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Oh What A Night!

Friday, May 14th 2010 by Michael Kelly Brown, Vice President

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending one of the nicest wine dinners I have ever been a part of. The team at Tina’s Restaurant in Dundee, Oregon did an exceptional job of creating a wine centric menu that not only highlighted Sokol Blosser wines but also showed the kitchen's exceptional skill.

We started with house made crackers topped with a pacific salmon spread paired with our 2009 Rosé of Pinot Noir. While we mingled in the front of the restaurant and got to know each other this little hors d'oeuvres and wine pairing helped ease us into the event.

When we sat, we were greeted with a plate of freshly picked radishes and house made speck (a type of smoked prosciutto). Shortly after they began pouring our Estate Pinot Gris from 2008, and halibut arrived served over braised fennel and topped with pesto. The Pinot Gris was just coming into its prime and tasted spectacular with the fish.

On to my favorite pairing of the night! Our 1999 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir matched perfectly with a roasted quail. This was a match made in heaven. A perfectly aged wine with a gorgeously prepared dish. The short ribs that came next let us know our journey was far from over. A light smokiness and hint of citrus made the tender meat a stage on which our wines performed. The 2007 Goosepen Block and the 2005 Dundee Hills Pinots were a fun juxtaposition of vintages to compare side by side.

Topping off the night was an olive oil cake and vintage 2002 White Riesling Dessert Wine - it was a perfect end to a perfect night. Thank you to our friends at Tina's for the wonderful evening!


My Own Pinot Gris & Seafood Weekend

Monday, January 24th 2011 by

Sometimes it’s hard for me to not think about work on my days off. My brain always has a tendency to crunch on projects until they’ve met resolution, and it doesn’t help matters when my phone makes a cute electronic chime every time I receive a work email, eliciting a Pavlovian urge to check it. So even when I’m actively trying not to think about work during my weekend, I end up thinking about it anyway.

See: oysters.

I’ve had oysters on the brain all month in preparation for our annual Pinot Gris & Seafood Weekend. This year, we’ve decided that it would be both delicious and apropos to celebrate the fact that the gloomy and stormy weather in Oregon during January has the pleasant side effect of being ideal for the production of amazing local oysters. So we’re getting ourselves a boatload of Oregon Coast oysters, enlisting some skilled shuckers, and hauling a lot of vintage Pinot Gris from our wine library with the hopefully pleasant side effect of having a very great party in very un-great weather. You should really come. There’s probably no better way to spend what will very likely be another gloomy and stormy January weekend in Oregon.

So here I am, at home on a Wednesday, and I really want to have my own Pinot Gris & Seafood weekend. Alas, I can’t really justify the extravagance of oysters for a solo lunch in the middle of the week, probably like most normal people. If you can, you should email me so we can be friends. Luckily, I do have some Pinot Gris on hand—a pleasant side effect of working for a winery that makes a killer Pinot Gris. In lieu of real-deal oysters, I reach into the cupboard for my bottle of oyster sauce, a kind of condiment made from oysters commonly used in Dim Sum restaurants to make boringly healthy steamed greens taste really completely delicious. This is my gameplan. It’s not oysters on the half shell, but it’ll have to do.

Baby BokI start with some baby bok choy languishing in the fridge, bought in a fit of healthy new year’s resolve last week. For what I’m about to do, you can use pretty much any kind of green veggie that can stand up to some hot water, like broccoli, if your grocery doesn’t stock baby bok choy or you’re somehow against how baby bok choy adorably resembles the little lop-ears of rabbits. I slice three of them lengthwise after a quick rinse, and put on a pot of water to boil. To make this a more substantial lunch, I reheat some brown rice also languishing in the fridge. I keep forgetting that this new apartment lacks a microwave, and that I keep neglecting to buy one, Heater Riceso I pile some on a plate and set it atop the undoubtedly building-code-violating gas heater in my living room. I wish I were joking about this, but it gets the job done in a pinch.

When the water boils, I plunge the baby bok choy into the pot, and let them linger for about two minutes, but not much longer. The idea is to blanch them just enough to take the hard crunch out of them. The ideal result will be a vegetable that’s silky but still al dente, not soggy. I drain them into a colander in the sink and shake off the water before plating them atop the now-warm rice. In a bowl, I use a fork to whisk a few glugs of oyster sauce together with just a drizzle of peanut oil to thin it out. You can use any kind of neutral (not olive) oil, and any brand of oyster sauce. All ElseMine happens to come from Thailand and has illustrations of oysters on it, and a delightfully strange recursive photo of a woman standing over a wok yielding the very bottle of oyster sauce with the same photo on it. If you find that creepy, other brands found in grocery stores have cute drawings of pandas or tigers on the labels.
FinaleI pour the sauce over the veggies and rice, and finish by pouring myself a glass of our 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Gris (I don’t have any back vintages to toast with, unfortunately). The sauce is kind of sweet and briny and the wine crisp and bracing. I eat the whole thing standing at my kitchen cart, alone on a Wednesday afternoon. The bok choy tastes too good to be healthy even if inwardly I know it is, and the wine makes it extra indulgent feeling. It’s certainly not the same as a big party with real oysters and library wine, but for my day off it will definitely do. 

Recipe: Ahi Poke on Fried Rice Cakes with Evolution White

Wednesday, February 22nd 2012 by

This Ahi Poke recipe might be one of the best things I've ever made, and it's super easy. I got the inspiration for this recipe from a dish at Yoko's Sushi in SE Portland. They do something called Taka's Tuna, which is poke on fried rice cakes that look like a McDonald's hash brown. I figured I could make fried rice cakes similar to Yoko's. The Evolution pairing took it to the next level. This dish would be a great appetizer!

Ahi Poke on fried rice cakes paired with Evolution White

1/2 lb sushi grade Ahi
3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1/2 jalapeno chili minced
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 green onions trimmed and thinly sliced
1 ripe avocado diced
Sesame seeds

For Fried Rice Cake-
1 cup sushi rice cooked in rice cooker
1 tbsp flour
3-4 tbsp Vegetable oil

Using a really sharp knife slice the ahi into 1/2 pieces. Mix with soy sauce, chili and sesame oil and chill for at least 30 min to firm it up.

While the ahi is marinating, mix flour into cooked sushi rice and form into cakes. Heat vegetable oil on med/high and when it's hot, drop the cakes into the pan and fry them up, 2-3 min on a side or until crispy. Place on plate with paper towel.

Place a scoop of ahi on top of rice cake, top with avocado, green onions, and dust with sesame seeds.

Open chilled bottle of Evolution, sip, eat and chill!


A Brunch-y Toast

Monday, April 16th 2012 by

A new tradition has begun between good friends who love good food. That is good food that we good friends like to cook together, everything from scratch, with ingredients we mostly happen to have in our respective pantries. I can’t think of a better thing to do on a lazy Sunday morning (okay… afternoon, I definitely sleep in on Sunday).

The meal usually takes at least two hours to make, but packed in those two hours are culinary lessons, laughter and a respectable Mimosa or Bloody Mary… or two. This past Sunday the theme was set for biscuits and gravy. I love these gatherings for several reasons but one reason is that I always learn something. This Sunday, while I did learn to make biscuits (buttery, flakey biscuits that acted as a wonderful pillow to homemade sausage gravy) the true lesson was in taking off the culinary safety ‘floaties’ and jumping into the pool when inspiration strikes. For example, we had a combination of ingredients we all collectively brought including a pommelo, honey grapefruit and asparagus spears that we wanted to serve on the side but weren’t sure quite how. That’s when I realized the beauty in culinary experimentation. Chef Mary ended up adding asiago cheese with the above ingredients to create a salad that was surprisingly refreshing, savory, tangy and simply delicious. What’s better is that I had brought a bottle of Sokol Blosser 2011 Estate Rose of Pinot Noir. The rhubarb, watermelon and grapefruit characteristics were a great counterpoint to the heavy biscuits and gravy and even stood up beautifully to the asparagus salad.

This past Sunday was definitely a lesson in more ways than one: take that lazy Sunday morning and turn it into a culinary dream fest to share with friends as a chance to experiment and have a few laughs while you're at it. What else will you be doing these rainy spring Sundays while you’re waiting for the sun to come out? I lift my glass of Estate Rose to you!

A toast to good friends, good food and good wine!


Not Your Normal Pizza Night

Thursday, May 10th 2012 by

EddieWe in the tasting room get to talk about wine and food all day. I’m elated that I get to do this as my job but sometimes (okay… most always all the time) we like to drink and eat the wonderful treats we talk about all day. Thus, the first of hopefully many pizza nights was born when the tasting room sales associate team had pizza dinner at Eddie Zavestoski’s house. You all have seen him pour wine but have you seen him make a pizza?

Eddie preps homemade sourdough crust (left).

Fino In Fondo’s Tartufo (truffle salami) and Cyprus Grove Truffle Tremor cheese to start the dinner (right).

Truffle oil sauteed shitakes, green onions, Cyprus Grove Truffle Tremor and shaved Oregon black truffle pizza (below). Can you tell we’re a tad bit obsessed with truffles around here?

Eddie’s homemade harrisa sauce, artichoke hearts, goat cheese, green onion, zatar spice and prosciutto pizza. The perfect amount of zingy spice for this exotic pizza.

The night was made even better when host and cellaring guru, Eddie, pulled out a 1994 Sokol Blosser Redlands Pinot Noir. It was surprisingly youthful and had held onto its deep gem tone color. This pinot was the epitome of ‘forest floor funk’ and was stellar with the Tartufo and truffle pizza. The ’94 reminded me of how much I love Oregon Pinot Noir and just how well it can age given the right conditions.

The night was a success and I’ll speak for the rest of the tasting room staff when I say I’m pretty sure this means pizza night will become a monthly tradition for us. Come by the tasting room and talk food and wine with us and pass on your pizza tips! 


Evolution White + Indian Food = Perfect Summer Pairing

Monday, July 2nd 2012 by

The tasting room staff has been thinking a lot about Evolution White lately. In anticipation for summer’s arrival to the Willamette Valley (which Oregonians know doesn’t start ‘til July 5th) we decided to have a dinner party surrounding the wine we all can’t wait to drink in the sunshine… Evolution White. We love Evolution paired with countless dishes (think sushi, Thai green curry and Cajun spices on the grill) but we all jumped at the thought of an Indian food feast paired with Evolution. So once again, the fine foodie folks of the tasting room gathered to Eddie’s house for a spicy, flavorful and fragrant evening of Evolution White and regional Indian food.

An appetizer of onion pakoras with spicy chili aioli were a perfect foil for Evolution White and started off the evening meal.

Although the evening was centered on Evolution White, we couldn’t help but open a bottle of 2009 Sokol Blosser Pinot Blanc (bottle in background). The tropical fruit notes of the Blanc were an ideal complement to the Peach Curry and spicy Palak Paaner (left).

Eddie’s stove is loaded with pots and pans. Peach Curry, Channa Masala, Palak Paaner and Arhar Daal were served on lemon basmati rice (right).

Toasting to a successful summer spread and the eventual coming of sunshine to the Pacific Northwest (left). Cheers!

Eddie’s Carrot Cardamom Pudding was an incredible end to the Indian food feast. It was delicate and refreshing with just the right amount of custardy-sweet (below).                  


Recipe created by Eddie Zavestoski

Carrot Cardamom Pudding

1 pound carrots, peeled and shredded

¾ cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups whole milk, divided

1 cup rice flour

1 tsp cardamom (to taste)

¼ tsp saffron

1 tsp rose water

Pistachios and almonds to garnish, toasted

Warm up 1 cup of whole milk in microwave or on stove and add the saffron to the warm milk. Set aside while the saffron dissolves into the milk. Meanwhile, dissolve sugar in 1 cup water over medium low heat on the stove. Once it looks like sugar has dissolved, add carrots to the same pot and cook until carrots become mushy, approximately 30 minutes. When carrots are cooked all the way through, add saffron milk infusion, heavy cream, cardamom and rose water. Stir to ensure all ingredients are properly mixed then blend contents. An immersion blender is ideal, however, transferring to a blender works just as well. Blend mixture until smooth and there are no chunks of carrot remaining. Return the now smooth mixture to the pot over low heat and add flour ¼ cup at a time, whisking constantly to integrate. After all flour has been whisked into the mixture, add the remaining cup of whole milk to thin out until you have reached your desired consistency. Think standard pudding: it can be more or less ‘runny’ depending on personal preference. Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least a couple of hours to allow pudding to set. Pudding can be chilled for up to 2 days. To serve, spoon pudding into individual ramekins and top with toasted pistachios and almonds. Nuts can be toasted in oven, but keep an eye on them as they can burn.


Prime Rib and Pinot Noir - the Perfect Pair!

Friday, November 16th 2012 by

Pair Prime Rib With Pinot Noir for a Memorable Holiday Feast

BOISE, ID--(Marketwire - Nov 15, 2012) -The holiday season is always packed with activities and traditions, so make your chief celebration easy and fool-proof with a boneless ribeye roast from The Double R Ranch Co.and an Oregon pinot noir from Sokol Blosser Winery. Selecting high quality elements ensures that a seemingly straightforward menu provides the panache that a special occasion demands.

"Our perfectly marbled and hand cut prime rib is the ideal centerpiece for any holiday table," said Jay Theiler, director of marketing for The Double R Ranch Co. "The ability to pair the Double R Ranch Co. prime rib with Sokol Blosser pinot noir will give your table that Northwest flare and make a perfect holiday pairing."

Prime Rib is an ideal choice due to its relative ease to prepare (you only need salt and pepper), its ability to feed a large group and its tendency to impress as the table's focal point. "There's no doubt the holidays are a hectic time, but a festive, flavorful meal doesn't need to add to stress levels," said Theiler. "A classic combination of prime rib and pinot noir can be surprisingly simple and simply superb."

The Double R Ranch Co's ribeye roast, referred to as "prime rib" with the bone removed, is exquisitely marbled with a robust and buttery flavor.To prepare this roast, simply season with salt and pepper, or a favorite seasoning blend, and roast in a 350°F oven, fat side up, on a rack or in a shallow cast iron roasting pan. There's no need to cover the roast or add liquid. Approximate cooking times for a seven-pound roast range from 2 to 2-1/4 hours for medium rare, an internal temperature of 145°F, and from 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 hours for medium, an internal temperature of 160°F. Once out of the oven, let the roast rest for 15 to 20 minutes, tented loosely with aluminum foil on a carving board, before slicing and serving.

This rich roast calls for a complex, earthy wine as a complement. Consider pairing it with Sokol Blosser's 2009 Estate Cuvee Pinot Noirto round out your intimate celebration. With a delicate character, this wine is expressive of tea roses and violets. Flavors and aromas of dusty strawberry, raspberry and red currants give way to earthy undertones of sun-baked clay, dry autumn leaves and mineral spice. The structure is lithe but supple, with refined tannins and a graceful, lasting finish.

For a larger party, consider the Sokol Blosser's 2010 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir magnum. This classic vintage is complex and layered, with black cherry, berry and earthy minerality. Its stunning concentration and depth comes off without heaviness, and the wine has a wonderful structure and texture, with soft, supple tannins.

About Sokol Blosser
The Sokol Blosser family planted their first grapevines in 1971 in the Dundee Hills and now farms over 85 certified organic acres. As one of the pioneering wineries of the region, Sokol Blosser has played a key role in developing and shaping the now-prominent Oregon wine industry. The winery works to create wines of world-class quality, produced in a sustainable manner, which reflect the distinctive flavors of the grapes, soil, and climate, as well as the winery's values and sense of place. The winery produces Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Evolution White (a proprietary white wine blend) and Evolution Red (proprietary red blend), along with small quantities of Single Block Pinot Noirs in selected vintages.

About Double R Ranch Co.
The Double R Ranch Co. was born out of passion for the western lifestyle and a responsibility to the families that create their livelihood from agriculture. Double R Ranch Co. is part of a family-owned and managed cattle company that was established in 1968 and is recognized as a leader in providing exceptional quality beef. The name Double R Ranch is a tribute to the founder, Robert Rebholtz, Sr., whose integrity and passion for the cattle industry lives on as a guiding principle of the company. Many Double R Ranch Co. cattle originate from the ranch, located in the Okanagan region of Washington State on more than 50,000 pristine acres. The property is not only recognized for producing high quality cattle, but also for its commitment to animal well-being and environmental stewardship, the preservation of this picturesque land and native wildlife, and the recycling of resources to create a model for sustainable beef production that can be passed to future generations. For more information,


Delicious Wine Pairings for Easter

Friday, April 18th 2014 by

Easter is this Sunday, and there are plenty of dishes that pair deliciously with our wine.

Try serving up our 2011 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir with a Leg of Lamb dish seasoned with garlic or rosemary. This wine starts smooth in the palate with the notes of red fruits and cherry carrying through, as their pair perfectly with lamb.  

Of course, the traditional roasted ham cannot be missed. A slow-roasted, glazed ham is a beautiful centerpiece for any Easter table. The smoky flavor pairs beautifully with our Evolution Sparkling. The brut is dry on the palate, with a crisp, clean finish and aromatics of apricot, green apple, Bosc pear, white peach and citrus.

For those who are prepping a fish entrée, try pairing one of our pinot noirs with a savory salmon fillet. Whether it’s poached with white wine, seasoned with fresh dill, heavily spiced or grilled on a cedar plank, the salmon will be further enhanced with a glass of our 2011 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir.

Finally, the classic Easter eggs dish. Try a prosciutto and gruyere oven-baked omelet for your Easter Brunch and pair it with our Willamette Valley Pinot Gris. The wine’s acidity cuts through the rich, heartiness of this dish, making it a refreshing delight.

What wine do you typically pair with your Easter dishes? Share with us on Facebook or Twitter.



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