Four boutique Oregon wine producers – Harper Voit Wines, Kandarian Wine Cellars, Leah Jørgensen Cellars, and Matzinger Davies Wine Co., will partner with two haute Portland restaurants, The Parish and Block&Tackle, this summer for a special mini-series on what promises to be some of the best oyster and white wine pairings offered locally.
What makes a good oyster wine? According to Taylor Shellfish Farms, sponsor of the annual Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition, it’s “a narrow band of wine styles and characteristics that work well with oysters, a vibrant combination of sweetness (glycogen), minerals, and the sea.”
The four wines participating are exceptional representatives of good oyster wines – with characteristics including a back- bone of acidity, crisp, flinty, citric or mineral undercurrent, chalk, salinity, delicate but firm, and most importantly – they make you want to eat more oysters.
The wine line-up includes:
- Harper Voit 2012 “Surlie” Pinot Blanc
- Kandarian Wine Cellars 2012 “Stinger” Picpoul Blanc
- Leah Jørgensen Cellars 2012 Blanc de Cabernet Franc
- Matzinger Davies Wine Co. 2012 “Gorgeous Savvy” Sauvignon Blanc
The four wines will come together for clean and simple oyster pairings in this mini-series set in Portland.
The first tasting event is by day
June 30, 2013 | Noon-3 p.m. | $20
231 NW 11th Ave., Portland, 503-227-2421
The Parish owners, Tobias Hogan and Ethan Powell, founders of EaT Oyster Bar, their first restaurant together, are well-known for their long-relationships with local oyster farms and their access to the best oysters available from the Pacific Northwest and beyond, will select a single oyster variety to match with each wine – so 4 of the same delicious oysters to taste with each of the four wines. There will be live jazz, too! Walk-in’s welcome; tasting is $20/person.
The second tasting event takes place after dusk
July 6, 2013 |9 p.m. | $40
Block & Tackle
3113 S.E. Division St., Portland, 503-236-0205
Chefs Trent Pierce and Patrick Schultz introduce their new casual seafoodrestaurant as counterpoint to their high end eatery Roe, which will continueservice discreetly in the backroom. This oyster tasting comes just in time for the launch of a new oyster bar at Block & Tackle this summer. Oyster preparations will range from classic raw oyster on the half-shell to more creative dishes designed to perfectly compliment the accompanying wine. Food will be indicative of the kind of food served at Block and Tackle, despite hosting the event in the Roe space. Guests are encouraged to dress in all white for this fun, summer party. Walk-in’s welcome, but pre-sale preferred; contact Block&Tackle to make your reservation. $40/person.
For more details about each tasting event, please contact, respectively, The Parish (503-227-2421) and Block & Tackle (503-236-0205).
Leah Jorgensen, owner and winemaker at Leah Jørgensen Cellars, draws her winemaking inspiration from France’s Loire Valley, known for crisp white wines meant for oysters. Jorgensen, who produced the first commercial white Cabernet Franc, thought of a Kumamoto oyster when she came up with her unusual white wine from red grapes.
“I was after a wine that would commence with a hint of sweet that’s well integrated with acidity, getting more savory mid-palate, with developing richness, and finishes with a sea-kissed salinity and chalkiness – much like the flavor profile of a Kumamoto,” says Jorgensen.
“My cousin own the Fisherman’s Market in Eugene, and enjoying fresh seafood, in particular the incredible array of oysters and shellfish from our cool waters, seemed like a clear focus for me in making an Oregon white wine,” Jorgensen adds.
Drew Voit, recently the winemaker at Shea Wine Cellars, made his Harper Voit “Surlie” Pinot Blanc his focused white wine, and chose to do it in a character also reminiscent of a Loire white wine, and he, too, had his aim on shellfish when he developed his wine style.
“This Pinot Blanc was handcrafted to achieve a balance of richness, acidity, and a brininess, taking its style from Muscadet, that crisp, dry, almost sea-salty wine from the Loire Valley,” says Voit. “The name ‘Surlie’ is a playful take on the practice (sur lie in French) of aging a wine with without filtering out the dead yeast. This lends a yeasty component and brings a creamy texture to the wine.”
Husband-wife team of Anna Matzinger, recently the former winemaker at Archery Summit, and Michael Davies, winemaker at Rex Hill and A to Z Wineworks, sought a Sauvignon Blanc style more aligned with Davies’ Kiwi roots. Their “Gorgeous Savvy” Sauvignon Blanc, a pun on the grapes’ source from Mosier, Oregon and Davies’ New Zealand slang for Sauvignon Blanc, delivers flavors of fresh-mown hay and a touch of lime and grapefruit, tropical fruit salad, with an especially long acidic finish. Sauvignon Blanc, originally from the Loire Valley, is the classic oyster wine, and the New Zealand, and, ultimately, Oregon versions are no exception.
Perhaps tied for most unusual white wine with Jorgensen comes from Jeff Kandarian, the former winemaker at King Estate, who took his inspiration from the Rhone and Languedoc regions of France with this vinifera grape rarely found in American soil. Picpoul, which translates to “lip-stinger” and refers to the high acidity of the grapes, is green-gold in color, full-bodied, and shows lemon flavors.
“Pair Picpoul with oysters! You can’t visit France without having Picpoul and oysters – period. Textbook match for just about any type of shellfish,” says Kandarian.