•March 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Wine – Dog Lovers Wine Club

Here’s a great way to support my pooch pals in shelters around the country. 10% of sales goes to Humane Societies. Maybe Valerie will put me on a label!
http://www.carivintas.com/default.htm

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We have a new address!!

•March 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Update your links my pals, we have a new home on the web.  I have a domain that suits me: www.winedogreview.com

We will have a new look soon too, so look for that announcement and help me spread the word about our new digs so google can crawl us back to the top of its search list!

Vouvray and Appetizers for a Pug Visit

•February 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Me and the Wine

My pug pals belong to one of Valerie’s friends.  They live over one block, and we sometimes meet them in the forest on our walks.  They’ve been over to play with me too.

So tonight we’re taking over  a lovely Vouvray and Balsamic Onion Puff Pastries for an evening in.

Onions Cooking Down

Recipe:

1 onion

3 tbs balsamic vinegar

3 tbs olive oil

4 dried juniper berries crushed

2 tbs pepper jam

1/2 tsp salt

Montreal steak seasoning

I sheet puff pastry

Chop onion finely, add to hot oil stir over med high heat until softening.  Add balsamic vinegar and salt.  Cook until soft and jam like.  Take off heat and stir in pepper jam and juniper berries.  Cool.

Unroll puff pastry and pat into a square.  Spread cooled filling over puff pastry.  Roll up, and cut into slices.  Place on an oiled cookie sheet, sprinkle tops with Montreal Steak Spice.  Bake at 400F for 15 minutes.

Not dog friendly, but we have our own cookies.

The Gorge in Winter

•February 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Well, Spring is around the corner and road trips are in my veins, so off we went to tred the hills and vales of the Columbia River Gorge. I love the area because some of my scents are still here from living up this way for a couple of years.

I’ve been to most of the wineries and vineyards on both the Washington and Oregon sides. We drove up the Washington side and had lunch in Bingen, a small town located along the river, with White Salmon perched on top. Valerie decided to have a Descheutes beer from Bend, ore. for lunch with a hot mama pizza slice and carrot ginger soup at the Solstice Wood Fire Cafe.

We then headed to Lyle and headed up the cliff towards the plateau. I know there are some newish places up there and we hadn’t been before. Cor Cellars, Domaine Poullion, Klicitat Canyon, Memaloose and Syncline. Well, its winter and we didn’t call ahead so nothing was open! A few winery dogs trotted up, and we got a good lay of the land for our next Spring trip. The Canyon is beautiful and if you are enamored with mossy trees as much as I am, this is a magical place.  The Columbia Valley Wine Growers Association has maps and listings for all the wineries in the area.

So we headed over to Hood River in Oregon and dropped in on The Pines , a winery known for its old vine zinfandel planted in the late 1800’s. We purchased a unique 08 Satin, aPinot Gris/Gewutztraminer Blend, unusual with a very floral nose and crisp yet luscious palate. We also liked the 07 Cabernet Sauvignon, the Pines first Cab from the McDuffee Vineyard near the Dalles, and was it good!

The Pines tasting room is al large event space and we were lucky enough to be there as the new “First Friday” (that’s tonight) art exhibition was being hung. It’s called Red Alert and features art inspired by the color red.

So check out Hood River’s First Fridays, and make sure to stop by The Pines for art, music, and a taste from the oldest vines in the area.

JRDN, A Modern Oasis In PB

•January 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

PB equals Pacific Beach, CA, a beach community just north of San Diego’s Sea World.  We have pals in San Diego, so we like to play in the surf and eat at ocean side restaurants.

Tower 23 is a fairly new spot on the beach walk; sleek, modern and spirited are words that come to mind when we had dinner at this hotel last night. JRDN is a twitter ready name for a restaurant that is hard to sum up in 140 characters.

So Raw,Way Cool, Getting Warm, Pure Sizzle, Burning Up are menu chapters.

Valerie took the waitress’s advice and ordered a Way Cool beet salad to start and the Pure Sizzle Arctic Char, a fish Valerie is very fond of. The salad was large and filled with sweetened nuggets of yellow and red beets, dark leafy greens, goat cheese and pickled cauliflower. A Spanish Granache was a perfect pairing.

The Arctic Char, pale salmon in color was perfectly cooked, which means not over cooked, and tasted clean, fresh and sweet.  It was served on a bed on green lentils, flavored with raisins, country ham, small shreds of onion and sauteed brussel sprouts, amazing!  Valerie had a french chardonnay with it but she thought  it was a bit too mild for the lentils, a Pinot Noir would have worked better, I think.

Ah the leftovers!!!

The menu is focused on meat that you have options of playing with, and Chef, David Warner gets his all-natural meats from Meyer Ranch.  This is also true of the build your own salad.  The raw bar menu is also extensive and inventive.

This is a high end place and is a bit noisy because of the very active bar scene spilling into the dining room, but the service is impeccable and we had a table that looked out onto the darkened patio and that reflected the changing wall sculpture and made people watching easy!

It’s a paws up from me!

Educating your Palate: A Passport to Adventure

•January 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I am an ambassador of sorts!  I wanted to blog about wine because I wanted to encourage people to use their taste-buds to their best advantage.  Also an informed consumer is a happy one, I know.  We have finally found my favorite dog biscuits, ones I’ll eat even if I know someone is bringing me left-over chicken strips. Value and pleasure!

You know I go to Wine Dog U (see sidebar), and Valerie continues to learn – so I do too. Since getting her advanced WSET credentials in Canada she has been taking a passport series through a Portland wine education place, The Wine and Spirit Archive, where the owners, Mimi Martin and Adam Rynard, and their students have made us feel right at home.

They teach the WSET classes up to the Advanced Level.  We want to go further in WSET, but until then we travel the world through monthly wine classes at WSA. Mimi and Adam have invited 12 favorite Portland-based wine professionals to join them for this Passport Series and asked each to select the wine region they are most passionate about. Their interests spanned the globe from the dry-farmed vineyards of the Barossa Zone to the steep, schistous rock faces of the Douro Valley and included little-known regions such as British Columbia, Canada ( Ah, the Okanagan, see our slide show in the posts); Savoie, France; and Lombardy, Italy.

Here are some of the wines from the Rioja class last year:

What we like about this monthly series is that whether you are new to wine or have been studying it for years, you will be learning while having fun…and no tests or blind tastings!  You can purchase one class or up to the whole 12.  We did the whole 12 last year and even though WSET had covered these areas, the detail in the Passport Series to a region or sub region just broadens our interest and knowledge. So get your passport and join us on the world tour of wine, the guides and wines are fantastic!  The 2010 schedule is below:

January – The Douro May – Chinon September – New York State
February – Priorat June – Jura/Savoie October – The Rhone Valley
March – Kamptal/Kremstal July – Franken November – Barossa Zone
April – Lombardy/Umbria August – British Columbia December – Ribera del Duero

Frequent Flyer – Platinum Member $480 for all 12 sessions, a 20% discount

Frequent Flyer – Gold Member $255 for 6 sessions of your choice, a 15% discount

Frequent Flyer – Silver Member $135 for 3 sessions of your choice, a 10% discount

Daytripper $50 per session

Spiced Pears and Persimmons Amity Style

•December 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Valerie Came home from Christmas Eve Dinner  at Bistro Maison in McMinnville,smelling like Duck Confit and spiced pears.  I’m looking forward to a taste of the duck but I love when the house continues to smell Christmassy.  And what is better than cloves, ginger and  cinnamon filling the air.  Today she tried her version of pears poached in Amity Vineyards pinot blanc.  She also added some Fuyu persimmons.

Here’s her recipe:

3 ripe pears

2 fuyu persimmons (the hard apple type)

1 lemon

3/4 cup sugar

5 slices of ginger root

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

Slice three pieces of rind off lemon. Fill a bowl with cold water and squeeze some lemon juice into the water. Slice pears and persimmons and put into water.

Pour wine into a large heavy frying pan, add sugar, lemon rind and spices.  Heat on medium until sugar dissolves. Add fruit and gentle simmer until pears and persimmons are tender and translucent, about 15 to 30 minutes. Remove fruit and reduce syrup in half, pour over fruit and refrigerate.

The Chef at Le Bistro Maison used his pears in a cranberry goat cheese and toasted walnut salad with roasted shallot dressing, but they’re good as dessert with some vanilla ice cream, or on top of breakfast cereal.