2011 R. Stuart Blogger’s Blend

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I popped open a bottle of Pinot Noir apply named “Gratitude.” And this year I have more to be thankful for than just great wine! Beside my family and friends, I am very thankful to R. Stuart Wine Company this year for helping me to create this almost one of a kind (it’s 1 or 12) bottle of Oregon wine!

Last summer, I attended the Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland and after the event, R. Stuart and Wine Co invited a handful of bloggers out to their McMinnville winery to blend our own bottles of Pinot Noir. And oh my, was it fun! Read my blog post “Blending Wine at R. Stuart & Co. Winery” to learn more about the experience.


After a year and a half, I finally worked up the nerve to open a bottle of the Pinot and, man, am I grateful that it also turned out awesome!

The aroma sparkles with notes of raspberries, black cherries and a touch of earthy spice and leads into a light bodied, fruit forward pinot with bright acidity. Finishing with touch of cola, the wine lingers on the palate without weighing it down and opens the door for fantastic food pairings. Good thing I have a second bottle!

Thanks to the folks at R. Stuart for hosting a great event and making my team’s dream bottle of “Gratitude” come to life!

What are you thankful for this year? What bottle of wine are you going to celebrate with?

Dig into Oregon Wine

If you missed Lenne’s last dirty event, you are in luck. They are at it again. Come out to Lenne Estate and discover why they say “soil is everything!”

Enjoy a blind tasting of eight high-end Oregon Pinot Noirs and learn how terroir, the soul and the essence of the wine, influences its flavor profile. The event will showcase four wines from the Dundee Hills and four from Yamhill-Carlton. Sample each and learn how volcanic soil differs from sedimentary soil.

  • When: November 9th, 10:30 a.m. – noon
  • Where: 18760 NE Laughlin Road ~ Yamhill, OR 97148
  • Cost: $25 per person
  • RSVP: By tickets online

Get Dirty for Oregon Wine

Get down to the dirt about Oregon wine at Lenne Estate!

This saturday, August 24 from 10:30 – noon, enjoy a comparative tasting of wines produced from two different soil types and locations. It’s a head-to-head battle that will be oh-so-palate-pleasing. Enjoy samples of four wines from the volcanic, Dundee Hills and four wines from the sedimentary, Yamhill-Carlton district and learn how these soils play into each wines’ flavor profile.

Tickets are $25 per person and must be purchased in advance. Find out more on Lenne Estate’s website.

Love and Bubbles at Pairings Portland Wine Shop

Love and tiny bubbles are in the air this season – and both will be floating around on Sunday, February 10th at one of Portland’s newest wine shops, Pairings Portland.

Enjoy six perfect pairings featuring Missionary Chocolates from 4 – 6 pm for $20 and get your taste buds prepped and ready for a romantic Valentine’s Day.

Pairings include:

  • Cerdon de Bugey Kermit Lynch with blood orange chocolate
  • Cossart Gordon 5 Year Bual Madiera with salted caramel chocolate
  • Smith Woodhouse 10 Year Tawny Port with a chocolate covered pretzel
  • Pezzi King Zinfandel with chipotle chocolate
  • Tintero Moscato Gramella with chinato
  • Catherine & Pierre Breton Vouvray Dilettante with a special surprise!

To reserve your space call (541) 531-7653 or email jeff@pairingsportland.com.


Pairings Portland is located at 455 NE 24th Avenue (SW Corner of 24th & Glisan) and will be hosting a grand opening later this spring. The wine shop will feature unique wines including sustainable, organic and conscious wines to wines “too good not to carry.” Also look forward to more events, classes and of course delicious wine and food pairings!

I will be there, so make sure to stop by and say “hi!”

A Wicked Pairing: Halloween and Wine

From sexy costumes to sultry chocolates, Halloween has turned up its “hellish hot” dial in the past few decades – at least for those over the age of 21. Now instead of the ghoulish goblins and villainous vampires (and anyone dressed up as a character from the Twilight series doesn’t count), on all hallows eve we now have 1920s pin-ups and smokin’ fire fighters. And while I’d never complain about a pillowcase full of candy, my palate for the holiday has changed too.

Bring on the frightening good wine! So for this year I’m following the trend and pairing Naked Winery’s luscious wines with my Halloween celebrations – and it’s bound to get a little risque once the corks pop.

Start the Halloween party off right with a little Foreplay.

With a crispy apple flavor, touch of nuttiness on the finish and a soothing balance of acidity, Naked Winery’s Foreplay Chardonnay gets the evening rolling with its light and easy nature. Sip this juicy number with party-pleasers like popcorn balls while you and your friends get flirty bobbing for apples strings.

Blindfolded couple try to eat apple

Get down, dirty and Merlot

Now that you’re warm and the party is started, it’s time to bring on the chocolate. Whether you stay in and snitch mini Hershey bars and Twix candies from the Trick-or-Treaters’ stash or you head out on the town, pour a glass of their 2009 Merlot to compliment your sweet tooth. With a tight blend of cherry and plum on the mid-palate and a finish of spice and smoke from the wine’s oak aging, this Merlot flirts in your mouth like a jazzy Louis Armstrong tune or the she-devil/ripped lumber-jack costumed duo hanging out in your hallway.

Naked Winery Merlot

Leave em’ with a sweet Tease

Now that you have the holiday party wrapped around your little finger, tease them with Naked Winery’s Riesling and like puppy dogs they (or just that special someone) will follow your lead for the rest of haunting night. With a lingering tropical flavor like seductive summer fruit, hot honey and pineapple, this Riesling gets you bopping and juiced up to head out (or in) for the night. Also if you haven’t figured out a costume yet for Halloween, here’s a fun 1989 group suggestion that this wine might just lead to!


About Naked Winery

Located in Hood River, Naked Winery focuses on making high quality wines that “enhance the romance of wine by pleasing the palate.” They create wines that taste good and make you feel good – without taking life too seriously (I appreciate that!). With vineyards in the Willamette Valley and Rogue Valley in Oregon and Columbia Valley in Washington, Naked Winery produces eight varieties of wine under two labels.  With a provocative brand, Naked Winery gets the senses and interests peaked easily before opening and with prices ranging from $15 – $28, one of their bottles are sure to please – or should I say palate haunt this Halloween.

What are your favorite wines to pair with Halloween?

A Photo Tour of Willamette Valley Vineyards

As part of the first day of the Wine Blogger’s Conference, all the wine-Os hopped on mystery buses to visit  some of the state’s best wineries. My bus headed south to Willamette Valley Vineyards near Salem, Oregon to walk the vineyards, enjoy a delicious meal and of course drink their sold, Oregon wines.

Enjoy some photos from our tour:

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10 Things I Learned at #WBC12

Bringing together over 300 wine geeks – from industry members to writers and general wine lovers – the Wine Bloggers Conference, this year in Portland, Oregon poured with excitement. As you can imagine, the event was filled with delicious wines from across the world along with writing workshops, winery tours and general wine-centered mischief. But over the course of three days and four long nights, oh did I learn from my fellow wine bloggers.

Here are my top 10 lessons from #WBC12:

1. Tasting wine with other wine bloggers is one of the best ways to learn about wine.

2. When there are over 100 wines to taste at an event, never have a full glass. You will just ruin your palate quicker.

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A Taste for Excellence

It’s the final week of The Lexus of Portland A Taste for Excellence Challenge – which means wine, wine and more wine.

For the past two weeks, five Oregon wineries have been competing to get votes to be named Oregon’s Most Excellent Winery – but don’t worry other wineries, I think you are pretty special too! As part of the challenge, Lexus of Portland has hosted wine tasting events with each of the wineries.

By voting for your favorite winery, you’re automatically entered to win awesome Oregon prizes to keep you wine’d up and rested -  like a 2-night stay at The Allison Inn & Spa, The Governor Hotel, Hotel Lucia, and Hotel deLuxe; with free dinner and a weekend Lexus rental! Other prizes include spa gift cards, tasting tickets and full VIP car details from Lexus of Portland. Winners are selected from people who’ve voted for their favorite Oregon winery through the Lexus of Portland Facebook page. Vote here.

This Friday, July 27th from 6-8:30 p.m. though is the tastiest part. (aka party time!)

The party is at Lexus of Portland and features live music, catered food and of course wine from the winning winery! And it’s all free.

Just don’t forget to RSVP.

Celebrating Oregon Wine

To kick off Oregon Wine Month, the Oregon Wine Board set loose more than 80 wineries on Portland’s Leftbank Annex on April 29 for an evening of unforgettable tastings all under one roof. With representatives from all the wine regions across the state, the tasting event, UnWine’d, served up samples to celebrate the industry and everyone’s love for the Oregon grown and Oregon made drink.

UnWined at the Leftbank Annex

From Pinot Noir to Syrah, Chardonnay and Roses, I couldn’t image a better way to celebrate than with a glass. I drove up from Eugene after running the Eugene Marathon half to enjoy wine and merriment with my fellow wine lovers. The highlights of the night for me included:

Additionally the event kept the tummies happy as well with delicious bite-sized food by Oregon restaurants. Two of my favorite were Nora’s Table with its pecan ganache bar and Urban Farmer’s Oregon lamb shoulder with quinoa.

To continue the celebration all month long, pick up a bottle of Oregon wine at your local market or wine store and drink-up and enjoy!

Comment with your favorite new Oregon wines that you discover this May!