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Wine Country Eats: Willamette Valley

Wine Country Eats: Willamette Valley


Posted on Dec 20, 2023

 

Willamette Valley Oregon

Willamette Valley views.

People who know us, know that we are unabashed fans of Oregon wine country. We have been making annual trips there for almost two decades and have built more than our share of itineraries for friends on where to sip, stay, and eat when visiting.

Sadly, the region was no more immune than anywhere else to the industry-crippling global pandemic that was particularly challenging for the tourism and hospitality sector. As a result, the foodie scene has changed significantly from when we visited the region pre-COVID19.

The good news is that as the world re-opened, so have several new spots that, along with some mainstays, are once again providing exciting options for visitors.

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Domaine Savary: All in the Family

Domaine Savary: All in the Family


Posted on Dec 13, 2023

Chablis Burgundy wine

Tasting with Olivier in Savary’s cellar.

Whenever we visit a wine region for the first time, our plans always include time for places recommended by locals or wine friends with similar palates. As we prepared for our first visit to Chablis, a very trusted source recommended Domaine Famille Savary. Having never tasted their wines and knowing very little about them, we were both curious and hopeful for a new discovery that we could enthusiastically endorse. Meeting and tasting with Olivier Savary was an experience that definitely met our high expectations thanks to high-quality wines at remarkably fair prices.

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Oliver BC okanagan valley bc

What to fill those glasses with…

We’re frequently asked to provide recommendations for travel to wine regions, dinner parties, clients and friends. At this time in particular, those inquiries ramp up so we thought we’d compile a list of ideas with the Holiday season now kicking into high gear. Whatever you are celebrating this month, here are some ideas for various types of wine lovers on your list.

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Milton Freewater Oregon winery

Todd Alexander

Our second visit with the team at Force Majeure took place at their beautifully renovated new tasting room, housed in an old schoolhouse in Milton-Freewater. There we met and tasted with Carrie Alexander, Head of Sales and marketing and her uber-talented husband, Todd Alexander, Force Majeure’s winemaker.

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Domaine Laroche: Pure Chablis

Domaine Laroche: Pure Chablis


Posted on Nov 29, 2023

Chablis France

The renown Kimmeridgian soil in Chablis

Preparing for our first visit to Chablis, we’d been told by many in the wine industry that there is a shared mindset amongst wine makers and growers in the region that is so intrinsically focused on terroir, it borders on obsession. The result of that devotion is a long history of producing among the very best wines in the world.

Domaine Laroche stands both as an esteemed institution in Chablis, as well as a custodian of tradition in the world of Chardonnay. Though the winery itself was ‘only’ established in the mid 19th century, winemaking at the ‘Obédiencerie’ (the church where the wine was originally produced) has a history dating back 1,000 years. The name Laroche has become synonymous with wines that reflect a pure expression of Chablis terroir.

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Avennia at Red Mountain Estate

Avennia at Red Mountain Estate


Posted on Nov 22, 2023

We have been to more wine tasting rooms around the world than we can count.

Red Mountain Washington winery

Avennia Red Mountain tasting room.

Some are functional, simply providing a sample of new & library releases for purchase. Others are an extension of an estate winery offering up vineyard views and world-class chefs to enhance the overall tasting experience. And finally, there are those that offer up something experiential—sometimes related to wine, sometimes not—as added incentive to entice visitors; think art galleries, Formula 1 racing simulators, and even an ice rink (in Canada of course!).

For us, the wine is always our priority. Even better if we can sip those wines at the vineyards where the fruit has been sourced. In the case of Avennia’s tasting room at Red Mountain, its wines, views, and talented staff have put it among our very favourite stops when visiting Washington wine country.

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Chablis: A Primer

Chablis: A Primer


Posted on Nov 15, 2023

Chablis France

The view of Chablis from the top of the Grand Cru hill.

Chablis is the northern most wine growing region in the appellation of Burgundy. The name has become synonymous with great white wine. Our recent visit to the region taught us a great deal more about the area, reaffirmed our love for its wines, and showed us what a truly beautiful place it is to visit.

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In the ever-evolving world of wine, trends are like fine vintages—they come and go, leaving a distinct mark on the palate of the industry.

Woodinville WA winery

Mari Womack.

Lately, two prominent trends have been swirling through the wine culture challenging traditional notions and reshaping the way we approach the world of wine: the increasing demand for low or no-alcohol alternatives and the rise of ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails. These trends not only signify a shift in consumer preferences but also pose new challenges for winemakers as they navigate an increasingly competitive market.

Mari Womack, owner and winemaker of Damsel Cellars has been bucking these and other trends since she began her odyssey by doing one thing: staying focused on producing high quality wine.

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