Last night's dinner and the Willamette Valley IPNC Last night’s dinner and the Willamette Valley IPNC

Last night’s dinner and the Willamette Valley IPNC

Our friend Maria Johnson stopped by last evening after work. Her family is all on vacation in OR and she’s working–will leave on Tuesday. She’s a top sales woman for Red Ledges in lovely Heber City. She’s originally from Oregon and we’ve just come back from the International Pinot Noir celebration in McMinnville, OR in nestled in the Willamette Valley. So we happened to have on hand some lovely Pinot Gris (Maria prefers white over red…)

We invited Maria stay for dinner which consisted of: an appetizer of black olives, Delices de Dieux cheese and wheat crackers, a delightful dish of of beans, escarole and shrimp–olive oil, garlic and a splash of the wine we were drinking…of course. I served this with fresh brushetta, prepared by FR’s sous chef’s hands, followed by a crisp salad of cold scallops, butter lettuce, red onions, slivered almonds, and tomatoes drizzled with an aged apple must and my homemade Dom Perignon Champagne vinegar! The wine: two and 1/2 bottles of Willamette Valley Pinot Gris chill3ed to perfection.

A note about the Wine Celebration–in a word–fabulous. Felipe and I met interesting and personable wine-makers Michael Etzel from Beaux Frères, Luisa Ponzi from Ponzi, and Eric Hamacher from Hamacher. We also visited Domaine Serene. What lovely, dynamic people. And it was such a pleasure to see that they are using wonderful bio-dynamics and organic methods of grape-growing. Not only that the wine-makers of Oregon are not afraid to concur with each others and they speak openly of their successes and failures. A true feeling of fraternity and cooperation exists and I applaud it!

Our first elegant evening we had an intimate dinner at the Ponzi winery, hosted by Luisa Ponzi where we were served gourmet food with wonderful wine-pairings. During the festival weekend that followed, there were wine seminars, tastings and bountiful breakfasts–tables laden with apricots, peaches, blueberries, blackberries, Oregonian specialty Marion berries, raspberries, strawberries, black quarter-sized plump, meaty cherries, fresh yogurt and pastries. Two Italian espresso machines were set up and the barrista who served me every morning made an espresso that we call: “una creama di caffe!” Excellent!

Other elegant meals were the lunches served alfresco under huge pine trees on the Linden College campus, and a gala dinner with a dish of Cattail Creek Lamb that literally needed only a fork to cut it and melted in your mouth. So where is this outrageously scrumptious Oregon lamb? If you go to Costco in Florida or Utah, you’ll find only lamb imported from Australia and New Zealand. What happened to America first???

And last but certainly not least to conclude the festival weekend we were given a memorable parting champagne and oyster Sunday brunch!

Speaking of which, today FR is taking me out for brunch! at the Stein Erickson Lodge in Deer Valley! Yeah!

Enjoy your Sunday!