Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We NEED More Cops Like Her in the World

Monday, September 27, 2010

In Honor of the Harvest… Romancing the Vine

He stands before her
She is naked
All life and limbs
She quivers
Feeling his hot breath on her bare extremities
Cutting the chill of the biting morning air

He stands before her
Coaxing from her
Gentle beauty
All the promise of the future

He savors each moment with her
As if it’s their last
He’s tender
He loves her
Sees things in her no other sees

He persuades her
Tugs on her
Pulls on her
Supports her
Tucks her in
Moves her where he wants her to be
She surrenders to his will
Lets him guide her

He stands before her
His strong and agile hands
So dirty
Fondling her
She submits
She succumbs

He stands before her
Charming her
Encouraging her
To finish
He casts her off
To be savored by others

She stands alone
Thinking only of him
He who allowed her to be

She retreats into herself
She wonders if he even remembers
Knowing he thinks about the next
As she prepares to give all of herself
To her love
To him

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Free Tickets to the Northwest Food and Wine Festival

Northwest food and wine lovers LOOK OUT! The food and wine festival to beat all festivals is coming soon to the incomparable Pure Space in Portland's Pearl district. This is one event you don't want to miss, in fact, it's the one you've been waiting all year for! On November 13, from 4-8pm, over 600 wines from Oregon and beyond, in addition to gourmet bites from regional restaurants, will be available to sample in a truly exceptional setting.

Many wineries will be offering special incentives such as case discounts and free shipping. Take advantage of this great opportunity to get all your holiday shopping done early. I know, it's not even October and here I am, trumpeting commercialism, yet facts are facts, the Northwest Food and Wine Festival makes it just too easy to please all the wineauxs on your holiday list. That's my kind of one-stop-shopping!

If you'd like to attend this event, purchase your tickets online OR try to win mine; I have two pairs I intend on sharing with some very lucky readers. Winning them couldn't be much easier, simply leave a comment below with a compelling reason why I should select you. To double your chances (two names in the lucky beret), become a fan on Facebook and leave a comment there as well.
The first winner will be chosen on October 15, good luck!

600 wines is a lot to taste and I trust (hope, hope, hope) you won't get to them all. But here's a mostly up-to-date list of participating wineries so you're sure to make your mark, before you get set and go. Sip with you then!

Airfield Estates
Agate Field Vineyard
AlexEli Vineyard
Alexander Valley Vineyards
Alexandria Nicole Cellars
Ankeny Vineyard Winery
Artisanal Wine Cellars
Barking Frog
Basel Cellars
Beaucanon Estate
Birchfield Winery
Blue Mountain Cider Company
Blue Pirate
Bolla Wines
Brown Box Wines
Buty Winery
Canyons Edge Winery
Carlton Cellars
Cathedral Ridge Winery
Cavu Cellars
Chandler Reach Vineyards
Cerulean Wine
Cottonwood Winery of Oregon
Dalla Vina Wines now Terra Vina Wines
Desert Wind Winery
DiStefano Winery
Dobbes Family Estate
Domaine Napa Wine Company
Duck Pond Cellars
Dukes Family Vineyards
EdenVale Winery
Eola Hills Wine Cellars
Eugene Wine Cellars
Evergreen Vineyards
Fetzer Winery
Firesteed Cellars
Five Star Cellars
Five RiversWinery
Forgeron Cellars
Foris Vineyards Winery
Gilbert Cellars
Gilstrap Brothers Wine Company
Girardet Wine Cellars
Girly Girl Wines
Glen Fiona
Goose Ridge Estate Vineyards and Winery
Hawkins Cellars
Henry Estate
Hoodsport Winery
HV Wines
K Vintners
Kana Winery
Kenwood Vineyards
Kestral Vintners
Kontos Cellars
Laurelwood Brewing Co.
Little Black Dress Wines
Stella Artois
Marshals Winery
Martin & Weyrich Winery
Masset Winery
McCormick Family Vineyard - "Memaloose"
Mercer Wine Estate
Methven Family Vineyards
Michael David Winery
Mount Baker Winery
Mt. Hood Winery
Naked Winery
Namaste Vineyards
Nota Bene Cellars
Pheasant Valley Winery
Pine Ridge Vineyards
Quady North
Quenett Winery
Red Star Tavern
Rex Hill
Ribera Vineyards, LLC
Roza Ridge
Rusty Grape Vineyard
Seven Sisters
Seven of Hearts - Luminus Hills
Silver Lake Winery at Roza Hills
Snake River Winery
Sonoma Cutrer
Springhouse Cellar
Stangeland Vineyards & Winery
Stella Fino Winery
Sweet Valley Wines
Terra Blanca Winery
Terra Vina Wines
Tertulia Cellars
The Pines 1852
The Wine Haven
Beaucanon Estates
Martin & Weyrich
Mt Baker Winery
Airfield Estates
Utopia Vineyard & Winery
Valley of the Moon Winery
Valley View Winery
Vercingetorix - VX Vineyard
Vin duLac
Volcano Vineyards
Walnut City WineWorks
Washington Wine Works
Waving Tree Winery
White Salmon Vineyard
Willamette Valley Vineyards
Willamette Wine Works
Wilridge Winery
Wy'East Vineyards
Youngberg Hills Winery
Zefina Winery - Corus Estates
Zerba Cellars

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Metrovino… Top-Notch Wine Bar, Enticing Restaurant or a Whole Lot of Both?

Metrovino, located in Portland’s upscale and uber-trendy Pearl district, is a
serious restaurant first and an excellent winebar second. Or, is that serious wine bar first, and an excellent restaurant second? Actually, they’d both be correct. Go for the food, go for the wine, either way you’re sure to leave satisfied.

Co-owner and manager Todd Steele, moved to Portland from San Francisco bringing his love of food and wine with him. While working for Agrivino Wine Center, he learned about the Enomatic wine systems and a seed was planted. He nurtured the dream and in 2009, Metrovino took root in Portland’s Pearl District.

The Enomatic (invented in Tuscany in 2002) is a state-of-the-art wine preservation and serving system that eliminates waste, provides portioned-controlled servings, with an option for Wine Card technology, including software to create unique business solutions for customers. Metrovino’s bar features seven highly charged, temperature-controlled, argon-charged machines, that keeps great wines fresh for weeks, allowing the option to sell over 90 rare and unusual wines (including sparkling wine) by the taste (1.75 oz), glass (5.25 oz) or bottle, enabling near-limitless options for food and wine pairings. Glasses of wine range in price from $6-$60.

Recently, Metrovino’s Double Cheeseburger was selected by Willamette Week as Portland’s #1 Bistro Burger (out of 72 sampled), but Chef Gregory Denton, named The Oregonian's "chef to watch" in 2009, makes a lot more than just a mean burger. The refined yet rustic New American menu reflects a history of cooking, traveling and eating, incorporating Asian, Scandanavian and Northwest influences.

Check out the nightly five-course tasting menu, with seasonal favorites and wine flights. For more information and reservations, please call 503-517-7778 or visit For more updates, look for Metrovino on Twitter at @metrovino and Facebook at MetrovinoPDX. Try the food, try the wine. With award-winning food and some of the world’s finest wine at your fingertips, it’s an adventurous restaurant AND wine bar sure to make it onto your list of favorites.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Helioterrra's Inaugural Release is a Reason to Party

With the number of Oregon wineries popping up quicker than mushrooms, and no one really seeming to know how many there actually are anymore, another one bursts onto the scene. I've been a fan of Anne Hubatch's since she was winemaker at Apolloni Vineyards in Forest Grove. Now she's a consulting winemaker for Apolloni, as well as a few other brands, a social media guru and has created quite a splash in Portland with her new private label, Helioterra Wines.

This Saturday, from 12-5pm, sample the wine and
celebrate Helioterra’s Open House Release Party. 

The grand premiere will feature tastings of 
Helioterra’s 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 
and 2009 Vintner’s Select Pinot Noir. 

To sweeten the deal, Vincent Wine Company, another intriguing newcomer 
on the wine scene, will be previewing his 2009 Pinot Noirs, and as if that’s not 
enough firsts, Hubatch will also be showing wines from her co-operative 
and covert venture, *Guild Winemakers.

Open House Release Party
Saturday, September 18th
Noon to 5pm

At the winery:

The name Helioterra symbolizes Oregon’s state gemstone Heliolite (also known as Sunstone) and is the combination of the Greek words helio and terra, meaning sun and earth. It was inspired by the inherent relationship between the sun, the earth and the vine—all precursors for fine wine.

Hubatch produced nearly 400 cases in her inaugural 2009 vintage, which she describes as “a grounded, honest expression of her winemaking style, reflecting feminine sensibilities," at Boedecker and Grouchau Cellars’ Portland Wine Project… a sunstone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of downtown Portland and miles from any vineyards. Hubatch selects fruit from Apolloni, Buckhaven and Domaine Coteau Vineyards and ultimately aims to deliver premium wines without top-tier prices. Hubatch plans to release a Pinot Blanc and Syrah next spring, and though she is considering distribution, right now she's focusing on sales in her own backyard.

*I'm about to expose a deep, dark and juicy secret about the Guild Winemakers brand, so shhhhhhh! Promise that you won't tell a soul; we wouldn't want word getting out about how Guild puts the emphasis on value-driven Oregon wines. The Guild White (which is predominantly Pinot Gris) retails for $12.00 a bottle, while the Guild Red, retailing for a very affordable $13.00 a bottle, is a Rhone-style blend of Syrah, Mourvedre and Counoise. With case discounts on top of the great price, they're practically paying you to drink it!

Case discounts will offered for all three brands and if futures were ordered, they’ll be available for pick-up. Click here for more information or to RSVP.  Follow Helioterra Wines on Twitter here or friend them on Facebook here.

I look forward to sipping with you on Saturday!


Monday, September 13, 2010

A New Book of the Pacific Northwest Every Wine Lover Must Have…

The Pacific Northwest is finally becoming known for more than just rain… discover the splendor of wine regions and expertly crafted wines the north-western states have to offer in Cole Danehower’s new book, Essential Wines and Wineries of the Pacific Northwest. Danehower is a leading regional wine writer, co-Publisher of Northwest Palate and winner of the prestigious James Beard Foundation Journalism Award, and now he’s the author of a definitive work on a world-class wine region.

For nearly the past decade, Lisa Shara Hall’s detailed book Wines of the Pacific Northwest has served as the quintessential guide to wines, regions and producers in the states of Washington and Oregon. Ten years however, does a lot to a landscape and a region, as many of the founding wineries have now gone supernova, doubling in size, while countless other rising stars have emerged on the scene. Danehower builds upon Hall’s earlier work while bravely and ambitiously tackling the entire Pacific Northwest, exploring the powerhouse of wine regions exploding in not only Washington and Oregon, but also British Columbia and Idaho. Yes, Idaho.

Rich with history, geography, geology, climate, colorful maps and suggestions for supreme sampling, Essential Wines and Wineries of the Northwest offers a wealth of information for both the wine novice and the avid connoisseur, in a very easy to digest format. The book is technical and sophisticated enough for the wine savvy, while interesting and engaging even for the neophyte.

Magnificently captured by the photographically genius eye of Andrea Johnson (whose work has appeared in National Geographic, Wine Spectator and Sunset Magazine), the breathtaking images alone give someone cause enough to purchase the book. But its Danehower’s words that you'll keep coming back for, words that serve as an instrumental resource and invaluable guide for anyone selecting wines, planning a tour, or for the curious seeking more information about this young but distinctively impressive region. A book no wine lover’s library should be without.

Would you like your very own signed copy of Essential Wines and Wineries of the Pacific Northwest by Cole Danehower? I happen to have one extra copy for one very lucky fan! For your chance to win, please leave a comment below and I will select the winner at random. Contest deadline is Friday, September 17, 2010. Good luck!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Sweetness of Holidays and Wine Judges

Today, the vibrant sound of the shofar wakes us from slumber and signals the Jewish New Year. Opposite from Auld Lang Syne, which questions whether old times should be forgot, the Rosh Hashanah holy day is about remembering and a day of solemn judgment when the wicked, righteous and intermediate classes have their fates determined. Whereas the righteous are immediately inscribed into the Book of Life (sealed to live), the intermediate class has ten days (until Yom Kippur) to become better before being blotted out forever, along with the wicked. Historical liturgy defines the day as when all (wo)men pass before God, but for me, the day is mostly about remembering the prior year with quiet reflection.

With the first birthday of my blog just passing, I’ve definitely been looking back on the past year maybe a bit more than usual, and aside from all the great lessons I’ve learned, I continue to ruminate over the vast array of wine I’ve consumed. Not that I typically indulge in delusions of grandeur, but with the Rosh Hashanah holiday, I’ve also found myself engaged in this silly fantasy where all the wines I’ve consumed over the past year pass before me again and I have to make a decision about their worthiness. In other words, I have to sit in judgment over all these wines. What kind of person really judges wine?

I am certain there’s more than a few righteous wines I’d immediately seal in my “Book of Life” (do I sense another Top 10 list in the works?), fated to live on and enjoy another sweet year, and there’s most certainly at least a wicked one in the bunch too. But then there are all those intermediate wines that will have to prove themselves to me, and thoughts of examining each of them thoroughly and completely for all their astonishing virtues and each of their remarkable sins is already stimulating my thirsty palate and hungry mind.

So, what kind of wine judge would I be? Maybe I’d be like Randy and say “Yo Dawg, you know I’m a huge fan, but I just wasn’t feeling you tonight.” Perhaps, I’ve a bit more Paula in me, unable to make anyone feel bad, “Oh, you have a lovely range of expression and you really stayed true to who you are, don’t listen to what Randy says.” I see myself more like Simon I guess, maybe a bit too honest, “I don’t mean to be rude, but what in the bloody hell was that?” Can you see it now? It could be a whole new series… “Wine Idol”.

A fun little diversion, but let’s get back to the real purpose of the day. Jewish or not, raise a glass of your best dessert wine (the one with the most residual sugar) and toast with me tonight: May the coming the year be filled with the sticky sweetness of apples and honey and an exploration of truly righteous wine. Shana Tova Umetukah.

L'Chaim, Cheers, Salud, Salute, Prosit, Skal, Gan Bay, Sante, Kampai, Chuc-dee, Zai Gesunt…

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Burning Question: So, How Many Did I Taste in a Year?

I would have never thought a year ago, I’d be where I am today. Honestly, I thought I would have tasted every, or nearly every, Oregon winery. But, here I am publicly admitting I didn’t… some might call it epic fail.

Maybe I’m just saying this because I’m drunk on all the free wine, but as it turns out, I’m glad I failed. I set a goal and I didn’t actually achieve the goal. In the process, I took a u-turn (or a turn into the Twilight Zone) and went a direction I never intended or imagined I’d go, and as it turns out, I’ve quite enjoyed the journey.

I’ll admit, I’ve been beating myself up a bit over the last few months when it became painfully apparent I wouldn’t actually achieve my goal. I kept on going though—touring, sipping, learning, blogging—regardless of what I could or couldn’t do; some might call it integrity, perhaps more accurately would be to say that wine blogging is something of an addiction. As it turns out, because of Sip with Me, I’ve seen, done and tasted more in a year than most people do in a lifetime, and that’s quite an achievement. Sharing the Oregon wine story with the world has been an added bonus, the personal reward for which I could have never anticipated.

The Burning Question

So, everyone’s asking me for the number. I officially visited 196 wineries of the 365 on my master list. That’s only 54% — a big fat fail. To be complately clear—I tasted many more wineries than 196, but didn’t officially visit their tasting rooms, so I can’t actually count them in my quest. A winery a day doesn’t seem so hard, but life, family, money, schedules, winter, navigational challenges, distance, stress and exhaustion were hurdles that jumped out at me and blocked my path more often than I anticipated.

Below is a list of the 10 Best and Worst Things I’ve Discovered About Being a Wine Blogger in the past year.

1. You meet amazing people—from winemakers, wine writers and other wine bloggers to wine lovers who are actually charged up by what you’re doing.
2. Wine samples. I’ve been able to sample a ridiculous amount of wine (reminder, mostly spat not drank).
3. From leisure to educational, wine opportunities and events abound and many doors have opened up.
4. Wine blogging = a great excuse for drinking as much wine as you want.
5. Other people think it’s cool, perhaps even romantic—and as we all know, impressing others is very important.
6. Blogging is worse than being a flasher: You’re expected to expose yourself to the public every day, and to keep upping the ante.
7. Everyone wants to use you… for free. Here post this about me, write about my event, my wine, my book, my product, my restaurant, my event space…
8. You can never leave the job at the office, like your shadow, your blog follows you wherever you go.
9. I finally understand where the word “blog” came from. Its similarity to the word Blob is no accident, and it very well might take over and smother you if you let it (see number 8 and 10).
10. A blog is really just a fancy word for Ball and Chain. You’re attached to it—all the time, you can’t just leave it behind. You’re always thinking about it, worrying about it, dragging it with you in public, in private. The two of you will become inseparable. Trust me, I’m now introduced as “This is Tamara, she’s a wine blogger.”

Okay, so my blog officially turned One. And like a typical one-year-old, my legs are just becoming sturdy beneath me and I am still just beginning to find the strength in my voice. But I’m growing fast, and I’ll be running and yelling before you know it. My journey through wine will continue as I persist in my goal to visit as many Oregon wineries as I can, though this time, without the pressure of any rigid timelines to adhere to. I hope you continue to read Sip with Me, because after all, it’s all about the wine, not about the time. On to bigger and better things!