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).
Summer and cookouts go together like mouth-watering chicken and crisp Rainstorm rosé. Nothing beats a warm evening and a sizzling grill, especially when you add some delicious summer wines.
Some inspiration for perfect pairings:
Chicken: Good news! Nearly everything pairs well with chicken. This versatile protein is terrific with sparkling wine, malbec, and everything in between. While there are some wines that will really bring home the wow factor, most of the common varietals will pair nicely with grilled chicken.
Try: Rainstorm pinot gris
Burgers: There’s nothing better than a burger hot off the grill. Oh wait: There is! A burger hot off the grill and a glass of wine. Red goes best with this family favorite, whether you opt for a spicy syrah or a fruit-forward merlot. Rosé is a surprise hit too, especially when you go gourmet. Dress up a burger with caramelized onion, goat cheese, and a chilled glass of this bright beauty.
Try: Rainstorm rosé
Steak: A true classic, steak is best served with a dry red wine. Think cabernet, zinfandel, or even a merlot. The richness of the beef complements the tannins in the wine, resulting in a fabulous flavor collision worthy of glorious summer.
Try: Cabernet sauvignon
Pork: Throw some chops on the grill and start chilling whites like a riesling or a chardonnay. Like red? Break out a bottle of red zinfandel. Either way, you’re going to love it.
Seafood: Shrimp, salmon, tuna...all of these are perfect for the grill, and a glass of wine will make them even perfect-er. It’s usually a good idea to stay on the white side of the wine spectrum, but there is one notable exception: pinot noir. Trust us when we say to drink this if you’re having salmon or tuna.
Try: Rainstorm pinot noir (salmon/tuna); pinot gris (shrimp)
Who’s ready for a cookout? These suggested pairings are tried and true, but at the end of the day, it’s all about what you like. Want to sip a Rainstorm rosé with your porterhouse? Be our guest. Prefer a cabernet with your salmon? You do you. Summer is all about having fun, and so are summer wines. So pop open your favorites, and enjoy!
We’re big animal lovers here at Rainstorm wines. Nature gave us the best gifts in pets - and in fine Oregon pinot gris or rosé wines in the summer! You know what else we think are cool? Exotic animals - the kind that make really good (and legal) pets.
If you’re interested in responsibly expanding your menagerie, consider these pets (while sipping your favorite Rainstorm wines, of course!):
- Hedgehog: Shy but curious, these guys and gals can be handled and played with - just be careful of their quills. They don’t shoot out like a porcupine’s, but they can hurt if you’re jabbed with one. Hedgies make for low-maintenance, fun pets that are great for careful kids.
- Silver fox: While the words “silver fox” typically bring George Clooney’s face to mind, the real silver fox is even cuter (sorry, George). These smart, beautiful creatures are bred specifically to be pet. Be forewarned, though. They may never be as domesticated as you like, and you will need a large outdoor space for them.
- Wallaroo: Ever heard of a wallaroo? We hadn’t either, until recently. These little marsupials are like miniature kangaroos. They can be quite shy, but once they trust you, they are affectionate and playful.
- Boa constrictor: If you don’t mind sharing your home with something long and slithery that enjoys strangling its victims, then a boa constrictor is for you. Be aware that these snakes can easily surpass 5 feet in length!
- Hyacinth macaw: These colorful birds are extremely affectionate and like to cuddle with their owners. How adorable is that? Plus, you can even teach it to say, “I love Oregon pinot gris!”
- Sugar glider: Sugar gliders are tiny marsupials, similar in size to hamsters. You can’t have just one - no really, you can’t. They live in colonies, and they can get sad and lonely if they’re left on their own. They love to be around people, and they’re playful, so they make great pets for families with older children or reliable people who can devote time and attention to them.
- Piranha: What hails from South America, has razor sharp little teeth, and is capable of devouring a small mammal? You guessed it, a piranha. If you have some as a pets, you won’t want to cuddle with them, but they are definitely cool to watch.
- Mini donkey: Mini donkeys may be roughly the size of a large dog (think Great Dane). Stubborn but loyal, these cute little guys and gals are very affectionate and need a large space to roam. If you’ve got a bit of land and plenty of love in your heart, a mini donkey makes an ideal pet.
- Axolotl: Once you figure out how to pronounce its name, the axolotl makes a great pet. It’s a type of salamander and - wait for it - it can regrow its own body parts. Wow!
- Bengal cat: Calling all cat lovers! Bengal cats are like mini tigers - beautiful, sleek, and 100% awesome. They’re also really high-energy, so if you plan to get a Bengal cat, make sure you’re prepared to keep it entertained.
Pets are a joy, and they make our lives more complete. If you are ready to open your home to an exotic pet, don’t forget to do your research - preferably with some Rainstorm wines on hand!