Phelps Creek Vineyards’ 2012 Cuvee Alexandrine Pinot Noir

As many of you know, I drink a lot of Pinot Noir – especially from the Willamette Valley. So when I was given this bottle of wine I didn’t think much of it, just another bottle of Pinot to open sometime. It sat in my wine frig for several months and even made it through an apartment move before I found it again.Phelps Creek Cuvee Pinot Noir

From first sip, I knew I had tasted something special. Refreshing different, this wine plays on the palate with balanced fruit and earth to the tune of a rich, not-to-be-forgotten Pinot Noir.

Phelps Creek Vineyards’ 2012 Cuvee Alexandrine Pinot Noir features an earthy aroma of sweet spices and root with a slight note of fig and blue fruit. The color is dark like black cherries while the mouth-feel stays light, smooth, lush. But truly, it’s all about the taste! Layers of earth, pitted-fruit, and dark concentrated fruit builds as the wine flows across your tongue. An even body and light to moderate acidity help to give the wine structure. These flavors give way and turn toward sweeter blue and black fruit as the finish lingers at the back of the palate. Sourced from the best barrels of Pinot Noir grown on Phelps Creek Estate Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge AVA, the wine is crafted using strict Burgundian techniques and spontaneous, native yeast fermentation.

Phelps Creek, located just south of Hood River, is a family-owned boutique winery. Producing just 5,000 cases every-year, they focus their energy on vineyard care and sustainable farming practices to harvest beautiful fruit that showcases the winery’s unique vineyard sites.

Visit Phelps Creek along the fruit loop this spring & summer at their tasting room, opening 12-5pm, daily on the Hood River Golf Course.

10 Wine & Cork Crafts to Lighten Your Holidays

Wine sparks a party to life like nothing else – and this holiday season why not extend that sparkle to your holiday party decorations. To get the crafting season underway, here are a few of my favorite wine themed crafts that will light up your next party!

Get you your hot glue and keep the wine pouring…

Wine Bottle Pendant Lights (via DIY Network)


Wine Bottle Night Light with Seasonal or Holiday themed Design (via GlassGaloreGal on Etsy)

wine bottle night light

Wine Glass Tea Light Holders (via neatsuf on Etsy)


Wine Cork Lamp Shade (via Modern Magazin)

wine cork lamp by modern magizin

Wine Bottle Chandelier (via Wine Bottle Crafts)


Wine Bottle Candle Stick Holder (via Design Sponge)


Modern Cork Lamp (via Greendiary)


What wine light craft have you tried?

For more wine bottle and cork ideas, check out my wine crafts page.

5 Urban Wineries & Tasting Rooms in Portland to Visit this Fall

In the big city and can’t make it out to wine country? No worries you can still get your wine on in Portland this fall. Try one, or all five, of these  tasting rooms and sip away while the last leaves fall and the rain soaks the street.

Portland Pairings

Pairings PortlandNot sure what to have with dinner? Then head to Pairings Portland to grab a bottle and some inspiration! This fun and funky wine shop organizes its wine by pairings – from food to movies, music, and more. Stop by for one of its weekly tasting flights, to buy a bottle, or for a glass with live music throughout the month. If you don’t want to cook dinner, grab a bit to eat across the street from Pairings and bring it in to enjoy with a custom paired bottle of wine.

SE Wine Collective

Division WineFeaturing 10 small, urban wineries under one roof, this southeast Division tasting room is a delectable and diverse evening spot for a flight of wine. Sample a rousing round of Pinot Noir by four different producers, a mixed flight, or the tap flight, which includes wines that are all available in kegs. Sit around with a glass of wine from its long list paired with a small tray of tasty bits.

Taste on 23rd

Taste on 23rd via FlickrHead down Northwest 23rd avenue for an afternoon of window shopping, an artisan lunch and then a flight of wines at this corner spot. With only a handful of seats, it’s a great location for an intimate tasting for two. Instead of sorting their wine list by region, this tasting bar organizes the wine by texture. Find just the right feel for each day.


ENSO bottling via FlickrDark and moody, this tasting room feels more like a Portland bar then winery – but that’s its appeal! Get a group of friends together for a night out on the town and start with a flight of this urban winery’s old-world style wines. Sourcing grapes from three different states (Washington, Oregon, and California) and crafting the small-lot batches in their Buckman neighborhood garage wine lounge, ENSO focuses on making wines that are expressive of their site, the winery’s style, and its trendy customers.

Noble Rot Wine Bar

Noble Rot Wine Bar by Chris via FlickrAt this unique wine bar, come for their amazing wine list and stay for dinner. Showcasing delicious seasonal cuisine (they even have a roof top garden to grow their own veggies!),  Noble Rot knows how to prepare a full meal for the senses. From perfectly paired wines with each course, to simple wine flights that change with the weather, you can’t go wrong on a date night at this location. Reservation highly recommended.

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

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

photo (4)

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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