Summer of Rosé: 2014 Blakeslee Rosé of Pinot Noir

“Summer of what?” You ask. Rosé. Duh. My goal is to provide you, my dear readers, with a new rosé to seek out and try. Hence, the title…Summer of Rosé.

I will forewarn you, some of the wines are only available through the tasting rooms. I will do my best to provide you with the information necessary to order these wines.

2014 Blakeslee Rosé of Pinot Noir
2014 Blakeslee Rosé of Pinot Noir

For the next installment, I decided that I’d venture into Oregon’s famed Willamette Valley and feature one of my favorite Willamette Valley wineries. Located in the Chehalem Mountains, between the towns of Sherwood and Newberg, Blakeslee Vineyard‘s beautiful grounds overlook the eastern portion of the Willamette Valley. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Hood from their parking lot.

Bill and Sheila Blakeslee purchased the former Quail’s Hill Vineyard in 2005, with the intent of being growers. Their first vintage in 2006 was unintentional, resulting from a trade with another winery of fruit for bottled wine. In 2010, they brought on winemaker Robert Brittan. 2011 brought Bill’s retirement from the corporate world, where he had made many connections with various wineries in the Willamette Valley. In 2013, Blakeslee Vineyard opened their tasting room, after determining that their first vintages were ready to be presented to the public.

This beautiful Rosé of Pinot Noir is a treat. With cherries and strawberries on the nose, you’re drawn into this wine from the start. The cherries carry through on the palate, and are offset with great acidity and the slightest hint of sweetness at the end. I would honestly not pair this with food, even though it certainly could go with just about anything you serve. For me, the perfect pairing on this is a pleasant evening on your back porch with good friends and good laughs.

This Rosé is not available on the website, but I recommend calling the tasting room at 503-625-6902 and seeing if you can procure some of this fantastic example of a Willamette Valley Rosé.

Zomato? What’s that? ~*~*~New App Alert for the Foodies~*~*~

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the Portland Community Engagement Lead for Zomato and learn about this new and exciting app for our mobile devices. What is Zomato, you ask? Are you familiar with Urbanspoon? Well, as of January 2015, Urbanspoon became part of the Zomato family, and as of June 2015, the Urbanspoon brand was transitioned the new Zomato brand.

The only thing that is missing from Zomato is Urbanspoon’s famous “shake-to-search” feature. For those of you unfamiliar with Urbanspoon, if you were feeling lucky, you could log in to Urbanspoon, shake your mobile device and let the rules of probability guide your chosen meal. It would come up with cuisine (for example, “American”), a place (for example, “Burger King”) and price (for example, “$”, meaning affordable). Zomato chose to do away with that option when they acquired Urbanspoon, instead focusing more on your location. Personally, I love the location feature, as I can be picky when it comes to cuisine (yes, I’m admitting that I’m a picky foodie!). By removing the shake-to-search feature, if I’m not feeling like a specific cuisine that’s recommended, I can continue to scroll through and not look like a dork shaking my phone to find what suits my fancy at that point.

Where Zomato took away the popular feature, “shake-to-search”, they replaced with not only the comprehensive location option, but the collections feature. Looking for a great wine bar? Look in the collections feature under “Wine Bars”! Looking for a celebrity chef’s establishment? Again, look in the collections feature under “Celebrity Chefs”! Feeling like Pizza? Look under the “Upper Crust” collection! From gluten-free to Vegan and sushi to brunch, Zomato has what you’re looking for.

If you’re thinking, “Oh geez. Another fly-by-night app that’s not going to have all the information I need,” have no fear. Zomato’s employees walk every street, talking with every restaurant and bar owner to find out the most recent menu, most accurate contact information and hours of operation. If they haven’t found your favorite place yet, contact them!

Send a blogger to Blogger Camp! A plea…

How many times have you ever looked at a conference registration fee, airfare and hotel costs and went, “Damn. I can’t afford that!” and turned down the opportunity to go?

How many times have you ever attended a conference and went, “Damn! I wish there was a way for more people to enjoy and experience this conference!”

Well, the Wine Bloggers Conference has a remedy for both of those questions. While applications for the 2015 Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship have closed, there’s still a need for donations!

Right now, we have a challenge from Amy Gross, CEO of Wine 4 Me. If $500 is raised via donations from generous folks like yourself, she will donate $500 to the scholarship fund! Here’s the details on the #MakeThemPay Donation Challenge. So please, find even an extra $5 and donate! Every little bit helps in sending a wine blogger to what we affectionately call Blogger Camp.

The view from one of the wine country excursion dinners at last years WBC in Santa Barbara.
The view from one of the wine country excursion dinners at last years WBC in Santa Barbara.

About the WBC Scholarship

Established in 2009, the Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship provides wine bloggers an opportunity to attend the Conference. Conference participants get to enjoy a weekend in a beautiful place, make fantastic connections with bloggers and industry insiders, all while enhancing their personal brand awareness levels.

Unfortunately, there are people who can’t afford to the costs associated with the conference. These individuals are called citizen bloggers. Recipients of the scholarship are not affiliated with a winery or other company within the wine industry, thus their title as a citizen blogger. Attention is given to citizen bloggers who’ve never attended the conference, who post wine-related content regularly, are established and who have an interest in furthering their knowledge of wine and wine regions through some form of a collegiate level program relating to wine (i.e. graduate or undergraduate degrees with an emphasis on the wine industry, such as wine/hospitality business management, viticulture or enology).

During the application process, prospective recipients are asked to describe their blog, their financial need pertaining to the conference and why they feel they are deserving of sponsorship. A committee of established wine bloggers then selects the recipients based on the criteria listed.

Anyone can be an individual donor for any amount they wish and they will be rewarded with two ribbons to place on their conference badge (if they attend the conference, that is). Thanks to a partnership through Enobytes.com, the Scholarship fund is able to be recognized as a US-based 501(c) non-profit, your donation is tax free (upon consultation with your tax professional, of course).

Corporate sponsors are always welcome as well. For more information on being a corporate sponsor and the benefits associated with corporate sponsorship, please reach out to Scholarship Co-Founder Thea Dwelle at info@wbcscholarship.com.

Congratulations to the following scholarship recipients (as of 6/29/2015):

Rodney Strong Vineyards Wine Blogger Scholarship: Matt McGinnis of What Are You Drinking.

Other recipients, including the Ethnifacts Diversity in Wine Writing Scholarship (read more here), TBA. This post will be updated and rebroadcast via social media with updates.

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship Fund committee.

5 Tips for Surviving the Wine Bloggers Conference

The annual Wine Bloggers Conference is just around the corner. This year, we will be in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York. For all of you veterans of the WBC, you may be familiar with this advice, so pay me no mind. Newbies, take note.

This is my 4th conference. EEEEK! Has it really been that long since I was a wet-behind-the-ears rookie in my own backyard of PDX? Wow. Time flies.

TIP #1
The Wine Bloggers Conference is honestly the best conference for citizen bloggers to connect with industry insiders. You will connect with some great folks who are within the industry. From PR reps (both independent and attached to wineries) to winemakers to owners, you will be talking, eating and drinking with them.

If you’re going to be doing all this great networking, why not bring business cards? I know, it sounds old and dated, but how else are going to remember everyone’s name and contact information?

My business card.  It's simple, yet effective.
My business card. It’s simple, yet effective.

And don’t throw those cards away, either. I have a binder that I picked up and have business card inserts for. I pick cards up in tasting rooms, at festivals, media events and *especially* WBC. Having those cards at the ready is a good thing! If you’re planning a trip and you know you’ll be in the area of a particular winery, why not reach out to the contact you made at WBC (or any other event) and at least let them know you’ll be in the area and would like to visit.

Just a few of the cards I've collected over the years
Just a few of the cards I’ve collected over the years.
More of the cards I've collected.  Some WBC contacts/connections, while others aren't.
More of the cards I’ve collected. Some WBC contacts/connections, while others aren’t.
Other bloggers cards!  Exchange your cards with other bloggers, too!  We all read each other's stuff.
Other bloggers cards! Exchange your cards with other bloggers, too! We all read each other’s stuff.

TIP #2

Don’t be offended if you don’t get invited to an after-party or side tasting. This is something that comes with time and networking. Last year in Santa Barbara, the best party I went to was one that I heard of via word of mouth. So keep an ear to the ground. Also, watch the #wbc15 hashtag. Seriously. There will be announcements.

Rosé at one of the after parties in Santa Barbara.
Rosé at one of the after parties in Santa Barbara.

TIP #3

Technology. Bring it. Have your chargers, extra memory cards, etc. with you, too. ‘Nuff said.

Technology...wine...what's not to love?
Technology…wine…what’s not to love?

TIP #4

This should be a given, but hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! There is going to be a lot of wine and we need to remember that while this is a fun conference, it is still somewhere that we’re representing our own personal brands. Also, spitting during the speed tastings is essential. You have 5 minutes to taste, evaluate, learn and tweet/blog about a wine. 10 wines. One hour. Yeah. It’s hard, but necessary to maintain composure.

The craziness that is Live Wine Blogging.  Notice the concentration levels.
The craziness that is Live Wine Blogging. Notice the concentration levels.

TIP #5

Have FUN! This conference is designed for us to learn about a new region, meet others and enjoy. Find a random dart board at a winery and play a quick game. Find out if someone has Cards Against Humanity and join in on some hilarious, twisted, wretched minds. Make friends from different walks of life than your own.

Enjoying the dart board at Pres'quile Winery during WBC '14.
Enjoying the dart board at Pres’quile Winery during WBC ’14.

Disclosure: In exchange for a reduced rate to the Wine Bloggers Conference, attendees are required to write at least three blog posts about the conference either before, during or after.

One Girl, One Glass in the Kitchen: Compound Butter

This is all you need for compound butter.

Compound butter is one of those things that sounds daunting to make, but it really easy.  Seriously.  All you need is a butter, some herbs and/or vegetables and some additional seasonings (if you so wish).  Oh, and either a really good mixer or food processor.

My favorite compound butter to make is a Rosemary/Sage/Thyme and Shallot blend.

This is all you need for compound butter.
This is all you need for compound butter.

To make my compound butter, I use my Nutri-Ninja | Ninja Blender Duo with Auto-IQ and the optional food processor attachment.

Ninja with Auto-IQ technology and the optional food processor attachment.
Ninja with Auto-IQ technology and the optional food processor attachment.

The powerful 1300 watt motor on the Ninja makes crafting compound butter a breeze!  Especially if you forget to take the butter out of the fridge to let it soften (true story).  In just a few pulses, your compound butter is ready to go on to whatever dish you like.  I personally love putting an herbed compound butter on salmon and letting it melt as it bakes.

Disclaimer: The Nutri-Ninja | Ninja Blender Duo with Auto IQ was provided to me for review purposes from the manufacturer.

Easy Compound Butter
A quick and easy compound butter
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 stick of butter
  2. 1 package of poultry blend herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme)
  3. 1 shallot
  4. salt (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Pulse until combined.
Notes
  1. You can add any herbs or veggies you would like. The opportunities on compound butter are endless!
One Girl, One Glass, One World http://www.onegirloneglassoneworld.com/

 

 

 

  

Summer of Rosé: Charles & Charles Rosé

“Summer of what?” You ask. Rosé. Duh. My goal is to provide you, my dear readers, with a new rosé to seek out and try. Hence, the title…Summer of Rosé.

I will forewarn you, some of the wines are only available through the tasting rooms. I will do my best to provide you with the information necessary to order these wines.

The 2014 vintage continued a trend in Washington for warmer vintages. Mid-summer brought on blazing high temperatures that led to early ripening. By mid-September, it had cooled off, so the ripening process slowed. With the ripening process slowed, the flavor profiles are allowed to develop into the intense, luscious fruit that Washington is known for. The 2014 Charles & Charles Rosé shows just how seductive Washington wines can be.

Charles & Charles has an interesting backstory. In July of 2008, Charles Bieler called Charles Smith with a proposition. That proposition was to make world class rosé in the Columbia Valley. Bieler felt as though Smith was the best winemaker in the state and wanted to, at the very least, consult with him on this endeavor and meet growers that they felt were able to provide them with fantastic grapes. Once they realized that the Columbia Valley as a whole was producing outstanding fruit, they expanded the project to include a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2014, they added a Riesling to their lineup, according to their site. For more information on their backstory, go here.

2014 Charles & Charles Rosé
2014 Charles & Charles Rosé

This rosé is a blend of 72% Syrah, 8% Mourvèdre, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Grenache, 3% Cinsault, 3% Counoise. On the nose, there’s tart red berries that intermingle with hints of wet stone minerality and citrus. The tart red berries carry through to the palate, adding a burst of cherry along the way. On the back palate, the minerality and citrus linger, making the finish quite delightful. I would pair this with a lovely summer evening, a firepit and some good laughs. This wine is so approachable that food isn’t necessary. If you feel like adding food, I would recommend pairing this with your preferred chicken or salmon recipe.

Known for their motto, “You can still drink rosé and be a bad ass,” Charles & Charles introduces one to an exquisite Washington wine experience without the exquisite prices. A quick perusal of their online store shows that the MSRP on all their wines is $14. You can often find the rosé for around $10 in your local grocery store, though.

Summer of Rosé: Basel Cellars 2901 Rosé

“Summer of what?” You ask. Rosé. Duh. My goal is to provide you, my dear readers, with a new rosé to seek out and try. Hence, the title…Summer of Rosé.

I will forewarn you, some of the wines are only available through the tasting rooms. I will do my best to provide you with the information necessary to order these wines.

It’s no secret that I love Basel Cellars. No secret whatsoever. I’ve featured or mentioned them here, here and here. Part of it is that they have some of the most amazing, caring and friendliest people working for them. From their tasting room staff to their sales team…everyone that I’ve met who is part of the Basel team is awesome. The other part is that they produce damn good wines at reasonable prices. Two things I strive for while walking this planet is surrounding myself with good people and good wine. Basel’s staff meets the first qualification, while their wines meet the second.

When deciding on which wines to feature for this series, I knew that I had to feature this lovely Rosé of Syrah first.

Basel Cellars 2901 Rosé of Syrah
Basel Cellars 2901 Rosé of Syrah

So you’re probably wondering, “Where does the 2901 come from?” Well, 2901 happens to be part of their address in Walla Walla. The 2901 pays homage to the estate itself and anyone who has ever enjoyed themselves at Basel Cellars’ beautiful grounds.

What about the wine? Well, on the nose, there’s lovely hints of tart strawberries and raspberries that is underlaid by a rhubarb note that brings this together. On the palate, there’s tart berries, fantastic acidity and a lingering finish that makes you crave for more. This is a true varietal wine, as this is composed of 100% Syrah. The grapes are estate-grown and were picked two weeks before the actual Syrah harvest in order to ensure more acidity and less sugar. That attention to balance is what catapulted this wine to the top of my list.

The recommended pairing is charcuterie, but in all honesty…this could go with just about whatever you wanted to pair it with. Personally, I would pair this with these Smoked Beef Brisket Nachos from my friends over at Vindulge and Ember & Vine Barbecue and Wood Fired Catering because I feel as though it’s one of those pairing that would just work. Don’t ask me why, but I feel as though it would (oh…wait…maybe it’s because the nachos worked with a Syrah…hey Mary & Sean, let’s try them with this Syrah Rosé!!). The couple behind Vindulge and Ember & Vine are awesome as well, and if you haven’t given them some Facebook, Twitter or Instagram love, GO DO IT!!

To purchase:

If you’re in the Portland, OR area, go visit Cellar 55 at 1812 Washington, Vancouver, WA 98660

If you’re in the Seattle, WA area, go visit the Basel Cellars Tasting Room in Woodinville at 15029 Woodinville Redmond Rd #102, Woodinville, WA 98072

If you’re in the Walla Walla, WA area, go visit the mothership at 2901 Old Milton Hwy, Walla Walla, WA 99362

You can also order this rosé online at Basel Cellars Online Store.

Kudos Wines – An affordable and great introduction to Oregon Wines

According to Merriam Webster, the word “kudos” means “praise or respect that you get because of something you have done or achieved”. For Laurent Montalieu, this word takes a new meaning. Providing quality wine at affordable prices is always a key way to introduce folks to new wines and regions. With nothing over $35 a bottle, Kudos Wines are definitely a great introduction to Oregon wines.

I was recently approached to review 4 of the Kudos wines. For the purpose of this post, I was presented with their 2014 Pinot Gris, 2014 Chardonnay, 2013 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and 2012 Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir.

The lineup of Kudos wines
The lineup of Kudos wines

I first opened the Chardonnay. This was an interesting wine. With notes of pineapple and lime on the nose, I was intrigued. When I chilled the wine down a little more, just to see if the aromas were still there, I was hit with another interesting smell. Coconut. I’ve never in my life smelled coconut on a Chardonnay, so needless to say I was captivated by it. On the palate there’s nice hints of white stone fruit and citrus. When it’s cold, there the stone fruit turns into pronounced peaches and the citrus is shown with lime. Available at Total Wine and More for $14.99, this is a wine worth seeking out.

Kudos Chardonnay
Kudos Chardonnay

About a week later, I opened the 2014 Pinot Gris. This Pinot Gris greets you with loads of citrus mingled with stone fruit on the nose. On the palate, the citrus carries through and a distinct note of peaches is found, along with hints of minerality to give it a bite and some sweetness to round out the finish. This is another wine worth seeking out and it won’t break the bank. A quick search of the website shows a “buy now” link that leads to Total Wine, where they sell the Pinot Gris for $11.99.

Kudos Pinot Gris
Kudos Pinot Gris

Shortly after opening the Pinot Gris, I went for the gusto and opened both Pinot Noirs on the same night. Oh my…was that a blast!!

Comparing and contrasting not only the vintage differences, but the AVA differences as well was an experience. The 2012 Reserve led the charge with a nose of ripe red berries and figs, while counterbalancing the nose with an earthy, yet fruity palate that makes Oregon Pinots so desirable. This wine is approachable and would be a great introduction to Oregon Pinot Noir.

2012 Kudos Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir
2012 Kudos Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir

The 2013 is a slouch, though. With a nose full of black tea and dark berries, this wine leads you the path of least resistance. On the palate, there’s red fruit, spice and vanilla that bring a nice balance. I would recommend leaving this open for a bit, as the experience just keeps getting better with this wine the longer it’s opened.

2013 Kudos Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
2013 Kudos Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

In conclusion, I would highly recommend all of the Kudos wines. The marriage of great wine and a great price point is always a good way to introduce people to the beauty that is Oregon wine, and these deliver on both of those accounts.

Disclaimer: The wines featured in this post were provided as samples by the winery.

*~*~Product Review*~*~ Vinomax Aerators

I was recently approached to review a new aeration device that’s coming to the wine market. What is aeration, you ask? Basically, it’s a way to oxidate and evaporate a wines’ volatile characteristics, thus bringing out more of the desirable flavors. There is a deeper explanation of aeration here.

If you want really want to find the true flavors of a wine, I would recommend the purchase an aeration device, such as the Vinomax Triple Aeration system. This system is easy to use, no matter which one you choose. I was provided with the Handheld Aerator with Stand and the Pourer Aerator for this post. I found both products to be well made and, in the case of the handheld, can stand up to being thrown in a bag for a quick girls weekend. They’re also easy to clean, as they’re simple to disassemble (just twist at the arrows on the aerator) and dishwasher safe.

The Pourer Aerator is simple to use. All you have to do is uncork your wine and place the pourer aerator on the bottle. Seriously. It’s that easy. And if you end up breaking the cork? Well, you can use the Pourer Aerator as a stopper, as well. I may or may not admit to knowing this from experience, but it is certainly possible.

Pourer Aerator
Pourer Aerator
Close up of the Pourer Aerator
Close up of the Pourer Aerator

The Handheld Aerator is just as simple to use as the pourer aerator. If you can hold the aerator above the glass, you can use this aerator.

Handheld Aerator in it's stand
Handheld Aerator in it’s stand

Both of these aerators are great resources and should be in any winelover’s collection of tools. At $45 for the Pourer Aerator and $50 for the Handheld Aerator, they are a little on the spendy side but are a great investment at the same time! Personally, I prefer the convenience and limited mess of the Pourer Aerator, but I also like the size and feel of the Handheld Aerator.

Disclosure: I was provided with these two aeration devices in exchange for a blog post.

A Treat for A Girl’s Day: Jacob Williams Sadie Red

Girl’s Day Out.

What more can I say. For us ladies, days with our girlfriends are usually full of giggles, silliness, food and, of course, wine (or other alcoholic beverages)!

While on a Girl’s Day with a friend who I hadn’t seen in…well…honestly, forever, we went up the beautiful Columbia River Gorge and into the Columbia Gorge AVA. This is the new hotbed for up-and-coming wines…for good reason. Within 40 miles, a wide variety of grapes can be grown. Cooler varietals such as Pinot Noir and Riesling thrive in the cooler, marine climate of the western half, while warmer varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel flourish in the warmer, desert climate of the eastern half.

One of my favorite wineries in the Columbia River Gorge is Jacob Williams Winery. Founded in 2007 by the Gearhart family, Jacob Williams started with a small, temporary facility in Hood River and a tasting room in the town of Lyle, WA. As they expanded their production, it was decided that they would start looking for a place that would fit their current and long-term needs. They found a spot in the town of Wishram, near Avery Park, and consolidated their facilities to one location. This location is nestled along the banks of the Columbia River, so relaxing here isn’t an issue.

The view of the Columbia River from Jacob Williams' Tasting Room
The view of the Columbia River from Jacob Williams’ Tasting Room
Jacob Williams Winery Tasting Room
Jacob Williams Winery Tasting Room

One of my all-time favorite wines from Jacob Williams’ collection is their Sadie Red. This non-vintage red blend pays homage to the winery dog, Sadie. It also proves time and time again to be a great value.

Sadie Red
Sadie Red

The Sadie Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. The nose greets you with dark fruits and spice, while the palate shows off flavors of cranberry, dark fruits and hints of an aromatic floral note. There is a nice finish and mouthfeel with the Sadie Red as well. I would personally pair this with BBQ fare. At only $20, this is also a great way to introduce people to the world of Washington red blends.

Disclaimer: Wine was provided as a sample by the winery and my tasting fees were waived that day in exchange for a blog post.