I’m in trip planning mode. First a trip to the Great Smokey Mountains and later in the year a trip to Savannah, GA. Both are just hours away so we won’t have to worry about airfare, crowded planes, Atlanta’s Hartsfield/Jackson which I’m positive are the Gates of Hell or car rentals.
While I’ll get my fill of moonshine in the Smokey Mountains and microbrews in Savannah, neither are great wine destinations, unlike the state of focus in this post, Oregon.
Those of you who are familiar with my blog, know how much I love Portland and nearby Willamette Valley. For those of you who are new to my blog, Portland is where my husband and I got married, five years ago this May. Neither of us had been to Portland but we watched enough Travel Channel and Food Network to know a wedding at VooDoo Doughnut was the perfect ceremony for us. The food and microbrews of Portland are wonderful but another big draw; Willamette Valley and their famous Pinot Noir wine. I recently had the opportunity to sample Elizabeth Chambers first national release, Winemaker’s Cuvee Pinot Noir and have to say, this wine is an amazing representation of Pinot Noir.
Color in the glass is a light garnet color. Aromas of strawberry and spice followed by ripe dark fruit flavors of plum and cherry with a long vanilla finish. Tannins are soft and supple. We paired with homemade pasta complete with handmade pasta and gravy.
Appellation – Willamette Valley
Varietal – 100% Pinot Noir
pH – 3.79
TA – 5.1 g/L
Alcohol – 13.3%
SRP – $32
Elizabeth’s family winemaking history in Willamette Valley goes back to the early 1990’s. Located in McMinnville, OR, Elizabeth Chambers Cellar represents the wines she serves to friends and family now available on a national level. Her goal was to create a softer more elegant style of Pinot Noir while maintaining the uniqueness of the vineyards where the grapes are sourced.
The 2011 Winemaker’s Cuvee grapes were sourced primarily from Freedom Hill and Lazy River vineyards. Working beside 20 year winemaker veteran Michael Stevenson, the two use a micro-négociant method for sourcing grapes and growers. Partnering with top growers yet allowing the pair to be in constant communication and have a say in viticultural choices ranging from pruning to harvest.
Striving to maintain the natural flavors of the vineyard the use of new wood is restricted while using whole cluster fermentation provides intensity of the fruit leaving the wine with complex and subtle flavors.
I recently read a Facebook post from a friend whose husband travels a lot for work. This time he was in Bangkok and she mentioned he’s not adventurous with his food and so far had only eaten at McDonald’s and Subway. I could only shake my head and think selfishly, “Travel is wasted on some people.” I know, it was bad of me to think but I can’t imagine not diving into the food culture of not just another country but even another city or state. For me when in Portland, I hit the food trucks and microbrew pubs, in Charleston – Low Country foods, Savannah – Southern food and in Key West it’s seafood, well usually of the fried variety, they love their fryers in KW, my only constant, I always save room for wine at the end of the day.