Music on Main

This is the second year that I’ve enjoyed the Music on Main concerts in the summer.

See prior blog post.

We enjoy the Okropong-Obo Addy Legacy Project They perform traditional music from Ghana, West Africa.

Check out the video below from them:



Pink Martini Oregon Zoo Concert

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Pink Martini concert at the zoo again this year!  We always enjoy going with our friends who introduced us to Pink Martini and it was a treat again this year.

See prior blog post.

Even the elephants seemed to enjoy the concert. 🙂

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Bite of Oregon and Iron Chef Oregon and Tualatin Estate

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This is the first year that I’ve attended the Bite of Oregon.  It was fun to watch the Iron Chef Oregon competition and taste some yummy food and wine.

Congratulations to Chef Travis Taylor of Sunriver Resorts in Bend, OR for the win this year!

There were the usual suspects for wineries with some 20+ wineries, distilleries, and cider houses in the Wine pavilion.  I was particularly impressed with two of them.

First, Crater Lake Spirits from Bend, OR.  The Sweet Ginger Vodka is delicious and will add an interesting twist of flavor to a ginger mule! 🙂

Second, I don’t tend to enjoy sweet wines and so I didn’t expect to enjoy the Tualatin Estate (part of Willamette Valley Vineyards) 2014 Frizzante, however, what an interesting flavor profile.

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Total wine has a Luna d’Or Moscato Frizzante ($10/bottle) from the Veneto region of Italy with the following tasting notes:

Crisp, Orange, Apricot, Light-bodied

Veneto, Italy- The nose is aromatic and intense with a refined taste. It is slightly sweet with fruitful and floral flavors of orange blossom, apricot and peach. It is perfect as an apertif, with sweets or lighter fare.

I plan to explore this wine region and type of wine a bit further.


Jorge’s Tequila Factory and First Friday Art Walk

We decided to try Jorge’s Tequila Factory because the First Friday Art Walk has been recommended to us to explore and it’s in the same location for convenience. We tried the following items:

Tacos al Pastor (Barbequed pork from Guadalajara region of Mexico)

Mucho combo-chimichanga, burrito, pork

First Friday Art Walk Vancouver’s Downtown Association

The live music provided some energy and there were a number of interesting art galleries to explore!


Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards/Oregon Olive Mill Summer Wine Club Member BBQ

Ah, the lazy days of summer-and, barbecues and wine! 🙂  As club members, we enjoyed the club member barbecue from a local caterer of pulled pork, strawberry shortcake, etc.  And, let’s not forget, the wine! 🙂

Red Ridge Farms is the home of Durant Vineyards and the Oregon Olive Mill.  It’s the only winery that I know of in the Willamette Valley that includes wine club levels for wine and olive oil.  I love their Arbequina olive oil (Spanish olives).  In addition to the tasting room with a gorgeous view, there is a gift shop, nursery, etc.

The following videos explore the vineyards and olive mill.

Lan Su Chinese garden

I always enjoy visiting the Lan Su Chinese Garden with the juxtaposition of lush greenery and geometric city buildings.  It’s amazing that such a small space can feel so removed while it’s right in the middle of the city!  The Tao of Tea tea house is a treat for relaxing and enjoying the view.

See prior blog post on the Lan Su Chinese Garden


Bethany vineyard in Ridgefield

I hadn’t ventured toward the wineries in Ridgefield, WA until a wine distribution friend of ours mentioned there were some good ones to explore.  We couldn’t recall which ones he’d mentioned so we decided to just try out out.  Bethany vineyard was a pleasant surprise.

In addition to their tasting room, they’ve taken great care to provide beautiful grounds for events as well.

The Tempranillo was my favorite with notes of dark cherry and leather.

Gouger winery was recommended by our friend so we’ll check that one out soon!

Red Ridge farms/Durant vineyard and Vista Hills vineyard and winery and Zerba cellars

What a lovely sequence of 3 wineries to explore today!

Our first stop was Durant vineyard/Red Ridge Farms for the spring pick up party.

See prior posts on Durant vineyard, Red Ridge Farms, and Oregon olive mill:

3.2.13 Check out Red Ridge Farms and Paley’s Place Bistro and Bar on KOIN TV!

5.19.13 Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards wine and olive oil club spring pick up event

7.21.13 Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards wine club summer BBQ

View this Durant vineyards video from their website talking about their process.

The spring pickup lineup were the following 2 wines:

2013 Southview Vineyards Pinot Gris

Tasting notes:

580 cases.  Our vineyard has a large planting of Pinot Gris.  My father, Ken Durant, has always enjoyed this wine for its easy drinking characteristics-Unpretentious, fruity, racy acidity, a hint of sweetness, and low alcohol.  This is a wine meant to be consumed on your patio, front porch, or when tailgating with good friends with a barbecue fired up nearby.

2012 La Casita Vineyard Pinot Noir

Tasting notes:

155 cases.  We poured this wine as a sneak peak at the winter pickup party.  I have mixed emotions about releasing this wine so early.  It is probably the “biggest” pinot noir we have ever produced, and we do not strive for “big reds”-honestly, quite the opposite.  However, you play the hand you’re dealt with and 2012 dealt some amazing wines and La Casita fits that model.  It is luscious, rich, deep and just damn good.  I hope you savor this wine as it is unique and quite exceptional.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

This is an interesting description as La Casita has always been my favorite and it’s not their poster child block.  However, I do tend toward bold reds and this one is luscious and earthy!  I’m holding onto my bottles of 2011 whole berry and 2011 whole cluster as long as I can as they are going to be so delicious!

Our next stop was Vista hills vineyard which is close to Durant vineyard.  They have a lovely pond at the front door.

Vista hills

The treehouse tasting room is such a lovely view of the vineyard!

Vista hills vineyard

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The 2011 Piedmont estate pinot noir reminds me of what I enjoy about a great Nebiollo.

Tasting notes:
A polished estate Pinot Noir, with a sweet vanilla bean nose and juicy berry notes. Strawberry and raspberry give way to tempered tannins and a soft and extensive finish. 180 cases produced. 90 Points – Wine Enthusiast.

Vines: Vista Hills Old Block C and Block F
Clones: 667, 777
Barrel Regimen: 18 months in French oak, medium plus toast (40% new)

Our final stop was Zerba cellars which is on the way through Dundee back to Portland.  This is only a tasting room as the vineyards are in the Walla Walla valley.  They are an interesting contrast to the pinot noir in the Dundee AVA as I do enjoy bold reds and Italian and Spanish varietals such as Nebiollo, Tempranillo, Barbera, Malbec, etc.

Tempranillo tasting notes:

This medium-bodied red is sourced exclusively from certified sustainable vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley (LIVE, VINEA, IOBC, and Salmon Safe}. Intertwining aromas featuring black licorice, olive, leather, and caramel lead into a pleasing mouthful of dried cherries, and granite on the way to a smooth dark leathery finish.

Malbec tasting notes:

A medium-bodied red that does not disappoint.  This smooth red features rich aromas of huckleberry, lavendar, tobacco and granite that transition into dark cherry flavors and a dark spiciness that leads to a bright huckleberry finish.

Barbera tasting notes:

This light-bodied everyday Italian drinking wine showcases intense currant aromas along with allspice, graphite, and lavender.  As you begin sipping the wine prepare for bright raspberry flavors that fade to dark cherry on the way to a lightly oaked finish.  Enjoy with your favorite pasta or light grilled barbeque fare.

However, their “Wild Z” red blend is quite good as well.

Tasting notes:

This full bodied red table blend is 52% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon. Contains cedar, dark plum, and white pepper aromas that lead up to tantalizing flavors of blackberry, dark cherry, and cedar with hints of earth and currants. This perfect everyday wine pairs with a wide range of foods.

What a delightful afternoon of red wine tasting!

Evergreen space museum

My husband has been wanting to go to the Evergreen space museum for years and we finally did it.  I had envisioned a small, musty type of museum and was surprised at the scale of artifacts and information provided at this amazing museum!  There were 3 buildings on the lot with 2 museums of artifacts (planes and space), a theater, and a water park for kids.

So, I’ll summarize just a few highlights and you can check it all out yourself! 🙂

There are planes and jets outside of the building as you drive up and you can see how enormous just the one building is.

The main building holds a wealth of  general aviation, and world war II fighters with the replicas of the Wright Brothers’ Curtiss JN-4 Jenny, Messerschmitt Me-262 Schwalbe, and Curtiss P-40 Warhawk.

The Spruce Goose is quite a draw for this museum.  It’s amazing how much of the building it took over!

The SR-71 Blackbird was also an interesting exhibit.

SR-71 Blackbird

The Space Flight building was interesting with rockets, missiles, space capsules, rovers, space probes, satellites, etc.

We didn’t watch any of the movies in the Theater, but that would be interesting on a future visit.  There’s also a Waterpark for the kids!

Zerba Cellars

On my way to Red Ridge Farms and Durant Vineyards, I had occasion to stumble upon Zerba Cellars in Dundee, OR.  Take note that it is Zerba and not Zebra even though there is a zebra on some of the wine labels.  It is just a tasting room since the vineyards are in the Walla Walla valley, however, it was quite a find!

While I enjoy Durant Vineyard’s pinot noirs, I tend toward bolder reds so it was a nice pleasure to run into this local resource.  I indulged in a delightful tasting flight that included Malbec, Tempranillo, and Barbera which are some of my favorites.  I was disappointed that the Nebiollo was reserved only for the wine club.  Cascade Cliffs makes a delicious Barbera, however, Zerba’s was quite good as well!

I forgot to take pictures, however, you’ll have to check it out for yourself…