Home Posts tagged 'Oregon wine'

Posts Tagged ‘Oregon wine’

Matt R.

Featured Winery: Fausse Piste

FausseJesseWhat do you get when you combine a chef with Rhone varietals from Oregon and Washington? Fausse Piste wines is what! We’re pleased to welcome our first featured Winery of 2014, Fausse Piste from Portland, Oregon. Winemaker Jesse Skiles, a Portland native, founded Fausse Piste six years ago in St. Paul, a suburb of Portland and moved the operation along with his new sister restaurant, Sauvage to Portland in the summer of 2012.

Jesse’s first experience with wine was working as a harvest cook for Owens Roe Winery in Oregon. When we spoke over the phone earlier this week, Jesse told me he sort of fell into winemaking by accident. He had tried opening restaurants, and the timing was never right. But having been inspired by his hands-on time at Owens Roe and visits to the Rhone Valley in France, Jesse and his partners Nicolas Vernon Duff, Chris Vandersloot, and Jeff Vejr started an urban winery + restaurant hybrid in the heart of Portland.

Jesse draws his inspiration from the wines of the Rhone Valley, in particular Matthieu Barret in Cornas. After visiting Matthieu, Jesse was blown away by how differently Matthieu approached winemaking in comparison to what Jesse had seen here in the US. It was all very non-interventionist, and surprisingly old school for a relatively new producer. Jesse’s style of winemaking is greatly influenced by this style. He sources grapes from a handful of growers in Washington and Oregon and is very minimalist and experimental in his winemaking. He doesn’t add anything during the process except for minimal sulfur at the end for stability, and he experiments with various vessels for fermenting and aging from concrete and stainless steel to acacia and large casks.

It’s impressive that Jesse is also the chef for his sister restaurant Sauvage, attached to the winery. His approach to food in similar to his winemaking. He strives to simplify things for his guests and keep everything approachable. His wine list has a staggering 70 wines by the glass, all naturally made and natively fermented, including rotating Fausse Piste selections, and all food-friendly. His food is also remarkably ‘wine friendly’ – seasonal and uncomplicated. If you’re ever in Portland, definitely check out Sauvage and Fausse Piste, but until then come by either Market to sample his wines!

2012 Fausse Piste Heart of the City Rosé  –  $19.99

Fausse1Jesse’s rosé is 100% Syrah, but is a blend of various vineyards in the Columbia Valley. The deep ruby color is a result of everything being blended for 8 days before being pressed off into cask. Jesse got an old 1400 gallon cask from a producer in Gigondas (which barely fit through his winery door!) and the wine fermented and aged directly in this cask. The resulting wine is a robust rose, with gripping peppery notes and plenty of juicy tart cranberry flavors. And who said rose is only for warm weather? This will pair perfectly with hearty winter dishes like leek risotto or cioppino.

2012 Fausse Piste Viognier  –  $19.99
Fausse2The Fausse Piste Viognier is sourced from a site with a good amount of granite soil. The warm, dry, desert, climate of the Walla Walla valley in Washington can often result in overripe grapes, but Jesse and his partner Chris pick early and use the natural canopy of the grape leaves to protect the grapes. The result is a Viognier that’s not at all flabby or too floral, but full of gripping acidity and flinty minerality that make it an easy pairing with anything from fresh seafood to a citrus and fennel salad.


2011 Fausse Piste ‘Garde Manger’ Syrah  –  $21.99
The ‘Garde Manger’, named as an homage to Jesse’s cooking background, is a blend of all of the vineyards he works with. It’s an homage to all of his growers and a chance to showcase the raw material they had to work with in a given year. Each plot is vinified separately, about 85% of them whole cluster, and then blended together. The end result is a lovely and rustic Syrah with plenty of dark cherry, rosemary, and savory notes. A great Syrah to pair with some roasted duck and winter root vegetables.

2010 Fausse Piste Les Vignes de Marcoux Syrah  –  $29.99
Fausse4The Les Vignes de Marcoux is from the Red Willow Vineyard in the Yakima Valley of Washington. The ‘Vignes de Marcoux’ is a single plot within that vineyard, first planted with Syrah in 1980 by the Sauer family, some of the first to plant Syrah in Washington state. Fermented about 80% cluster, this Syrah is rich and robust, with savory notes of black olive, currants, smoke, and earth. Jesse only made 44 cases, so grab some while you can!
Upcoming Tastings:
18th Hour Cafe – Thursdays, 6-9PM – Drop-In – At 18 Reasons


Wine Seminar: New California Wines with Jon Bonné
Wednesday, February 12, 6:30-8:30pm

Rich Higgins Beer Workshop: Food Pairing Techniques
Saturday, February 15, 3:00-5:30pm

Tasting Seminar: Wine Basics with Pamela Busch
Saturday, February 22, 1:00-5:00pm

Inexpensive and Incredible: How to Spot Great Value Wine
Monday, April 21, 7:00-9:00pm
(First session sold out. New session added!)

Matt R.

Bow and Arrow Wines: A Taste of the Loire in Oregon

BowArrowWinemakersHusband and wife team Scott and Dana Frank have been on all sides of the wine industry. From working in restaurants, to retail, to wholesale, they’ve gained plenty of knowledge and experience over the years. They recently embarked on a new project producing wines under their own label Bow and Arrow and are taking Oregon wines to new heights!

You often hear about Oregon Pinot Noirs being compared to the Pinot Noirs of Burgundy. And for good reasons, they share a similar cool climate in which Pinot Grapes thrive and produce wines of higher acidity and lower alcohol. The Willamette Valley, formed long ago by repeated glacial flooding, is abundant with fertile and rocky vineyard sites. It is also situated along the 45th parallel, which coincidentally runs through Burgundy and the Loire Valley. And despite Oregon’s constant comparisons to Burgundy, it’s the Loire Valley, that inspires Scott and Dana’s wines.

They only started bottling in 2010 but have quickly earned a reputation for bringing a bit of the Loire to the Pacific Northwest. They source fruit from vineyards planted by some of Oregon’s earliest ‘wine pioneers’ that were planted with grapes like old vine Pinot Noir, Gamay, Cabernet Franc, and Melon de Bourgogne – all typical Loire Valley grapes. These carefully sourced grapes are treated with the greatest care and minimal-intervention winemaking techniques. Their resulting wines are a breath of fresh (French) air from Oregon, lighter in style, lower in alcohol, and extremely food-friendly.

2011 Bow and Arrow Pinot Noir*  –  $34.99
BowArrow1The Bow and Arrow Pinot Noir is sourced from 35-year old vines planted high in the Chehalem Mountains – all own-rooted clones of Pommard vines. It has tart red cherry and pine forest herbal aromas followed by racy acidity with a light and bright finish. Pair this with a grilled salmon salad for a light yet fulfilling summer dinner!


2011 Bow and Arrow Gamay Noir*  –  $22.99
Bow and Arrow’s Gamay Noir is a dead ringer for a light style Gamay from Touraine. In fact, iconic Loire producer Clos Roche Blanche’s winemaker Didier Barrouillet served as a casual ‘over-the-phone consultant’ for Frank and Dana’s Gamay Noir. Soft red fruit flavors and an earthy and granite-based minerality are all well-integrated into a medium bodied and tart finish.

2011 Bow and Arrow Rhinestones  –  $28.99
BowArrow3If we absolutely had to choose a favorite of the three Bow and Arrow wines we carry, it would probably be the Rhinestones. A blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir, this red is inspired by Cheverny, a typical Loire valley red of the same blend. Ripe, juicy black cherry aromas lead to a mid-weight palate full of flavors of tart blackberries, earthy moss, and snappy acidity. It’s great on it’s own but is a perfect food-friendly red for any occasion.

*Available at 18th St. location only.

Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

18th Hour Cafe – Every Thursday, 6-10PM, Drop-In

Tasting Seminar with Pamela Busch: The New California – Tuesday, July 23, 7-9PM, Ticketed
Tasting Seminar with Pamela Busch: The New France – Tuesday, July 30, 7-9PM, Ticketed