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.


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.

Five Spice restaurant


The Five Spice Seafood and Wine Bar in Lake Oswego sure was a treat!

I don’t typically eat scallops, however, they were highly recommended so I decided to try it.  They changed their menu a bit, but it was essentially the following except the sauce was not truffle, but rather a beurre blanc:

Sautéed Jumbo Sea Scallops seared jumbo diver scallops, confetti of lentils, roasted golden beets, carrots, mustard greens, truffle essence.

The wine from Abacela was a perfect pairing. I intend to visit Abacela one of these days to tour the vineyard and learn more about their tempranillo and albarino.

The steak special that night was delicious as well.

I’m so impressed with the lentil confetti with the beurre blanc that I’m going to explore making it myself!


Pizza Fino

Pizza Fino is a small, Italian restaurant that we stumbled upon in the town of Kenton near the Paul Bunyan statue.  They have a wonderful wine list and delicious appetizers, pasta, and pizza.

I started out with the charcuterie and a bottle of the 2010 Barolo Reverdito (imported by Zancanella in Portland, OR) and the $38/bottle was well worth it!

Produced in the town of La Morra in the Piedmonte region of NW Italy from the Nebiollo grape.

According to Suze from Zancanella on Corkscrew wine bar’s Facebook page, Michele Reverdito only begain making wine in 2000!

She provides tasting notes and more information about the winemaker below:

“…Michele Reverdito Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont, Italy 2011
Michele Reverdito only began making wine in 2000, but in just a decade has “carved out a leading role” in the region, according to Gambero Rosso, Italy’s most highly-regarded wine publication.
Based in the village of La Morra, an area of Barolo known for producing soft, sensuous, dynamic and accessible wines, Reverdito begins with meticulous viticulture, and harvests a touch on the later side, resulting in terrifically ripe and complex fruit.
Michele believes in traditional cellar techniques, and this wine sees only large 1000L oak barrels – about five times the size of a modern barrique! – and none of the oak is new. This keeps the emphasis on the wonderful fruit and also the special terroir of La Morra.

-Intense ruby red in color, the nose is very hot, ethereal, enveloping you hear the sweet notes of jam of red fruit. In the mouth, the entry is delicate and aromatic with a development density of the structure. It has a good tannic structure with sweet, almost caramelized and a long and clean. A wine of great persistence…”

For dinner, I ordered what they are calling a “Rustico” with Italian sausage.  It contains baked elbow pasta with mushrooms, parmesan and mozzarella with creamy marinara & pesto. It was so simple, yet delicious so I’m going to have to figure out how to make it! It’s essentially elbow pasta pressed into a square pan and cut into squares with a mix of white and red sauces and the pesto on top.

The calzone with smoked mozzarella, pork sausage, and black olives looked delicious as well.  I’m looking forward to coming back soon!

Battle Ground produce-friend of ours pouring


A friend of ours was pouring wine at Battle Ground Produce so I went to check it out as I love exploring wines from Spain!  I don’t recall the entire lineup, however, 2 of the bottles were inexpensive to try.

Marques de Caceres from the Rioja and Rueda regions of Spain

I tasted both white and red wines, however, I’m always more of a fan of red wine vs. white wine.  I believe it was a Crianza that I sampled.

Los Dos 2010 from the Campo de Borja region of Spain

I can’t wait to explore more wines from Spain and I’m planning a visit to Total Wine soon!


Vinotopia restaurant and wine bar (Cinetopia theater)


The Cinetopia theaters are known for their “Living room theaters” and serving food and drinks while watching your desired movie.  One of the Cinetopias includes a wine bar inside the restaurant for tasting wines.  Vinotopia

It’s fun to purchase the pre-paid card and select precisely which wines and how much to taste.  The wines range from local pinot noir to malbec from Argentina to wines from Italy and Spain to port from Portugal.


The Columbian 1.27.15 blog post describes how the wine bar operates.


Abella Italian Kitchen and wine


The food and wine as well as the service at Abella Italian Kitchen in Wilsonville is “molto bene”!

Dinner started with a glass of La Quercia Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($8/glass and $30/bottle) from the Abruzzo region of Italy.

La Quercia website

Tasting Notes from the Enjoy Small website: “…This Montepulciano is a great example of what can happen when you match low-yield winemaking expertise with a prolific growing zone, and constantly cut, cut, cut back the vines. Made by winemaker Antonio Lamona, the result is one of the best quality, most expressive and balanced Montepulcianos around. This wine is also 100% organic, and delivers as a wine that takes no shortcuts…”

The New York Times article on 10.29.08 promoted this region wine region for “wine lovers on a budget.”

This 2017 “Small Talk” video talks about the winery and region.

I’m learning that I enjoy “old world” red wines from Italy and Spain, however, there are some wineries in the Dundee, Willamette valley, and Columbia valley that are growing on me as “new world” red wines as well.

The Gorgonzola cheesecake was a delicious warm up to dinner.
Menu description: Savory cheesecake with a polenta crust, served warm with a Napoli tomato basil sauce and crusty baguette.

Both of our entrees had good flavor.

Penne con bolognese
Menu description: Penne pasta with ground Italian sausage, lean ground sirloin, our house made Napoli tomato basil sauce, and a touch of cream.


Sausage calzone
Menu description: With roasted bell peppers, red onion and mushrooms.


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!