I had the pleasure of tasting Sunday’s amazing line up with guest photographer and friend Chris Grieshaber. We sampled our way through the afternoon. Somehow we wandered into the Grand Cru .000000000001 seconds after Moto had finished presenting smoked salmon macarons, which would have been a travesty if it weren’t for all the excellent wine, champagne, and beer around us.
Chris and I are are firmly set in different wine camps. I almost always prefer a white and he’s most usually excited about red. An Italian red. A miracle happened that day in front of City Winery’s table when I tasted their white wine pick, Newton’s Unfiltered Chardonnay, Napa County, 2010. Wine Spectator says: “Rich and seamless, with layers of crème brûlée, baked pie, honeysuckle and tangerine. A remarkably complex and elegantly styled wine.” I’m not going to pretend I know wine. I know what wine I like. This Chardonnay was one of my favorites of the day. It was crisp and smooth with a little bit of spiciness more serious wine aficionados might call minerality. I knew it would be a white Chris could get behind, and for that fleeting moment we were in wine agreement. I continued on to taste many of the champagnes. Here at Inside the Artist’s Kitchen, our unofficial motto is “Champagne time anytime.” And we mean it. To my own shock and amazement I was quite taken with the rosé on hand, Moet & Chandon’s Imperial Brut Rosé Champagne, NV. The tight bubbly fruity champagne really made my taste buds happy. Next up, Pol Roger sampled another rosé I also enjoyed, though it was decidedly sweeter. Pol Roger’s real winner was their Brut Champagne, 2002. The notes of honey and perhaps grapefruit in this pinot noir/chardonnay blend made it very lovely.
We also learned about Blue Moon’s new-ish (2012) concoction. They have a collection of vintage ales that according to their website “feature the juice of red or white wine grapes and carefully selected hops to complement the characteristics of the grape varietals.” I’ll have to admit that I was skeptical in trying these. Beer and wine mixed? They were surprisingly easy to drink. I think paired with some appropriate foods these would do really well.
Back out at the tasting tents we enjoyed some delicious sushi from SUSHISAMBA rio. I found out they also do brunch on the weekends and can’t wait to try that! Of course, we tried countless other bites, all genuinely amazing. I think it’s safe to say one of my stand out favorites was the crab deviled eggs from MityNice. Not only were they delicious, but they were also presented in the most adorable bamboo boats.
On one final note, I did get a taste of Aviaton Gin just before closing. Aviation is the result of a partnership between mixologist Ryan Magarian and Portland’s House Spirits Distillery. It claims to capture the Pacific Northwest with notes of lavender, cardamom, and sarsaparilla. I usually wouldn’t drink gin straight–I’m a big fan of the Gin & Tonic, usually with Hendricks–but Aviation is genuinely enjoyable and smooth. I can’t wait to experiment with some. What a great last minute find!