Thursday, August 5, 2010

Last summer was Rosé, this summer is Spandex

Forgive me!!!! I have been such a neglectful blogger. I cannot believe how fast time has gone. Just last year I was starting this blog and cruising around the Willamette Valley discovering new wineries and making friends. I had loyal co-pilots and we revelled in the beauty of not only the amazing landscape but also in what filled our glasses. This summer through many a circumstance, has me far away from wine country and much closer to downward dogs and plies. The wellness part of my life is in high gear and I am loving every minute. NOT to imply I am not enjoying a glass of wine or fact these days, I am enjoying it the way most people do, just drinking what is poured without much contemplation. Though my sound experience over the last year has lead me to navigate a wine menu astutely and this summer has been ripe with some lovely New Zealand whites and Oregon Rosés. Not to mention a revived love affair with tequila...

I promise to be back with tales from the vines...til then keep your glasses full!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fueled By Fine Wine....could be my personal tag line

Hervé would argue this was his idea...but he didn't act on it, and someone else did.

July 11th, the first ever Half Marathon in Oregon's wine country! I just signed up and feel good about both my running and wine imbibing abilities...

Fueled by Fine Wine 1/2 Marathon:

Combine your passion for running and love of fine wine in one event! The spectacular course will take you past some of the most acclaimed wineries in Oregon, winding through pristine vineyards and providing a breathtaking view from the top of the Dundee Hills. And you can imagine the after-party – wear your race medal and shirt proudly as you sip and savor some of Oregon’s finest wines with friends and family.

Who's in?!!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Willamette Valley Wonderland

Hello All,

It's about time we did something like official wine excursion, open to all, DOWNpour style.

All the info is's gonna be a ball!

Willamette Valley Wonderland
Saturday, June 19th

Leave it to The Jacobs Group and DOWNpour to concept the ultimate afternoon in Oregon’s beautiful wine country. Those of you who have been fortunate enough to travel The Jacobs Group Style know you are experiencing the most authentic aspects of your destination. Those of you who have followed the happenings of DOWNpour know that Oregon’s wine country has never been explored quite like this.

Now is your chance to experience the two in a highly-curated afternoon of wine tasting in two of Oregon’s most exceptional tasting rooms. Needless to say, this is not your average wine tour. We don’t do average. What this is, is an opportunity to visit some of the Willamette Valley’s most desirable wineries, which might not be known to most (yet!), in a civilized, educational and exclusive manner.

This all-inclusive afternoon provides ECO-friendly transportation from Portland, tasting & tours at 2 wineries, gourmet lunch with wine and a few surprises along the way.

$125 per person (includes everything)

Space is extremely limited. Reserve now!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bad Bad Blogger

Ugh! Where have the last few weeks gone? I have been all too consumed in the wellness part of my life, and neglecting the wine part-a big NO NO in my book.

Not that I haven't enjoyed some fine wines as of late, I have but...let me rewind.

I realize I never recapped our OR vs CA vs Burgundy Pinot tasting. The long and short...the CA version (these were all 06's) had a very smoky nose and tastes much more like a hot grape wine than a Pinot, not bad, not great. The Burgundian wine, honestly...I don't even remember any good or bad qualities, it was drinkable for sure. The Belle Pente Oregon Pinot tasted like home to me. There is something so familiar with the smell of a nice Oregon Pinot that has had some time to sit. This was smooth, balanced and too easy to drink. Not to sound biased, but the Belle Pente was the show stopper, we all agreed. Sally, Jeff, Hervé and I-the big time wine panel.

Some other wine no particular order:

* While in Florida we tried the Ménage åT rois Rosé to much delight. This really does taste like a slice of Provence in my book. Dry, crisp and rosey in color. Definitely a good buy for summer.

* While eating at Sungari DragonWell in Portland I tried the Bethel Height Pinot Gris....PERFECT with Asian fusion!

*Irving Street Kitchen, a new spot in downtown Portland is serving wines on tap. Interesting concept indeed. I drank my fair share of Stoller's Pinot the other night and literally got all giddy when I had my first sip. If you've followed this blog, you know, I just dig the Stoller style.

* FINALLY hit Thistle in McMinnville. Cute concept, great bathroom, and decent food. I know some big food writer from the NYT would probably disagree, but I just have to say...for the price you pay, the portions are small. The steak was fabulous, but the gnocchi was not. Glad I tried, won't be running back. La Rambla down the block would be my first choice for a repeat visit.

Stay tuned, some fun wine events on the docket...including something at Wine by Joe called WineBarre, can you guess what this entails?!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Oregon wine country love, right down the street

So the Indie Wine Festival was held in a new location this year, The Bison Building, which conveniently is just a few blocks away from our house. It was the perfect spot. Lots of room to walk around and significant light and air from the outside, which helps in events like this, which can often be held in windowless convention halls (gross).

Generally in situations like this, I follow my wine radar and sample just a few wines (spitting this time, as I was taking a class that evening). I started with Angel Vine. This one man show is making wine out of Carlton and sourcing grapes from all over the state and Washington. His varietal of choice? Zinfandel. Not a common grape used in these parts, and I must say, I loved this stuff. I can ride the Pinot train with the best of them, but truth be told, more often than not, I gravitate to wine with plenty of zing, and Angel Vine did not disappoint. You will be hearing more about this winery from me and others most definitely.

Bumping into a few people I knew, I took their recommendations and sampled wine from Et Filles, where I fell in love with the 08 Kalita Vineyard Pinot Noir (3 bottles in tow). Next stop was Artisanal Wine Cellars where the 06 Pinot from the Adams Vineyard came highly endorsed by another winemaker and I am excited to crack open my bottle to share with friends.

I loved seeing all of these small production wineries in one room. Truthfully, I had only heard of a handful, and I think that is inspiring. I am motivated to explore these operations first hand this summer.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Indie Wine Festival-here I come!!!

I can't wait to report back... today is trade day, so I'll be rubbing shoulders with real wine journalists as well as wine retailers and restaurants from all over. Better be on my game!

Also, I've been meaning to recap our 2006 Pinot tasting, but my camera is not behaving, and photos make things so much better-so stay tuned!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Get em while they're cheap (ish)

The front page of the New York Times Travel section today was a massive advertising campaign for the Willamette Valley-and I mean this in the best sense. Highlighting Brick House for the organic winemaking they have been practicing for 20 years, this article endorses several Oregon wineries and even shouts out to Thistle restaurant in McMinnville. This piece only reinforces the idea that the NYT has a major crush (bad pun) on our beautiful state. I'd buy up your favorite wines now, before the thick wallets from Wall Street plan their summer vacation in our backyard.

Read this!

Congrats Jennifer Jacobs

She's the lucky winner of the Portland Indie Wine Festival Tickets!

If you don't manage to make it to the festival next week, fear not. I'll have a full recap for you soon!

On a side note: If you live in the Portland area-check out Cafe Nell in NW. Not only is this one of the cutest restaurants in town-the amazingly curated Oregon wine offerings should be noted. Literally, looking at the bottles sitting on the bar is like taking a trip through the Willamette Valley and beyond. Lots of usual suspects and some new names too. Generally you can find a handful of these wines on any larger scale local restaurant, but definitely not this extensive. Check it!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fingers Crossed

Tomorrow we will announce the winner of the Indie Wine Festival Tickets! For those of you who have become followers of downpour, I thank you!

Stay tuned for some more yummy wine recaps. I have been enjoying some nice CA Pinots (I know, the horror), but I can't wait to share some of my thoughts!

Doing a comparison tasting on Sunday eve and will download after this.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

C'est Vrai

I just stumbled upon an article I must have missed last week in FOOD DAY. I concur with the O. Stoller's JV Pinot is exceptional for the price, which is why I have several bottles sitting in my wine fridge. I'm suddenly thirsty....


2007 Stoller JV Estate Dundee Hills Pinot Noir ($25): Doubters of the rainy 2007 Willamette Valley vintage will be surprised by the bright purity of fruit in this juicy, floral and flavorful pinot.

Raspberries, cherries, cranberries and red roses dominate the nose and palate; there's also a savory dried-mushroom element that makes this a worthy match for rich foods.

The endlessly spicy finish sizzles with cloves and white pepper. Named for the younger or "junior" vines on the Stoller estate, this is an affordable alternative to Stoller's higher-end pinot noir bottlings, which run from $40 to $100.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Four Graces Shout Out

As many of you might be as well, I am a subscriber to the weekly newsletter Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow's popular site for sharing insider secrets for seeing, making, playing, going, doing etc.

Well I just got this weeks newsletter which is dedicated to wine. She has experts in the field respond to food and wine pairing questions. The majority of answers include foreign wines, Italy and France are well represented for wines that pair well with meats, pastas, desserts and salads. California producers get some love too. Oregon is only mentioned twice throughout the lengthy interviews. Where's the love?!!! Well, Goop does it's own endorsements at the end and calls out The Four Graces (just 1 of two wineries to get a mention)! What great exposure for this beautiful Oregon winery. You might remember when we cruised into this tasting room after Vino & Vinyasa.

I am so happy for these folks. Goop is read all over the world and undoubtedly this feature will have a positive impact on their business. Congrats!

Plug below:

GOOP reccomends:

The Four Graces

I’ve tried a selection of wines from The Four Graces Winery and they are something special. A husband and wife team, Steven and Paula Black bought the vineyard in 2003 and named their business after their four daughters. Based in Oregon, which is earning a reputation for producing excellent pinot noir, - as it is on the same latitude as Burgundy - all their pinots are sustainably farmed. Plus, they cover the spectrum of prices and start at a very affordable $29. Their Pinot Gris starts at $18.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Here's Your Chance

The city is all a buzz around the Indie Wine Festival this year. With a new very hip location and 40 winemakers not to be missed (national judges concur), this will be the place to BE May 8th. The pricetag is something to be swallowed ($75), or not...IF DOWNpour fans become fans of on Facebook, you are automatically entered to win the pair. All you have to do is get on Facebook and befriend, send a message or comment that you want the tix and keep your fingers crossed. A random drawing will be held April 30th.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Indie Wine Festival-Wines Announced

Check it out...I am SO excited to go to this...let me know if you are interested in being my date!

OK, we've picked the wineries for
the Portland Indie Wine & Food Festival this year
...and they're more amazing than ever

Forty wineries made the cut -- they're gearing up to pour at the festival

Portland, Ore. (4/2/2010) - The sixth annual Portland Indie Wine & Food Festival announced the names of the 40 Oregon craft wineries selected to pour their artisanal wines at the festival's Grand Tasting, to be held Saturday, May 8th from 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. in inner Northeast Portland. The 40 wineries will pour eighty-one wines in a Portland-appropriate spot - the spacious (13,000 square feet) industrial-chic Bison Building (recently home to a circus!). Plenty of room for fantastic wine as well as fantastic food served by 15 of the city's top restaurants.

"Our judges were blown away by the quality of the wines this year," said Lisa Donoughe, PIWF founder. "The 2007 vintage was a stunner vintage, and really a sleeper. The weather at harvest was such a question mark, and our winemakers stepped up to the challenge brilliantly," adds Donoughe.

Selected Wineries:

(listed in alphabetical order)

Ancient Cellars
Angel Vine
Antica Terra
Arborbrook Vineyards
Artisanal Wine Cellars
Barking Frog Winery
Big Table Farm
Blakeslee Vineyard Estate
Capitello Wines
Carlton Cellars
Coeur de Terre Vineyard
Cubanisimo Vineyards
de Lancellotti Family Vineyards
Domaine Margelle
Dukes Family Vineyards
Durant Vineyards
Et Fille Wines
Genius Loci
Gresser Vineyard
Iota Cellars
J. Scott Cellars
Johan Vineyards
Kandarian Wine Cellars
Le Cadeau Vineyard
Luminous Hills/Seven of Hearts
Merriman Wines
Monks Gate Vineyard
Quady North
Ribbon Ridge Vineyard
Ribera Vineyards
RR Winery
Thistle Wines
Velocity Cellars
VIDON Vineyard
Sno Road Winery
Vitae Springs Vineyard
Wahle Vineyards & Cellars
WildAire Cellars
Wy'East Vineyards

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I stumbled upon this video while perusing the newly re-launched My buddy Jim Gullo is the mastermind behind the site and it is really great. Check it out for all things Oregon Wine.

I thought this video was pretty entertaining. NY Hipsters conspire to open a winery in Walla Walla.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bruce said it

I am copying and pasting the latest email from Bruce over at Vino's in Sellwood. His line-up this past friday was fantastic (sorry to post this too late) and he is spot on regarding the need for Oregon wineries to get with the pricing program. Enjoy!

I don't want to beat a dead horse about how the Oregon wine industry seems to have been hit right between the eyes by the current economic conditions. Better to just wipe that smug I've-been-telling-you-so smile off my face and simply pour some wine for you this Friday that either have always been a reasonable deal, or have recently been dropped in price to where they can be called reasonable. The silver lining for the deserving consumer is the wide range of vintages available since everyone has put over-priced Oregon pinots on "ignore" for the past 18 months. We'll be showing off a range of 2006, 2007, and 2008 pinots. Oh, and don't believe everything you may have heard about the '07 pinots. There are some absolutely delicious, classic pinots from that year that are just now starting to show their stuff. You'll see what I mean tomorrow. The following are all bottles that would consider outstanding values. I'm particularly enamored right now by the #5 wine, the '07 Appolloni "Estate" which was a revelation when I retasted it a couple of weeks ago. This is local juice that I have no problem, getting with, so make your plans to check these out....
* 2006 CASH FLOW WINES Pinot Noir "Willamette Valley"
* 2008 BROOKS WINE Pinot Noir "Runaway Red"
* 2008 MCKINLAY VINEYARDS Pinot noir "Willamette Valley"
* 2007 LEMELSON VINEYARDS Pinot Noir "Six Vineyards"...ever seen a Lemelson pinot under $35 a pop? Neither had I. Then suddenly this mysterious blend appears. Me thinks there is some re-labeled unsold single vineyard '07 pinots enclosed within!
* 2007 APPOLLONI VINEYARDS Pinot Noir "Estate"...was $28, now $21. 'Nuff said!
Then of course there is more noir worth having....
* 2007 CROWLEY WINES Pinot Noir "Entre Nous"...was $27, still $27 and TOTALLY worth every penny!
* 2007 WESTREY WINE COMPANY Pinot Noir "Abbey Ridge"...fabulous pinot from one of Oregon's best...maybe the best...vineyards. Was $35.95, now $29.95!
* 2007 GROCHAU CELLARS Pinot Noir "Cuvée des Amis" of my favorite wines of the vintage. Beautiful pinot, a true classic. Was $36.95, now $30.95!

That should give you something to get excited by this weekend. Take a break from all the fine weather ahead (and no, we won't have the backyard open. It takes a few more nice days to dry everything out) and drink locally and maybe pick up a bottle or two to go with all the produce you'll get at the opening of the PDX Farmer's Market this Saturday. The cost for our pinot fest is just $10 for the first five, with a nominal charge for your bonus pleasure. All are welcome, and you can drop in anytime between 4:30-8:00!

We'll be slurping plenty of VINO E-Specials this Saturday at VINO during our FREE tasting from 11-6. It's time to put my words to the test (I'm not worried, BTW) with the following VINO bargains...
* 2007 CORVIDAE WINE CO. Cab-Merlot-Syrah "Rook"
* 2006 SALADINI PILASTRI Rosso Piceno 'Montetinello"
* 2008 VENTA MORALES Tempranillo
* 2009 DOMAINE SORIN Rosé de Provence "Terra Amata"


Bruce Bauer
1226 SE Lexington
Portland, Or 97202
ph: 503.235.8545
twitter: follow at

Friday, March 19, 2010

Trail Blazin'!

I am really excited to share what is sure to be a great event. The North Willamette Wine Trail, happening April 10-11 is the perfect way to spend a Spring weekend! Some of my favorite wineries, many of which have been featured on the blog are participating. Check out the website for all the details.

And, because I love my readers so much, I am offering you a chance to win 2 commemorative wine glasses from the event.

All you need to do is send me a note or post a comment on why you could use two new glasses. I like fun stories, so get creative!

Monday, March 8, 2010


Saturday goes down in the books. Needless to say, I have enjoyed many afternoons exploring wine country, not just in Oregon, but all over the globe. That being said, Saturday had everything going for it. The downpour group of 12 met at Lenné for the Red and Black seminar. With temperature hovering 65 degrees, sitting out on the veranda overlooking the hills of Yamhill County-a glass of wine is all one would need to feel like they had died and gone to Provence? Tuscany? It was breathtaking.

We sat around tables with 8 glasses of Pinots from either the Yamhill area or Dundee Hills. Steve explained the difference in the terrior(soil) and how it affects the wine. After learning the attributes of each, we sampled the wines, choosing which region we thought they came from. It was fun and pretty interesting too. I think I can speak for my group in saying we all learned something that if nothing else, will serve us well as cocktail party conversation..."did you know the best Pinot grapes come from the most unhealthy of soils?" Impressive, no?!

After we learned what bottles were hiding in the paper bags and where they came from, (I think we all did quite well!) it was time for lunch. Hervé had the great idea of heading to Carlton where we could go to Cana's Feast winery and hopefully get some food and sit outside? Worth a shot. I realize now that it may have helped that our little caravan included someone who undoubtedly is mistaken for a Blazer at least once a day. The place was packed and interestingly enough, no one was sitting outside. It only took a quick ask and the help was setting up a large table for us, where we were able to bask in the glorious sunshine, and look out at the valley. Nice. The vibrant olive oil and focaccia tasted great with the Bricco Table Red and Barbera.

Lunch was ordered and if I had to guess, we stayed outside lingering over food and wine for well beyond 2 hours. I have got to give props to Cana's Feast, and the adjoining Cucina restaurant. It. Was. Perfect.

Till next time!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

If you had told me....

If you had told me that I would be heading to wine country not once, but twice in 2 months time, yoga mat in hand, I would have given you a puzzled/intrigued look. Well, in fact it has been twice now that I have practiced Vino & Vinyasa and I am happy to report I am improving on both fronts.

Cassie, Andrea, Meghan, Barre and I headed back to Dobbes Family Estate for another fun filled Saturday of downdog and wine pairing. After lots of nice stretching and posing in the barrel room we enjoyed some Wine by Joe as well as a few from the Dobbes Family Estate label (including a Port styled wine that Cassie loved).

Fortified and adventurous we made our way to Adelsheim Vineyard in Newberg. A gorgeous day only enhances the beautiful setting at Adelsheim. We sipped some nice Pinots and enjoyed the tasting room and outdoor setting. David Adelsheim is a true pioneer in the world of Oregon wine and it is really nice to see all of his hard work and dedication celebrated at this awesome vineyard.

Next stop: Soléna & Grand Cru Estate. I first laid eyes on this magnificent winery a few weekends ago on my way to Lenné. Sitting on a rolling hilltop, Soléna is a sight one cannot miss. The architecture of the tasting room is esoteric Oregon. Lots of mixed materials make this large operation stand out as something quintessential northwest.

We walked into the tasting room with wide eyes and ponied up to the bar to sample some of this noteworthy wine for ourselves. I have enjoyed Soléna's Pinots at a few restaurants around town...and the fact that the winemaker is a true Frenchman has kept me curious about the evolution of the winery. Lots of nice Pinots were tasted and we were more than grateful for the chili chocolate that accompanied the Syrah. Nice touch.

I was glad Cassie and Andrea were able to get a taste of what has kept me happily occupied for the past several months. Nothing like a beautiful day in Oregon to make even the most Texan of visitors to think "what if...?"

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lets say Yay for Lenné!

Okay DOWNpour followers (how do you like that spelling by the way?), it's on with Lenné for March and I could not be more excited. You might remember when Meghan and I stumbled upon Lenné last fall while cruising through Yamhill...well, this winery has been on my mind ever since. Steve Lutz the winemaker and owner is doing an incredible job on all fronts. Often referred to as a hidden gem, Lenné's setting, coupled with limited production wine, makes for a grand tasting experience.

Here's the skinny: Once again, all you need to do is show up (Saturdays or Sundays 12-5 in March), mention "downpour", and you'll be solid.
* A 2 for 1 tasting ($5 per person, waived with purchase) This tasting will include the 2nd flight of Owen Roe wines-yummy
*10% off all purchases, 15% off cases (smart to do, as his wines sell out and he produces only 1500 cases a year)
*A special invitation to attend a blind Pinot tasting on March 6th, which is $20 for the public, $17 for DOWNpour followers.
This event is going to be super fun, he will be pouring some high priced Pinots from the region and this is a great opportunity to test your palate and learn a bit more about Oregon Pinots and what makes them taste the way they do.
IF, you want to attend the March 6th event, shoot me a line ASAP. Space is very limited. It is being held from 11-12:30ish.

I cannot stress enough how honored I am to be working with Lenné. This winemaking story is ripe with passion, hard work, dedication and perseverance. I suggest checking out Lenné Estate to learn more.

A little message from Steve to you below.

And some winery shots for more incentive. It really does look like a french farm house, with some fun NW accents.

above is a stone wood-fire pizza oven, could you imagine sitting out in the summer around this thing?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pinot, Pinot, Pinot and heck, why not? More Pinot

I could hardly wait for my friends Erin and John to get here from the Bay Area. We had a day of wine tasting planned for Friday, and I did not want to disappoint as tour guide. Meghan was kind enough to be our driver and used her sharp internal wine navigation system to get us to Domaine Drouhin in a flash. We tasted the chardonnay, pinots and some of the wine from DD's sister winery in France-which was cool. We were joined by Erin's cousin Alix and her fiance between sips we gawked at Alix's ring and gave David a hard time for being a mad scientist (for real). All in good fun-as you do when tasting wine at noon.

David suggested our next stop, White Rose, which was just down the road. We pulled up and all admired the super cool architecture of the tasting room. It was faintly familiar and when we got inside I realized I had in fact been there before-a long time ago. We waited for someone to show up, as the tasting room was empty. It looked as though a tasting had happened earlier, with lots of glasses out and open bottles. We called the number on the business cards, but no one answered. Curious about the wine, we figured a small sip wouldn't hurt. Well, John appeared to like what he tasted enough to leave $60 cash for a bottle and we hit the road. (we did leave a note!)

We thought Stoller would be a good next stop, with such a pretty setting and modern tasting room. It was here that I ended up behind the bar (with permission from the nice tasting room gal). This was beginning to be a very "interactive" afternoon indeed.

More wine was tasted and we decided it was time for a snack. Off to Carlton where we refueled at the Horse Radish. Meats, cheeses, olives and hummus, along with some more....Pinot. Satiated, we were on a mission-Penner Ash. We were happy to taste some white varietals as well as the Pinots, knowing that a good crisp, dry white would be needed for our Saturday night dinner of Raclette (think fondue but better). Viognier and Riesling in hand, we left just before closing. On the way home we decided to pop into Fox Farm tasting room in Newberg-why not? Erin and John did a flight tasting, while Meghan and I sipped on the Memoirs Pinot (another label based decision).

I would say by the end of the weekend, our guests felt like they had a good grasp on the Oregon wine scene...and if nothing else, can rattle off a laundry list of Pinots that have now passed their lips.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cute, really cute

I am not above buying a wine based on a label alone.

Exhibit A:

Okay, so my iphone is my lazy way of documenting great wine stuff, hopefully you get the idea. Love & Squalor wines are really onto something with their whimsical labels. I bought this bottle of 2007 Pinot Noir at Vino's in SE. How could I pass up a wine label "Love & Squalor" with a clothesline and three adorable dresses on it? And the cork to boot!

As for the wine, well, there is a reason they don't serve spicy hummus in tasting rooms. I'll give this wine another try on a clear palate.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stay Tuned

We have an exciting March Promotion coming our way. Downpour fans are in for a big treat!!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

This makes sense

Many of you know I adore a relatively new winery on the Oregon wine scene. Hawks View Cellars is producing some really nice Pinots, as well as some noteworthy whites. Last years Portland Monthly "Wine" issue acknowledged some of HVC bottles as the best Oregon wine country has to offer. It did not come as a surprise to me to hear that just recently the winery snapped up Erica Landon, formerly of Ten01 restaurant in Portland where she stood out as the acclaimed Sommelier. I will always remember a beautiful holiday luncheon at Ten01 when I was with Portland Monthly a few years ago. Erica was the star of the afternoon, highlighting each course with wines that complemented the food so well I left with a newly inspired appreciation for Ten01, Erica and the entire food & wine marriage concept.

Bonne Chance Erica, though I doubt you'll need it.

Press Release below:

Hawks View Cellars hires Erica Landon as Director of Hospitality and Marketing

Hawks View Cellars, a boutique winery located in the Chehalem Mountains above Sherwood, Oregon, has hired Portland Sommelier, Erica Landon as Director of Hospitality and Marketing. Landon will join the Kemp Family, along with Winemaker Ryan Harms and Vineyard Manager George Hillberry, where her primary focus will be to create and organize guest tastings and events, as well as represent the winery in the Oregon Market. In addition, Landon will continue to teach for the International Sommelier Guild in Portland.

Most recently, Landon was general manager and wine director at Ten 01, one of Portland’s finest dining experiences, where she received Best Sommelier in 2008 from Portland Monthly and the New Leaders Award from Tasting Panel magazine. Prior to joining Ten 01, Landon managed the wine list and dining room at the Heathman Restaurant and Bar, was general manager of The Dundee Bistro, and dining room manager and assistant wine steward at Timberline Lodge.

“Erica’s addition to an already strong winemaking and viticultural team is exciting. We look forward to her expanding our presence in the Oregon wine industry,” said A.J. Kemp, Hawks View’s General Manager.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hush Hush

I'd hate for Hervé to know I am already thinking about Valentine's Day, BUT behind Thanksgiving, this is my favorite holiday. I'm not a sucker for Hallmark holidays, but I do love the idea of celebrating love. And what better way to spend an afternoon with your main squeeze (or best friend for that matter) than in wine country?! We did this last year and it was really fun. A lot of wineries have special offerings...check out the haps!

Monday, January 25, 2010

That's what I'm talkin' about!

Hervé sent me the link to this article in the Wall Street Journal which talks about a movement that embraces the "average persons" thoughts on wine vs. the so-called wine critics. Even more, studies are now showing that the consumer is not influenced by wine critic ratings when it comes to liking wines.

This article could not have come at a more appropriate time. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Jim Gullo, a fellow Oregonian and wine lover. Jim is a writer whose stories on the Oregon wine scene grace the pages of The Oregonian, Portland Monthly, The Mix and Sunset to name a few. Jim has recently taken over the domain and hopes to establish the site as the go-to online destination for all things Oregon wine. After coffee and pastries at St. Honoré in Northwest, we sauntered next door to Square Deal Wine, where the staff was gracious enough to let us sit inside and taste some wine. Jim came bearing 2 bottles of Italian-styled Oregon wine, made by Gino Cuneo under the Tre Nova label. Jim is collecting tasting notes from the average wine drinker and I was happy to play along. I gave my thoughts on the lower price point bottle ($17) and I believe they were something along the lines of " This is an exciting wine! The fruit and spice are well balanced. I would be really happy with my purchase if I came home with this". Not exactly Wine Spectator vocabulary, but that's the point. (details on this wine to come) I love this idea and do believe that in assessing not only the current wine industry landscape, but the overall marketing and social media climate-there is no arguing the power of the people.

Stay tuned for more on the Consumer Wine Awards and the Next Gen Wine Competition mentioned in the WSJ article. How fun?

Jim & I at Square Deal....very professional indeed!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

January is almost over

Which means time is running out to take advantage of the Dobbes Family Estate promotion. It's easy!

1. You go to DFE tasting room in Dundee
2. You pony up to the bar
3. You mention "Downpour" to the awesome tasting room staff
4. you DON'T pay a tasting fee, you GET 10% off all purchases, AND a barrel room tour is yours if you want
5. DO IT

For more tasting room details check out.

I am hoping to do more winery promotions in the future. This has been a lot of fun!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Vino & Vinyasa ROCKED! Given the concept: yoga in a barrel room, candle lit, followed by a tour and wine pairing with delicious vegetarian snacks, I was not worried.

It was so neat to get up early on Saturday, load the car with some fellow winos/yogis and head to Dobbes Family Estate for a morning of fun. The barrel room looked so cool lit by tea lights and before we knew it we were tree posing next to fermenting wine barrels. The yoga was perfect for this sort of program, it was basic enough for a beginner but moved fast enough for those who have been practicing for a while. The mood was light, but the surroundings were pretty profound. The instructor Nichole kept referring back to the similarities between wine and yoga. The common virtues of patience and respect for the earth. I loved it. Balance in life is my thing...the ying and yang. I wouldn't have loved the yoga as much without the wine, and wouldn't have enjoyed the wine as much without the yoga. So there you have it!

After Dobbes we got ambitious. First stop: Argyle. After all of these trips to Dundee, it was a must! And finally, oh finally, I have my hands on the Black Brut, a sparkling 100% pinot noir that is delicious, looks so cool in the glass AND is only sold at the tasting room.

The ladies seemed to love the array of sparklings at Argyle and from here we decided to head to The Four Graces. I have had some of TFG wine on a few occasions and loved it. The tasting room, right off 99 in Dundee is adorable. Think family farmhouse with modern accents. I abstained from tasting as I was behind the wheel, but from the decibel level in the room, I think the patrons were happy. Last stop? Rex Hill, cauz why not?! Jolie's grandmother happens to love Rex Hill and most of the crowd had not been. I'm a sucker for a fireplace, so I was in. It was surprising to realize as we crowded around the fire that it was well past 4 o'clock. Where had the day gone?!

Apparently Vino & Vinyasa will be hosting an afternoon at another one of my favorites-Stoller Vineyards. Stay tuned for more info...I am a new fan!

Loaded Question

I was recently asked by a friend in Northern California to list my top 3 favorite Oregon red wines, price not being a factor.

Now, we all know I am NO wine expert or critic. I leave that to the professionals, BUT I have been fortunate enough to taste and learn about a lot of wineries in my gorgeous state.

It took me a day to create my list and I just fired it off to her.

Any guesses?! I'd love to hear what your response would be. There are NO right or wrong answers...your favorite red might be an entry price point wine from a "big" distributor, or maybe your favorite Oregon red is made by your next door neighbor.

Also, stay tuned, a Vino & Vinyasa recap will be coming soon. Dealing with iphone photo issues-not shocking.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Learn a little something about Oregon wine, would ya?!

Check out our chat with Joe Dobbes...great guy, great wine!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Get ready

I am very excited as today I am heading to Dundee to interview a certain winemaker...any guesses?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Wine Country-a winter wonderland!

Last Tuesday Hervé, my mom and my brother tagged along as I headed to Dobbes Family Estate to create the promo video for the January DOWNPOUR program. We were just making friends and enjoying some Pinot when the snow started falling and before we knew it, there was serious snow globe action outside! It was so romantic and cozy to be sipping wine while watching it come down. After filming the video (one take was it! Charles is a pro), we decided to go pick up some wine at Maresh Red Barn, where my parents are club members. Apparently their latest acquisitions have been sitting there for ages, and it only made sense to swing by. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived the doors were locked. Bad luck for us, good luck for the people struggling to get up the hill just outside the winery-Hervé and Adam were nice enough to get out and push. We were hungry and decided to try Farm to Fork just down the road. After hearing so many wonderful things, it was an overdue visit. Two words-thumbs up! This restaurant has it all: welcoming ambiance, a delicious seasonal menu AND a roaring fireplace. We enjoyed our food while watching the snow fall, it was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. The 3+ hour drive home was well worth it. This day goes down in the books!