a stash of good wine in the basement
Sure, I age wine. For about 20 minutes, enough time to get back from the store and pop the cork.
At least that’s how the joke goes. And there’s more than a grain of truth to it: When life revolves around immediate gratification, it’s hard to think about waiting five, 10, 15 years to drink a nice bottle of wine. Commit to starting a cellar, say wine enthusiasts, and you won’t be sorry. The roughly 5 percent of wines out there suited to aging — the best known being Bordeaux, Barolo, Barbaresco and white and red Burgundies — undergo a marvelous transformation as time passes and oxygen seeps through the cork: puckery tannins in big red wines soften, fruit flavors give way to subtle undertones of tobacco, leaves, wood, saddle leather and chocolate. Whites that seem too acidic when young can, with age, come into balance, revealing hints of apples and pears, nuts and buttered toast.
By LesLie CoLe / phoTogrAphy By Lee emmerT
see-through cellar glass walls and a chandelier draw all eyes to the several hundred bottles in Lam Van’s wine collection in his pearl District loft. Van, owner of silk and pho Van restaurants, converted a pantry and broom closet into the glass-walled wine cellar, which is climate-controlled and has special nooks for bottles signed by the winemaker.
But stashing away lots of wine isn’t only about serious laying down; it’s also great to have a selection of drink-now wines at the ready, so you can always find the right bottle for your dinner or to take to a friend’s house. plus you don’t have to remember what you like; it’s right in the cellar to remind you. in either case, the trick is finding wines that work for you, the fledgling collector, or you, the wine lover who wants a basement cache for drinking and enjoying on a moment’s notice. miX talked with a few portland wine experts to learn the rules of the cellaring game.
The Adventurer Kimberly bernosKy Noble Rot wine bar
Bernosky’s path to wine started way back when with a job at mcmenamins winery and tasting room, then took her to europe, south America and the American West to taste and chase her passion. “The more i learned, the more i wanted to know.” she owned Beaumont Wines (with house spirits’ Lee medoff), before making the leap to the wine bar/ restaurant world. pretentiousness has no place in her cellar. “one of my problems is i like everything. That’s why i’ll always be broke.”
Why a cellar? you can drink wine depending on your mood. such as, “i’m in the mood for a Brunello tonight. Let’s make some pasta.” you can plan a meal around the wine you already have. And it’s fun to try it over the years to see how it changes in the bottle. Go vertical. if you’re on the more serious end of cellaring, and have lots of patience, pick a few favorite producers and buy wines from every vintage. in Bernosky’s cellar are wines from Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe and Château de Beaucastel, two Châteauneuf-du-pape estates (in the southern rhone Valley). “i have two bottles of each,
going back 15 years. i’m waiting to do a vertical tasting.” Two bottles, by the way, is a good idea, in case one is corked — you won’t be disappointed after waiting all those years. Find your people. pick a few wine shops and get to know the people there. Find someone you like and trust, go to their tastings, let them get to know you and your price range. They can put together a case for you and alert you to deals or special wines that come in the store. “i got to a point where i’d say, ‘These people love rhones, i’ve got to call them.’ ” Speed it up. if you find you like
Pinots and the Peloton John Leonard, a portland bike racer and sales rep for Casa Bruno wine importers,
stashes old oregon pinots and his favorite italian Barbarescos deep in his basement for a couple of reasons. The temperature is moderate and even, and the pile of boxes acts as a barrier. “if it’s harder to get to, i’m less likely to drink it,” he says. “The wines i really want to age, i keep in the bottom.”
well-aged wine, look for reserve bottles where the aging is already done. “you can find rioja that’s 10 years old that’s less than 30 bucks. The winery ages it for you. Those are great deals.” Element of surprise. “some people have their cellar really organized. i like looking in all the nooks and crannies and saying, ‘oh, my god, i have that?’ it’s a little more fun.” Like when her parents brought her a müller-Thurgau from a trip to New Zealand. she discovered it in her cellar years later. “it was like 12 years old. i opened it up to cook with, and it
was unbelievable. i had stored it in the kitchen, even. it was really an awesome bottle of wine.”
The anti-snob bruce bauer Vino
Bauer chased fine wine in his 20s as an escape from his job as a lumber broker and eventually found himself working at his hobby. he started on the wholesale side of the wine business, opened a retail wine store and two restaurants in portland and eventually sold them. in 1999 came Vino, his sellwood store that, he says, is about keeping wine low-key,
casual and accessible. Take it slow. “i made the mistake — i was a lumber broker and making a lot of money — of buying cases of this and cases of that; i just wanted to buy a bunch of wine to fill up my cellar. especially if you’re starting out, your tastes are going to change. And you don’t want to get stuck with a lot of one type.” Get organized, or find someone who is. “i’m a horrifically unorganized person. Luckily my wife has an excel fetish; she set up a spreadsheet for me.” his cellar list is divided into country, vintage and wine. Check out Web sites such
as CellarTracker, which lets you manage your inventory and join an online community of wine enthusiasts. But your system can be as simple as a Word document that shows you what you have and prompts you to drink your primo bottles before they pass their prime. Forget the chill. Temperaturecontrolled cellars are overrated and expensive, he says. “Unless you live in a place where your house is constantly heating up and cooling, you don’t need it. i just have a corner of my basement where i have a couple of wire metro racks and boxes on the floor.”
guns don’t glue, PeoPle do Drinking and glue guns? Not a good idea, unless you’re rick gustafson, who created a cork-paneled wine cellar in the home now owned by peter and suzanne goddyn. Look closely and you’ll spot a topographical map of France’s Alsace region, and The eyrie Vineyards 1975 pinot noir (mounted near the ceiling), the bottle that launched oregon wines into the big time.
But hold steady. “you really want to guard against daily temperature fluctuations. They always say the ideal is 55 degrees — it’s like this holy grail. my portland basement goes from 53 to 69 in summer, and i hold wine for 10 to 15 years. As long as you have very, very gradual temperature shifts, it’s fine.”
The Traditionalist sandy thomPson Mount Tabor Wines
Thompson spent 25 years in the music business (with a serious wine habit on the side), before pulling up stakes in san Francisco and opening his well-curated wine
store off southeast hawthorne. his personal collection is 35 years in the making. “once i got the bug, i became a fanatic,” he says. First things first. “Before i spent a dollar i’d figure out if i actually like old wines. … if you like your wines clean and fruity without gamy, exotic old flavors, you’re probably not going to like aged wine.” That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a cellar; just gear your buying to a variety of wines to drink in the near term (see “Blueprint for the Un-Cellar”). Tool kit. you need three things as a wine collector: money, time and patience.
If you’re serious, go big: “if you just have a case or two, you’re always looking at those boxes (and tempted to break into them).” Ten cases, he says, is the very beginning from where you say you have a cellar. Storage essentials for the long haul. “it’s important to be organized, clean and really pay attention to the cellar conditions. if you don’t have a 55-degree cellar, there’s no sense spending thousands of dollars on wine.” Consider a wine locker (portland Wine storage, one of several local storage businesses, rents a ninecase climate-controlled locker for
$18.50 a month plus racks), also a nice way to meet like-minded wine folks. plus it’s easier to keep your hands off your cellared wines if they’re not at home. Domestic or foreign? “The old Worlds tend to be the best agers. That said, there are some pinots in oregon that are old World in style, and i’ve had them at 20 years old and they’re magnificent and have changed and improved in the bottle.” Beware trophy hunting: “That’s not wine collecting, it’s just impressing your friends. you should buy and collect wines that you want to drink.”
no basement, no Problem george olson stole a wall of his dining room for his collection of central coast and oregon pinot noirs and italian Brunellos. on top sits his collection of wine and spirits paraphernalia, including flasks, antique corkscrews and a half-pint bottle of Australian gin shaped like a light bulb.
Budget. expect to spend in the mid to high $20s per bottle for something that’s age-worthy and $50 to $75 per bottle for a really good cellar of the great wines of the world. “it’s not cheap. it’s a passion. some people like farms, other people like gambling, and then there’s wine.”
The Pragmatist John Kennedy Great Wine Buys
Kennedy fell for wine while studying in Aix-en-provence in his early 20s. The romance pulled him out West, to portland, where he
worked for wine distributors at the retail store he now owns. After a detour for a master’s degree in French literature, he bought his shop on Northeast Broadway just shy of his 30th birthday. Ten years later, he’s still feeling the love. Take your pulse. Cellaring works for people who like the element of surprise. Don’t expect the wine to taste the same as it did when it was young; the point is it should taste different. Start with a realistic goal. Ask yourself how long you can wait to drink something in the cellar. guide your purchases of what to lay down by talking to a knowledgeable friend
or wine retailer about what you like to drink now (for instance, Tuscan wines, cabernets and steely, minerally whites). Learn the basics, look for values: Look to classic old World wines for cellaring, but be open to nearby appellations with terrific buys: provence’s Bandol, for instance, east of marseilles, produces lush reds from primarily the mourvèdre grape, structured and laced with tannins when young but softening into smoky, earthy, complex leathery notes with age, much like a Bordeaux. Depth, not breadth: “A lot of people
just want breadth right away. The best thing is to buy at least three bottles of the same thing — Tuscans, Bordeaux — if not four or six. Drink one soon to see what it tastes like young, another in a year, the rest over the next three to five years or longer. The joy is just watching it evolve.” The bummer of buying to hold: “it’s hard to go out and spend upwards of $200 for a box of bottles, then put them in your basement and go back upstairs. Nothing has changed in your life.”
worried about aging? build an un-cellar By LesLie CoLe
Not into the aging game? you still can benefit from building a cache of interesting wines. Call it a pantry, an uncellar or the most interesting corner of your basement: the idea is to buy a variety of bottles to drink now, or next month, or next year. stocking up on a variety of wines to drink relatively soon — say, within a few years — is a great idea for a couple of reasons: No more frantic trips to the store, plenty of choices to build a meal around, always an appropriate wine on hand to take to a friend’s porch party, a fancy dinner or a potluck. plus, let’s face it, the vast majority of wine out there is intended to drink now, or soon. if you’re a serious collector or aspire to be, it also makes good sense to invest in a variety of drink-now wines; when the party comes to your house these “cellar protectors” will have kept you away from the temptations you’ve laid down. here are some tips, and some recommended wines, for your “un-cellar”: buy by the case. you get a considerable discount — 10 to 15 percent is the going rate — plus if you go for a mixed case (meaning 12 different bottles that you pick), you’ll have lots of choices. look for deals from europe and oregon. Thanks to the global recession and a strengthening dollar, wineries from France and italy are cutting prices, and the quality is top-notch. “There has been a string of good vintages, so there are excellent values to be found,” says Cork’s Darryl Joannides (also a member of our selects tasting panel). Also look for better deals on oregon wines, at
phoTogrAph By TorsTeN KJeLLsTrAND
least for the short term, as producers try to empty inventory before the next vintage. check out new releases. Certain limited-production wines have a huge following — for example, owen roe’s Abbot’s Table (released in July) and sinister hand (released in fall) — and get snapped up soon after they hit the stores. get in on a current release and you’ll likely get a discounted price, plus you won’t miss out on the wine. (stay in the know by signing up for your wine shop’s e-mail list or sign up directly with a winery you like.) seek out big category wines that are “declassified.” Big-name (and big-dollar) regions such as italy’s Brunello di montalcino and France’s Châteauneuf-du-pape by law may only sell a certain amount of wine under its classified label; the rest is declassified and sold under a different name — rosso di montalcino in the case of Brunello; Côtes du rhone in the case of Châteauneuf-du-pape. “you’re often getting wines of a very high caliber but at a huge savings,” Joannides says — a $50 wine, say, for half the price. And expect these wines to be delicious now, and even better after a few years. in the fridge, yes; on the fridge, no. A cool basement is a good choice for your wine un-cellar. Barring a
ON-LINE EXTRA: better even-temperature storage spot, you can store wine in the fridge If you’re really into (pull out the red and let it come to wine, check out more room temperature before drinking), suggestions for a starter or pick up a refrigerated wine unit for cellar from our experts anywhere from a couple of hundred to at mIXpdX.cOm a thousand dollars. Never, ever, keep it on top of the fridge or in a cabinet over the fridge, where heat collects. bust out a box. Love oregon pinot but can’t abide the price? premium wineries are starting to sell wine in boxes through select retailers, something they already do for restaurants for their by-the-glass pours. it’s a way to have a quantity of top-notch wine on hand and tasting great long after you crack into the box, plus a money saver: Cork sold 3-liter boxes of evesham Wood Willamette Valley Chardonnay this summer for $45 (that’s comparable to four bottles at $11 each). Joannides says they hope to sell oregon pinot this fall.
A Mixed Case to Get Your Un-Cellar Started it takes a village to make up a mixed case of wine; here are suggestions from four portland wine merchants. Note that the wines are available at places other than just their own shops.
1 Domaine Paul Autard Côtes du Rhone 2007, $12 Fresh and lively for a red, yet deep, dark and spicy. —JK
Renzo Marinai Chianti Classico 2006, $23 Drinks like a much more expensive italian wine with lots of flavor and complexity. small producer whose fame is on the rise. —JK
3 Poderi Elia Barbera d’Alba
2005, $17 A medium-weight piedmont red from 90-year-old vines, juicy and accessible. A little italian earthiness but still versatile enough to pair with a range of dishes. —JK
Li Veli Passamante 2007, $10 A southern italian red made from negroamaro grapes, a hearty italian red that’s terrific with pastas and grilled foods, and a great value. A good choice to buy by the case. —DJ
Owen Roe Abbot’s Table 2008 (or Sinister Hand 2008), about $21 Two big oregon reds that have a huge following and often sell out; buy a case on release (July for Abbot’s Table, fall for sinister hand) and keep it under wraps for six to eight months for best drinking. Both are silky, vibrant blends; Abbot’s Table contains 25 percent sangiovese and zinfandel and shows darker berry fruit with some structure; a nice barbecue wine but also great for a holiday table. sinister hand is a rich, full-bodied blend of rhone varietals. —DJ
Pierre Usseglio Côtes du Rhone 2007, $25 From vineyards exclusively in Châteauneuf-du-pape, from what’s being heralded as the vintage of a lifetime. A mediumbodied red with juicy black raspberry and spice flavors, this is a bottle to bring out for special occasions. “it’s every bit as good as the $45 to $50 wines out of this region.” Delicious now and will cellar up to 10 years. —DJ
Domaine Beauthorey Bella Parra 2007, $21 From a tiny property in Côtes du Languedoc, mostly syrah with a bit of old-vine Cinsault. A biodynamically produced wine with medium body, earth and spice, it’s a beautiful, elegant wine. Think mushroom risotto, grilled meat and fall dinner parties.—BB
7 Librandi Ciro Bianco 2007,
dejo Rueda 2008, $13 A spanish white that acts like a New Zealand sauvignon blanc. grapefruit, citrus and tropical notes but dry on the palate. A refreshing patio sipper or aperitif.—BB
$13 A dry, round white made from 100 percent greco bianco grapes, crisp but not too steely with lush apricot notes. Approachable, with enough body to match full-flavored seafood, grilled meats and salads.—BB
NV Graham Beck Brut, South Africa, $19 The sparkler that toasted Nelson mandela’s inauguration (and shows up on the obamas’ table) is 53 percent chardonnay, 47 percent pinot noir. With toasty, yeasty aromas and a rich, creamy complexity, it’s an affordable wine that drinks like expensive Champagne. A great holiday aperitif or dessert wine.—BB
10 Liberalia Enebral Ver-
11 Bergerie de l’Hortus
2008 Coteaux du Languedoc Rosé de Saignée $15 A dry rosé full of character from France’s pic st. Loup region. With great acidity and vibrant fruit, it’s a quintessential food wine. serve it on Thanksgiving, after the bubbles from south Africa.—BB
12 Hawks View Cellars
“Hawks View Vineyard” Pinot Gris 2008, $24 The 2008 pinot gris from this up-and-coming sherwood winery is a gem and a great value, considering it’s on par with the best from Alsace and italy. Crisp, clean, mineral-infused and powerful. —ep BONUS: R Wines Boarding Pass Shiraz 2007, $17 Bold and full-bodied, this tasty representative from southeastern Australia belongs in every cellar. A chocolaty, spicy, silky red. —ep Suggestions from John Kennedy at Great Wine Buys, Darryl Joannides at Cork, Beth Boston at Every Day Wines and Ed Paladino at E&R Wine Shop. £
w wave e n s â€™ a l al W a l l a W g n i t s
By Grant But ler / Ph oto gra ph yb yB ri an
you think of the word winery, certain images spring to mind: dusty gravel driveways running past vinecovered hillsides, leading to a manor-like farmhouse; chilly, cavernous rooms stacked to the ceiling with French oak barrels; poshly appointed tasting rooms filled with tourists trying out the latest vintages. here’s what you don’t think of: A World War II army base that’s been turned into a gritty industrial park, lined with streets named after aircraft manufacturers — Cessna, Boeing, Lear — with cinder-block buildings and tin-roofed sheds housing tasting setups so Spartan they look like a complete afterthought. In Walla Walla, Wash., the airport is the locus for some of the region’s most-creative thinking and winemaking, and one of the most-distinctive tasting experiences for visitors. Unlike glitzy, big-name wineries that line nearby highway 12, the two dozen vintners here don’t attract tour buses. Business is so slow that many of them are only open to the public on Saturdays, and even then you may be the lone guest when you drop in. But when you realize the person pouring the wine is the winemaker himself, you know that going where the crowds aren’t can be an intimate and rewarding experience. That’s certainly the case when you visit the Walla Walla Wine Incubators, the latest arrivals to the airport scene. At first glance, the five matching buildings look like a cul-de-
sac of cuteness, with candy-colored facades and rooflines that evoke barns. While they are far more picturesque than the converted hangars of other airport wineries, the wines being made here are anything but superficial. When you walk into Adamant Cellars, you sense the passion at work when winemaker and owner Devin Stinger talks about his latest red blend or how he coaxes flavor into his syrah. “I’ve been dreaming about this for 20 years,” Stinger says. “The incubators made it possible for my dreams to become a reality.” Before Stinger and his wife, Debra, moved to Walla Walla a few years ago, he was making pinot noir in the basement of his Northeast Portland home while working days as a software developer. When he learned about the wine incubators, he realized he could bring his winemaking ambitions above ground. The incubators were built by the Port of Walla Walla out of a state economic stimulus grant and are leased to startup wineries to help them work out the kinks. Adamant and Trio Vintners were the first to open, in 2006. The latest, Cavu Cellars, opened just this past April. Because they’re meant to foster beginning businesses, rents start out at a ridiculously low $1,200 a month and inch up on a sliding scale, maxing out at $2,500 at the end of the maximum six-year lease, when the wineries have to move out.
“I’ve been dream ing abo ut thi sf or 20
s.” ar ye 55
Devin StinGer / aDamant CellarS
n the morning s until 2 i ome e r e tim h t u es. o s ” g hin t ing o d
The Port of Walla Walla built the five wine incubator buildings from Washington state grant money aimed at helping small businesses get off the ground. Low rents allow the winemakers to spend their start-up cash on French oak barrels and topgrade fermentation tanks.
Cameron KontoS / KontoS CellarS
“The goal is that you’ll then go out into the community and build another building and put a whole bunch of people to work,” Stinger says. Another winemaker pursuing a long-standing dream is Cameron Kontos. Late last year, he opened his namesake Kontos Cellars, where he burns plenty of midnight oil making his merlot, syrah and white blends. “I’m doing things out here until 2 in the morning sometimes,” he says. “But somehow I’m still able to spend time with my wife. We’re both really used to crazy work schedules.” Kontos isn’t a newbie to the wine world. his dad, Cliff Kontos, is coowner and a self-taught winemaker at Fort Walla Walla Cellars. And for seven years, he’s been the assistant
winemaker at Forgeron Cellars in downtown Walla Walla. It’s there, working with marie-eve Gilla, that he’s learned French winemaking techniques. While he still works there as a day job, opening his own place has given Kontos the chance to develop his own style. “I’m young, so I’m still finding my own identity as a winemaker,” he says. The incubators’ low rents make it possible for the wineries to focus start-up expenses on buying the best equipment and oak barrels, and to experiment with everything from unusual grape varietals to marketing. For Kontos, that allowed him to bottle his initial vintages under two different names: Kontos, and Lee Ve Loo Lee, which is Greek for dragonfly,
Washington’s official state insect. “I noticed that everyone was having a tough time with the name,” he says. “People couldn’t pronounce it. It was going to be very hard to market.” So the dragonfly stayed on the label, but his last name won branding rights. Kontos makes fewer than 500 cases of wine each year, which is next to nothing compared to mammoth Walla Walla wineries like Waterbrook, which can make tens of thousands of cases in a single year. But 500 cases feels like a lot when you apply the bottle labels and handdip the neck of each one to make a wax capsule. “I definitely have my hands full,” he says.
CAVU CeLLArS 602 Piper Ave. Walla Walla, Wash. 509-540-6350 cavucellars.com
ADAmANT CeLLArS 600 Piper Ave. Walla Walla, Wash. 509-529-4161 adamantcellars.com
LoDmeLL CeLLArS 598 Piper Ave. Walla Walla, Wash. 509-525-1285 lodmellcellars.com
Steve miChener anD DeniSe Slattery / trio vintnerS
And that hand-crafted attention comes with a price. Kontos’ wines start at $22 for a delicious blend of lightly oaked chardonnay and viognier, and top out at $36 for an estate syrah that smells of rose petals and wildflowers, then hits the palate with smoky bacon and peppercorn intensity. The other incubators produce similar small batches along the same price scale, and even though none of them have wide distribution, vintages do sell out, making it possible to turn a small profit, if not get rich. When you hop from incubator to incubator, you get the chance to taste some bold experiments. Trio Vintners, for instance, dabbles with zinfandel, mourvèdre and
sangiovese, varietals the Walla Walla appellation isn’t known for producing. At Lodmell Cellars, you can taste a brassy rosé made from merlot and cabernet sauvignon that runs counter to the light, dry style that dominates the marketplace. This is no gentle sipper — think of it as a steakhouse blush. You also get a sense of the personalities at play. At Cavu Cellars, Joel Waite tells you about a barbera he’s pouring that was bottled just a week before, and says you can still taste his sold-out rosé at the restaurant downtown where he moonlights as a server. At Trio, Steve michener tells stories about long-ago days as a Boston rock bass player, explaining rock’s similarities with winemaking: creative,
fun and mostly insane. There’s a sense of camaraderie, too. Stinger says the winemakers are always getting together to taste each other’s work, and pitch in communally when things get hectic at harvest time. “We’re all very tight,” Stinger says. “And I’ve learned a lot from these guys. We all have very unique winemaking styles.” Stinger’s style comes through in his full-bodied, earthy syrah, with overtones of cherry and cedar. When he uncorks a fresh bottle, a mantra printed on the cork captures the Adamant spirit: “To know the joy found in all things.” especially the joy of good wine, found in the most unlikely of places. £
TrIo VINTNerS 596 Piper Ave. Walla Walla, Wash. 509-529-8746 triovintners.com
KoNToS CeLLArS 594 Piper Ave. Walla Walla, Wash. 509-386-4471 kontoscellars.com
[ Finally, April Baer gets breakfast ] By NaNcy RommelmaNN photogRaphy By motoya NakamuRa
I.D. cont. he time: the early 1930s. the place, madrid, maybe paris, a romantic but in no way dandified cafe where writers peruse the wall of periodicals, pore over manuscripts in the amber light and drink late into the night. the 2009 portland version, the press club on Southeast clinton, is where april Baer, erstwhile local host of morning edition on oregon public Radio and current opB reporter, comes for crepes (each variety named after a famous author) and conversation. over a bottle of Stone cap syrah, the pixyish 36-year-old talks about rediscovering breakfast, where to get the best French toast and the joy of being eviscerated on-air by Susan Sontag.
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MIX: This place has some cool magazines. I’d never even heard of The Journal of Meat Culture. AB: I love it here. I come sometimes for music in the evenings, and, god forgive me, the occasional poetry reading. and you can’t beat the crepes. I’m getting the henry miller. MIX: With prosciutto, mushrooms and mozzarella. The James Baldwin, with cinnamon, sugar and butter, sounds good, too, if more breakfast-y. AB: In my past incarnation, I was a morning host, 11 years altogether of getting up at 3 in the morning. Breakfast had no meaning for me — who eats cereal at 3:30 in the morning? MIX: In 2007, you married Ryan White, then a sportswriter at The Oregonian and now the paper’s pop music critic. Was his covering events that happen at night the reason you stopped hosting Morning Edition? AB: married life lent itself to doing something different. It was hard to try to go to sleep at 7 when my husband was cheering a Red Wings game. Now, my favorite thing is to go to breakfast with him every few months. MIX: Where do you go? AB: Jeannie’s on Seventh and Division, kind of an upscale diner with breakfast until 2 and the best Bloody mary. and they never screw up the eggs. MIX: I saw on your OPB page that you’re also a fan of rural diners. AB: let’s talk about otis cafe. this is in otis, which is on the way to the coast, and the population is, like, 8. otis makes this amazing black bread that they then make into French toast, and the lines form outside. It’s the best French toast I’ve found in oregon.
MIX: You currently produce and report for OPB. What are your beats? AB: portland politics, law, crime and the courts, military reporting, latino affairs … and news of the weird. I’ve covered everything from bowling alleys to interviewing Robert mcNamara. But the joy of my life was being ripped to shreds by Susan Sontag. I’d prepped for the wrong book, photos of the Iraq war, when she wanted to read from her new novel [“In america”]. Fifteen minutes before the interview, her assistant calls and says, “No! She’s reading the novel!” meanwhile, I’ve been viewing all these images of violence, and we’re doing the interview, I get a little cocky, I’m free-styling, I say something about how the book must have been an emotional release for her, and she snaps, “What do you mean?” there was no escaping her iron labyrinth of a brain. MIX: You moved to Portland from Columbus, Ohio, in 2004, just when the food scene here really started to ascend. AB: I expected a good food scene — and one that someone on a public radio salary could afford. and that was grand. and while I like the high-end places, Wildwood and park kitchen, I first moved to Sellwood and I loved the local places — Saburo’s, gino’s. anyway, we moved to North portland, and now I’m a big fan of monday Night mardi gras at acadia, $10 entrees and duck jambalaya. pause on Interstate is also a sterling example [of what portland does well]; they pay attention to detail and they’ve got a low-dough wine selection — a St. georges red for $5 a glass. and I still love this little corner of clinton. I love Dot’s — nothing like a
grilled cheese with avocado and a big old glass of beer at 2 in the morning. MIX: Speaking of beer, on your Facebook pages you link to the Honest Pint Project. AB: Jeff alworth, who runs honest pint, also runs the blog Beervana; he’s a great guy and his intentions are pure. If you’re serving a pint — whether it’s 16 ounces or an Imperial 20-ounce pint, then you want it to be a pint, not the pint glasses you usually see [in the u.S.], called a shaker pint, or a pint glass but a big dimple in the bottom. I did a story for opB along the lines of, “here are the places that are Not serving a full pint.” the Raccoon lodge in Beaverton actually changed their policies and got rid of their shaker pints after that. £ the press club 2621 S.e. clinton St., portland 503-233-5656 myspace.com/thepressclub
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Why are Oregon wines among the best in the world? Along with the soil and sunshine, it’s the vintners who infuse their products with a spirit and passion that can be savored in every bottle. Come meet some of the winemakers who grow the grapes and craft the vintages that have made Oregon wines the toast of the world.
Rollin Soles Winemaker
What inspired you to become a winemaker? I became a winemaker because I discovered during an internship in a Swiss vineyard that winemaking and wine grape growing is akin to speaking a universal language. And this universal language is “practiced” in some the most beautiful places on earth with some of the most interesting, passionate people. How did you decide the name of your vineyard/each wine? I fell in love with Oregon first, then formed my “cunning plan” to make Willamette Valley wine here that would some day be recognized around the world as unique and of the highest quality. What is your favorite Oregon wine that is not your own, and why? The people of Oregon should know that the cooperation, spirit, and creativity of the folks that make up the Oregon wine industry is unique in the world and something to be very proud about as Oregonians. If you weren’t a winemaker, what would you be? I’m fortunate that after making wine here for 23 years that I still look forward to every day, believing that my best wine is still yet to come. What is your favorite wine to make and why? The next vintage, because making wine in Willamette Valley’s fickle climate will not reward the “cookie cutter” approach to growing grapes and wine making. Moving with Mother Nature makes us better growers and winemakers. 691 Highway 99W Dundee, Oregon 503-538-8520 www.argylewinery.com Tasting Room Hours: 11am - 5pm daily
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What inspired you to become a winemaker? My wife, Kelley, and I have been heavy lifters of wine throughout our married life. I grew up on a small farm in New Jersey. Kelley and I visited Oregon on a family vacation in 2002 and fell in love with the area, the farms, and the level of craftsmanship of the region. We sold everything we owned and moved ourselves here to do this. How did you decide the name of your vineyard/each wine? I am a direct descendent of Styr the Strong, a Viking, who conquered Sheffield, England in the year 700 A.D. The Styr Vikings became sword makers and “died at their profession.” Styring means “Styr the younger” — a young descendent who became a farmer. I guess it was safer to farm than make swords. What is your favorite part of the process? Smells. The vineyard is so alive with smells — the dirt, the vines, the grapes, fresh air. When the grapes are harvested and fermented, the yeasty, earthy smells spill from the winery into the surrounding area. It’s absolutely beautiful. Then we open the wines. The bouquet of our Pinot Noir just floors me.
19960 NE Ribbon Ridge Road Newberg, OR 97132 5003.866.6741 www.styringvineyards.com mollythewinedog.blogspot.com twitter: @mollythewinedog firstname.lastname@example.org
How Many animals live on the vineyard? On a farm, you don’t find animals — they find you. We have a dog and four to six cats depending on who shows up for dinner. Any cats that mouse and get along with the dog can eat here. Molly, our sweet-natured chocolate lab, is the official blogger and tweeter of Styring. She has a nose for wine, tweeting about her life on the farm. She reviews wines licked off the floor, cheeses sampled when visitors drop them, and offers news updates and other amusing tales of vineyard life. See her blog at www.mollythewinedog.blogspot.com, or follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MollyTheWineDog Tasting Room Hours: Our winery, tasting room, and underground barrel room are open to the public Labor Day weekend, Thanksgiving weekend, Memorial Day weekend, and privately by appointment.
Laurent Montalieu Principal owner/Winemaker
What inspired you to become a winemaker? I took my first steps in a Bordeaux vineyard and spent many childhood summers walking through the vines my grandfather tended. Wine was always part of my family’s culture, and even the children enjoyed a small glass with dinner. I made up my mind at a young age to become the best winemaker I could be. How did you decide the name of your vineyard/each wine? Soléna is the name Danielle and I gave to our daughter and combines the Spanish and French words “Solana” and “Solene,” celebrating the sun and the moon. To us, Soléna is a celebration of life — just like a good wine. What have you learned between the time you made your first bottle of wine and your last vintage? That nature is to be respected. Take the 2008 vintage. Some thought the cold summer would have a disastrous effect on the grapes. But then we had a truly spectacular fall which allowed the grapes to mature and ripen and gave us one of the best vintages in our history. Making wine in Oregon is not for the faint hearted! We live life on the edge, never knowing what cards nature will deal.
Soléna and Grand Cru Estates 17100 NE Woodland Loop Rd Yamhill, Oregon 97148 503-662-4730 www.solenaestate.com www.thegrandcruestates.com Tasting Room Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm
What makes your vineyard/wines unique? Our estate vineyards are extremely important to us. When Danielle and I married, we purchased land in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA and registered for vines instead of toasters. The vineyard - Domaine Danielle Laurent - is in the hills above the new winery and farmed according to biodynamic practices. We’re also extremely proud of the quality grapes from our Hyland Vineyard in the McMinnville AVA which has some of the oldest vines in Oregon. What kind of grapes and how much fruit do you grow at your vineyard? We farm 100 acres at our historic Hyland Vineyard. In addition, we have 35 acres under vine at the Soléna, Grand Cru Estates property and 22 acres at our home vineyard, Domaine Danielle Laurent. The primary grape is pinot noir of course, but we also have outstanding old vine riesling and chardonnay.
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selects/ cHeAP teMPRANIllO
f there’s anything worse than a bottle of cheap red wine, it’s 25 bottles of cheap red wine. Sure, it’s not too taxing to sip a glass of plonk at a party, when you’re distracted by the conversation, the food and the music. But just imagine tasting through 25 bargain-basement red wines in one sitting. take it from us: this type of task is typically torture. the tannins build up on your tongue and teeth; the fumes make your head throb; the syrupy sweet fruit starts to taste saccharine; the acid burns your gums. For these reasons, we were less than enthusiastic — but stoic — as we sat down recently to blind-taste through 25 dirt-cheap tempranillos. We knew Spain to be a font of affordability, unlike so many other european wine regions, and we knew spicy-and-savory tempranillo to be the right style of red wine for late autumn. But still. We were sure we would have to wade through 20 crummy wines in order to find five worth writing about. So imagine our surprise as we sampled one delightful flight after another. While Spain produces pools of tempranillos that are priced cheaply, these wines don’t taste cheap. We zipped through our 25 wines with a mere fraction of our usual complaints. in fact, we were so delighted that we decided to narrow in on the cheapest of the cheap. So, although a few wines caught our fancy in the $13 to $15 range, we ended up selecting all our winners from the recession-friendly $12-or-less segment.
By katherine cole photograph By Beth nakamura
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if you’re a domestic wine drinker, you might be confused right now, because in the u.S., red wines made from the tempranillo grape are a rare commodity and tend to be priced as such, typically ranging from $15 to $65 (the latter at oregon’s own abacela). But tempranillo is ubiquitous in Spain, the most vinecovered nation in the world and the globe’s second-biggest exporter of wine after italy. Spanish tempranillo, therefore, comes in all guises, from sought-after bottlings from marquee producers such as Vega-Sicilia, pesquera and pingus to the cheap stuff in jugs. While wine snobs speak of regions like ribera del Duero and Bierzo when they speak of Spain, our wines came from humbler places, most significantly the central la mancha region and the surrounding unpedigreed tierra de castilla, as well as the old standby, rioja. alas — and although rioja is Spain’s best-known wine region and still produces some top-shelf stuff — this was our least-interesting flight. these lowerend wines tended to taste thin and woody, as though the long-established bodegas of this classic tempranillo stronghold hadn’t received the memo that outlined modern winemaking techniques. it wasn’t that we wanted the riojas to adhere to the fruitheavy international style; we just wanted these wines to be free of flaws. in the end, although we did select a single rioja, the wines that caught our fancy tended to be made in a bolder, more fruit-forward style. unlike spendier Spanish
paneliStS TED FaRThing executive director, oregon Wine Board oregonwine.org DaRRYL JOanniDES owner of cork: a Bottle Shop corkwineshop.com MiMi MaRTin anD aDaM RhYnaRD co-owners of the Wine and Spirit archive educational center wineandspiritarchive.com gRanT BUTLER the oregonian’s critic-at-large KaThERinE COLE wine columnist for the oregonian
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bottlings, which often are barrel- and bottle-aged for years and years before release, nearly half of our entries came from the 2007 vintage. they didn’t necessarily taste like traditional Spanish wines, but they were well-made and we felt they would appeal to a wide range of palates. indeed, these delightful inexpensive wines were unabashedly produced for export. So, as you’ll see in our tasting notes, we scrutinized the labels for hints. could we guess with a glance that some of these bottles were churned out by international conglomerates? Did the labels look cheap or could we pretend that the contents of these bottles were precious? For the most part, they passed muster. as panelist grant Butler put it, “you could show up at a dinner party and give this wine as a host gift. it says, ‘i’m really glad you invited me,’ not just, ‘i’m here, and here’s what i picked up at the supermarket on the way.’ ”
paRTY piCK 2007 Red guitar navarra Old vine Tempranillo garnacha ($10.50) Sure, the back label states that a respected navarra winery, Bodegas aDa, produced red guitar. But that’s not the whole story. in fact, this negoçiant venture was financed by the importer cellar Door, which is an arm of pacific Wine partners llc, which is in turn part of the world’s largest wine conglomerate, constellation Wines, which is an operating division of constellation Brands inc. all of which is to say that this wine was made by the man. once you know that, its trite title and cutesy label — a miró-esque sketch in primary colors depicting a guitarist and a bull’s head under a bright-orange sun — might grate on the nerves. But never mind all of that. Because when it was still masked in brown paper, we all found this blend’s sweet vanilla notes and plummy, velvety palate appealing. “it’s a simple pleaser, a utility infielder,” ted Farthing remarked. “you could bring it to dinner and it would go with anything.” loads of fun without an iota of inspiration, red guitar is our pick for a raucous party.
FaUX FanCY 2008 Campos Reales La Mancha Tempranillo ($8.50) With its purple hue, its nose of red berries and violets, its ripe, concentrated fruit and its peppery finish, this wine has pretensions. “a lot of people are going to drink this and think, ‘oh, this was an expensive wine,’ ” Butler observed. even the stylized, if somewhat macabre, black label could fool a casual sipper into thinking it costs much more than it does. (the blood-red tree that sprouts animals instead of leaves seems to be an homage to the fleshy fare that tastes best with this sort of beverage.) But while we respected its accomplishment, some of us were turned off by this inexpensive wine’s elevated aspirations. “it will make a lot of people really happy, but it’s just not my style,” confessed mimi martin. “i just don’t like it,” adam rhynard agreed. “i’m not going to drink the kool-aid on this one.”
CLaSSiC RiOJa TO paiR WiTh TURKEY DinnER 2006 Faustino vii Rioja ($11.50) From grupo Faustino — a Spanish conglomerate that owns bodegas in five different regions and is the single largest producer of reserva and gran reserva wines in Spain’s world-renowned rioja region — comes this good old-fashioned rioja, complete with ye olde scripte and fusty-looking oil portrait on the label. Brick-tinted and brimming with the vanilla, coconut, cinnamon and nutmeg notes that are trademarks of the american oak barrels favored by rioja producers, this lighter-bodied sipper put Butler in the mood for autumn treats such as baked apples and poached pears and got me looking forward to turkey, sweet potatoes and plum stuffing. martin declared it “elegant” thanks to a “silky texture and delicate nose.” Since it costs a couple bucks more than the rest of our picks, we’ve deemed it a (relative) splurge for thanksgiving.
hOLiDaY hOSTESS giFT 2004 Condesa de Leganza Crianza La Mancha Tempranillo ($10.50) another offering from grupo Faustino, this one from a massive, high-elevation estate in the up-andcoming la mancha region of central Spain. rhynard declared this fragrant, savory red to be the total package, delivering “blackberries, raspberries, sweet spice, vanilla, tobacco, dusty cigar box, bright acidity and balanced tannins” (whew!) in just one sip. Darryl Joannides objected, calling it “flat, one-dimensional and a little pruney.” But after seeing it unveiled, we all agreed that the bottle’s red decorative flourishes and fetching female silhouette (plus that name, which connotes elegance, doesn’t it?) made this the ideal hostess gift. plus, the word “crianza” (which indicates that the wine has been aged in barrel and bottle) lends the label some gravitas.
hOnORaBLE MEnTiOn 2006 Bodegas Osborne Solaz Tierra de Castilla Tempranillo-Cabernet Sauvignon ($9.50) a well-known sherry house blends the tempranillo in this bottle with 20 percent cabernet sauvignon; perhaps for this reason it had fewer fans, with some palates finding it too astringent. i, however, loved its long peppery finish and intriguing anise notes. and Farthing decided it was his favorite of the evening. “it’s one of the few of all day that has had a lingering and evolving finish that begged for another sip,” he reasoned. “it gets me in the mood for braising season.” any wine that can do that for less than 10 bucks has got to be worth a try. £
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