Dinner with a friend. Goat cheese with olive tapenade on brioche. Enjoying the night. New favorite food. Putanesca spicy.
There was once a time in my life when I was in love with wine. I sold it, I tasted it, I drank it, I bought it, I paired it, I poured it. I absolutely reveled in it. I fantasized about making labels and settling down in the countryside with a few acres of vines on a sloping hill where I nibble on dirt and talk about terroir to other oenophiles. I fantasized about writing verbose pages of critique about the aromas and taste (a forward nose of dark jam with a lasting finish of black currant and a hint of clove with the body of a plus-size model: round, curvy and luscious), of always having a glass available in arms reach, of spending the days in a gentle wine-haze. And although my professional life took a different path, I am still enamored by wine. And will no doubt have a long (expensive) hobby to look forward to in my life.
While visiting Portland, OR, my friend, M, and I decided to go wine tasting.. This was my first time (the one in central, NY just doesn’t count) visiting wineries I actually knew and had tasted before. We went to Willamette Valley and tasted Beaux Freres, Penner Ash, Adelsheim and Chehalem. This area is great for elegant, French-style Pinot Noir (personally, not my cup of tea) and the wines were fantastic as were the views and the tasting rooms (well, on one occasion at least.) Photos and notes below:
Tasting at Beaux Freres. My favorite was The Upper Terrace PN 2007 ($90/bottle) – the one I’m holding. For a PN it had good body. M just liked the silk quality, “it’s notable.” (Inside joke.) We had to make an appointment to go here, which seems weird but actually made the experience a lot more personal. We made nice chit chat with Rebecca and got to learn a lot more about the wines and vineyard, than at some of the other places. If you have the chance to go to an appointment-only tasting, they’re much better.
Posing outside Beaux Freres.
Yay, Penner Ash uses real French oak barrels. Yum! This probably only means anything to about 2 people reading this.
M tasting some of the Penner Ash reds – They make a “Rubeo” which is a Syrah, PN blend. I enjoyed it, Moe wasn’t as keen on it though. They were also one of the only places that had whites to taste, which was nice.
Penner Ash had an amazing tasting room, with a fireplace. This is my Romance novel cover courtesy of M.
Penner Ash definitely had the best view. Absolutely gorgeous.
Me being silly.
Some tasty, plump Pinot Noir grapes.
The view of Penner Ash’s vines.
Adelsheim won out on best logo. This monogram is lovely in an art nouveaux kind of way. They had hazelnuts to cleanse the palette with which was cool ‘cept I’m not down with hazelnuts. They’re one of the oldest vineyards in the area (5th family in the area), but I didn’t fall in love with any of the wines. Although, after this one, I was definitely starting to feel it after having spent the early afternoon drinking.
(For some reason, certain places call Chicago “Chicagoland.” I’m not sure what side of the fence I’m on about this…)
- Helped M move into this apartment. That’s right I can lift a 50″ flat screen tv and couch (not simultaneously, and only with the help of others)
- Mastered mass transit, which makes me feel so damn city.
- Had my brand new laptop crap out on me, and then fixed by the Apple genius’. I lost some photos and CS5, but hopefully all can be replaced.
- Ralph Lauren has/is a restaurant? Really?
- Hit it up the Taste of Chicago with B and Y. Mainly it was so goddamn hot that we just ate ice cream, italian ice, sherbert and cheesecake. The only actual food sampling we did was of Mango-Cumin Fries with Tamarind Chutney, and yes they were hella good. (Yeah, that’s right, hella.) My brilliant tip to the City of Chicago: have the Taste in the early fall, when people will want to be eating ribs and chili. Are you listening CoC?
- Saw this cool water/art installation. There were these two giant walls and projected onto them were rotating faces and every few minutes the face would purse it’s lips and water would come shooting out of his/her mouth.
- Inevitably saw a creepy, possible pedophile wandering around this water thing possibly taking photos of small children. He was onto us and so he booked it and we lost him in the Taste crowd. Even more crazy, a good 40 minutes later as we walked to our bikes, we walked past the water installation and he was back! This time we told security. Security jadedly told us “If I had a dollar for every time this happened…” Yikes!
- Checked out the modern wing of the Art institute of Chicago with M and B. Pretty amazing architectural drawings from Frank Lloyd Wright. I want to be able to draw like this. I bought some Tim Burton playing cards. Sweet!
- Sat in on an improv group meeting. It’s pretty great to watch the creative process. It’s like a writing critique except all the stories are funny. The meeting started with everyone sharing their first encounter with porn. The most memorable one is a guy looking through the dirty mags and then going to the playground and burying them under the slide. LOL. I am super bummed I will be missing their show, but you can check them out on Facebook here or YouTube here.
- There’s been some disc throwing in the park. And M upped my skills immensely in just mere minutes. I am well on my way to having a wicked backhand and flick, wind be damned. Oh and running barefoot in shaggy grass and then slipping into soft socks is the best.
- Had an awesome impromptu dinner with some of B’s friends. Super delicious tomato/red pepper/goat cheese soup. Like I would kill to be able to make a soup like this it was so unbelievably great. Our hostess C also had a really sweet apartment with this amazing photo that I’m completely in love with as well as an awesome Offset Lithography poster. Apparently her roommate is a designer. Word. Lots of laughs which I guess is to expected when hanging with a group of improvisers.
- Oh a side note, B’s roommate K is the guy who wrote this True Blood viral video. How cool is that? K is the guy getting blood splattered on his face (1:15)!
- Additional misc photos of the city: