Why we started this idea????

A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wine Tasting in Southern Oregon

View from Abacela Winery outside of Roseburg, Oregon
So this is a summer unlike any other for us. I've taken on this crazy idea of going to be a middle school principal of a school going through a federal school improvement process and G has started his Masters in Admin as well. That being said spending July gallivanting around, relaxing, exploring, and the such ...yeah, just not time for that this summer. We've only planned for 2 long weekend excursions this summer that we can fit in between everything else. Don't get me wrong we really are okay with this. But it has definitely made the small planned get aways even more needed and appreciated.

Our first summer get away over the 4th of July weekend was to the Southern Oregon Wine Country. We've done Washington state and the Willamette Valley of Oregon wine tasting experiences  extensively over the past 10 years. We've even done the obligatory trip to Napa and Sonoma once. But being Northwest wine lovers at heart we love to stick to and learn more about Northwest wines. That being said having 4 days only to explore after reading an article in Sunset Magazine about the emerging Southern Oregon wine region we thought ; let's give it a try. 

We found an Inn in the quaint town of Jacksonville that was dog friendly and close to the Applegate Wine Trail..once we found that ...booking this trip was pretty much a done deal. 

On our way down to Jacksonville we decided to stop at Abacela Winery in Roseburg. We've tried Abacela wines a time or two but didn't know much about it. We were pleasantly surprised with 1) the beautiful estate and vineyards and 2) the great Tempranillo and Granache wines. It's crazy, unlike the Willamette Valley known for it's pinot noir, Southern Oregon is very rocky and sunny making their wines taste similarly to many Spanish varietals that we love. 

We loved this quick stop on the way down to our destination and so did our bulldog girl. It definitely primed us for the great weekend of wine ahead of us. 

We arrived into the small, very cute town of Jacksonville tired and weary from our almost 5 hour drive and ultimately happy to have arrived to a great weekend away in a spot yet to be explored.

All settled in at the Wine Country Inn

After we settled into the Inn and enjoying sitting in the shade with a glass of crisp white wine we got the bully tucked in for the night and wandered into town for dinner. 

We luckily got in town early enough to hit the Quaty North tasting room while still open. It was fantastic find. So great we ended up walking away being wine club members. 

View from deck at Serra Vineyards

The next day was spent touring the Applegate Wine Trail and finding a few great wine gems along the way. We started at the end of trail and hit Serra  Vineyards with a beautiful tasting room and sweeping views.

Red Lily Vineyards

Next it was a visit to Red Lily Vineyards highly recommended to us by the Quaty North tasting room. Again they had such beautiful grounds situated on the river, a lovely patio and lunch.

Bottle tree at Red Lily ....need one of these in my backyard
We actually got comfortable here and had lunch with a great glass of their tempranillo, this gave us a little time to wander around and find this super cool bottle tree. Something about spirits being inside every bottle and never wanting to lose a spirit or something. But really cool :). 

Longsword Vineyards...look closely

Our next stop was probably most memorable from our Southern Oregon wine experience. We stopped by Longsword Vineyard. We pulled up and thought is this really it? There was a small house type structure surrounded by a few 5th wheel camping trailers and some sheep and chickens blocking the front door.

Sheep & chickens greeting us upon arrival
But yes, this was it. We entered the very full tasting room to an incredibly frazzled tasting room host who greeted us by saying, "you'll have to be outside, I'm really busy." Although it was 90 some degrees outside we were fine with being outside but it was an "odd" kind of welcome. We got used to the hosts' quirky, odd mannerisms and enjoyed our tasting there anyway.

We ended our day at Valley View Winery probably the largest producing winery we visited on the trail and some pretty tasty wines as well. It was a good first day exploring the Southern Oregon wineries.

We got our bully back to the Inn and out of the heat. Of course she made herself right at home. Sure hope they were not just a dog friendly establishment but also tolerant of spoiled rotten dogs. Since it was 4th of July we decided to venture into the next largest town, Central Point, to find the local fireworks show. We ended up camping out in a church parking lot engaging in some pretty interesting people watching and finding a fairly good fireworks show while our bully was safely away from loud booms and zooms back at the Inn. 

The next day we headed out of town and stopped by two wineries on our way back for our final night in Portland. 

We stopped in the town of Gold Hills and hit first Del Rio Vineyards. Another beautiful tasting room on great grounds. Sorry photo didn't do the vineyards or grounds much justice it was actually very pretty. At Del Rio they recommended while in Gold Hills we should really venture up to Folin. We took their advice and drove what felt like a bit of a long trek but it was worth it. 

Folin Cellars

We definitely saved the best for last. We pulled up to Folin Cellars which again had a stunning view and tasting room. But they also had delicious wine. We loved it. We decided to get comfy again on the patio and have a picnic lunch with the bully. It was great end to our inaugural visit to Southern Oregon. 

We loved experience, especially the quaint town of Jacksonville. And even had a great last night staying in Portland. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Basil Parmesan Aioli

Sometimes it's the condiment or the side that makes a dish memorable. Not often but sometimes. And this basil parmesan aioli is definitely one of those "sometimes." 

Now mind you that's saying a lot because this beef tenderloin was about as tender and flavorful as it comes but there was just something about this aioli that made eating the tenderloin with it like eating butter but really good pesto tasting butter. 

It was so scrumptious and it made so much that actually I'm pretty sure I had it on almost every meal I ate that week. Potatoes = fabulous, eggs = fantastic, tomatoes = sublime, fish tacos = a match made it heaven. 

I actually can't wait to make it again and luckily our basil is growing like gangbusters again so it needs a pruning here soon and this aioli is calling my name. 

The aioli emulsion came together just perfectly. I'm not sure sometimes I really struggle getting mayo, aioli and hollandaise to work but for some reason this time it worked perfectly. I highly encourage you make it now and serve it with everything you can think of. 

You won't regret it I'm sure of that.


Beef Tenderloin with Basil Parmesan Aioli: Adapted from Food Network and Ina Garten  
1 whole filet of beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied (4 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons good olive oil
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
10 to 15 branches fresh tarragon

Basil Parmesan Aioli:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup good olive oil

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
Place the filet on a sheet pan and pat it dry (all over) with paper towels. Brush the filet all over with the oil, reserving about half a tablespoon. Sprinkle it all over with the salt and pepper. Place the tarragon branches around the beef, tying them in 4 or 5 places with kitchen twine to keep them in place, and then brush the tarragon with the reserved oil.

Roast the filet of beef for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, until the temperature registers 125 degrees in the center for rare and 135 degrees for medium-rare. Cover the filet with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Slice thickly and serve warm or at room temperature with aioli.

Basil Parmesan Aioli:
Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, Parmesan, mustard, basil, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process for 20 seconds, until smooth. Combine the vegetable oil and olive oil in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. With the processor running, slowly (like drip by drip) pour the oil mixture through the opening to make a thick emulsion. Taste for seasonings -- the mayonnaise is a sauce so it should be highly seasoned. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use; it will keep for up to a week.