Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Don’t panic this holiday season; the perfect gift is actually out there. For oenophiles who want to take their grape love to the gifting level, here’s a list of carefully chosen wine-related gifts. Each item is crafted with wine in mind by Oregon artisans. A bottle, gift pack or gift certificate for a tasting from any of the region’s finest wineries is surely appreciated, but a creative wine gift might just put you down in history as the best gift giver ever. Be forewarned, you’ll forever be expected to gift über cool presents. Are you ready for the challenge?
Just like you, Republic of Jam loves local. They rely on local farms, orchards and suppliers to provide all the fruits and wines used in their jams. Using about half the sugar of traditional jam recipes, Republic of Jam instead seeks to preserve the flavor of the fruit. Jam masters Lynnette Shaw and Amy Wilder both develop and modify jam recipes to reflect new and interesting flavor combinations. Open a jar of Pear Pinot Gris, Cherries in Pinot Syrup, Peach Rosé or Blueberry Licorice Pinot, and you’ll find local wines, large chunks of fruit, whole spices and vegan-friendly fruit pectin to naturally assure the quality. While out wine tasting, be sure to visit their storefront in Carlton or their website to discover new uses for jam that spread far beyond your morning scone.
Artist Joseph Forbish, born and raised in Portland, crafts metal wine racks depicting whimsical animals such as cats, dogs, horses and goats that are perfect for both wine and animal lovers. He also produces ornate steel-framed racks and tables, as well as custom wine racks and bars on a per order basis. JF Metalwerx was formed somewhat by accident. After a friend left his welder in Forbish’s garage Forbish took some scrap metal he had lying around and made what he says was “a very pathetic little cat sculpture.” The rest is history. These fun and functional products are available on his website and in many retail outlets around the U.S.
Written by winery matriarch Nancy Ponzi, this book is far more than just a cookbook, it takes the culinary experience to the next level. With over eighty recipes from around the world—each one paired appropriately with selected wines—this book is a must-have for food and wine lovers, as well as anyone who entertains in their home. Inspired by Chef James Beard, Ponzi’s approach focuses on combining simple techniques with the freshest foods of the season to produce incomparable results. These recipes can be enjoyed at either everyday family-style meals or used as a party planning guide for your most elaborate holiday celebrations.
Founder Dana Dooley has worked with over 50 Oregon wineries to combine two of my favorite delights—chocolate and wine. Using a wine reduction and a flavor compatible with wine, they make memorable treats such as Raspberry-Pinot Ganache, a very dense, chocolate-y truffle. Make the gift of chocolate extra special and include a bottle of Luminous Hills’ Pinot noir, which is made by Dooley’s husband. Really, any Pinot from volcanic soils (such as Dundee's Red Hills) would be a good match for the Raspberry-Pinot Ganache. Honest Chocolates has matched earthier Pinots, such as those from Ken Wright Cellars, with their Currant Ganache while Patton Valley Vineyards’ Lorna Marie wine goes splendidly the Dark Chocolate Lavender-Pinot Ganache.
MAPellations by MapHazardly
Wine geeks will go grape$#*t over these maps. Local artist Christopher Estes transforms complicated data into creative works of art, combining the technical with the aesthetic. The Willamette Valley has hundreds of soils, but only 23 that are really considered suitable for grape growing. Soil type and grape variety (along with climate, geography and weather) can impart different wine flavor and body characteristics. Estes’ maps are slightly abstract in that they segment each vineyard soil type according to the separate regions or AVAs (American Viticultural Areas). Each regional depiction tells a story of its own, and will make an inspiring addition to any home or office.
Renee Powell lives in Oregon’s wine country, which is where she draws inspiration for her art. Powell incorporates recycled materials into each piece—painting on old doors, moldings and wine barrel staves. The staves are very durable, painted in oils and sealed with varnish. Powell’s work is available for sale at Red Hills Market and Torii Mor Winery (both in Dundee) and Rain Dance Marketplace in Newberg. If you’ve ever stayed at the Alison Inn and Spa you may have also seen her work in some of the rooms there.
I Walk the Vine is a Portland-based company committed to putting style, quality and fun into casual wear for the wine lover. Founder Liz Healy-Kay started the company when she was struck by the lack of stylish wine shirts for sale in tasting rooms. Not a fan of sparkles, golf shirts or shirts declaring her a wine diva, Healy-Kay knew there was a shirt to be made—one she could be proud to wear. Paying homage to Johnny Cash, I Walk the Vine was born as a simple yet chic wine-clothing line.
The Complete Wine Selector, written by local wine expert and writer Katherine Cole, turns the traditional wine guide inside-out by presenting wines by style rather than by region or grape variety. Strip away any intimidating notions you have about wine and learn how easy it can be to select wine based on its style, the food pairing or the occasion, as well as how to pick the right bottle for your price point. Featuring the advice of the world's hottest young sommeliers and chefs, the book reveals obscure trade secrets that were once just passed between winemakers, sommeliers and critics.
Portland natives Andrew and Timothy Radke of Patton Valley Wood Craft breathe new life into old wine barrels using old-world craftsmanship and techniques to build usable rustic furnishings. Each barrel is transformed into a conversation piece and for your home. All the handmade furniture incorporates the original cooper’s markings. A variety of chairs, tables, platters, bottle racks and even artist easels will appeal to most any wine or design admirer.
Tamara Belgard moved to Oregon more than a decade ago in search of professional, cultural and recreational opportunities but discovered an even greater passion for Oregon wine. When not exploring Oregon’s wine country and culinary scene, she enjoys skiing, swimming, biking, hiking, live music, soaking up rare bits of sunshine, cooking for her friends and family and spending quality time with her two sons. Tamara is a marketing communications professional by day, wine writer by night, and takes immense pleasure in sharing Oregon's best kept wine secrets with her readers. You can learn more about her Oregon wine journey on her blog Sip With Me.