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

Vista hills 2

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!

Paella and Cascade cliffs tempranillo

Ever since traveling in Spain a few years ago, I have enjoyed Spanish and mediterranean food.  I had a bottle of tempranillo from Cascade Cliffs (see prior Cascade Cliffs post) so it was the perfect opportunity to make paella for the first time!

Cascade Cliffs tempranillo

This was my first time making paella.  I’ve been enjoying the simplicity of Jamie Oliver’s recipes so I thought I’d give it a try.  Link to Jamie Oliver’s paella recipe.

It took 1 hour total including prep.

I’m not big on seafood in my paella so I chose to include only the shrimp, chorizo, and chicken.

The closest I could find for chorizo was a Portuguese style sausage.


I used a thin, delicate style of pancetta.


I adjusted the recipe by cutting the chicken into smaller pieces.

The rice was authentic paella rice which was a great find from Barbur Foods!

paella rice

The extra virgin olive oil is from Oregon Olive Mill/Durant Vineyard/Red Ridge Farm and is from arbequina grapes from Spain.

oregon olive mill

It was fun to watch the process from liquid to solids.

paella liquid

paella solid



The chicken seemed dryer than I would have preferred so I’ll adjust that the next time I make it!

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…


Maryhill winery

Maryhill winery

Last year was my first excursion to Maryhill winery and I was due for another visit since I was out in the gorge en route to Skamania lodge.


Last year I was impressed with their Barbera and I was eager to try another flight of their wines.  This time I indulged in the flight of their reserve wines.  Here’s the lineup along with the tasting notes.

2011 Reserve Chardonnay

We can’t believe ‘it’s not butter’ in this Chardonnay!  Honeysuckle, grilled pear, pineapple and peach aromas liven the senses and prepare you for a silky,  golden delicious apple, honey and toasted almond finish.

2009 Reserve Syrah

This ruby beauty blends rich aromas of fig, coffee and caramel with a pomegranate, dark chocolate palate that lingers briefly and leaves a wonderful bready, roasted chestnut finish.  Pair with peppercorn steak, roasted duck or rich shellfish.

2007 Reserve Serendipity

“Serendipity – the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” Experience lavender, raspberry, cherry and cigar box on the nose. On the palate a smooth fruit entry develops into a complex blend of pomegranate, raspberry, stewed plums, coffee and tart cherry on the mid-palate. The finish has a bit of grip at first and a pleasant linger that allows you to contemplate the opus that is this wine.

2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Deep garnet color in the glass gives you a visual of things to come. Dark fruits, smoke, vanilla and coffee are prominent on the nose and palate. The experience doesn’t stop there though. The hints of lilacs, currant, plum and raspberry come and go and add a depth and complexity that will provide a wonderful sipping experience as well as pair with big flavorful meat dishes. This is a very smooth cab.

2010 Reserve Zinfandel

Our crowd pleasing Zinfandel has hit a new high. Aromas of cherry chutney, plums, cigar box, truffles and coffee make one’s eyes light up immediately. On the palate, black cherry, smoked meat, currant and hints of the darkest of fruits keep you engaged. On the lingering finish look for pain grille’ with truffle oil to surprise you and make you ready for more. Whether with prime rib, chocolate cake or simply sipping slowly, this deliciously Zinful wine is an absolute pleasure.

I ended up purchasing a bottle of Malbec this year.  Here’s the tasting notes:

Typically a blending grape due to rich color and bright acidity, Malbecs were late to the wine scene as an individual bottling. Our deep red-violet offering filled with aromas of rich red cherries, juicy raspberries, rose-petals and baked bread certainly is deserving of its own bottle. On the palate black pepper, tobacco, French roast coffee, and dark fruit precede a palate cleansing acidity and soft tannins. Malbec was late to the party? We say, better late than never. Yum!

It was a gorgeous day for a picnic lunch on the deck before running off to miss the traffic from the Willie Nelson concert in the evening.

Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards wine club summer BBQ

Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards wine club summer BBQ

It was fun to be a part of the 1st wine club summer BBQ at Durant Vineyards this year.  It was a gorgeous sunny day which allowed for a panoramic view of the rolling Dundee hills and the miles of grapevines.

Durant vineyards

The Red Ridge farms/Durant vineyards raven greets you at the gate as you move toward the tasting room where tables, chairs, and canopies are spread out to seat guests indulging in the pulled pork sandwiches, grilled chicken, baby red potato salad, corn on the cob, baked beans, and potato rolls.

The tables were neatly dressed with locally grown lavender and water with fresh mint leaves.  We were lucky to be able to sit next to the guitar player while we enjoyed our lunch.  The food was delicious paired with a glass of chilled 2012 Durant Vineyards Pinot Gris in a complimentary 40th anniversary logo wine glass.  Strawberry shortcake completed the lunch.

2013-07-21 11.49.18

We browsed the nursery and gift shop purchasing an Arbequina olive tree and pot for our deck.  We’re looking forward to next year!

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

I apologize to all my readers that I’ve been long overdue for a new post.  I have been in the process of building a house and selling another house so I got tied up with that…now on to the juicy stuff…

Backtracking a couple of months to May…

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

This was the 2nd pick up party we’ve attended since joining the wine club last fall.  We were greated with the delicious smell of lamb grilling from SuDan farm where they apparently raise hormone free and grass-fed lamb in Canby, Oregon.  Additionally, we sampled and purchased cheese from jersey cows from Willamette Valley Cheese company, sampled honey from Rolling Hills apiary in Newberg, and checked out Doug’s Nuts offered locally grown hazelnuts.

The cheese from Willamette Valley Cheese company made a delectable snack along with Cyprus Black Lava salt from Red Ridge Farms.

Snack made from Willamette Valley Cheese company cheese

Our spring shipment included the following:

2011 La Casita Whole Berry Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills
2011 La Casita Whole Cluster Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills
2010 Lark Chardonnay, Dundee Hills
Arbequina Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Spanish olive trees)
Koroneiki Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Greek olive trees)
Orange Champagne Vinegar

2011 La Casita Whole Berry Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills
Tasting Notes:
79 cases. Sourced from the La Casita Block, Dijon 114 clones on 44-55m rootstock planted in 2000. Yield 2.5 tons per acre from 13 year old vines. Garnet red with a hint of violet blue hues, this wine has an intense bouquet with deep herbal earth tones. Arresting aromas of cola, dried beef, menthol, plum, black currant, vanilla, and mocha. Soft, silky tannins on the palate with restrained elegance. Bursting with flavors reminiscent of Root beer float, Marion berry, graham cracker with oak spice followed by a rich, dense finish.

2011 La Casita Whole Cluster Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills
Tasting Notes:
79 cases. Sourced from the La Casita Block, Dijon 114 clones on 44-55m rootstock planted in 2000. Yield 2.5 tons per acre from 13 year old vines. Bright garnet red in the glass. The nose is perfumed with aromas of raspberry, cherry, dried leaves, clove, red licorice, pot pourri, and huckleberry. Fresh, juicy red fruits burst on the palate coupled with dusty tannins. Flavors of blood orange, cedar, milk chocolate, caramel, Asian spices, and a slight hint of menthol coat your mouth. The finish is focused and linear with tart red fruits and mouth-watering acidity.

2010 Lark Chardonnay, Dundee Hills
Tasting Notes:
Medium-bodied, Burgundian style Chardonnay with a minerality, bright acids and balance.  Fermentation in neutral oak creates texture and richness in the mid and back palate.  Hints of green apple, pear and tropical fruit round out the finish.

It was fascinating to sample and learn about the whole cluster vs. the whole berry pinot noir from the La Casita block.  The whole cluster means that both grapes and stems are included in the fermentation process whereas the whole berry means that intact berries are fermented.  They were quite distinctive and both delicious!

Arbequina Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Spanish olive trees)
Aroma: Sweet grass with floral undertones.
Flavor profile: Nutty, buttery flavor with a hint of banana, and mild pepper finish.
Serving suggestions: Blend with fresh minced garlic, sea salt, diced heirloom tomatoes and serve over rustic bread.

Koroneiki Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Greek olive trees)
Aroma: Tomato leaves married with spice tones.
Flavor profile: Mild arugula, fresh cut hay, with a mild pepper finish.
Serving suggestions: Mix with fresh dill, tarragon and ground white pepper and top over grilled salmon.

The orange champagne vinegar and Arbequina Extra-Virgin Olive Oil make a delicious, simple dressing for salad!

Link to Red Ridge Farms’ blog The Ridge Runner.

I’m looking forward to the fall shipment and hope you’ll check out Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards/Oregon Olive Mill for yourself!

Check out Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards/Oregon Olive Mill and Paley’s Place Bistro and Bar on KOIN TV!

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

KOIN TV’s new series GO! NW visits Red Ridge Farms in the Dundee Hills and Paley’s Place Bistro and Bar on NW 21st in Portland.  This last June we became acquainted with Red Ridge Farms/Durant Vineyards/Oregon Olive Mill.  Back in October, we attended the pickup party for the wine club at Red Ridge Farms.

They are our very favorite winery in the Willamette Valley so far.  And, they are the only olive mill that I’m aware of in the Portland, OR area.  See this November 2012 article from Portland Monthly on the Oregon Olive Mill.

Check out KOIN TV’s new series GO! NW Season 1 Episode 5 with a look at Red Ridge Farms and Paley’s Place Bistro and Bar.

I’m not familiar with Paley’s Place Bistro and Bar, but I plan to check it out soon!  Bon Appetit…

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

Red Ridge wine and olive oil club pick up event

This is our first year with the wine and oil club so we didn’t know what to expect at this event.  There was a nice sampling of their chardonnay and pinot noir along with tasty bites from the following local venders:

Briar Rose Creamery
Their goat cheese was delicious.  I particularly liked the spicy chipotle chevre.

Fino in Fondo

Their thinly sliced salami was quite an assortment of mild to spicy options.

Smitten Truffles

There was quite a range of flavors from vanilla to salty caramel to lime.  Their Kalamansi was quite a surprise.  Here are the tasting notes from their website:  “…Filipino lime puree paired with a layer of creme honey for a tart yet slightly sweet finale…”

Olive oil and vinegar     Olive oil

We received great value for our $150 with 3 wines (2 pinot noir and 1 chardonnay) and 3 olive oil/vinegar (Arbequina (Spanish) and Tuscan (Italian) extra virgin olive oils and fig vinegar).  The fig vinegar combined with the olive oil will make a delicious salad dressing!

Durant vineyards wine     Durant vineyard pinot noir

Here are the details on the wine:

2010 Heron Vineyard Pinot Noir
Vineyard:            Heron
Clone:                  Pommard
Rootstock:           5C
Planting Date:    1993
Aging in Barrel:  21 Months in French Oak
Winemaker:        Marcus Goodfellow
Cases Produced: 101
Tasting Notes:  Darker, more brooding notes of black cherry, blackberry and coca-cola on the nose with leather and spice on the palate. Medium-bodied with light tannins, medium to high acidity with a velvety textural quality. A longer barrel aging program (21 months) lends to more intensity of fruit, complex flavors and a silky smooth finish.

2010 La Casita Vineyard Pinot Noir
La Casita
Pommard 3309
Tasting Notes:  Medium ruby color in the glass with nose of spices, vanilla, and sweet red cherries.  The flavors develop from bright red fruit into oak and soft earth character.  The finish is long and smooth, with supple tannins and balanced acids.

2011 Raven Vineyard Chardonnay
Vineyard:            Raven
Clone:                   Dijon 76
Rootstock:           101-14
Planting Date:    1993
Aging in Steel:    8 months, one new barrel
Winemaker:       Isabelle Duarte
Cases Produced:125
Tasting Notes:  Pale lemon in the glass with aromas of green apple, pear and citrus notes. Bright, clean, with vibrant acidity and hints of grapefruit that spill across the palate. This wine is medium-bodied with delicate flavors showcasing a purity of fruit.

Portland Center for the Performing Arts “Music on main street”

Portland Center for the Performing Arts “Music on main street”

On our way out of the Portland Art Museum (see prior blog post) my husband and I noticed the side street was blocked off and we heard some sound equipment being set up so we thought we’d check it out.  We had nicely stumbled upon the last night of the “Music on main street” free concerts put on by the Portland Center for the Performing Arts (PCPA).  There were tables with food and beverages being served from the PCPA restaurant and also rows of chairs.

Tonight, Wednesday  7.29 5-7 PM was Jujuba who performs Nigerian Afrobeat music.  There was a dancer with a shaker, drumbs, vocals, etc.



One of the sponsors was the winemaker Thorny Rose handing out samples and selling glasses of their wine.  I tried the Thorny Rose red blend expecting it to be mostly cabernet sauvignon and merlot and not particularly delicious.  I was pleasantly surprised that in addition to the cabernet sauvignon and merlot it also had malbec in it!  That gave it a nice bite of flavor at the end.  The tasting notes from their website are as follows:  Black cherry cherry, quite contrary. Raspberry and blackberry marry. Graham crackers and sassafras get to know vanilla and cocoa.

It was sure a nice way to close the day with an hour of good music and wine after a couple of hours of great art. 🙂