Best Pairing of the Summer: Mad Violets Riesling with Grilled Oysters

A bright and fruity Riesling with a pair-perfect attitude. 

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Sourced from the oldest Riesling vineyard in the Willamette Valley at Maresh Vineyard, Mad Violets Riesling develops with layers of flavors. Easing in with aromas of lemons and apricots, the wine flirts around as if its in a love triangle with sweet and tart. Vibrant on the mid-palate with minerality and stone fruit flavors and an acidity that starts your mouth salivating, the wine then lightens with notes of honey, honeysuckle, and flowers on the finish. Mad Violets crafts this Riesling in the the off-dry German Kabinett style.

I paired this delicious-on-its own-but-even-better-with-food wine with freshly grilled oysters straight out of the Puget Sound. Grilled on the back porch with a bath of butter, the hot steamers bubbled as the wine’s acidity cut through the fat and the sweet fruit notes complimented the sea salt garnish.

Grab a bottle of Mad Violets Riesling and enjoy it before summers over. I found this bottle at Fox Farm Vineyard’s tasting room in downtown Newberg.


Wines in the Wasatch: Highlights from the Food and Wine Classic

“Come for the winters, say for the summer,” is the local (unofficial) slogan in Park City, Utah. And after a weekend in the Wasatch Mountains I can see (and taste) why.

Featuring active adventures around the ski-resort town turned summer outdoor haven paired with wine tastings and dinners galore, the Food and Wine Classic in Park City brought together two of my favorite things in one amazing weekend. Here are some of the highlights from the event

Stroll of Park City

First up for my weekend of wine was the Stroll of Park City, Friday afternoon. Meander up and down historic Main Street, we popped in and out of venues and restaurants while savoring a variety of wines and tasty bites. A few of the places we stopped included Wasatch Brew Pub, High West Distillery & Saloon, Town Lift Plaza, Silver’s, and Zoom!


Pork and Cork

We dined in style at the Goldener Hirsch Inn at Deer Valley with multiple course of Pork themed entrees pairs with wines by Iron Gate, a local Utah winery.

The Walk of Wine and Whiskey

Saturday morning, I laced up my hiking boots and joined a fun and informative hike with amazing views of Park City. Guided by High West Ambassadors, I enjoyed getting outside – and burning some of those calories consumed the night before. We wandered through beautiful aspen forests and learned more about Park City’s mining history before enjoy lunch, whiskey, and wine at High West Distillery.

Read about this beautiful hike and whiskey pairing over on Evergreen Hiker.

Toast of Park City

This was the grand-daddy of them all! Wine, wine, and more wine exploded from the plaza at The Canyons. An extraordinary gathering of domestic and international wineries poured at this event while we were entertained with live music, culinary treats, beer, spirits, and even ciders. With over 500 wines, let’s just say we had a good time!wineclassic

Three of my favorite finds from this amazing afternoon of tasting included: Adelsheim’s Rose, Lunatic by Luna Vineyards, Hop Nosh by Uinta Brewing, and Tieton Cider. Oh and the food sampler by The Farm, a Canyon’s resort restaurant, was spectacular!


To finish Saturday night off, we headed to the newest event at the classic hosted at the Montage Deer Valley. Offering a blend of the arts, wine, beer, and signature cocktails, the party tipped its hat to the senses and created a memorable and classy conclusion to the day.


It’s a Mary Morning

I couldn’t leave Park City without getting in another hike, so Sunday morning I hiked around Deer Valley on this refreshing morning outing. Walking up the Sultan’s Out-and-Back trail, we stretched our legs before riding the chair lift to the top for stunning mountain views of the entire range. After building up an appetite, we returned to the Stein Eriksen Lodge at Deer Valley for a tantalizing brunch crafted be executive chef Zan Holmquist with Bloody Mary’s. The bananas foster were plate-licking good (don’t worry I contained myself!).

Look for more posts about the Food & Wine Classic and all the summer offerings in Park City coming soon!




3 Roses You’ll Want to Drink Right Now

Pink is quickly becoming my new favorite color. Blame it on the heat or my red-wine rich winter diet, but I’ve been on one hell of a Rose kick lately. But this wine gal is not complaining.

With so many delicious (and often bone-dry) Roses, it’s hard not to keep filling my glass with 5 ounces of this summer-loving wine. Here are three of my favorite Pinot Noir Roses so far this July:

North Valley 2013 Pinot Noir Rose


North Valley Rose

Even toned and delicious, North Valley’s Rose (produced by Sotor Vineyards) comes alive with its salmon-pink color and ripe, floral aromatics as soon as it hits your glass. With no residual sugar, this wine flourishes on the palate with notes of raspberries, strawberries, and a touch of carrot honey and concludes with a crisp, clean finish. Using both neutral oak and stainless steel for the fermentation, the light rose retains a delicateness yet with a richness that is often lost with roses.  Purchase for $24 in their tasting room or at local grocery and wine stores.

Lachini Vineyards’ 2013 Rose of Pinot Noir


Lachini Vineyards Rose

Finished by Lachini Vineyard’s new winemaker, this Rose of Pinot Noir features flavors of citrus, watermelon, and almost-ripe strawberries while the nose gives off more bright fruit. Another completely dry rose, Lachini’s also balances fruit, acids, and minerality in a flirty dance. Let this wine seduce you in the hot summer sun and envelop your taste buds until the bottle is empty.

Zum’s 2013 Pinot Noir Rose


Zum Rose

This slightly-sweet rose from Germany is, by far, one of my favorite budget-friendly bottles this summer. With notes of strawberry, bubblegum, and fresh-picked cherries, the uncomplicated wine balances out the residual sugar with above-average acidity. No fuss, just drink and enjoy this $10 bottle of wine any summer evening. Or pick up a bottle at Pix Patisserie in East Portland and pair it with a mix-berry creme tart from their delicious dessert case.


What is your favorite summer rose?


Sing for a Sip of Brancott’s Flight Song Wines

I don’t know about you, but some days I just need a cold, crisp glass of white wine. And with this past week of 80+ degree weather in the northwest, I pulled two bottles of wine out of my wine frig from Marlborough, New Zealand – a region that knows heat and how to cool off.


Brancott Estate’s 2013 Pinot Grigio

Like a breath of fresh air, this Pinot Grigio plants beautiful flavors of pear and granny apple on the palate without overwhelming the senses. With medium-plus acidity (especially for this varietal), the wine is dynamic and definitely easy to drink on the front porch.

Brancott Estate’s 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

With one whiff of this wine, I’m back in the southern hemisphere –  sea breeze and sunshine, grassy aromas and rich minerality. The monthfeel lingers lightly but the flavors fill your month with rich summer, fruit tones. This wine excites the palate with notes of grapefruit, citrus and ripe greens while the aromas take you to someplace tropical.

About Flight Song

While both of these wines burst with flavor – neither will burst your belt buckle as they are produced with naturally 20% fewer calories. With long summers that fluctuate between hot afternoon heat and cold nights in Marlborough, Brancott Estate micromanages its vineyards so to harvest the fruit for its Flight Song label early – when the grapes have fully-ripened in flavor but not sugars. By reducing the amount of sugar in the grapes and controlling the fermentation, the wines contain fewer calories than the brand’s traditional wine. Yet as a result, these wines are also lower in alcohol (yeast convert sugars to alcohol during fermentation and so the less sugar, the lower the alcohol). But as I’m training for several half marathons right now, I kind of  appreciate the lower alcohol level as well!

These wines will not break the summer picnic budget either. Try one for between $10-$15 at your local grocery store or wine shop.

Stoller Family Estate’s Tempranillo Rose


 Light, refreshing and endlessly sippable.



Warm weather welcomes a blush to the cheeks and pink wine for the glass, so pour a rose and savor the start of summer. For my first glass of the season, I popped open this bottle from Stoller Family Estate, which I acquired at a wine club event last year.

Flirting with aromas of rose petals and strawberries, the salmon pink rose of Tempranillo was refreshing and cool like a cucumber. On the palate, it featured concentrated strawberry, simple cranberry, northwest cherry and a touch of citrus. Like Rose of Pinot Noir, which is becoming more and more prevalent around the Willamette Valley, this spring wine brought forth rounder notes and a lovely lingering mid-palate without being sweet or tart like many white summer wines.

Visit Stoller Family Estate to try their current summer releases at their Dundee Hills tasting room. Open 11am-5pm, daily.



Oregon Wine Day Trips Part 4: Southern Oregon

This is the fourth part of a five part series featuring day trip itineraries in Oregon’s wine country. Each itinerary features 4-5 wineries within driving distance of each other near a city or accommodations hub.

Bigger, bolder and a lot more barns. That’s what the Southern AVAs bring to the table in Oregon and for the best. Balencing out the Pinot-centeric north, the Applegate and Rogue valleys fill tasting flights with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and more. For this fantastic wine day-trip, stay in this hub: Jacksonville

Photo by KWTravellersStart the day at Cowhorn Wines with sips of their biodynamic Rhone-style wines. Using as little intervention as possible (in terms of manipulation, chemicals or additives), Cowhorn has racked in the accolades for their clean and alluring wines. Make sure to taste their Viognier!

Continue the afternoon of tasting at the small neighboring winery at Red Lily Vineyard. Focusing on a single varietal born from their love for Spanish wines, Red Lily produces exclusively Tempranillo. Savor this ruby red wine and learn about the intricacies of vintage with a vertical flight.

The big red, powerhouse of the Applegate Valley, Troon Vineyard will further entice your taste buds with their variety of wines. Producing small batch wines from primary estate grown fruit, sip through their flight of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat and Verminento among others.

Last but certainly not least finish the day back in Jacksonville at Quady North. Focusing on expressive Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Viognier, this tiny winery produces wines that will leave a big impact on your palate. Save some space in your case to bring a few of these wines home!

Follow the Applegate Wine Trail for this delicious tasting trip. Or check out my Google Map below! If you are having trouble viewing the map, click here to view it in Google.

A Delicious Journey down Main Street: Park City Food Tour

Kelsey Ivey:

Back in March, I had the pleasure of visiting Park City, Utah for one of my other publications. Beyond the amazing skiing though, this city also served up sensational cuisine. So I thought I’d share with all my wine friends as well. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Evergreen Hiker:

yum – an interjection used to express pleasurable satisfaction especially in the taste of food. – And the slow-motion word of the day on the Park City Food Tour.

Whether it’s snowing or seventy degrees and sunny, its a perfect day to savor and sample the flavors of main street Park City. With more fine food than can possibly serve the small population of this silver mining town turned ski resort, Park City, Utah is a foodie paradise. From classic pub food to innovative and fresh small plates, the restaurant choices are palate pleasing. Plus they will just make you want to play harder so you can eat more!

To enjoy all the food options in this quaint town at the base of three mountain resorts, last month, I ate my way down main street with Park City Food Tours. Mixing narration on the history of this unique town with a delicious…

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2010 Hyland Estates’ Pinot Noir

Love at first sip.

Hyland Estates Pinot Noir

There was no mood lighting. No fancy bar with a white moose head or chandelier. No sexy bartender with deep green eyes to get lost in or vivacious vineyard views.

Just me, my teal travel mug, a bag of microwave popcorn and this wondrous wine, Hyland Estates’ 2010 Pinot Noir. And you know it must be a seductively good bottle if it can make you forget that you’re drinking alone in a run-down cowboy themed motel room in Burns, Oregon; but that’s another story.

With balanced acidity that bites at your lip, this Pinot Noir is full of flavor yet still delicate and light. Each sip fills that hallow spot with warmth. Notes of red berry and cherry offset the pH level and a lingering hint of leather and purple fruits add an unexpected roundness to the wine. The aroma’s soft and not hinting at the character to come.

Like the Solena Estate Pinot Gris I reviewed back in February, this wine was also crafted by Laurent Montalieu in Dundee, Oregon. After graduating from the Institute of Oenology in Bordeaux in 1987, Montalieu has worked for many successful wineries including Chateau La Tour Blanche near Sauternes, Domaine Mumm in the Napa Valley, Bridgeview Vineyards in southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley and Willakenzie Estate in the north Willamette Valley. Focusing now on his state-of-the-art custom wine-growing facility, Northwest Wine Company, Monalieu has come to craft wine that speaks both to the vineyard sites and his stand-along style. With ease and intrigue, each wine that I’ve sampled by this talented winemaker makes me fall in love with the drink again and again.

And I’m not the only one who has high praise for Hyland’s Pinot Noir. Wine Enthusiat awarded the 2010 Estate vintage 91 points and Wine Spectator, 90 points. But ultimately, it’s up to you! Let this wine woo-you at Hyland Estates‘ tasting room in Dundee, Oregon. Open daily from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.

2011 Solena Estate Pinot Gris

Fresh like almost-ripe fruit, this Pinot Gris cuts through food with a clean and refreshing finish.

Solena Pinot GrisNotes of stone fruit, apple and citrus travel from the nose to the palate on Solena Estates’s 2011 Pinot Gris. Like the mist from a fresh squeezed lemon, the wine puckers with just a touch of tart acidity but reveals a nice balance with mineral notes.

Hand crafted by Laurent Montalieu, the winemaker and co-founder of Northwest Wine Company, this wine is one that you’ll want to keep coming back to time and time again. Just look out, sharing can be difficult.

This is just the first of six reviews featuring Laurent Montalieu’s wines. Look for more about the Northwest Wine Company and Solena Estate in the upcoming weeks!

Foodworx Conference: Food for the Future

Portland really is becoming known as the center of the foodie universe. From the Willamette Valley’s famous Pinot Noir to the city’s urban craft breweries and some of the world’s freshest produce and meat markets, the city embodies culinary culture. This February 4th, join me at the FoodWorx Conference to experience the bounty of food tourism in Oregon.foodworx_logo_final_small

Learn about the future of food and its impact on health, environment and the economy and of course enjoy some delicious small bites throughout the day. Whether you’re just a casual foodie or you work in the industry, you’ll find a lot to chew on at FoodWorx.

Before the conference, jump on Evergreen Escapes’ wine and waterfalls tour to explore two of the greatest attractions of the Pacific Northwest – the Columbia Gorge and Oregon wines!

Hope to see you there!