Category Archives: 2019

2019 Harvest at Boedecker Cellars

It’s that time of year. I joined the merry crew at Boedecker Cellars for the 2019 Harvest. Here we are in a rare moment of repose.

Photo by Athena Pappas

The grapes arrive.

Athena on the sorting line.

A perfect cluster!

Tim shows us his Punchdown Face.

Here’s your friendly author in action.

See all those on the deck? I cleaned each and every one of them.

Boedecker Cellars is located right here in NW Portland. Drop in sometime and say “hi”. Athena and Stewart make great wine!


I’ve stolen the text of this post from Kristian Berg.

From a single malt scotch tasting party some years ago. Comments from the assembled tasters.

Oban 14 year… “Dear Oban, I know what you look like- Catherine
Zeta-Jones, still single, living in the Western Highlands- offering me a kiss that is your taste!” 

Macallan 12 year… “A naked afternoon in front of a cozy fire” 

Glenkinchie 10 year… “Porch-swingin’ linger with a neighbor- ‘hey! howdya like a scotch? I’ve got Glenkinchie’ ‘Say what? ‘Glenkinchie…’ So we wrapped up around 10pm and I forgot I had any problems… my neighbor? He said he couldn’t feel his toes…” 

Isle of Jura… “Someone just pushed me down the hill- rolling blur of sun and field flowers” “More fruity – earthy as single malts go with a bit of a circle burn on the
after-swallow (if that’s even a word)” 

Dalwhinnie 15 year… “The whip strikes and stings so sweetly” “Stable – like a pleasant ride in a mid-grade BMW” 

Glenfiddich… “Screw the rocksalt, it’s glenfiddich and lock de-icer in my vehicle this winter!” 

Laphroig 10 year… this is a peaty smokey Islay scotch… “The underside of Gandalf’s green wellies comes to mind and to tongue”!

Beaune, France

Beaune, in the Burgundy region of France.  We only had a couple of hours here, so I’m afraid we have little in the way of Deep Thoughts and Insights into the wines you’ve heard so much about since before you were born.

Beaune –  Sadly, half of the media images I have in my head of France are from media related to WWII and walking these streets I kept expecting to see Ernest Borgnine storming around the corner with a tommy gun.  It’s hard to not expect to see half-tracks, tanks and men in soiled, saggy khaki uniforms around every turn.


On this experience we were on a tour of France in general, and not a wine tour of France.  In a more perfect world we would have enjoyed more time to learn more about the similarities/differences between Burgundy and our home here in the Willamette Valley –

One story we can share with you is that morning the sky was hazy in Lyon and the surrounding areas.  Why?  Well, it turns out that when the nights are cold and clear in the spring, the local producers burn hay bales in the vineyards.  We were told that the cold nights can produce a thin layer of ice on the plants, which is not a problem by itself, but can act as a lens focusing the morning sun and scorching the vines.  We’re told a whole harvest can be lost.  So they burn hay to fill the sky with smoke, not to keep the vineyards warm, but to blunt the power of the sunlight.  So now you know.

We did manage a brief wine tasting in Beaune but possibly did not pass the wine connoisseur test we were subjected to by the proprietor.  I think he could tell we didn’t have any real money to spend. But it was fun nonetheless.

We didn’t have enough time in town to explore it, but they do have a nifty display of historic wine making equipment.  The size of the wine presses is quite impressive.

Speaking of the connection between the Willamette Valley and Burgundy, what do we find here?  One of the French families who identified the viticulture opportunity in Oregon, and contributed to making our local wine industry happen! Visit them when you’re in the area.

Domaine Drouhin

Yes, this first week in France was part of a two week trip to the land of cheese, bread and wine.  You can read more here:

Here’s the boat we were on:


Famille Perrin, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France

Just when you thought it was safe to open this blog, you discover we spent two weeks in France. For more on our 2019 travels in Gaul, click your clicker right here:

Our second wine visit on this day was less interesting to us as we weren’t there to buy wine to take home. This visit was more like dropping into a wine shop with friends, which we can do back in the USA. However, we enjoyed their wines more than the previous place.

The Famille Perrin tasting room is in the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which is a tiny place and as a result I’m foreshadowing something to come.

See that box on the counter? It’s got the best winery snack we’ve had so far. BONUS POINTS!

The family crest.

This is where we lost the bus. Or the bus lost us.

We hiked down the hill past the school….

… and here you see us troop off into the distance. Eventually we were forced to join the French Foreign Legion and serve in North Africa.

Well, eventually we made a few calls, and sent a couple scouting parties which made contact with our transportation. Then came the next problem. This ain’t the suburbs baby. Ya can’t just drive your giant heavy bus down any old street, leaving our party stranded.

Well, some members of our party aren’t as spry as they used to be. We got it all figured out. Advice: don’t leave the bus without the bus driver’s phone number.

As an aside, Famille Perrin’s entry level red is right there on the end-cap at our Portland New Seasons market.

Pope Hat

Frequent visitors know by now we spent two weeks in France. For more on our 2019 travels in Gaul, click your clicker on here:

Some of the Portland people in our group organized a side-trip to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Here we are on a bus we eventually lost.

Maison Bouachon, our first stop.

Here is an example of how their vines grow. Note this is not an exaggeration, the soil is quite rocky.

Here is a chart of the grape varietals grown in the area.

I love these giant casks they use to age the wine.

Some of the members of our group did not enjoy the wines here, finding them overly oxidized. What would you think? Only one way to know for sure, go check it out for yourself.

They did put on a good show here. I’ll admit I’m a sucker for giant wooden casks.

Here’s a clever wine tool set that’s also a game of chess.

And here we see a typical vineyard. The rocks are believed to retain the heat of the day and radiate it back to the vines at night. Another goal for the way they are trained is to allow the local “mistral” winds to keep the vines dry.

The ruin on top of the hill contains an ancient lich and his legions of skeletons. Your party will want magic users, clerics… ok, just kidding. We are told this was the Pope’s summer cabin.

Vineyard Tour, Tain L’Hermitage, France

As it so happens, when you weren’t looking, we snuck into France. For more on our 2019 travels in Gaul, put your clicker on here:

A day in Tournon-sur-Rhône. We went on a walking tour to the vineyards of Tain L’Hermitage.

They often trim the vines close to the ground where it’s warmer.

In other areas they train the vines up individual posts instead of a trellis.

As you can see, the hill is quite steep.

Very rocky soil.

…and a stop at the chocolate factory! Valrhona, it’s called. Which we unknowingly will use later in our journey in Paris to make chocolate lava cakes in our cooking class.

Cider Melenig

So we are in Paris at a crepe place and they offer us cider and they bring out this from Cidrerie Melenig:

It is quite delightful. Dry, floral and a wee bit tart. The cider nerds I know would describe its character on the “funky” barnyard side vs. clean and simple.

Anyhoo – get some today!