I have seen and heard about wine changes, packaging-wise. Was in a rut the other day and saw one in a can. Had read good reviews about it — Underwood’s Pinot Gris, so decided to give it a try. Wow, pretty impressive. Very crisp, fruity, light, some little bubbles to best describe, since it’s in a can. You can get 2+ healthy glasses out of this. Was glad I grabbed it because it’s definitely on my list to keep around. I also love their tagline ‘Pinkies Down.’
There was just a great article about the Best New Breweries in the US in The Daily Meal. They are everywhere across the country, showing how much microbreweries continue to grow. And as noted in the article, according to the Brewers Association, an average of 1.5 new breweries opens every day in the U.S. alone. In 2014, 13 states reached the 100-brewery milestone (along with some other great stats).
Photo Source: thedailymeal.com
I’ve had some great beers the past couple weeks. After the Om feeling, I happened to try some Omission Beer while at the weekly golf league at Red Gate. My friend is gluten intolerant and while we normally enjoy sipping some great wine together, that doesn’t happen on the golf course, during or directly after. So, I tried some of her Omission Pale Ale and had she not handed it to me, I would never had known it was gluten free. It was a bit darker tasting than I expected for a Pale Ale, but still darn good! I found out later (by reading the back label and checking out the site) it’s produced by/at Widmer in OR and Redhook in NH. I enjoyed one after the round because come to find out she and I tied (as a team) for first place that night in the league. Cheers to that!
When I was in Oregon it meant I had to eat out. Darn! My friends and I explored several places, I only remembered to get pictures at a few.
Day 1: Dinner at McMenamins – Zeus Cafe. Quite the variety. One person has chickpea fries, one went with mussels for appetizers. For dinner, I had a great thin crust pizza with grilled chicken, arugula, tomatoes and something else…I can’t remember what because it was so good!
Day 2: Lunch at Yara Lebanese Cuisine. Any place that makes Baba Ghanouj without dairy to put a ‘lactard’ on cloud nine is unreal (at least in my book). So, we had a mixed plate/yara platter appetizer then I had a house salad, and friends had kababs.
Dinner at Pok Pok. Yes, I had to use the bathroom and what did I find when I was in there? Oh, that they were elected for The James Beard Foundation Awards. This has happened for many, many years.
Anyway, other cool stuff on this place. You go put you name in line/on the list. They give you your buzzer and mention there is a bar across the street where you can wait. They are connected to these guys so you can tell the other bar what your buzzer number is and they’ll take care of it. They let you know when your table is ready. Nicely connected!
When we got our table, jumping ahead a bit, great food! I tried the Yam Tuna — thai style tuna salad with ginger, garlic, thai chilies, green onions, lemongrass, tomatoes and Oregon (oh, yes, local!) Albacore in spicy lime and fish sauce dressing. Some of it had some kick! I can see why this place is well known and recognized.
Day 3: Lunch in wine country!!!!!!!!!! Received several recommendations to try Red Hills Market. People told me it was sort of like a Dean & Deluca on a nice local level. You walk up to the counter, order and then they bring it to your table. I enjoyed a nice salami and arugula sandwich and a delicious bean soup. It was a sort of cloudy day so fit the weather perfectly.
Dinner was based on a recommendation from one of the wineries. You can never go wrong with Mexican! So, my friend and I checked out Verde Cocina. Fresh, delicious, perfect!
For me, the three staples at a mexican restaurant are a margarita, salsa and guacamole. Check!
Here, they serve you nice warm corn tortillas instead of chips with your goods. Deadly…
For dinner, they had ceviche…SOLD! I love the stuff.
Day 4: Dinner at Petisco. Little, local restaurant in the neighborhood where I was staying. I was so thrilled because I was able to have French Onion soup for the first time in ages because they use olive oil (vs butter) in the base and the cheese on top…manchego. What more could one ask? Great way to end my trip in Oregon!
To wrap up my winery visits in Oregon, I spent some time with the CEO of one of my favorites vineyards, and found out more about it. I went to what I thought was only A to Z. Well, there is so much more to it! They also produce Rex Hill wines, which is actually the primary one at the tasting room, and a few people who work there produce their own wines in small quantities.
William (Bill) Hatcher gave me a tour of the cellars and I got to taste wines that were still ‘grape juice’ — as in had no alcohol content yet — to slowly working up to perfection. The ones I sampled went from 1-7 days ‘old’ (there is a much more technical name for this) and it was interesting getting a ‘feel’ for what the process entails. There is also a labeling system for each wine as they are being produced, then I got info on bottling, corking, distribution and more.
After that I tasted many of their amazing offerings, from whites to reds, Chards to Pinots. I don’t love Chards but wow! Bring…it…on. I spent more time talking to Bill about the history of the company, what has brought them to where they are and what/where they hope to go in the future. This is yet another location where I wanted to load up on tons of bottles but I did have to travel across the country to get home so it wouldn’t be the easiest thing to do. I somehow left with only three, knowing that would give me reason to go back. The William Hatcher bottle in the middle is Bill’s own and was quite amazing!
After checking out the first Oregon winery, I was nice and warmed up. I checked out several others during the rest of my days in wine country.
Adelsheim Vineyard — Not what I was expecting, as in many whites. But, lots of reds, too…
Bergstrom Winery — Took/could taste a ton of influence from France.
Alexana Winery — First, fun road to get there/a little off the beaten path! Great variety of wines, hard to pick from (as in which was best).
Lange Estate Winery and Vineyards — that fishing lure of a logo pulls you in then you get the goods! I love Pinot land!
Sokol Blosser Winery — They just remodeled their tasting room, which was very nice to check out. I had never had a Rose from OR. There is a first (amazing) time for everything! They also make an ‘everyday’/table wine under the name of Evolution.
Great time, great wines, keep ’em coming Oregon!
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted because I was in a wine lover’s paradise — Willamette Valley (OR) — for a couple days. I visited some wineries, met some great people and enjoyed some phenomenal varietals.
To start off my trip, I booked a tour at penner-Ash. Notice the typing on that. The owners wanted something basic for the appearance of the name/logo, as in lower case, but Ash wanted his name capitalized. But, when you read the logo it’s not the easiest to catch.
While on my trip, it was high harvest season. Grapes were being picked, processed, etc. So, I got to see lots of good stuff! Grapes fresh off the vines:
One of the next processing steps — they start at the top, get pressed and move their way down:
Grapes in the process of eventually making their way to us:
Tasted five great wines while there. All were amazing and it was tough to narrow down which ones to buy.
The tasting room at penner-Ash is so nice — it overlooks fields and hills. It was a beautiful day when I visited so I could see so much landscape. I recommend checking this place out next time you’re in the area.
I was quite surprised at my wine tasting last night (that I was preparing the food for). I thought it would be all Oregon Pinots. Well, not quite.
As soon as I get there, I am served a Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington. My hosts are 90% Pinot drinkers and they said they were blown away by this wine. I had a sip…smooth, velvety perfection. Feather is the name, 2009 vintage.
Next, we moved moved down a state to where I expected us to be — Oregon! We had an amazing Pinot Noir. Penner-Ash is from Willamette Valley and we enjoyed the 2011 vintage. Nothing can describe this wine unless you drink it. Nothing.
Last but not least we took a trip to the most southern state on the West Coast. We sucked it up and visited Cakebread. Darn. We sipped the 2010 Pinot Noir. Life is good.
I’m catching up with some friends tonight who are more wine lovers than me. They just received their shipment of Oregon wines and they need me to taste some of them. Oh, the things we have to go through in life. Can all things be this bad? I told them I would provide the food this time (since last time they did both food and wine…come on, let me have at least some of the fun and play in the kitchen!).
I have been debating what to make to pair with the amazing adult grape juice I will enjoy in a few hours. I’m assuming it’s Pinot Noir because of where it’s from (will keep you posted). I wanted to make simple snacks/appetizers so we can swirl, sniff, taste, sip, nibble, sip, sip, sip, nibble, sip, and then, next wine…repeat.
I have decide on the following ‘menu’:
-store bought (Trader Joe’s) salsa (yes, store bought)
-Manchego (since even those who are lactose intolerant can eat it!)
-veggies for dipping
-tortilla and pita chips
-chocolate covered pretzels
Had a great time making the dips — short, sweet to the point. For the hummus, today I just used the basics ingredients — chickpeas, tahini, garlic (yes, the cheater kind), lemon juice, paprika, S&P.
After I open the can of beans I always put a tiny bit of the liquid from the can in the Cuisinart food processor before emptying the can and rinsing the beans. Then I use ‘some’ of everything else. Today I blended everything much longer than normal and it’s nice and smooth!
Next up, guacamole!! One of my favorites. Everybody has their own ingredients besides very important one — avocados. Sometimes I switch it up, but my basics are the avocados, lime juice, garlic, cilantro (though most of time I go for coriander because I just have it handy), cumin, onion powder, chili powder, S&P.
Then, grab a bowl, something to mix/mash with and go!
I have everything prepared and packed and will be heading to my friends’ place in a few hours. Will keep you posted on the wine we enjoy and how the food pairs.
It’s that time you’ve been waiting for all day…HAPPY HOUR! You rush to the bar, wait impatiently for the bartender, order that drink at the better-than-normal price and ahhh…relax. But then, something happens that was unexpected. No, all you wanted was wine and mindless conversations with friends.
Scenario 1: You get to the bar, order the best glass of red you can get based on the happy hour special, sip and ahhh…happiness. Conversation begins and a friend brings up that story from when you were in college and…WHOA! We’re not going past that point. Not acceptable for a G-rated piece. All you know is you turn bright red, that glass of wine is gone because you drank it so fast, even though everybody else around you seemed to love the story and continues to sip their drink. Next step, ‘bartender — another round, ASAP, on them!’
Scenario 2: Getting ready for happy hour, freshening up the makeup. Doh, forgot to put on the blush. You quickly grab it and put it on without relying on your friend, aka Mirror. You get to the bar and order your favorite red that’s on special. People sort of look at you, but you know it’s because they are just glad to see you. You eventually go to the bathroom. OMG! Did I really do that? Let’s go to Makeup 101 and learn how to put blush on properly or not use it at all. You look like a clown or 5-year old playing with makeup, with beyond red cheeks.
Scenario 3: Happy Hour! Wine! Finally! You’re chatting with friends, having a wonderful time and couldn’t ask for anything more. Perfect way to end the workday. You get home and your cheeks are bright red. Why? You didn’t paint your face with the wine. That would be a crime! And, you didn’t have that much so as to attempt such a task. You still can’t determine what the cause is.
As such, though Scenarios 1 and 2 are totally possible, many of us are most likely to face (no pun intended) Scenario 3 because of the tannins in red wine. That amazing fluid that we enjoy doesn’t complete agree with us in more ways that one.
There are some reds that have more tannins than others that cause this frustrating problem. So of course, the more prepared we are, the better. Some background info on the culprit for your (continued) reading pleasure — grab a glass while you’re reading this, or pretend you have one:
Tannins are the flavonoids in wine that give its degree of mouth-drying bitterness. The taste is the same as when you bite into a grape skin. Tannin is a chemical substance that comes from grape skins, stems, and seeds. The skins also impart color to wine, which is why red wines typically have a lot more tannin than whites. Red wines are fermented while in contact with the skins and seeds. Modern winemakers take care to minimize undesirable tannins from seeds by crushing grapes gently when extracting their juice.
Wines can also take on tannins from the oak or other woods used in wine barrels for storage. Different woods in different countries affect the type of tannins in the wine.
Tannins help prevent oxidation, an important role in a wine’s aging potential. As age-worthy red wines mature, tannin molecules gradually accumulate and precipitate out of the wine in the sediment.
Certain wine styles have much less tannin content than others, due to reduced maceration time (grape juice contact with the grape pulp, including sources of tannin such as stems, seeds). Grape varieties like Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Gamay (Beaujolais), Tempranillo, and the Italian grapes Dolcetto and Barbera, are less tannic. Also, grapes grown in certain wine regions are less tannic, like French reds from Burgundy, and Spanish wine regions like Spanish Riojas.
French reds from Bordeaux, and Italian reds like Barolo and Barbaresco, are particularly tannic. Vintage port is also very tannic when young, as are wines made from the syrah (shiraz) and cabernet sauvignon grapes.
A quick way to identify these lower tannic wine bottles on a store shelf is to look for the sloped shoulder “Burgundy bottle”. This is specially true for European wines, but several new world wineries have also adopted traditional bottle shapes to help consumers distinguish their wines.
The tannins that are extracted from grapes found in red wine are primarily condensed tannins which are polymers of procyanidin monomers. Hydrolysable tannins are extracted from the oak wood the wine is aged in. Hydrolysable tannins are more easily oxidised than condensed tannins.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_wine_headache — half way down via the link
WHOA…that was some info and wine for thought.
As I continued to research, I wanted to provide a quick bulleted list of what I/we should drink in public vs. only consume at home. Here is a nice idea of tannin levels, from lightest to boldest. Print this out, make a cheat sheet, put it in your purse or wallet to take with you so you’re ready when you hit Happy Hour, go on that blind date, have a business meeting or simply want to impress friends with all your wine knowledge:
Beaujolais (low tannin)
Tempranillo (low tannin)
Pinot Noir, from the US (low to medium tannin)
Burgundy (low to medium tannin)
Chianti Classico (low to medium tannin)
Barbaresco (low to medium tannin)
Bordeaux (low to medium tannin)
Merlot, from the United States (low tannin)
Zinfandel (medium to high tannin)
Cabernet Sauvignon, from the US or Australia (high tannin)
Rhône, Syrah, Shiraz (high tannin)
(Well, Syrah/Shiraz is one of my favorites which explains a lot…)
Some other nice articles:
To summarize, your cheeks might only be red because you are enjoying wonderful grapes, spending time with friends and living life to its fullest. From Beaujolais to Shiraz lovers, and everybody in between, pop those cork and drink on…