Archive for April, 2017

10 interesting facts about the wines from Oregon

April 30th, 2017

Oregon wine facts

By Joseph Temple

Nestled between the two largest wine producing states in the nation, Oregon has definitely lived up to its reputation as a trailblazer by defying all the conventional wisdom.  With a shorter growing season and a cooler, wetter climate, many believed that vinifera grapes would be next to impossible to cultivate in the Beaver State.  And less than fifty years later, Oregon has excelled at growing chardonnay, pinot gris, and most importantly — pinot noir.  With an almost laser-beam focus on this particular varietal, the state has placed itself on the map next to Burgundy as one of the best places on earth to grow pinot noir.  So have a look below at ten interesting facts that’ll get you up to speed about this unique region.


first wines from Oregon

1. The first vines were planted in the 1840s by settlers arriving on the first Oregon trail wagons.
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wine prohbiition Oregon state

2. Due to Prohibition, by the early 1960s, Oregon’s wine industry was almost non-existent. Just a few small family-owned wineries were operational during this time.
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pinot noir from oregon wine
By Ethan Prater [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

3. The state first garnered international attention in the early 1980s after oenophiles discovered the quality of its pinot noir, first planted in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

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how big is Oregon's wine industry
By Agne27 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

4. Today, there are approximately 300 wineries in the state and 20,000 acres dedicated to wine making.

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pinot noir in oregon
By Agne27 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

5. Possessing a cool climate, its signature grape is pinot noir, which is generally light, silky and ‘strawberryish’ in style.

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Willamette Valley oregon wine
By Flickr user eyeliam  [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

6. Oregon’s most important wine growing region is located in the Willamette Valley, situated between the Cascade mountains on the east and the Coast Range on the west. Cool and wet, this valley gets one hour more of sunlight than California does and is responsible for nearly two thirds of all wine produced in the state.

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oregon ava wine
By Luke (Flickr: Wine Country) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

7. Within the Willamette Valley there are six sub-appellations, which are all American Viticultural Areas (AVAs): Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge & Yamhill-Carlton District.

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female winemakers oregon
Image courtesy: www.sokolblosser.com

8. The state’s winemakers are famous for being pioneers in the industry. In fact, Oregon has more female winemakers than California, despite the former having just 1/27th of the grape acreage.

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wine regulations in Oregon
By Agne27 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

9. Whereas American wine laws state that in order for a grape to be labelled on a bottle, it must contain at least 75% of that specific grape, Oregon’s laws are much stricter, requiring at least 90%. However, some grapes are exempt from this law.

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vineyard and wineries in oregon
By Don Hankins (Flickr: King Estate Of Oregon) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

10. With many vineyards being family-owned and operated, quality is emphasized over quantity, causing prices to be more expensive in comparison to other states.

Sources:

Clarke, Oz. The History of Wine in 100 Bottles: From Bacchus to Bordeaux and Beyond. London: Pavilion Books, 2015.
Clarke, Oz. Let Me Tell You about Wine. New York: Sterling Epicure, 2009.
MacNeil, Karen. The Wine Bible. New York: Workman Publishing, 2015.
Pinney, Thomas. A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present, Volume 2. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.


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Ask Sid: Fruit Forward?

April 26th, 2017
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what is a fruit forward wine

Question: I hear “fruit forward” at wine tastings and not sure what that means or when it should be used. Please help me.

Answer: Easy one. It means just that –  the fruit of the wine is showing very forwardly. This term is best used for younger wines rather than aged ones where the basic fruit notes will have changed. Usually appropriate where big fruit dominates the total expression perceived of the wine over most other factors such as terroir, acid, tannins, complexity and the like. You hear it used to describe an open richer riper often simpler wine driven mostly by the easy fruit style of a specific grape variety or the blend.  Cooler fermentation temperatures in stainless steel with early bottling usually emphasizes that expression much more than when oak is used. Try using this term.


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Lifetime Achievement Award for Joan & Sid Cross at Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards

April 24th, 2017

Lifetime Achievement Award for Joan & Sid Cross at Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards
Image: vanmag.com

The 28th Annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards were announced last week at this always celebratory hospitality industry event. A delightful surprise was the presentation of their Lifetime Achievement Award to the knowledgeable talented culinary whiz Joan Cross & your weekly blogger. Very exciting for us and flattered by the article that states we “not only raised the bar for what was possible for BC’s hospitality industry, they also used their frequent travels to preach the gospel of this up-and-coming city on the Pacific to chefs, winemakers and producers throughout the world.” Appreciated but not worthy! More details here.

47 winners were announced in various categories that included:

Restaurant of the Year: Dynasty Seafood  – first Chinese restaurant to win this Award!

Chef of The Year: Joel Watanabe – “I love to cook” – From Bao Bei to new Kissa Tanto.

Best New Restaurant: Savio Volpe – Top Regional Italian cuisine in the new Fraserhood neighbourhood.

Producer of the Year: North Arm Farm in Pemberton BC – “a mountain Provence”

Ingredient of the Year: Bison – nutrient-dense and more helpful farming for a diverse ecosystem.

Full results here


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Cheesecakes with Wine Infused Fruit Toppings

April 22nd, 2017

cheesecakes wine

By Joseph Temple

Arguably one of the most iconic items on any dessert menu, cheesecake is always a crowd-pleaser.  Everyone always oohs and ahhs when a delicious cheesecake is brought out after any great meal.  Why not take it up a notch by infusing your favorite fruit with some classic wines?  Here are seven mouth watering ideas – one for every day of the week!


cheesecake wine
1. Field berries and Champagne

Blueberry port
2. Blueberry port

Raspberry ice wine
3. Raspberry ice wine

Cherry Cabernet Sauvignon
4. Cherry Cabernet Sauvignon

Pear Riesling
5. Pear Riesling

Rhubarb Vanilla Rose
6. Rhubarb Vanilla Rosé

Apricot Chardonnay
7. Apricot Chardonnay


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Ask Sid: Altitude of Vineyards?

April 19th, 2017
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Ask Sid: Altitude of Vineyards?

Question: Why am I hearing so much about wine coming from high altitude vineyards?

Answer: Good point. Probably because of global warming and climate change. Many vineyards are just hotter than in previous years resulting in earlier picking times with raised alcohol levels. Generally vineyards at higher elevations (compared to the lower valley floor) enjoy a cooler growing season. The night temperatures usually are colder which helps retain acidity and there is a greater range between day and night. This all results in a longer growing season with more valuable hang time for the grapes to slowly ripen. Soils tend to be less fertile and are poorer more rocky in character with better drainage leading to more complex flavours in the wine. However, the working conditions in the steep vineyards at high elevation can be quite difficult but the winds are usually stronger drying and protecting the grapes from diseases. Altitude or elevation of the vineyards is an important factor in the quality of the resulting wine.


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