wine

Sangria Weekend at Bennett Vineyards & Wine

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Looking for a way to cool off this weekend? Stop by the downtown tasting room on 5th Avenue to taste two different sangria specials. Stay for a glass, or take home your own sangria kit to make it yourself! By teaming up with another small and local business, HibisBloom, Bennett’s is able to create these tasty sangria drinks for their customers as a special treat for the hot August weekend.

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barre3 in the Vineyard

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Join barre3 Corvallis as they take their class outside! Enjoy the view, taste some amazing wine and connect with your friends at Five Fourteen Vineyards. Registration includes a 45 minute barre3 class, a glass of wine (the glass is yours to keep!) and 2 raffle tickets. Additional wine (by glass or bottle) and raffle tickets available for purchase on site. Check in starts at 10 a.m. Bring a yoga mat, sunscreen and a water bottle. Five Fourteen wine club members and barre3 Corvallis members receive a discounted admission.

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2021 Live Music Fridays at Sarver Winery

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Live music performed by a selection of bands takes place throughout the year at Sarver Winery. For the month of August, talented musicians and bands such as Inner Limits, Cypress Home, and Peter Giri & Friends all make their way to the winery to showcase their musical talents. Indulge in a delicious glass of wine, tune into some magical tunes, and enjoy a beautiful Friday night in Eugene.

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Tasting & Tunes

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Looking for a great way to unwind after a long week? Bennett’s at 5th is now hosting Tasting & Tunes every Sunday evening. Grab a glass of your favorite wine and enjoy a live music performance by Timothy Solo, the great Timothy Patrick. After the performance, explore the beautiful 5th Street Public Market in downtown Eugene for great eats, shopping and additional tasting rooms. 

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How We Grow Our Food art show at Bennett Vineyards & Wine

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A group of local artists have come together to help showcase and educate the public with a collaborative show called “How We Grow Our Food”. HWGOF is the brainchild of artist Carolyn Johnson-Bell, originally from Portland, Oregon.

Says Carolyn, “I grew up in the city, but I’ve always had a garden. I’m really passionate about the topic of showing how food is grown. So many people don’t really know where the food they eat comes from, or how it is grown.”

The show seeks to use art to educate and enlighten diverse portions of the region’s public audience about how food is grown, by depicting the item.

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Summer Kickoff Weekend at Silvan Ridge Winery

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On Friday evening enjoy live music by the Greg Nestler Band and food from Kico’s BBQ. 

On Saturday afternoon enjoy the JoAnn Broh Trio on the pation and Carte Blanche wood-fired pizza.

On Saturday evening the Eugene Concert Choir presents “Beatles Forever” and Carte Blanche will serve wood-fired pizza.

Advance tickets required for each evening event. Saturday afternoon entertainment is free but reservations strongly recommended.

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Pfeiffer Winery’s Mother’s Day Brunch

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Come experience an elegant Mother’s Day Brunch to remember at their beautiful vineyard. The event will be catered by Sheild Bistro and includes a three course meal, a mom-osa for adults, a kids mocktail (unlimited for kids), and live music. Wine will be available for purchase. Tickets sell out fast! Reservations required.

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Beer Review – Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company Southern Hops’pitality

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One blustery winter evening in South Jersey, I was looking for a beverage to temper the cold and compliment my grilled chicken (yes, I was outside during a snowstorm grilling chicken, because when Benita wants the chicken grilled, you grill the chicken. And, then, you put the lotion in the basket or you get the hose!), so off to the beer fridge I went for a bit of liquid gold! I grabbed a bottle of Southern Hops’pitality from Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company which I believe was one of the many that I’d received via Benita’s generous beer-of-the-quarter gift. Sadly, I have been a little remise in hitting these beers in a timely fashion. Something I hope to rectify this year.

Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company, which was founded in 2003 in Kiln, MS, is the first brewer in Mississippi since the beginning of Prohibition. They produce 13 beers in their Porch Series, another 8 in their Back Porch Series and 2 more in their Debutante Series. They are known for their creative use of ingredients as evidenced by their award winning, Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale which is the first beer in the world commercially made with whole roasted pecans. They also make a stout made with sweet potatoes, an ale made with oranges, and a malt beverage made with agave, honey, lemon and lime.

Before we get to the review, here’s what Lazy Magnolia has to say about their Southern Hops’pitality…

Southern Hops’pitality is Lazy Magnolia’s offering of delicious cheer to all of our fans. We pride ourselves on our porch-sippin’ and backyard grillin’ with our beloved kinfolk, and this traditional IPA offers the perfect libation to add to the Southern hospitality and charm that we hold so dear. Our session IPA has a bold citrus burst on the front end with hints of tropical fruits, such as grapefruit, orange, and mango in the finish. Lazy Magnolia’s brewers use a unique hop blend for an exciting dry-hopped aroma, and with a light straw color and crisp, smooth finish on the palate, this 6% ABV, 60 IBU IPA will help you extend some “Southern Hops’pitality” to your loved ones. From our porch to yours, Cheers Y’all!.

Now, let’s get on with the review…

  • Appearance: Amber with lots of fluffy foam.
  • ABV: 5.5%
  • Aroma: Hops with a lot of tangerine and grapefruit and a hint of wet bread.
  • Taste: Fizzy, crisp and refreshing with a bit of the hoppy bitterness that lingers in a long, pleasant finish.

The Verdict

When you cheesily work hops into the name of the beer, I fear that it might be a one-note, hop bomb. So, with a name like Southern Hops’pitality, I wasn’t expecting all that much. What I found was a nice, refreshing and not overly bitter IPA.

Beer Review – Kona Brewing Company Kanaha and Koko Brown Ales

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This past Tuesday (March 20, 2018 to be more precise) may have been the first day of Spring, but if you happen to live in the Northeastern United States, you would have never known it. Philadelphia and South Jersey experienced temperatures ranging from 28 to 35 degrees on that day along with a wintery mix of rain, sleet, and snow. And if all that weren’t enough to make you question what day of the year it was, the Wednesday forecast called for the fourth Nor’easter of the month that threatened to shut everything down.

With an almost definite “snow day” looming for our offspring and a potential day off from work for us, we decided to brighten our mood (while we’re not opposed to taking a day off from work, we prefer when these days off are on OUR terms, not Mother Nature’s) by sampling the two beers from Kona Brewing Co that you see in the above photo. The hope was that by drinking these beers, which may or may not have been brewed on a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (in addition to breweries on the Big Island, aka the island of Hawaii, and Oahu, Kona Brewing also brews beer in Portland, Oregon and Portsmouth, New Hampshire), things like a possible Nor’easter induced power outage, a backlog of work when we get back into the office, and hours of shoveleing snow would get pushed back into the dark recesses of our minds as we enjoyed these bottles of “Liquid Aloha”.

Did the forecasted Nor’easter actually happen? It sure did! Did we enjoy these beers? Let’s find out…

Kona Kahana Blonde Ale

What they say…

The first Polynesian explorers ventured out across the South Pacific in double-hulled canoes driven by the wind. With their sails held taught against the blowing ocean breezes, they sped across the ocean and steered north, to Hawaii, bringing a courageous spirit and mastery of the trade winds to their new island home. Today, adventure flies just offshore at Kanaha Beach, on the north side of Maui. Among the best kite-boarding sites in the world, you will see colorful domed kits lifted high over the blue water and soar in view of the West Maui Mountains. Skilled kite-boarders hover lightly above the water as they glide fast behind their sails, mastering the wind for a thrilling ride and adventure all their own.

Our brewer’s were inspired by the trade winds to create this smooth, refreshing blonde ale with the adventures of summer in mind. After a day riding the winds over shimmering waters, Kanaha Blonde ale is a bright, sessionable beer that will ease you ashore without weighing you down. Real mango fruit adds a juicy, tropical flavor that is easy like the islands. This crisp Kona brew will take you up, up and away. 

What we say…

  • Appearance: Crystal clear with a golden yellow color. Not much in the way of foam or lacing, just a thin bead of white suds that clings to the inner walls of the glass.
  • ABV: 4.2%
  • Aroma
    • Limpd: Sweet and fruity (more peaches than mango) with just the slightest note of hops and a little bit of bread.
    • G-LO: They claim that they added tropical mango to this beer. Based upon all of the tropical aromas that I get, I am apt to believe them. There are definite citrus (tangerine and grapefruit) and tropical (most likely mango) notes coming through. Also get a hint of piney hops, some doughey yeast, and some biscuity malts.
  • Taste
    • Limpd: Lightly carbonated (almost a little flat). The aroma would suggest some heavy sweetness but this was far from syrupy. While I picked up the sweetness and a little of the fruity notes, there was a metallic (almost coppery) note that cut some of the crispness.
    • G-LO: The mouthfeel is a little thin with very soft carbonation. I get some of the tropical flavor, but they’re a bit watered down which makes sense given that the label says this beer has just 99 calaries per serving. There’s just a bit of hoppy bitterness overall, and the finish is relatively crisp and clean with not much lingering flavor.

The Verdict

Limpd: This would probably be a good change-of-pace beer for those hot summer nights. Unfortunately, I am drinking this when there are 10 inches of snow on the ground. I thought it was a little too soft and not quite bold enough for the weather at hand.

G-LO: While the nose on the Kahana Blonde Ale was very inviting, the actual taste left much to be desired. I understand that they were going for a warm weather session beer, but I’m generally not the “drinking beer all day” type, so I need more intensity since I prefer to drink less, but drink better.

Kona Koko Brown Ale

What they say…

Ages ago, early Hawaiians stood on boards cut from wiliwili trees and paddled them from village to village across the islands. Today, this ancient form of island transit is the best way to get out and experience Hawaii, especially when you’re in beautiful Maunalua Bay, paddling in the shadows of Koko Head and Koko Crater. Whether you’re on the islands or not, kick back with a Koko Brown—it’ll take you right to paradise! 

Koko Brown has a nutty, toffee flavor and a unique, roasted malt taste. Brewed with real toasted coconuts, this brew goes hand in hand with the beach, or wherever your happy place might be.

What we say…

  • Appearance: Auburn color with a healthy cloud of off white foam that lingers for quite awhile.
  • ABV: 5.5%
  • Aroma
    • Limpd: Cocoa nibs and coconut. There is a ton of coconut on the nose and it is hard to push beyond it to pick up other notes.
    • G-LO: Lightly roasted malts dominate the nose with definite toasted coconut notes coming through in the background. Hints of brown sugar and caramel as well.
  • Taste
    • Limpd: Thinner than the color and foam would suggest. There is a nice creamy quality but then the coconut kicks in and overpowers the flavors with a candied sweetness. The finish come rather quickly and is filled with the bitterness that comes from the cocoa I had picked up on the nose.
    • G-LO: Medium mouthfeel with smooth and somewhat creamy carbonation. Less roasty than I was expecting. This has a certain nuttiness coming through along with some caramel sweetness. Very mellow overall. Not much in the way of coconut coming through. There’s a little bitterness in the finish, though not at all overwhelming. Mostly just roasted nuttiness and lightly sweet caramel from start to finish.

The Verdict

Limpd: I let this one warm up for a very long time (over an hour) so that the chill wouldn’t suppress any flavor. Even after letting it rest for that long, there really wasn’t a lot of depth. It was pleasant enough but lacked some of the complexity that I was looking for after the appearance and the nose.

G-LO: While not one of the best brown ale that I’ve ever had, I’d still say that Koko Brown was pretty good. Thanks to its mellow, malty flavors, I can see this working well with a chocolate or nutty dessert, or with something savory like a lamb stew or Shepherd’s Pie. For the record, Koko Brown worked well with an Oreo Thins Coconut Creme cookie.

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Many thanks to Adam Krell of Curich Weiss for sending use these VERY generous samples!

Pieropan ‘La Rocca’ Soave Classico 2015

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Italian whites are making a comeback, and not just because of hipster wines like Etna Bianco and Friulano. As a sommelier, I received just as many requests for Vernaccia and Gavi as I did Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Soave has been familiar to many white wine lovers since the 1980s, but with new energy and quality-mindedness surging in the region, they might be surprised by what they get when blindly ordering the Venetian white.

Soave wines can range from light to full, neutral to aromatic, and some winemakers even age their wines in new oak. One way to guarantee you end up with good juice in your glass is to pay attention to the producer. You can’t go wrong with a wine from the family-owned Pieropan estate, particularly the Pieropan “La Rocca” Soave Classico 2015.

Pieropan La Rocca

Located about 30 minutes east of Verona, Soave is the most prominent white wine region in the red-dominated Veneto. Here, the region’s signature Garganega grape grows in a range of soil types, from volcanic basalt to marine, limestone, chalk, and clay. The best of these soils (and therefore, the best of the wines) live in the Soave Classico zone, the hilly regional heart from which the rest of the DOC expanded. Whereas many wines from this flatter, expanded area around the Classico zone can be pleasant but uninteresting, the best Soave Classicos have richness, texture, and plenty of complexity, like dry Chenin Blanc or Chablis.

The Pieropan “La Rocca” Soave Classico is a single-vineyard wine that is made entirely from Garganega, despite the fact that, legally, a Soave Classico may contain a small proportion of other white grapes like Trebbiano di Soave and Chardonnay. Though much of the area is defined by the strip of ancient volcanic soil that runs through the Classico zone, the hillside La Rocca vineyard contains chalky clay soils. Aging the Garganega on its lees in large, old oak barrels for a full year produces a broad, golden-hued wine with subtle yet complex aromas. Tangerine, yellow apple, and raw almonds come through on the nose, while the palate bursts with ripe citrus and tangy minerality on the round, rich palate. Pro tip: Buy a second bottle and hold off on opening it for a few years. It’ll be even more compelling over time — if you can manage to wait.

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