Kadie and I had the pleasure of attending one of Erica Landon’s seminars on the Willamette Valley wine region. Erica is the Sommelier for Ten 01, a fabulous restaurant in NW Portland. (At 1001 NW Couch, hence the name.) Read more about Erica and Ten 01 at http://www.ten-01.com/. The seminar was very interesting. It covered some of the history of the area, going back to volcanic eruptions and the Missoula floods and why there are different types of soils in different areas of the valley. She also covered some information on the North Willamette Valley AVA and six sub AVA’s in the valley. You can find maps and more info at http://www.winesnw.com/will.html. We tasted wines that represented different soil types as well. These were paired with some wonderful food. Jack Yoss is the current chef but as I understand will be leaving soon to go on a world tour. My favorite white of the evening was a 2006 St Innocent Freedom Hill Pinot Blanc. “Very crisp, not too sweet”, were my notes. My favorite red was the 2006 Pinot Noir from Hamacher. It was pretty dark inside the restaurant, so it was hard to get good pictures. After we left Ten 01, we sought out a late night cup of coffee and found it and more at Sweet Masterpiece Chocolate and Coffee Shop. (922 NW Davis Street, Portland) They are open until 11pm Tuesday through Thursday, and until midnight Friday and Saturday. They have good coffee, wonderful chocolates and other desserts as well. We tried several of the more unusual chocolates, like the spicy chili truffles, and they were great!
Since I was a child, I have always wished for Christmas to be white. Well, I got my wish and then some this year! I still haven’t quite caught up with everything that got behind. Power was out at the office for five days. I had to hand write the Christmas bonus checks, over 50 of them! (And of course I am grateful to my boss’ generosity that we even got a bonus this year considering the economy!!!) I got around OK in my truck, but I ended up driving my daughter to work quite a few times. Lots of trees down, power lines down, that sort of thing. Anyway, it was much more snow than we are used to in the Willamette Valley! Here are some pictures:
I caught a couple of fairly clear shots of the vineyards and then the fog rolled in! Beautiful! Click on the pics for a closer view.
I had the honor of pouring for Arbor Brook Vineyards on Thanksgiving weekend. Click on each picture for a brief description.
It is rather ironic that after a full day of wine tasting, the only good picture I have to show for it is this one, which was taken by my sister-in-law Christine! These sheep are next door to Anne Amie, which is where we finished the day, but maybe I should start at the beginning! We started our day at Arbor Brook: http://www.arborbrookwines.com/
It was pretty quiet today so Christine and I had the pleasure of visiting at length with Mary Hansen, the co-owner of Arbor Brook. She is delightful and energetic, and so is her young daughter Sydney, who also visited with us. I am hoping to be able to pour for Arbor Brook over Thanksgiving weekend. All of the wines were wonderful, but both Christine and I favored the 2007 Heritage Cuvee. I don’t know what the distribution of this Pinot Noir will be, but if you can get your hands on some, I highly recommend it! I will have to start taking better tasting notes, but I can tell you this was my favorite wine of the day.
Our second stop was Penner-Ash Cellars, never a disappointment! http://www.pennerash.com/
They were busy with crush as well, so I didn’t get to visit with Lynn, the winemaker, or Natalie, the tasting room manager, but the staff were very friendly and helpful. (And Lynn did wave as she scurried through at one point.) Christine and I focused on the Pinots, as there were so many to try. I think we both liked the Carabella Vineyard and the Seven Springs Vineyard the best. Its sad to say, this is the last year of the Seven Springs Vineyard for both Penner-Ash and Bethel Heights. We will miss it!
Our third stop was at The Tasting Room in Carlton. http://www.pinot-noir.com/
Sara was kind enough to hold some Bingo for me (EIEIO), and Christie was working this day and introduced us to some lovely wines. Christine and I both purchased a bottle of the Ayres. They have a good selection of wines available both at their shop and online.
At this point we needed to stop for a bite before we tasted further, so being in Carlton, we naturally stopped into The Horse Radish. http://thehorseradish.com/
This is a fun little wine and cheese bar with live music on Fridays and Saturdays. We indulged in a cheese tray, as well as some wonderful warm Asiago cheese dip with chips. We also tried Purple Hands, the wine that was created by Ken Wright’s son Cody. It was very good! In fact, when we were in The Tasting Room, a couple came in and asked for it. For more on that: http://purplehandswine.com/
Last, but not least, we headed to Anne Amie Vineyards. http://www.anneamie.com/
It will always be a favorite of both Christine and I. (Anyone know where I can get a bottle of 2003 Hawksview? - Christine’s favorite!) The people there are wonderful, the view is breathtaking, and the wines never disappoint! We ran into a couple from California there that had followed us from Penner-Ash to The Horse Radish. They asked where to go next, and we both said Anne Amie! We were tickled when we arrived to find them there and buying wine.
I had my camera with me all day, and somehow never took any pictures until the end, when we happened upon these cute sheep as we were leaving Anne Amie. Oh well, next time I will take more pics!