Wednesday, May 02, 2012

UnWine'd Rewind: Celebrate Oregon Wine Indeed!


This past Sunday, the Oregon Wine Board hosted UnWine’d: Celebrate Oregon Wine in Portland’s industrial-chic Left Bank Annex. The elaborate tasting featured 80+ wineries throughout the Oregon AVAs, and a heaping handful of restaurant vendors, delicious accoutrements in-tow. This grand tasting served as the kickoff event for Oregon Wine Month, which continues through the month of May and culminates in the ever-popular Memorial Day weekend wine country open house.
mini sliders & pasta {a la Davis Street Tavern}
With my free time rarely being spent outside of the immediate Portland area, I am ecstatic when wine country comes to me. Tasting book and floorplan in-hand, I was determined to explore and branch out rather than catching up with my known favorites. At these large-scale, free-for-all tasting events, I haven’t quite come up with a system. Sometimes I ask for recommendations from other pourers or, a self-diagnosed font snob, I’ll often wander until a label or logo catches my eye (gasp! but I swear, it’s a thing). In this case, I was reading through my list and came across an interesting name: Kandarian. Admittedly I did a double-take with the subsequent whoa, the Kardashians make wine? That would be a.w.k.w.a.r.d. Regardless, the thought amused me and I strolled over to the Kandarian table. To my surprise and extreme delight: jackpot.
Jeff Kandarian has been the winemaker for King Estate since 2008 in addition to producing his own wine under the label, Kandarian WineCellars. Make no mistake – though the site is still in the works, Jeff and the wines he has created thus far are legit; every bottle of the five being poured was adventurous and memorable. The 2010 Blue Eye Sauvignon Blanc drew me in with an incredibly bright peachy fruit on the nose and a slight effervescence on the finish. The ’09 Pepper Mélange Syrah, appropriately named, was bold and peppery with a very subtle smokiness. I was impressed to the very last drop: the ’08 Ice Box, a rich and syrupy Pinot Gris dessert wine.
Others of my UnWine’d favorites included the Stoller ‘08 Pinot Noir and ’09 Chardonnay (is it summer yet?). Fellow Anthem blogger Tiffany Stevens enjoyed the Quady North ‘11 Pistoleta, a blend of Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne, and the Chardonnays featured by Johan Vineyards (’09), Phelps Creek Vineyards (’10) and Winderlea Winery (’09).
Of course it’s not only on special occasions you can enjoy these collective tastings in PDX, you can enjoy them really close to special occasions too! PDX Urban Wineries, a group of winemakers committed to making wine within the city limits, will host their Passport Tasting on May 12th from noon to 5pm. So, pick up your mother and taste some wine Mother’s Day weekend at any and all of the PDX Urban Wineries member locations. Pick up your winery passport and travel the world of urban-made wine across the neighborhoods of Portland – enter to win prizes and as a participant you’ll enjoy 10% off bottles at all member locations. Happy Oregon Wine Month to all!

sliding door at left bank annex


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Here's another opportunity to meet some of your nearby country wineries. On May 10, the Pinot 365 wineries are holding an affordable event at the Olympic Mills Building.

Thanks Linda, Anthem fans check that out!

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