Fall is by far my favorite time of year. The crisp air with a tinge of wood smoke, blue skies, stunningly colorful leaves, harvesting of apples and pumpkins, and of course, the crushing of wine grapes.
There is no better place to experience the colors and tastes of fall than the Columbia River Gorge. Hood River, Oregon, is just one hour east of Portland and is the full fall experience — wineries, fruit stands, pumpkin patches, and more.
The Willamette Valley often overshadows this picturesque region. But with rolling hills, access to Oregon’s famed Mt. Hood, and stellar wind surfing along the Columbia River, it’s the perfect place for wine! (more…)
Urban winemaking. It almost sounds like an oxymoron.
But it’s one of the best new trends in wine. Especially since it allows winemakers to work in collective or shared facilities or even in their own garages – lowering the costs and barriers to entry, and giving them the freedom to experiment with varietals sourced all over the place. And that leads to a newness and freshness that these emerging winemakers thrive on.
There are more than a dozen urban wineries in the Portland area – but there are also urban wineries in Eugene, Roseburg, and even as far South as Medford – and they’re making some fantastic wine. We’ve devoted several of our monthly selections to urban winemakers and collectives, and I always love highlighting these winemakers and letting people know how easy it can be to taste wine right in the middle of your city! (more…)
I love Oregon. I love wine.
And I love discovering and sharing great Oregon wine.
Like a lot of folks, as I was exploring the world of Oregon wine, I found myself joining one wine club after another.
Again and again, I kept wondering, “How come there’s not a single wine club that will just send me great stuff from all over Oregon?”
And from that little idea, Cellar 503 was born. (more…)
The 100-point wine rating system has become the Rosetta stone of the wine world – translating wine into quality and value terms that consumers around the world can easily understand. While the system may be helpful and certainly succeeds in driving wine sales, it does have a number of pitfalls that wine lovers need to be aware of if they hope to make smart buying decisions. (more…)
What do you think of when you think of Oregon and wine? Most people would say pinot noir, but Portland’s leading edge urban wine scene is a reminder that Oregon’s winemakers have more tricks up their sleeves. Port in Portland? Check. Sangria in Stumptown? Got it. Rosé in the City of Roses? Oh yeah. But let’s ditch the puns and get to tasting. While at last count there were at least 12 winemakers in the city limits, here are three special ones look for on your next visit. (more…)
Whether they’re served hot or cold, small bites and tapas make for excellent party fare, and are best paired with good company and a great bottle of wine. But what wine will you choose? With multiple flavor combinations and trays of different hors d’oeuvres circulating through the room, wine pairings become a little like Russian roulette.
Here is a simple wine and appetizer pairing guide to help you find the perfect accompaniment to several popular starters: (more…)
Without a smooth-talking salesperson to serve as co-pilot, wandering the aisles of wine shops and supermarkets can feel like losing yourself in the Bermuda Triangle. Some wine lovers go in with a list, while others simply prefer to wing it and let wine fate determine the perfect bottle. Favorite grape varieties and familiar wine regions certainly help narrow down the search, but when everything else is equal, what really causes one bottle to win out over the other?
Art and copy has ruled the advertising world for over a century, selling us with sleek designs and compelling content. But what exactly lies behind the design of wine labels, and what, if any, are the psychological games at work? (more…)
In a world populated by thousands of grape varieties, it’s hard to point to one that delivers quite as well as Malbec.
Genetically speaking, Malbec is France’s native son (where it is also known as Côt and Auxxerois). Its roots go back to Southwest France and the Cahors Region, but historically Malbec was never given much air time. French Malbec is generally intensely colored, but aggressively tannic on the palate and was often used in Bordeaux blends to add color, intensity, and aromas. But mostly, Malbec lived in the margins.
Over time it proved to be no match for the star-studded reputations of the French noble grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. It simply couldn’t compete. So, in 1852 Miguel Pouget, a French agronomist hired by the Argentine government, brought Malbec into an arena where, he hoped, it would have a fighting chance. (more…)
Sparkling wine has long been associated with several things: wealth, celebration, and, perhaps… a little bit of bad behavior. But when it comes to learning how to taste wine like a true bubbly connoisseur, you’ll want to brush up on the basics, thereby ensuring that any bad behavior only comes out after a few glasses – and never at the tasting table.
Tasting a wine requires that you first know what you’re up against, in this case – it means knowing that champagne and sparkling wine are not one and the same, no matter how much the bartender insists otherwise. Champagne refers to sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France. Anything else touting the same name is nothing more than a doppelgänger. (more…)
In wine jargon, terroir is a term that is trending amongst oenophiles and befuddling wine novices. Though the frilly French pronunciation (ter-wahr) may scare you off, it’s actually a useful term that will help you become a savvy wine drinker – and earn a few wine vocab points along the way.
Terroir comes from the Latin root meaning “earth” and refers to the collection of environmental elements that give wine a sense of place. (more…)