Portland is a foodie town. And, with killer food, comes some sexy wine.
I was that loser who bookmarked a boat load of places on Google Maps to check out. I followed a couple of places on instagram a while back, but never knew exactly when I would find myself in Portland. Silly thinking about it now, since it is the most food centric city I have been to in a WHILE. Any who, there was a decent amount of wine obsessed spots I needed to check out. I hit only 3, BUT I gave a ton of time to each one.
I wish I captured better photos. I was stuck in the moment visiting each place. You do really need an entourage around that cares enough to adequately capture each and every emotion you feel. I guess this is motivation to become an instagram influencer…not.
Of course my basic self hit the natural wine bars. I had to see what was going on there. First, I made it to Ok Omens. It was phenomenal (shout out to Heather for being an excellent host!!) I wanted to sample Oregon specific stuff because I was like in Oregon OK??? Well, I got seduced into some Canary Islands weirdness and now I am in love with the Tenerife Sea (please do not queue Ed Sheeran’s song.)
These boys were brand new to me. If you have tried these before, let’s chat ASAP. I was overwhelmed by the presence of salinity and volcanic soil in these wines. The red (or tinto) was practically almost sanguine with its gentle metallic note, in my opinion. That may not come off as the most attractive way to describe it, but its uniqueness is so sexy. As for the white, it was crisp, like digging into an apple by the seaside. Two half pours later, I was somewhere on a beach eating sancocho.
Next up, Oregon. I tried a ribolla gialla orange wine. A what? Yeah, someone is growing ribolla gialla up there. It is a pretty varietal from Friuli, the North Eastern region in Italy that borders Slovenia. This bottle from Holden Winery is supposedly some tiny batch groovy juice. Honestly, not my favorite expression of the varietal. It was yummy and thirst quenching for sure. It had that sherry-like nose you would expect of an orange wine. But, I wouldn’t really even know if it were ribolla gialla or chardonnay. I have a quirky bias towards orange wines so I definitely did not give it the care and attention another may have. I had my eyes on a riesling, anyways…
That is the riesling right there! It dazzled with those herbal and petrol notes that I eagerly seek out and over-sniff.
Also, OK omens has some groovy food. I am talking Tillamook cheddar beignets, delicious cheese, and funky veggies. I miss it already.
Next stop, Nostrana. Yes, the Italian institution. It was phenomenal. Their happy hour is killer. Their Enoteca Nostrana is very modern and elegant. An international wine list, mostly Italian, makes for some fun. I am a sucker for rossese. It is such a gracious Italian varietal. The blend by Claudio Vio on the list made me all tingly with joy inside!!
It was a precious little introduction to the lovely meal we experienced just after at the restaurant itself. Spectacular pizza with house made mozzarella, creamy tomato slathered reginette, carefully roasted pork belly with crazy zesty cabbage… I want to go back now please.
Oh, we just drank aperol spritz and limoncello at dinner because we are horribly predictable people.
Oh Portland, I am not done! I did get to one winery in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. I will post that next. All of this leads into a very important topic I wish to rant about: natural wine. What is natural wine? The answer to that question is not as simple as you would think. That is because its subjective, just like the rest of wine. I have been researching, questioning, digging, and writing all about it. I will carry on very soon. If anyone has any thoughts, please send them to me (this goes to anyone out there who reads my jargon…)
So, GO TO PORTLAND if you have not already. I want to go back right now. Also, the cover image is from Nong’s Khao Man Gai, because it is a photo I adore.
Sleep tight peeps! Keep ya brilliant minds up!