Rosé’s Recent Heyday

by Zach Geballe

The massive and sudden resurgence of rosé has created an interesting dynamic within the Pacific Northwest’s wine industry. After a few…

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A flavorful fungi, mushrooms are a versatile food that adds superb flavor and texture to many dishes. From rare and sought after morels and truffles to everyday portobellos and shiitakes, there are limitless ways to prepare these delicate, earthy morsels.
If you don’t feel like taking to the woods to forage for native species, your local market is sure to have at least half a dozen mushroom types on hand—including the common cremini.

Lillooet is one of British Columbia’s oldest towns, yet it is one of the newer wine regions, with its first winery opening in 2011. After emigrating from Holland in 2005, Rolf de Bruin and Heleen Pannekoek settled in Lillooet and established Lillooet’s first commercial vineyard in 2009 and soon after Fort Berens Estate Winery was launched.

Established in 1968, Hester Creek is recognized as one of BC’s pioneering wineries, with vines planted on the rich soil of the Golden Mile Bench decades before it name was synonymous with prized terroir. When Italian immigrant Joe Busnardo arrived to the Okanagan with cuttings he’d brought from Italy, this sun-drenched, eastern-facing bench south of Oliver reminded him of home.

David Polite is a man of many titles. He is also an attorney by trade, a staunch Yamhill County resident, a conservative winemaker, a self-taught farmer, a natural salesman, an avid croquet player, a zealous community activist and, in his words, a genius. On a recent visit to taste with the owner and winemaker of Yamhill-Carlton’s Carlton Hill Vineyard in Carlton, Oregon, I learned firsthand of Polite’s list of sobriquets and even more candid (and often explicit) opinions.

It should be mentioned right from the start that, by and large, I’m a big fan of the Oregon wine industry. Their ability to craft world-class Pinot Noir in a wide range of styles is impressive, and the extent to which a spirit of innovation and creativity infuses their work is great. Understandably, the Oregon wine world has mostly defined itself in relation to Burgundy, the world’s foremost source of Pinot Noir.

Every year in the spring I start my basil from seed for harvest later in the summer. Once my basil plants have grown fragrant and full, I spend a few hours carefully trimming off each basil leaf in preparation for my annual pesto party, an afternoon of pesto-making with my mother. After all our ingredients have been pulsed through the food processor, we keep some pesto out for pizzas and pastas that we’ll prepare later in the week, and the rest gets frozen for the year ahead.

The Columbia River Gorge can be described as a region of drastic change. Within the space of merely 60 miles, the entire landscape changes—from an area with just about as much rainfall as the Amazon, to a virtual desert right out of the Arabian Nights. Because of this, the boundaries for wine are limitless. The darkest, most luscious Syrahs along with the brightest and most delicate Riesling can all be successfully grown. To own a winery here, means you have room to experiment.

Ask any winery in Washington County what the area’s origin is and most will tell you a story starting in the ’70s or ’80s, perhaps utilizing fruit from vines first planted in the 1960s. This is the belief that runs throughout the whole state of Oregon, that Oregon wine industry is only about 50-years-old. There is even a celebration occurring this year commemorating 50 years of Willamette Valley Wine (read our preview here).
But all of these convictions are not quite accurate.

The story of Erath begins in 1968 with UC-Davis-educated engineer-turned-viticulturist Dick Erath. After a garagiste project went right and professional courses were completed, Erath took his show on the road from California to Oregon’s Dundee Hills to pioneer a region where Pinot Noir would soon flourish. After planting the first grapes in Dundee’s now-famous red soils, Erath Winery made its first commercial wine production to the tune of 216 cases in 1972.

 
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