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Tasting Room
August 21, 2013 | Tasting Room

#WineWednesday - Almost Dry Riesling & Ginger Cod

One of my favorite, brainless meals is a number of versions of this parchment wrapped beauty. I find that through out the summer I keep adding extra heat to what ever I am cooking as an excuse to pair it with the Almost Dry Riesling, which I have chilled and eagerly waiting for me when I get home tonight.

Tweet us @montinore to share how you are celebrating #winewednesday.

Ginger Baked Cod with Bok Choy and Mushrooms

This version of the always delicious combination of white fish + bok choy + ginger + soy sauce comes via eat life whole. It is amazingly rich in flavor, quick to make and since each parchment is an individual serving, it is easy to accomodate to picky eaters. I usually add a chopped serrano pepper to the whole thing to add a nice bit of heat. 

Serves 1

1 4 oz piece of fish (flaky white fish work best - cod or halibut are great)
2 large bok choy stems and leaves
1/2 portobello mushroom
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted seasame oil
1 tablespoon cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon green onion, thinly sliced
Pinch of chili pepper flakes (optional)
Parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

Take a large piece of parchment paper (about 20" long) and fold it in half. Using a pair of scissors, cut out a heart shape with the flat edge as the folded side.

Prepare the bok choy by cutting the leaves from the stem and thinly chopping the stem. Open the heart parchment pocket and layer the bok choy leaves first. Add the thinly chopped stems and sliced mushrooms. Sprinkle 1/2 the grated giner, 1/2 the soy sauce, 1/2 the sesame oil, and a small pinch of chili pepper flakes over the mushrooms. 

Add the piece of fish and top with the remaining ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili pepper flakes. Top with cilantro and green onions.

Fold the top parchment paper flap over the stacked veggies and fish. From the top corner fold the edge over and crease with your fingernail. Continue to fold and crease all the way around until you have a sealed pocket. (Go here for a visual guide on how to properly wrap your parchment.)

Bake for 15 minutes on a rimmed cookie sheet (to chatch an juices). Once the pocket is done cooking, place on a plate and cut an "x" on the top to serve. 

Time Posted: Aug 21, 2013 at 9:00 AM
Rudy Marchesi, Owner & Winegrower

Developing the Land

Years ago when I bought my house near the winery I was attracted to the site, the eastern exposure and views and proximity to our vineyards. The house was great and there were a lot of amenities including an old grape arbor that I wanted to re-work.  It had collapsed but the old Concord and Niagara vines still clung to the remnants of the original arbor.  Being the good son of an Italian that I am, I soon rebuilt and expanded the arbor to include more grape varieties and of course a long table where I could share meals with family and friends.  

Tonight, years later, I was finishing the last bites of dinner and looking up at the grape clusters over my head. Each variety reflected the weather conditions of that short period of "bloom" aka, "fruit set" when the tiny grape flowers are pollinated and turn into individual grapes in mid to late June and has since evolved. If the weather is too rainy or windy or cloudy the flowers won't completely pollinate and the grapes clusters wont fill out with plump ripe grapes.  If it is mostly sunny, not too hot and generally nice for us humans, the grapes are happy too and the fruit set will be maximized producing full plump clusters of round ripe grapes.  

This year (2013) had mostly favorable conditions but there were short periods of storms and even hail in our area that interrupted fruit set in some varieties.  On my arbor the early Concord and Niagara vines had incomplete set resulting in sparse clusters due to cool weather early in the bloom period. Likewise, some of my later blooming varieties suffered due to high winds and hail during bloom resulting in clusters with less than normal grape berries/cluster. Our Pinot Noir and Gris were lucky enough to bloom in a window of good weather favorable to the pollination of each flower on the cluster resulting in full clusters of plump round berries.

Observing this variation reminded me of why we all are making wine here in Oregon.  The great wines of the world are made on the edge of their viticultural zones, especially the Pinot family. Contrary to folklore, the vines don't need to suffer, but they do need daily variations in temperature, the wider the better without being extreme. This only occurs on the edges of the viticultural zones for each variety. Oregon is that edge for Pinot, we are a cool region; in the summer our daily highs are in the 80s and night temps average in the 60s due to our Pacific coastal influence. Perfect! But... with this comes coastal storms at bloom and sometimes during harvest.

Isn't it a safer bet in a warmer climate? Yes, but we wouldn't find that perfect balance of daytime heat, nighttime cooling combined with exceptional soils anywhere else.  We are not here for guaranteed returns on our investments.  We are not here for a consistent predictable vintage.  We are here because we have the potential for greatness. Not just good wines, wines that people pull out of their cellars for their birthday, anniversary, or just that day when it's time to celebrate life.  These are the wines I want to make, this is what makes all the work and worry worth while.

Some years we fight with the birds and the weather to keep our grapes on the vine long enough to achieve that perfect ripeness.  Some years we can't make enough to meet demand. All of these challenges impact our lives and our livelihoods but when we know people will savor, contemplate, and even cherish the wines we make, it makes all the risks and efforts worth while. We may be living on the edge but this is where the view is the best!

Time Posted: Aug 20, 2013 at 9:00 AM
Montinore Estate
August 19, 2013 | Montinore Estate

Swan Song

Our newest single vineyard Pinot Noir that we released this past spring is dubbed Swan Song and is born of a dying vineyard. The vines in this block, which faces east from the highest section of our estate with views of the area’s three great volcanoes – St. Helens, Adams and Hood – are shrinking every year due to the scourge of phylloxera that laid waste to the great vineyards of Europe in the 1800s.

Phylloxera is a tiny, sap-sucking insect that feeds on roots and leaves of the grape vines and eventually causes an infection in the root stock causing the vines to eventually deteriorate and die. Oregon was once isolated from this pest, but it eventually came to the new world, forcing Oregon’s early vineyards to be replanted with resistant rootstock. With yields dwindling every year, we are seeing the last few vintages of this vineyard and, hence, its swan song.

Time Posted: Aug 19, 2013 at 9:00 AM
August 16, 2013 |

Weekly Wine-Up

1. Willamette Shakespeare was here last weekend and preformed a lovely rendition of Romeo & Juliet
2. @colette_e joined us for Romeo & Juliet and enjoyed a picnic on our lawn. 
3. Our Pinot Gris blocks are starting to get some color too!
4. @vonringkamp had a nice visit with our friendly estate goats
5. We bottled the 2012 Reserve Pinot Gris & Reserve Muller-Thurgau on Thursday - the Reserve Muller will be the first of the two released, coming next Spring. 
6. Lovely photo of Graham's reservoir, courtesy of @seadspaul


Here is some links we clicked this week:

- Wine Folly helps to break down some of the challenges and differences in the lovely Riesling grape. 
- A new app for all wine lovers - Drync has developed "The Shazam for Wine", where you just take a picture of the label to purchase. 
- It is Hatch chile season after all, so this weekend I will be enjoying Joy the Baker's Roasted Tomato and Hatch Chile Salsa in the backyard with some Borealis. Just the right amount of heat. 

This weekend we will:

Be visiting our neighbor, Elk Cove, for Hog Wild. What is bound to be an epic battle of Memphis chefs and an ultimate Rosé lineup. It should not be missed. Memphis Magazine did a write up on the line up that will be attending. 





Time Posted: Aug 16, 2013 at 9:00 AM
Montinore Estate
August 15, 2013 | Montinore Estate

Food Pairings - Taking Guesswork Out of the Picture

Finding an ideal pairing for wine can be seen as daunting, overly complex and tends to steer newer wine enthusiasts against being adventurous. We all at Montinore love food as much (some might say more) than the wine we dedicate our days and nights to, and strive to create wines that will be enjoyed with friends and family around the table, so here are some basic tips for pairings to start out with.

Wine Folly created this amazing infographic to take some of the hard decisions out of pairings - and as you can see, once you start out, you really have endless options to try out something new. 

Time Posted: Aug 15, 2013 at 9:00 AM
Kristin Marchesi, General Manager

#WineWednesday - Rosé & Beet Salad

What better way to participate this Wine Wednesday than enjoying the fruits of summer - for us that means fresh produce from the garden, eating on the patio, and, of course, Rosé.

Tweet us @montinore to share how you are celebrating #winewednesday.

Sorrel and Beet Salad

Courtney Sproule of Portland’s Din Din made this recipe to pair with our Rosé.  It’s a beautiful summer salad that plays nicely with the bright berry tones, herbaceous notes, and crisp acidity of the Pinot Noir Rosé.

Makes 4 appetizer portions (or 2 dinner portions)

1 package sorrel (2oz), de-stemmed, rinsed, dried, and cut lengthwise into 2” wide strips
1 lb beets, greens reserved for another use (mix in some golden beets if available), rinsed and dried
1 tbl white wine vinegar
2 tbl flavorless oil
1 tbl Olive Oil
scant ½ tsp (or to taste) pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
1¼ tsp minced shallots
1-2 tsp Freddy Guys hazelnut oil
3 oz. goat cheese
kosher salt
finishing salt such as Fleur de Sel (optional)

Wrap the beets tightly in two layers of foil and roast at 400º until tender (about one hour). Let rest until just cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: To a bowl or a blender, add the vinegar, pink peppercorns and a large pinch of kosher salt. Whisking, or with the blender on, add the olive oil in a thin steady stream and whisk/blend until emulsified. Adjust seasoning.

Unwrap the beets, peel off the skin and discard. Cut into ¼” circular slices, discarding bottoms. Toss with the dressing and finely minced shallot. Let stand for a few minutes, adding salt to taste.

In a separate bowl, toss the sorrel with enough hazelnut oil to coat well.

To plate: Form a bed of sorrel and mound the beets on top. Add a few small chunks of goat cheese and a sprinkling of finishing salt (if using).

This salad is nice with the beets served warm, but it can also be made ahead of time and served cold.

Time Posted: Aug 14, 2013 at 9:00 AM
August 13, 2013 |

Tales from the Cellar - Early August at the Winery

A menacing visitor entered – stage left – soon after fruit set this year in the form of a nasty hail shower.  The grape-sized hail pelted away at the vineyard for only a minute or two, but in our hearts it felt much longer. Hail always strikes terror in winemakers and vine growers, and after three short vintages in a row, we feared the worse. But upon inspection, we were relieved to see only a little bruising in blocks 32 and 33. Our luck was in sharp contrast to some fellow winemakers from Burgundy that I met last week at the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) in McMinnville. They were hit hard, some losing 80% of their crop. I feel terrible for them, especially after having traveled through Burgundy this past spring and hearing so many tales of woes of recent years, including bad hail last year as well. Some chateaus may be forced to close simply for the fact of having no wine to sell. This wine growing business is not for the faint of heart when one’s crop could be lost to a few minutes of hail.

But the weather hasn’t only brought danger. A warm spring and early summer have given the vines a fantastic boost. We’ve even seen signs of veraison (the first coloring on the skins) in some of our Pinot before the end of July. This is extremely early. The benefit of this is that we’ll be able to pick the grapes at the peak of their ripeness, rather than be forced to pick early due to the onset of the fall rains that close our last days of October ripening like a stage curtain. What we hope for now is a cooler than average August so the grape sugars don’t rise too quickly and force us to pick early. Here’s to high 70s and low 80s through August!

The 2012 whites that we have out in the tasting room right now are really delicious. The Pinot Gris, while still crisp, boasts some lovely tropical aromas this year along with a pleasant grassiness reminiscent of a Sauv Blanc. I also think the 2012 Gewürztraminer is the best we’ve made since I’ve been here. But of all our wines this year, there’s one that I’m opening the most on these warm evenings: the 2012 Rosé. It is everything I want in a Rosé: strawberries, peaches and a savory note that I just can’t place. To corrupt one of my favorite lines of Shakespeare: a Rosé by any other name would not smell as sweet. I believe we have some left.

But what of the Pinots, you ask? Well, we are just preparing the blends now, and I am beyond excited. I’m seeing uncommon richness in color and palate, but still with our trademark complexity and “earthiness,” for lack of a better term. The 2012 “Red Cap” should be out at the start of October. I think it’s going to be our best one yet. And while we’re on the topic of the Pinots currently in barrel, hear me now and listen to me later (to quote Saturday Night Live’s Hans and Franz), the 2012 Parsons’ Ridge is going to be exceptional. Unfortunately, it won’t be out until 2015 because it’s pretty flamboyant and is going to need some time to mellow a bit.

But here I’m being the parent that dotes too much on the baby brother. The 2010 and 2011 Pinots are showing very nicely and just got some love from Stephen Tanzer, who is arguably the most respected wine critic out there right now. The 2011 Red Cap which came out a little tight is really opening up nicely as well.

Time Posted: Aug 13, 2013 at 9:00 AM
Montinore Estate
August 12, 2013 | Montinore Estate

Véraison - Magic in the Vines

We saw the onset of véraison in the vineyard a couple weeks ago, and ever since, it has been coming fast. So... what exactly is going on with the fruit?

Véraison means "the onset of ripening", where we see most noticably the change in color - but there are quite a few changes that occur in the grape with this maturity. 

During this period, we see a substantial change in the berry weight, volume, and brix (sugar content), as well as hardness of the actual grape. Prior to vérasion, the grape is quite firm and green, but as it goes through this process the grape will become more soft and pliable. 

We are seeing these changes on a daily basis in our vineyard, so mostly, this means for us that we are in the final stretches for harvest!


Time Posted: Aug 12, 2013 at 9:15 AM