Hello old (and new) friend…

DSCN0548Oregon.

It’s almost unfair how beautiful this state is. Amazingly, most people throughout the US and abroad are fairly unfamiliar with the Beaver State.

Seattle? Sure. The Oregon Trail? O.K., a little better, but still, Or-uh-GAHN remains a bit of a hidden gem in the world of food and wine.

Portland will always take the lion’s share of credit for the state’s culinary prowess. But areas like Ashland, Bend, Cannon Beach and Hood River are all offering wine geeks and foodies a little somethin’-somethin’. You have to work pretty hard these days to find an area in the state that doesn’t have at least one boutique wine-themed bar, bistro or shop.

On a sunny and crisp autumn day at the beach, I walked into The Wine Shack, a small but seriously impressive wine shop in Cannon Beach. As the owner chatted with some customers I looked around and noticed high-quality selections from Elena Walch and Paolo Scavino. First growth Bordeaux lazily slept in a locked cabinet. And many of the typical cult NW favorites were here as well.


DSCN0532After exchanging some Portland wine gossip and updates (St. Innocent is now sold by WHO?), I confessed to co-owner Dean Reiman that I never knew Cannon Beach had such a great wine shop. “We’ve got visitors from all over the world,” he told me, and hinted that even in tough economic times like these, the shops in and around this beautiful coastal town continue to do well. Still, you can’t just set up shop in a high tourist area and wish for the best. In a state full of winers and foodies, you’ve got to “bring the thunder” as Gary V. from wine library tv often preaches. And this place definitely does. If you haven’t been there, and your at the beach, drop in and check it out. You can taste some of the goods there every Saturday, 1-5 P.M.


DSCN0538

Speaking of the goods, I noticed a bottle of pinot noir I hadn’t seen before: Puffin Oregon pinot noir. Puffin? Turns out this is The Wine Shack’s proprietary label, and is an homage to the marine wildlife that occupies Oregon’s coast. A percentage of the sales from this label goes to the Friends of Haystack Rock, a typically excellent Oregon organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of coastal wildlife in the area. Bottles like this with “causes” can pluck the heartstrings but are often, unfortunately, less than great. Last night with friends, we put the Puffin to the test.

DSCN0536The latest bottling of this pinot is from 2007, a vintage that got some pretty harsh press. Don’t believe the hype. Remember that multiple wines from a single vintage are hardly singular. 2007 pinot noir is often bright and fresh, if a bit lean. Isn’t that what pinot noir should strive to be? This pinot was indeed bright and fresh, but still rich with silky strawberry and raspberry flavors on the mid-palate. A touch of that Oregon spice and earth on the finish made this a great wine, eco-driven or not. Puffin pinot noir, sadly, is not available outside of The Wine Shack. You’ll have to order it from Dean and co. or better yet, take a trip to Canon Beach and get your hands on some there.

*    *    *

After being on the road here, there, and nowhere, it’s good to be “home”, if only for a short while. I hope the people who do live here in Oregon understand how good they really have it. And I secretly wish that the world continues to overlook this place — a gem can only remain brilliant after so many hands touch it…

With homegrown cheer,

Jared




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~ by Jared on October 10, 2009.

5 Responses to “Hello old (and new) friend…”

  1. Welcome back!

  2. Thanks Cathy… how’s your wine “sounding” these days? 🙂

  3. Hope your visit back home is great! Would love to see you and hear more about your trip! Hope you are well! Jess

  4. Welcome back Jared! I love “The Wine Shack”! Shelby and I have visited it a couple of times and sampled some delicious juice there! Would love to see you two sometime while your around here! 🙂

  5. Jared!!!!!! I’m so excited you’re back! What are your plans? I would love to see you if you have time.
    Brooke

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