Drink your way around mid-Cascadia
Apparently someone sent a memo out with something about this being a post-holiday recovery time for food blogs. You know, low-fat, low-alcohol, maybe even go on a diet, that sort of thing. Hell, even my favorite crazies are joining in and Sam's declared it Sugar-LOW Friday! Sugar-LOW? Is nothing sacred with you people? shakes head in dismay
Whatever folks. You all enjoy your no-carb, no-fat, no-meat (no fun) carrot stick and celery dinners. I'm pouring myself a glass of something alcoholic and searching the cupboards for some chocolate. Sadly, I already know that I have neither great wine nor terribly good chocolate. I have perfectly good slabs of bittersweet chocolate, but that's my baking stuff and the last truffle dissolved last night...in my mouth. Same thing with wine, the good stuff all went away over the holidays, leaving a small selection of random bottles.
And memories of better wines I've discovered in the last year...
insert waving fingers and doodley-boop fade noise
My new favorite winery is a private mini-mini-batch bottler who produces a variety of fruit wines — berries, apple, and apricot — and goes by the name of George. Since discovering this vintner a year or so ago, I've been fortunate enough to come across bottles of apricot, blueberry, and some dry-enough-to-induce-puckers cascade berry. (say that really fast, especially after a few glasses of it, i dare ya!) Reminiscent of a late-summer afternoon, with the scent of fruit floating in with the coolng afternoon breeze, these are wines to savor. Each one has been marvelous, rich with the flavor of fresh wild/organic fruit while lacking even a hint of the cloying sweetness that reminds me why I stopped drinking fruit wines years ago.
Other favorite wines come from my friends up at The Inn at Lucky Mud. Shown here is a bottle of their organic apple wine, made with apples from "Pioneer trees" — those being the ones planted by the first white settlers in our valley — which won the Governor's Award at last year's fair. (George, the other vinter, won several prizes as well...even some for beer, but that's another story.) Last time I visited the Inn, there was a tiny batch of cabernet going — and by tiny I mean less than five gallons — their first from some grape vines they planted a while back. Too bad the pioneers didn't bring grapes too, it'd sure be nice to have a valley full of wild wine grapes!
Unfortunately, neither of these guys produce much wine, nor do they sell it...heck, I guess I shouldn't even count them in any sort of list of wineries, we are talking about a couple of guys with backyard orchards and a passion for wine. Luckily for me, however, I can call them both friends, so I periodically acquire some lovely bottles of wine from one or the other of them. Doesn't do you much good though, does it? (hey now, aren't you supposed to be eating a carrot stick and avoiding alcohol anyway?)
For those of you without your own network of friends who share their homemade wine, I offer a pair of maps to help you find the next best thing.
It strikes me that this might be a great alternative to the usual trip-planning sites. Placemapper also has maps for Portland and Seattle metro area breweries as well. Just remember to take a designated driver...or a cab.