Wine Down Eugene

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Wine Down Eugene March 5-11

As I prepare myself for yet another necessary major surgery (sigh), I just can’t help accepting every invitation with glee to events and stellar opportunities that have been tossed my way.

“Want to fill a position on the judging panel in Cannon Beach for the SavorNW Wine Awards?” I’d be honored.  “Would you like to attend the Oregon Chardonnay Symposium at the beautiful Stoller Family Estate and savor Chardonnays from 40 Oregon wineries?”  Wouldn’t miss it for the world!  “How about joining us for a live tasting of the wines of Uruguay?”  Indeed, I’d be delighted.  “Want to join us for our first Wine vs Beer Food Pairing Event at the Tap and Growler?”  You betcha.

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The line-up of J. Scott Cellars wines: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah

Without a doubt, I am going to get in as much fun as I possibly can before going under the knife and being laid up for a couple months.  Enjoy. Every. Minute.

As I wrote in last week’s Wine Down Eugene, being a part of the esteemed wine judging team of the impressive SavorNW Wine Awards will undoubtedly be the ultimate highlight of the year for me.  The Savor Cannon Beach Wine & Culinary Festival is taking place right now, and the folks attending are in for some amazing, award-winning wines.

The Wine vs Beer Food Pairing Event at The Tap and Growler was incredible and featured three of some of my favorite local producers of fine wine, creative brews and mouthwatering foods: winemaker Jonathan Scott Oberlander of J. Scott Cellars, Oakshire’s Brewmaster Matt Van Wyk, and Michael Landsberg of Noisette Pastry Kitchen – quite the trio of talent.

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Oakshire’s PTO Pale Ale, 7th Anniversary Ale and Overcast Espresso Stout

Taking place in the Tap & Growler’s Barrel Room, located behind what I like to call, “the great wall of wine taps,” the event was sold out – all twelve seats were taken by like-minded people with palates that were just waiting to be tantalized by some really outstanding wines, brews and handcrafted small bites.

With Jonathan of J. Scott Cellars, Matt of Oakshire and Michael of Noisette each explaining what they had brought to the table, we were excited to start tasting and finding our favorite matches between the food, wine and beer.  There were three brews and three wines alongside a plate of six different mouthwatering savory and sweet bites.

The Oakshire brews:

  • PTO Pale Ale (standing for Paid Time Off – a great story to ask about when visiting Oakshire’s Public House) – full bodied, citrus-centric hop monster. Loved it!
  • Brewer’s Reserve 7th Anniversary Ale – quite possibly my favorite beer of all time. Baltic Porter, barrel aged in both bourbon and Pinot Noir barrels and matured on tart cherries.
  • Overcast Espresso Stout – year round, rich smooth, oatmeal stout.
  • A bonus sample of the Funk d’Farmhouse (aged in Oregon Pinot Noir barrels for a year, need I say more?)

The J. Scott Cellars wines (all from wine kegs):

  • Chardonnay – classic Chardonnay with an excellent depth of character and smooth, silky, creamy mouthfeel
  • Pinot Noir – light bodied, yet full of character with aromas and flavors of cherries, cranberries, earth and spice.
  • Syrah – black and red fruit aromas with a touch of smokiness and a zippy black pepper finish.
  • a bonus sample of the ’12 Zinfandel (read my review here)

Noisette small-bites:

  • Ham & Cheese Bread Pudding
  • Chicken Liver with Pepper Jelly
  • Savory Spiced Corn Puff Honeycomb
  • Curry Nut Meringue
  • French Macaroon
  • Chocolate Sesame Pokey Stick
Clockwise from bottom right corner: Ham & Cheese Bread Pudding, chicken Liver, Corn Puff Honeycomb, Meringue, Macaroon and Pokey Stick
Clockwise from bottom right corner: Ham & Cheese Bread Pudding, Chicken Liver, Corn Puff Honeycomb, Meringue, Macaroon and Pokey Stick

I would love to go into great deal about all of the incredible flavors in everything that was involved (indeed, each beer, wine and small bite was delicious), but with limited space and time, I’ll share three pairings that were totally unforgettable and simply stunning together:

Ham & Cheese Bread Pudding with Chardonnay: Although the saltiness of the ham was super nice with the hoppiness of the PTO Ale, there was something really palate pleasing about the creaminess of the bread pudding that went amazingly well with the creamy texture of the Chardonnay. The flavors, and in particular the textures, sang in harmony.

Savory Spiced Corn Puff Honeycomb with the Syrah and the Overcast Espresso Stout: This was a perfect tie.  The super savory honeycomb had loads of flavors, both sweet and spicy. the Syrah toned down the spiciness while popping the sweet qualities, while the Stout did the exact opposite. The honeycomb was light and airy, contrasting the heaviness of both the wine and beer – the contrast is what made it distinctively delicious.

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The delicious Ham and Cheese Bread Pudding with J. Scott Cellars Chardonnay – a beautiful marriage of textures

French Macaroon with the 7th Anniversary Ale: Wow. This pairing was unbelievably perfect in every single way, shape and form.  Go, no run, to Noisette and pick up a French Macaroon (with chocolate inside), take it to the Tap and Growler and get a pint of the 7th Anniversary Ale before it’s all gone. Now.

Kudos to the Tap and Growler’s General Manager, Toby Harris, for putting together a stellar event that included three of Eugene’s rock stars in their own fields.  For being among some of the first special events to take place at the recently opened Tap and Growler, I’m more than impressed with Toby’s collaboration of food, drink and good cheer – I can’t wait to see what other events he’s got up his sleeve.

Keep up with what’s going on at the Tap and Growler on Facebook: facebook.com/TapandGrowler.

A bonus sample of Oakshire's Funk d'Farmhouse - a must-try brew
A bonus sample of Oakshire’s Funk d’Farmhouse – a must-try brew

Follow me over to my award-winning website WineJulia.com to read more about my evening at the Tap and Growler – it didn’t end with the completion of the event.  Some new found friends and I were having way too much fun, so we decided to check out a flight of brews and wines from the Tap and Growler’s expansive tap list, discovering some excellent beverages.

 

 

 

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