Sherry is an unusual wine product. It comes from one particular grape thats only grown in one particular region of Spain. Why is it unusual – the same grape is used to produce a wide variety of end products, from what we’d think of as a very light white wine to dark desert wine.
I’ve had the fortunate to spend some time in Sherry country, and I’ll tell you this much: it’s a good product and you’ll come to like it in about two seconds flat.
Mike and Jen showing us how to have fun.
And here was our reward: snax!
Instead of doing something practical, like having a tap at the bottom of the barrels to tap the sherry for tasting, Sherry makers follow the traditional method of sampling through the top of the keg. Example:
It’s a bit tricky to pour into a tiny glass…
Seems like a overcomplicated way to do it, though it definitely shows off your skills.
They encouraged us to participate in their social networking thingie. So here it is:
Hey kids, this is the way it goes. Half the fun is going to these places is that they are often beautiful and a joy to experience. Sure they sell stuff that’s often quite nice as well, but if it was just about the product, we could save the time and gas and walk two blocks to the store.
Our final visit this trip was Sokol Blosser. I still love the name. I don’t know what it means, but it sounds like some kind of sumo-wrestler Norwegian death-metal band. “SOKOL BLOSSER!!!! OOOOOOOAAAOAOAOAOHDOFAHOFHOAOAOAOAOAOAOA!!!!!”
Here’s the deal with Sokol Blosser. They’re all Pinot. Joyce and I find pinot to be somewhat bland, on the whole. Other people enjoy them, but to me the Sokol Blosser $15 general red is a better deal than their entry-level $70 pinot bottle.
Their new tasting building – gorgeous, except it’s so new it actually stinks of pine wood. This is where we should have some science about how scent affects taste, you’ll just have to google that on your own time. Let me tell you this – the view up there is awesome. Joe-Bob says, “Check it out!”
How did we get here anyway?
Here we are pulling into The Vintages “RV Resort” with Betsy Rose, our 1961 Shasta Airflyte reissue camper. She’s brand-new, built in 2015 but 95% true to the 1961 design. The Vintages is fun because they have a whole selection of vintage trailers to rent. Quite fun!
We were directed to The Four Graces as a good place for a picnic. It’s unclear which Graces they are referring to, perhaps these? In any case, we picked a poor time to arrive, hot and hungry just as the place was overrun and packed to the gills by someone’s bachelorette party. About 500 women yammering away at each other loud enough to drown out a Disaster Area concert.
Having been spoiled by being virtually the only visitors at wineries for the last so many visits, we almost fled for safety immediately BUT some kind person had given us secret cards good for free wine. Being smart shoppers we of course, were staying.
That was a poor way to start the visit, but I have to hand it to the staff for being troopers. They herded the hens outside, kept their cool and didn’t seem to break a sweat. So, good work, team!
This is how we roll. With picnic supplies. GUH!
Ok, this place is another Pinot Noir winery, so their wines didn’t make an impression on us, but we know how to have fun either way!
We have a terrible secret to share. We’re just not that into Pinot Noir style wines. There’s nothing wrong with them, we just prefer beefier flavors. The Willamette Valley is all about the pinot and some of the places out here are getting snooty and expensive. That’s no fun!
Joyce picked Remy because they make a more standard array of red wines and not six variations on pinot noir. She liked their wines so much she joined the club! (Joining the wine club means she has to go out there and visit the quilt store.)
The tasting room is also a comfy place to hang out. Thumbs up!
Remy gets my award of Excellence in Artistic Use of Pallets
Here’s Barnaby, the winemaker behind The Teutonic Wine Company manning the bar at his tasting room on SE 20th right off Powell Blvd in Portland.
Actually, he prefers to refer to his place as a “pub” as it’s his goal to have a pleasant hangout spot for all kinds of people. Yes, he’ll sell you a $40 bottle of fine wine, or if you prefer a $3 Rainer Tall Boy with a frosty mug to go with it.
And for snacko-miendos they’ve teamed up with The Wild Hunt, a nordic food cart with all kinds of tasty things I can’t pronounce. We noshed down on open faced blood sausage sammiches with a very tasty slaw and even better – a delish pickled egg with the surprising saltiness of caviar.
This photo came out rather dark in our moist PNW spring weather. You’ll find the place quite comfortable with a relaxed and friendly vibe. When we were there Barnaby was spinning the 70’s vinyl and in the next room they were showing the campy action film Norwegian Ninja to complete the theme.
And should you head out to Forest Grove, you can see it for yourself. They do tours three times a day (as of this writing at least) and they’ve built a fine tasting room:
For a reasonable fee you can taste their saké and selected imports from Japan. The tasting room also has a special offering – draft saké that hasn’t been aged or processed in any way.
We completely forgot to write down the name of the Saké we took home, but here it is being poured into a growler. Jim suggested creating a saké cocktail by adding a generous slug of St. Germain. We did try this later and it is indeed scrumptious.