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Princess Peach

If you want to pick a peck of peaches, Valley View Orchard is a sweet spot. The trees are expansive, planted in wide rows, with thick trunks and twisted branches. Then there’s the view from the orchard’s 100-plus-year-old farmhouse, where rows of peach trees slope down to a vineyard. Ashland is nestled below and conifer-studded hills are in the distance.

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Pleasures of the Palate at Cape Kiwanda

Travel is a multi-sensory experience, extending well beyond just what you see, and Pacific City is a virtual playground for the senses, especially the palate. A prime spot for savoring is at the oceanfront suites of the Cottages at Cape Kiwanda, steps from the world-renowned microbrews and expert food pairings at Pelican Pub & Brewery and locally roasted coffee at Stimulus Espresso Cafe. With a charming and luxurious beachfront cottage that includes a fully equipped, contemporary kitchen, you also can hit the local seafood and farmers’ markets and enjoy summer’s bounty right at your own table, with one of the West Coast’s most spectacular views, of Haystack Rock and the Pacific Ocean.

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Rhone Style Wines

Finding a bottle of top-quality Pinot noir in Oregon is easy, fortunately for you. As Oregon Wine Month concludes, you could easily go out and purchase a bottle of local Pinot noir in your favorite restaurant or wine shop. But don’t limit yourself to the famed grape. Rhône varietals thrive in Oregon, due in part to the diversity of Oregon’s weather.

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Kick off Summer, Wine Country Style

Memorial Day weekend is the turning point of the season, making short days of rain and cold a thing of the past. It’s a weekend filled with optimism, looking forward to long days spent outside. Oregonians have a special appreciation for the sun and the many ways we get to enjoy it in the summer months. 

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Quite the Pair: Beer and Whiskey Pairing, Oregon Style

Long before they were coupled as the classic boilermaker (whiskey with a beer back), beer and whiskey shared the most humble beginnings—sugar-rich grains steeped in hot water. This “wash” provides the building blocks to both of these quintessential American drinks. Chemistry In the same way malt lays the foundation for beer, so it goes for whiskey. Some craft distillers are adding ale yeast to ferment their whiskey wash, enjoying the subtle fruity and floral nuances imparted on their final product. The same base can be used by brewers, though they add hops to the wash (known in the beer world as “wort”) before fermenting it. Distiller Andrew Tice of Portland’s House Spirits has its own type of chemistry with Breakside Brewery in Milwaukie. The two entities have paired to produce a high quality “distiller’s beer” base. “Breakside … produces an un- hopped beer for us consisting of 100% Northwest pale…

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La Terra Vita

Lucie Gouin examines seeds from a friend’s tomato plant that she says tasted particularly good. On a plate at her kitchen table and labeled “9/23/13,” the heirloom seeds are among hundreds meticulously plucked, dried and saved for possible cultivation for the farm’s community-supported agriculture members. These luscious, thin-skinned heirlooms at the farmers’ market come at a price–and not just to the consumer.   photo by Andrea Lonas They also sell at farmers’ markets, including the Saturday market near Portland State University. Poulos harvests vegetables Friday night. Gouin washes them into the wee hours, then he loads them and departs around 4:30 a.m. They joke that, by September, Poulos resembles a zombie. Heirloom tomato production begins the previous season, by picking and saving seeds from the best plants. “Harvesting and saving heirloom tomato seed is like collecting dying wishes,” quips Gouin. “It is practically an obligation and comes with the promise…

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Home Grown Chef: Tomato Canapes

I’ll admit that when someone says, “Let’s get together. My house. Friday,” part of the draw is the wine. It’s true. Almost as equally alluring are the appetizers. I am fortunate to be surrounded by friends who know how to fill a counter with all kinds of scrumptious tidbits. One friend always treats us to bowls of soup—spicy vegetarian, curried pumpkin—and plates of salad with roasted veggies with quinoa, chickpea and feta. Another friend does vegetables, fruit, dips, cheeses and spreads that we layer to create our own tasty bites.

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Behind the Wine Label

A label is only the surface-level story of the wine. A winemaker’s job, besides making the best wine possible with a given vintage, is often to be the face of the brand. Winemakers attend wine dinners near and far, and participate in market tastings to acquaint potential consumers with their wines. With so many bottles on the shelf to choose from, it’s not easy to develop brand loyalty. Opportunities that allow the winemaker to display his or her personality and create a faithful fan are often what bring people back to the same wines each year. Discovering how a winemaker puts their touch on the wine requires one to look beyond the label on the bottle.