Friday, May 10, 2013

Feature Friday - Natalie's Estate Winery

This week’s Feature Friday goes to another local vineyard: Natalie’s Estate Winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

On Cinco De Mayo my best friend, Jessicca, and I got to join Dana & Candace for a special event at this gorgeous vineyard. It was the perfect day for a wine tasting, and I have to say their Syrah (courtesy of McDuffee Vineyards) competes well with my other favorite local winery, Moulton Falls Winery for the best that I’ve had. (Don’t worry Joe & Susan, yours is still my favorite!)

It was so wonderful to spend the day with this extraordinary couple. Not only did I get some of Candace’s incredimazing cookies again, it was so fun to hear the stories of how they met and some of their inspiration in life. I had a lovely chat with them about the importance of asking questions instead of harshly judging. We all had some encouraging and inspiring conversations, which really enhances the experiences of tasting wine.

The vineyard is set on a hill in one of the most gorgeous valley’s I’ve seen in the Northwest. While they make a pinot noir right there at the winery, many of their wines come from the Yakima and Columbia valleys.

We started in the barrel room of the winery. I’ve been to a few tastings, and I must say, the food pairings were unlike anything I’ve yet to experience. They started us with a Viognier. I’m not much of a white wine fan, but this may have won me over. The first taste was perfect. It had a light finish and wasn’t too sweet. Then I tried it with the buttery cheese they paired it with. Oh. My. Word. Indescribable. Next, we moved to their Cabernet Sauvignon. It was paired with a delicious spanish rice. While that may sound like an odd pairing, I assure you, the blend of spices and tomato base in this particular sauce perfectly complemented this grape! It was hard to imagine moving on to the others after such an incredible start. The third wine we tasted in the barrel room was the Syrah. It was paired with one of the most tender pork roasts I’ve ever had. They had a mini taco bar, with corn tortillas filled with our “carnitas.” I am a lover of super spicy food, so I could have done with a good amount of more heat, but this was perfect for bringing out the flavor and blend in this wine. I was so very impressed with this special pairing of food to compliment the wines.

We then moved upstairs to their gorgeous tasting room and tasted the remaining few wines, which were all just as delicious. We stayed for a while enjoying the gorgeous path outside and fun conversation.

Now, I have a long way to go in growing my wine culture knowledge, but I will say that I was happy to discover that that region tends to be known for its hazelnuts, but that is not what the primary crop used to be in the area. It used to be walnuts and prunes. Both of which tend to harvest later in the summer. I found that to be quite an interesting fact, one that I imagine helps make this particular wine makers vintages extra special.

I offer a thank you to Dana and Candace for the special invite, and if you get the opportunity to get a taste of this vineyards wines, I highly recommend them!

Until next time,

Take care of your hearts & ears.

~Amber Sweeney
Listen With Your Heart

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