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##Photo by Ryan Stevens

Vine & Dine Delights

By Ryan Stevens

In the heart of Multnomah Village, the fourth annual Vine & Dine hosted 35 wineries pouring everything from highly sought-after 2012 reserve Pinot Noirs to crisp, chilled rosés that did their best to beat the heat on Aug. 21. With so many producers offering some of their best bottles, there was no wrong place to start.

The two highlights of the day happened to be the first two wineries that filled our glasses, starting with Crowley Wines. Swirling and sniffing our way through the subtleties and nuances of winemaker Tyson Crowley’s Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, we relished every sip of his 2012 Entre Nous Pinot Noir. A blend of Pommard and Wadenswil clones, the fruit was smooth and delicate, with hints of plum and strawberry.

“We work with family-owned vineyards and prefer cooler, high-elevation sites,” said Crowley rep Evan Roberts. “Our friends and growers are committed to non-irrigated and low-impact farming. We are members of the Deep Roots Coalition and our primary vineyard sources are LIVE certified or certified organic.”

Winemaker Tyson Crowley’s dedication to showcasing the terroir and highlighting vineyards that use as little interference as possible creates a wine style that is perfect for putting the 2012 vintage on a pedestal.

Moving just a few steps to the left, the friendly smile of owner Tim Wilson of Denison Cellars was waiting for us with open bottles. As he poured the 2014 Kiff Vineyard Pinot Noir, Tim detailed his approach to winemaking.

“My focus is on identifying outstanding, small, sustainably farmed vineyards that allow me to showcase their unique attributes in the wines that I create from them,” said Wilson. “For our inaugural release we have been very fortunate to have located a wonderful vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA owned by the Kiff Family; I am very excited about working with the fruit from this site.”

Using a blend of 667, 777 and Pommard clones, the Kiff Vineyard Pinot Noir perfectly represented what Tim was trying to produce. Yet the true star of the day was the Denison Cellars 2012 Tête de Cuvée. Produced only when the fruit is just right, this wine’s delicate, velvet mouthfeel mingles with silky raspberry and rich complexities, featuring both a balance and an elegance seen across the board in the 2012 vintage.

As we tasted through a few more wines, the mouthwatering aroma of smoke and robust barbecue had us salivating. Making our way through the sea of swirling glasses, we found the source of the intoxicating smell wafting from Dub’s St. John’s.

Named to Thrillist’s “2014 Top 21 Soul Food Kitchens,” Dub’s was serving up pulled pork sandwiches that complemented the bevy of Pinot Noirs perfectly. Located at 9520 N. Lombard Street in Portland, the restaurant offers a wide variety of hearty, Southern-style comfort food — if the simple sandwich was any indication of the rest of the menu, Oregon Pinot may have a new pairing partner.

The Multnomah Vine & Dine was a perfectly casual atmosphere that provided wine lovers and novices an ideal spot to sip, dissect and delve into a wide range of palate-pleasing wines.

Ryan Stevens has long loved the craft and the journey behind the bottle. As a contributor for Busted Wallet and Ask Men, he has found his niche showcasing the nuances behind the vices that make life a celebration.

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