There’s no doubt about it, Oregon takes its winemaking seriously. The state is recognized nationally as a leading pinot noir producer, and is becoming known for putting its own stamp on pinot gris and chardonnay as well. But with all these great single varietal wines on the shelves, the stunning red blends crafted in every Oregon wine region might just be the industry’s best kept secret. Combining artistry and chemistry with quality, value and complexity, Oregon’s red blends come together to produce a tapestry of flavors that will improve your dinner experience.
In Oregon’s pre-Prohibition days, getting a taste of the vino meant a quick nip on the farm. Later, in the ’60s and ’70s, tasting was still an informal affair, happening in the family homes, garages or barrel rooms of early pinot-growing operations. “Our original tasting room was really just our home,” recalled Maria Ponzi, whose parents established Ponzi Vineyards in 1970. Amid the rising number of visitors to the region, spurred by increasing national interest in the state’s burgeoning wine production, the Sokol Blosser family commissioned architect John Storrs in 1978 to design a separate building to sample their vintages.
You shop local, you eat local—you even vacation local. But are you choosing to drink local? We have a world-class wine region right at our fingertips, yet sometimes it’s easier and cheaper to order a wine from the menu that’s been imported from France, Italy, Australia or Argentina than it is to order a wine produced less than thirty miles from the restaurant. Fortunately, restaurants are increasingly supporting the Oregon wine scene. Some menus have extensive bottle selections that include hard-to-find library wines. Others list a variety of wines by the glass or host special winemaker dinners. The newest trend—and most sustainable—is the selection of rotating wines on tap. Check out these local taps for a pour of Oregon’s finest wines. Photo by Jennifer Costello Restaurant highlights Walk up to the bar at Irving Street Kitchen and you’ll notice a row of gleaming brass taps. Irving Street Kitchen hosts a barrel-to-bar…
Kermit the Frog may have been onto something when he said it’s not easy being green. Committing to greener practices may mean additional costs when the business buys organic or recycled products. Extra effort is expended composting and recycling. Still, it’s an investment in a healthier future and many Oregon wineries are committed to the cause. THE EARLY ADOPTERS The Sokol Blosser family has always been conscientious of the impact that farming and wine production has on the environment. Before green practices were trendy, the winery gave back to the land. In 2002, Sokol Blosser became the first winery in the United States to earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for their underground barrel cellar. The wines age at a constant 55 degrees without any heating or air conditioning. From USDA Organic Certification to bio-diesel tractors and trucks, Sokol Blosser maintains their commitment to using good-to-the-earth practices….
Personality can be defined as the evident traits in one’s character as it impresses
another. To say that every wine embodies its own personality would not be a bold
enough statement. How each winemaker influences their wine’s personality is
reminiscent of parent’s influence on some of the personality traits of their child.
Each wine may start from the same place, but both nature and nurture will predict
the qualities it expresses in the end.
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.
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.
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.
The ancient Latin phrase in vino veritas, “in wine there is truth,” is particularly relevant for the wine experience in Oregon. Do the North Willamette Wine Trail, take in stellar views of Mt. Hood while sipping internationally recognized, award-winning wines, and discover why this is truly one of the best experiences Oregon offers. photo by Paul Loofburrow It all awaits on the way to the coast or as a destination in itself. The North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend (April 13-14) is but one high point in a place that epitomizes the good life in Oregon, and it reaches the height of popularity in spring and summer. It’s all laid out on the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route, a 60-mile drive along winding country roads through the lush Tualatin Valley from Sherwood to Swiss-settled Helvetia. photo by Allison George This Oregon Scenic Byway showcases Washington County’s embarrassment of…