Grape Maturity Measurement at Harvest
Remember when you were a kid? You'd go out for Halloween and come back with a bag full of treats. Best. Night. Ever! As an adult, it's difficult to capture the same magic. Or is it? Four words: wine and candy pairing.
Candy Corn and Prosecco Contrast
For candy corn, try prosecco. The bubbles complement the sweet, smooth candy. The candy corn will have a creamy texture to it that the prosecco brings out by contrast.
Snickers and Syrah Find Balance
Yum... chocolate, caramel, peanuts, and nougat. This is perfect for a rich red wine that mixes each of these flavors. You'll taste everything become more pronounced – both the Snickers flavors and the complex red.
Skittles Love Sauvignon Blanc
Skittles delightful blend of flavors is perfectly offset by a dry white wine. Try a sauvignon blanc. It helps accentuate the flavor so much that you may, at long last, be able to really taste the rainbow!
Tootsie Rolls & Port
Anyone else have metric ton of Tootsie Rolls after trick-or-treating? Pair them with port. It’s a perfect complement because the Tootsie Roll will help that smooth, sweet taste linger on your tongue all the longer.
Butterfingers Need Chardonnay
Here's something that's tougher. Butterfingers aren't a complex candy. Their taste is a pretty straightforward butterscotch flavor. A more acidic, less oaky chardonnay cuts through this flavor perfectly for a really unique mouthfeel.
Even More Halloween Wine and Candy Pairings
Experiment! Peanut butter tastes exquisite with jammy fruit flavors, so Reese's candies pair well with dry, quality lambruscos evoking raspberry and violet flavors. Lots of candies have almond in them. Fortified sherries fold in an element of a whiskey-like taste, which pairs perfectly. Milk chocolate pairs well with light and medium reds, while dark chocolate deserves a peppery syrah or leathery malbec. Experiment with wine and candy pairing. You know your candies. You know your wines. Become a Halloween wine scientist, and test out your maddest creations!
The best Willamette pinot noir is the perfect pour for an astonishing array of foods. This is the secret strength of pinot noir pairings. It might be the red wine that you can use most flexibly in creating pairings that are thrilling and unexpected. Start with the tried and true so you really develop an idea of how pinot noir brings out certain qualities in unique ways.
Pinot Noir & Meat
Oregon pinot noir is straightforward, so the first key is to avoid overthinking your pairings.They all have a higher acidity. This means meats with a degree of fat goes very well with it. Think something like duck and other game birds, where the taste of the fat lingers to interact with the acidity of the wine. In fact, pinot noir pairs very well with most meat. For a truly memorable pairing, try it with elk. One of pinot noir's most exceptional qualities rests in how it brings out not just taste but also textural qualities of the food with which it's paired. With any meat, pairing it with a sauce that incorporates pinot noir helps bring the flavors closer together. Have your eye out for clever ways to bring pinot noir into your sauces.
Pinot Noir & Vegetarian Options
Many fruits, vegetables, and nuts work incredibly well as pinot noir pairings. Think of hazelnuts and roasted root vegetables: beets, yams, artichoke. You can also try this in the form of soup. Most squash soups go exceedingly well with a pinot noir pairing, especially when they retain some of their natural sweetness. Once you get a feel for it, try it with a squash soup that has both sweetness and spice. The pinot noir can accentuate each flavor for a rare mouthfeel.
The Rare Red for Fish
One great part of Oregon is the amount of fresh fish available. Fish is normally reserved to pair with white wines, but the best Willamette pinot noir has a lightness that can complement salmon and other fatty fishes. Some recipes will dry out the salmon more than others. Pinot noir should be used with recipes that let the salmon retain its oiliness. The fun of pinot noir pairings is learning the taste well enough that you develop your own, unique pairings. Once you try some of these suggestions, be brave and adjust recipes to incorporate pinot noir as a pairing in inventive ways!
Most people seem to automatically assume that wine temperature works like this: reds are best served at warmer temps, and whites are to be chilled. Well, it’s a bit more complex: there are temperature distinctions that should be made among different types of wine in order to bring out optimal flavor. So pour yourself a glass of chilled pinot noir (yes, chilled), and read on to learn which wines should be served at which temperatures.
A good rule of thumb to follow when serving wine is this:
- Serve red wine between 60 and 68 degrees
- Serve white wine between 45 and 55 degrees
Of course, the exact temperature to serve a specific bottle of wine depends on the varietal you have. For instance, pinot grigio is recommended to be served at 45 degrees, while chardonnay should be served at 50.
Even though they’re both white wines, there’s a 5-degree temperature difference for optimal flavor. Now you see the challenge when serving wine! The reason we even pay attention to wine temperature is because different temperatures bring out different flavors.
When whites are too warm, they can taste flat; when served too cold, the flavors aren’t fully developed, leaving the wine tasting “simple.” Reds face similar problems. Too cool, and your wine will taste overly acidic; too warm, and it will taste excessively alcoholic.
Now you’re probably wondering, “How on earth is the average wine drinker supposed to find the optimal temperature for their wine?!” It’s easy, really. Look on the bottle. Many wine labels come with serving suggestions, so you know exactly at what temperature your wine will taste the best.
And, if it’s not the on the label, a quick search online should turn up an answer. But there’s one lingering aspect we need to cover, and that is whether or not these wine temperature rules should always be followed.
The quick answer is, nope! There are certain reds that can handle a bit of a chill, and in fact, the colder temperature can actually help the flavors develop. When you want to serve a chilled red, opt for a light-bodied wine with low tannins, and preferably one that has fruity or floral notes to it.
Chilled pinot noir is a popular choice, as are malbecs and zinfandel. Opt for a temperature of about 50-55 degrees, as this will make fruit aspects pop without elevating the tannins to the forefront.
For the best tasting experience, it’s important to always pay attention to wine temperature. We’re not suggesting you run out and buy a wine fridge right now (although they are pretty awesome), but just take a minute to get acquainted with your bottle of wine and it’s optimal serving parameters. You’ll thank us later.
Nothing says summertime in the USA like spectacular fireworks. Lucky for us, Portland puts on quite a show. Pack some food, a selection of tasty summer wines, and your lawn chair, and get ready for an unforgettable Independence Day!
If you’re looking for a great place for fireworks viewing this 4th of July, look no further than:
- Willamette River Bridges: Take your pick of one of the Willamette River’s bridges - Burnside, the Hawthorne, the Morrison, the Tilikum Crossing, or the Ross Island Crossing - you’ll have a great viewing spot. Be sure to get there early to stake a claim.
- Portland City Grill: This upscale bar and restaurant is located on the 30th floor of the second-tallest skyscraper in downtown PDX, so you’re sure to get an amazing view. Plus, they have vanilla bean crème brûlée, which pairs perfectly with a Rainstorm pinot gris!
- Oaks Amusement Park: The family-friendly Oaks Amusement Park is an awesome place to spend the Fourth and catch a stunning fireworks show. And it’s the only place where you’ll get to pack some quintessential American summer activities all into one day - riding roller coasters, eating hot dogs, and winning a prize for your girl or guy.
- Waterfront Blues Festival: The Waterfront Blues Festival is happening from July 4-7 this year, and it is the place to be. While you can’t bring your own picnic basket full of summer wines and other goodies, they will have food and drinks available. All you need is your lawn chair or blanket and your festival pass, and you’re set for a terrific time!
- Your Friend’s Boat: Can you anchor somewhere near the barge that’s shooting off fireworks near downtown? Sweet! You’ll have the best seats in the house and a completely unobstructed view. No boat? No problem. You can book passage on the Portland Spirit or Willamette Star, which will both dock near the fireworks show.
And, of course, if you’d rather sit in your driveway with a cooler of drinks and watch your neighbors blow stuff up, more power to you! Just don’t forget your Rainstorm pinot gris (for you, not the pyrotechnician).