& THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY
Season 2, Episode 1
Mountains, valleys, bridges, gorges, rivers, cities, and countrysides: if you name it, Oregon has it! In this episode, we'll explore why the Willamette Valley has established itself as a premier growing region for Pinot Noir, the difference between sustainable/organic/biodynamic, fish on the Columbia River, make art in downtown Portland, cook some amazing fish dishes at Ned Ludd restaurant, and explore the Columbia Gorge. Time to venture outside of California on this inaugural episode of Season 2!
filmed May, 2019 | runtime 29 minutes
from the Oregon Episode
from the Oregon Episode
This is the little town you see at the start of the episode, and is a great place to start your adventure. It's a small quaint Oregon town in the Willamette Valley, but that's the charm. It's super close to a ton of wineries, so a good place to lodge if you prefer this over the big city (Portland).
LANGE ESTATE WINERY
The Lange family were one of the first to recognize the amazing potential of the Willamette Valley to grow incredible Pinot Noir. If you visit, you'll be able to try a lot of the single vineyard Pinots that are only available at the winery. Say hi to Jesse, Don, and Wendy for me!
Portland is less than an hour from the Willamette Valley, and makes a good home base if you like city travel. There's a ton of park space, world class restaurants, and a lights out bar scene. Here are a few of my picks if you visit!
ELISE WAGNER STUDIO
It was my first time learning about encaustic art, and it was really fascinating! Elise not only sells her work, but offers classes at her studio!
This Portland Oregon staple of a restaurant was one of the first to arrive on the scene when Portland began taking off and has really mastered the fresh, season fare that Oregon is so known for!
- Welcome to Oregon. Vince: People are flocking here in droves and for good reason. Mountains and rivers, bridges and gorges, countrysides and city skylines. If you want it, Oregon has it. But what really sets Oregon apart is it's commitment to the environment and it's preservation. That passion and dedication bleeds into the people, the food and of course, the wine. Welcome to "V is for Vino". Let's watch, learn and drink. Welcome to season two. Cheers.
- The most well known wine region in Oregon is Willamette Valley on the west side of the state. So that's where we're starting. I'm here in downtown McMinnville. A town in the heart of the Willamette Valley about an hour southwest of downtown Portland. The Willamette Valley spans a 150 miles from north to south. And it's actually home to about 70% of Oregon's total population. It includes Portland, Eugene and Salem. This area of the country is so fertile it was promised as the land of milk and honey back in the 19th century. It was the final destination of the famed Oregon Trail. You remember the Oregon Trail, don't ya'? Nowadays the words Willamette Valley are more synonymous with the wine growing region, or Willamette Valley AVA, than the geographical area. And for good reason. About 70% of Oregon's vineyards are located within it. Most of these are considered small. About 5,000 cases per year or less and Oregon as a whole produces about two million cases a year. To put that in perspective, there are some wineries in California that single-handedly produce more wine than the entire state of Oregon. But this is a good thing. It means more attention, love and detail to wines, the vineyards and the environment. Oregon has a rep of being gloomy and rainy. But in the growing season from late spring to early fall, it's actually pretty dry. The surrounding mountain ranges protect the region from rain and because of it's northerly latitude, there's about 15 hours of sunlight a day. This long, cool dry growing season is perfect for Pinot Noir. As Pinot Noir's popularity rises and land in California becomes more and more expensive, winemakers from all over the world are flocking here to Oregon to take advantage of these perfect conditions. In 2000 there were only 139 wineries here and now there are over 800. Many of those are certified organic, biodynamic or sustainable. But what does that even mean? Well, let's find out. With responsible farming being so important to the Oregon way of life, let's break down exactly what that means. I'm going to hit on a pretty controversial topic in the wine world, vineyard practices. Specifically the big three, organic, biodynamic, and sustainable. Why controversial? Well, winemakers and consumers don't necessarily agree on which one of these practices are the most practical or beneficial for the end product. But without taking sides, let's try and break these down one-by-one and learn a little more. Organic. Organic is the most regulated of all these terms. And it's all about what the winemaker doesn't do or what they leave out of the wine. No synthetic pesticides, chemicals or additives, but there is one small problem with this. See most wines contain added sulfites, something not necessarily organic but is necessary to allow the wine to age. So unless you don't mind a wine with a limited shelf life, your best bet is to get a wine that says farmed or made with organic grapes. That way you know the fruit that was going in is organic, but minimal additives like sulfites are allowed. Biodynamic. If organic is all about what the winemaker doesn't do, biodynamic is what the winemaker does do. It attempts to treat the entire vineyard as one ecosystem, with the plants, the animals and the people working together as one, create a self-sustaining vineyard that has little to no outside input. Things like encouraging beehives, re-using compost and natural pest controls. It also has some seemingly strange practices involved with timing. Timing vineyard activities with lunar cycles and burying a cow horn full of manure as part of the fertilization process. Advocates will say it leads to healthier vineyards and better farms. Critics will call it pseudoscience. Regardless, some of the most well respected winemakers on the planet practice biodynamics and the movement seems to be growing. Sustainable. Sustainable's all about minimizing the winemaking's effect on the environment. Things like water conservation and wildlife conservation, using solar panels and green facilities and transport. And while these vineyards may farm organically or biodynamically, they may not follow all the rules depending on which organization they're certified by. Regardless the method, it's usually a good thing when your winery practices some form of responsible farming to take better care of the environment and your final product. Check out the back label of the wine or the winery's website to find out what vineyard practices they're entailing. For our featured grapes today, let's start with the second most planted grape in Oregon, Pinot Gris. What is Pinot Gris? Well, it's a member of the Pinot Noir family. Is the same thing as Pinot Grigio the light easy drinking Italian grape? Well, yes and no. Technically yes, it is the same grape. Stylistically though, it tends to be completely opposite. See Pinot Gris from Oregon tends to be done in the style of Pinot Gris from Alsace, a wine region in the east side of France. And opposed to light easy drinking straight forward like the Italian version, Pinot Gris can be really complex. And is a lot fuller, richer and maybe more viscous and oily. It has stone fruit flavors like white peach, pear or apricot, ripe citrus notes, tropical notes. You can get some honeysuckle or some floral notes like orange blossom and usually finishes with a spice note, like ginger, clove or cinnamon. I told you these wines are complex. It's a really good in-between for people that like that depth and richness of Chardonnay, but the bright fruit character that can come with lighter wines. Let's talk Pinot Noir. Specifically Oregon Pinot Noir. Now, we've talked Pinot before, but in case you need a refresher. It tends to be light in body, high in acid, low in tannin and red fruit character is pretty common. But what makes Pinot Noir the king of grapes here in Oregon. Well, the Willamette Valley specifically is located on the same line of latitude, the 45th parallel, as Burgundy France. And Burgundy France makes some of the most famous Pinot Noirs on the planet. And just like Burgundy, Willamette has a wide variety of soil types and meso climates. There are eight sub-AVA's within Willamette and each one produces a different style of wine. This is because there's no better grape, and I can't stress this enough, that takes terroir and soil and transfers grape to the glass and the final product. It makes Pinot Noir a true expression of the place it came from. And it's why you'll see so many winemakers have 8, 10 or even 12 single vineyard Pinot Noirs. They want to compare and contrast the different vineyard sites. Today I am here in the Dundee Hills AVA, where some of the most famous wines and winemakers are located. The soil here is mostly Jory, a type of volcanic soil that's known for wines with red fruit character great acidity and a little bit of spice. The perfect embodiment of Oregon Pinot. If you were to compare, California Pinots tend to be a bit richer and denser where Oregon Pinots tend to be a bit lighter and more earthy. But I feel like I'm gonna have to figure this out for myself. Let's go taste some wine. Through winding roads and sweeping forests, I had to meet one of my favorite producers in the entire valley. Welcome to Lange Estate. ♪ Summer's comin' ♪ ♪ Summer's comin' ♪ ♪ Summer's comin' baby ♪ ♪ There's nothin' we can do ♪ Don: We had a real love of Pinot Noir. But where do you do that in the New World? That was the question that led us here. Vince: Well what year was this? Don: 1987. Vince: What was the Oregon wine scene like at that time? Don: There wasn't much. Wendy: Our friends said, "You're going where to do what?" Don: Yeah, there was an open six acres behind, just below the house over there. It's cool, we'll just plant that. So that's what we did. The paradigm for Pinot Noir, in the Old World is Burgundy, you know where are they growing Pinot Noir in Burgundy? We'll it's roughly the 45th parallel. Vince: Sure. Don: Well that's where we are. And where are the grand cru vineyards in Burgundy? It's south, southeast slopes. You probably noticed where we are here. Vince: Yeah. Don: South, southeast slope. Vince: Yeah. Don: I call this slope here in the Dundee Hills the Cote-d'Or of the, Vince: Of the New world. Don: You know of, of the New World. Vince: And the other grapes, especially Pinot Gris became incredibly popular here. Don:Right, yeah we got here, there were only three producers in the New World of Pinot Gris. Wendy: In 1987, our neighbor knocked on our door, offered us a few tons of Pinot Gris. And we said heck yeah and we became the fourth producer of Pinot Gris in the New World. Vince: Wow and I mean and now it's the second most planted grape here. Wendy: I mean when we got here, it was a very tightly knit community of dedicated growers, family farmers. And that really hasn't changed. We farm to organic standards. We aren't organically certified, but we are live certified and standard certified. So anything that goes on the land, runs off the land into rivers or streams, is clean, it won't pollute. Don: I think our vision is to create a product that has a sense of place. You know, wine has this concept of terroir I mean people argue about well does terroir exist, you know? For the likes of us, it's some kind of a silly question. It's like asking if poetry exists. For years, we'd go to a place like Manhattan and they couldn't pronounce Oregon. You know, that's year to year, it's like, okay so we go. Vince: Oregon . Don: Yeah, exactly and we go back and it's like we've got our wines, we're pouring and say, "We're from Oregon". And they say, "Oh where in Oregon?" And then we say, "Well, the Willamette Valley". "Well where in the Willamette Valley"? "We're in the Dundee Hills". And they so, "Oh, the Dundee Hills, oh yeah, absolutely". And we look at each other and went ohh! Wendy: Oh good. This is good. Vince: We're doin' something right. Don: Exactly, yeah, we have turned the corner. ♪ There's nothing we can do ♪ ♪ We got a world of right and wrong... ♪ Vince: It's time to taste some wines of the next generation of Lange winery, Don and Wendy's son, Jesse. Jesse, what's going on? Jesse: Hi, man how's it going? Vince: Good to see you. Jesse: Likewise. Vince: Good, I'm excited to try these wines. Jesse: This is our Pinot Gris Reserve. My folks Don and Wendy were the first winemakers in the United States to make a barrel fermented Pinot Gris. So as opposed to stainless steel, French Oak fermentation's going to give you rounder bandwidth on the palate, more mouth feel. An overall more, a sense of richness. Vince: Great, let's try it. Jesse: Yeah, man. Vince: Cheers. Jesse: Salud. Vince:Super, super ripe fruit character on the nose. Jesse: Yeah, I like how it dances between sort of citrus and tropical fruit. Vince: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Jesse: That's something how we look for. Vince: And a lot of times, it's one or the other 'cause those can be opposite ends of the spectrum in a lot of wines. Jesse: Sure. Yeah, we select for that so all those different components or every little vineyard block picks separately and ferments it separately. So literally this is a blend of our top 25 French Oak barrels. Vince: I get, there's almost a nuttiness, as well. Jesse: A little bit of the almond kind of toasted almond. I find sort of a honeysuckle note too, so it plays a little bit kind of in a floral range as well. Yeah, that white peach note is really, I think a characteristic of Willamette Valley Pinot Gris. You know bright Asian pears and apples can be a component too. Vince: Asian pear. Jesse: Asian pear, yeah. Vince: That's a good one for this too. You're talking the round white Asian pear. Jesse: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, they look like apples but they're Asian pears. Vince: Yeah, that's a great one for this. Jesse: This is our Pinot Noir Reserve, so one of about 12 different Pinot Noirs we craft every year. Vince: 12. Jesse: Yeah. Vince: Now why, tell me why so many? Jesse: Well, Pinot Noir has this like unique ability to showcase site, the Reserve is one of my favorite wines we get to craft every year, just because get to cherry pick some of our favorite barrels from all those, you know blue ribbon vineyard sites. Vince:It's simultaneously bright and has depth. I can dig there and I can find the dark fruit but it still pops out of the glass like something super fresh. Jesse: It takes you a while to understand it as the wine unfolds and oxidizes and gets swirled in the glass. That for me, is what makes me chase Pinot Noir Vince: Yeah, I mean tremendous complexity and I haven't even tasted it yet. I get little of that like dark cherry cola. Jesse: That brightness too, I get some fresh kinda raspberry and strawberry components. I find this particular reserve to have a fair bit of spice like a spice box note, cardamon, clove. So we've been certified sustainable for about 15 years now. A lot of the bottles that we use are lower weight so our carbon footprint's lessened a fair bit. We use raptor poles on the property for a natural pest control. Vince: What is that? Jesse: So raptor poles would be like glorified telephone poles with a crossbeam up there so resident red tail hawks can prey on voles and moles. Our solar panels on the property, so like 30% of our power's generated on our roof. Vince: I think some people see it as, you know a burden and a cost, rather than an opportunity and a long term benefit. Something that will help sustain the vineyard's profitability and viability for the long term. Jesse: Well that's the dream I mean, maybe Elon Musk can go to Mars, but I'm pretty sure-- Vince: We're stuck here. Jesse: I'm pretty sure we're stuck here. We got one planet, you know so. Vince: On all the bottles, there's a fishing lure. Jesse: My family's big into preservation, conservation for fresh water, and salt water too. And my father and I are big fishermen. So we tie our own flies and we travel around the state and go fishing when time allows. Vince: Man that sounds like a blast. Yeah, I'd love to get out and go fishin' with you if I ever can. Jesse: Well, maybe we can make that happen. Vince: Yeah? Jesse: Yeah, maybe later this week. Vince:All right, we can do it? Jesse: Yeah, let's see if we can make it happen. Vince:All right, cool. Jesse: Cheers. Vince: Cheers. Wanna drink the wines from this episode and others? Join the "V is for Vino Wine Club". We'll ship the wines from each season right to your door so you can drink along with us while you're watching the show, cooking or just hangin' out with friends. Travel to the winery without even leaving your home. Go to V is for Vino right now to join. True to his word, Jesse rounded up a motley crew and a ship. And we head out for a day of sturgeon fishing on the mighty Columbia River. With Jesse, first mate Doug and Captain John. ♪ I've been watching ♪ ♪ I've been listening ♪ ♪ Oh to the wind and ♪ ♪ Oh to the water ♪ ♪ I am covered ♪ ♪ In the salt and sun ♪ ♪ Oh this dying dusk ♪ ♪ Paints the water top ♪ All right so what do we doing? What's the plan today? Jesse: From the Columbia, we put in at Chinook Landing on the Oregon side. We're here, just stop at Washougal, catching some shad. So some live bait in the bucket, good job. Did well, and we're gonna roll upriver, up the Columbia about 10 miles to Rooster Rock and go catch some sturgeon. Vince:You're catching the small fish now to get the big fish later right? Jesse: Yep, catching the shad now to catch the sturgeon later. Vince: Nice. Yeah, in Ohio we fish for that size. Jesse: Oh, sure. Vince: So we got what, five? Jesse: Five shad. Vince:That's five rolls of the dice. Jesse: That's five, you up your odds that way. Vince: With our bait fish ready to go, we head upriver and cast our lines hoping for a 10-foot trophy. And then we waited. And waited. And hit a new spot, and waited. I'm gonna spoil the ending here. Five fishing holes and eight hours later, we didn't catch anything, but we ate well. Elk burgers and wild boar sausages that Captain John hunted. More Lange wine. And a beer. And maybe a bit of moonshine. We listened to Doug tell the story of an accident that almost killed him. And how Jesse helped save his life. Listen to Captain John muse over his old job as an airplane salesman and quote "Pulp Fiction" without emitting a single swear word. I even got the crew to forget we were working for a bit. I saw the appeal of this Oregon lifestyle I'd heard so much about. And for a few hours, pretended I lived that life too. We can't talk Oregon without talking Portland. Located just an hour from the Willamette Valley. It's become a refuge for people who crave a big city that's still close to nature. And although as a reputation for hipster lumberjack's, gluten-free pizza and tandem bicycles, look deeper. You'll find a young vibrant city with more public park space per capita than any other U.S. city. An agricultural oasis, stunning architecture. A people who always challenge the status quo, bridges galore and an energy that makes you think, I could pack up and live here. Stumptown, Bridgetown, PDX, Rip City, whatever you want to call it, Portland is a town worth a second look. ♪ All I ask for ♪ ♪ Golden sunbeams ♪ ♪ Sweet silence ♪ ♪ 'Cause it heals me ♪ ♪ Hey, hey hasty world ♪ ♪ Where's your reverence ♪ ♪ For the presence of a rising star ♪ ♪ These invisible lives ♪ ♪ Are tanglin' ♪ ♪ Standin' round me ♪ ♪ And these slow growing weeds ♪ ♪ Are keepin' me from seein' my sky ♪ ♪ From seein' my sky ♪ ♪ My sky ♪ When I think Portland, I think art. And I wanted to get a local take on the city and it's art scene. I knew my friend and fellow wine lover, Elise had a studio near downtown, so I took the evening to go check it out. Tell me how you got started, what this is, what style this is, all of it. Elise: It's called Encaustic painting and it's an ancient medium that combines beeswax, resin and pigment. Vince: And is that, so that's how you get this texture. Elise: Yeah. And that's how it's so luminous Vince: Can I touch it? Elise: and very full of depth. Yes, I always encourage touching. Vince: Ah, encourage touching. It's opposite most art. Elise: Yeah, opposite, yes. Vince: I like this kind of art. Elise: I start with a, this is the wax. And then you add the pigment to it and you make different, in this case wine colors. And then you fuse it with like a heat gun or a blow torch. In ancient times, they used an open flame and then that's what builds this beautiful window of depth in the paintings. Vince: Yeah, and depth is the word I would say like you can see that it does, the painting almost goes beyond the canvas behind it which is really amazing. You know when I think Portland, I do tend to think artists. Why do you think so many artists are just drawn here? Elise: I think it's because it's an easy place to be. The landscape and everything has been so inspiring to me for my work. You've got the coast, you've got the desert. You've got the mountains, you've got everything. Vince: This is so cool, thank you so much. Elise: So much fun. Vince: Yeah, this is so much fun. Welcome to the "V is for Vino" Nerd Lab. We take complicated wine topics and make 'em simple. Today we're talkin' about soil.
- [Man's Voice] Soil.
- It's one of the elements of terroir and one of the most important elements to great winemaking. That being said, vines surprisingly aren't that picky when it comes to soil. In fact they're incredibly resilient unlike your beloved succulent that you just can't seem to keep alive.
- [Crowd] Awe!
- Vines find a way to survive in even the poorest soils. Soils that other crops simply couldn't survive in. What does soil do for wine? Most importantly, they regulate the amount of water to the vines. Each soil retains water at different rates. And thus, produces different styles of wine. The best soils work in tandem with the other elements of terroir, climate and the grape varietal, to provide just the right amount of water to ripen the grapes, while still forcing the roots to dig in deep and stress to seek nutrients. The right amount of stress on the vines gives smaller berries with more concentration of flavor. If the opposite happens and the grapes get too much water you'll end up with dilution in the berries and thus, diluted wine. Soil also helps regulate temperature, provides the vine with nutrients. And though this is technically unproven, most winos would agree, soil helps pass flavor into the grapes. It acts as sort of a coffee filter for the water as it passes into the roots. How many types of soil are there? Well, hundreds of variations, but some are more common than others. Sand is a common soil found in places like South Africa, Chateauneuf du Pape and Piedmont. It retains heat well and drains quickly. This helps make light, soft wines in warm climates and aromatic wines in cool climates. Clay is another common soil type, but does the opposite of sand. It stays cool and retains moisture. This helps in hot regions like Australia's Barossa Valley or Pomerol and Bordeaux and tends to produce powerful wines. Limestone soils are some of the most famous on the planet and are prominent in places like Burgundy and Champagne. These soils retain moisture well and help contribute to the minerality and acid character of the wine. One of my favorite soil types is volcanic soil found in places like Sicily, Napa, Santorini and Willamette Valley. Minerals from the ash in volcanic rock eruptions make for fresh, aromatic and super concentrated wines. There's also loam, silt, slate, gravel, granite, flint chalk and a whole slew of other soils worth exploring. So start digging. I hope today's Nerd Lab cleared up how soils affect wine and as always keep geekin' out. Being so close to wine country and surrounded by such fertile farmland, Portland has some of the best restaurants in the country. So I wanted to go to dinner somewhere that was truly Oregon. Local, sustainable, homey and comfortable. I couldn't have found a better spot than Ned Ludd. This place is cool. Rob: Oh, thank you. Yeah, it's definitely become one of Portland's hidden gems and we've actually been here for over 10 years now. Vince: Tell me about this, the space is crazy. I don't know if I'd describe it as like colonial or lumberjack. Rob: It's very Quaker. This was an old pizza place with a wood oven, center everything around that oven. Instead of trying to game it let's embrace that as the ethos of the entire restaurant. The most salient kind of influences would be very classical French and German, Alsatian. And I think vegetable is our focus. Treating every vegetable the way that brings out the best in it. Vince: The concept of the restaurant, sustainability's a big part of it. Rob: I think one of the most overlooked aspects of sustainability is going out and buying the products and using the products that your producers want you to use, 'cause they're so abundant. So many small independent farms. In Oregon, they're like coming out of the woodwork. They want you. They come to the restaurant. They want you to order from them. If our farmer puts on their list, like please order this. Like please get it, it's so good right now. It's so abundant right now and we have too much of it. If you can, if you as a business can buy that and create a demand for it, that helps to alleviate waste all along the chain, rather than just in your own restaurant, but in the production of it as well. Vince: Well I'm excited. Can we walk through some of these dishes? I'd love to taste them. Rob: Yeah, for sure. For sure. Vince: All right cool, let's do it. Let's do it. ♪ Every time you move... ♪ Vince: I see a lot of fish. Rob: So yeah, fish is going to be the theme of the day. So the halibut season this year has been amazing, abundant. So first, we'll be doing a little ceviche. So I'm just going to dice up some thinner slices of halibut and I have a little lime juice and grapefruit juice. I'm just going to marinate it in . Here's the fish. So it's going to be kind of one component, the other component's going to be what's called the Leche de Tigre or the liquid that's going to make up the base of the ceviche and all the flavor. Vince: So when you, are we doing Peruvian style or Mexican style? Rob: We're doing a, we're doing a-- Vince: Oregonian style. Rob: Oregonian style. Vince: And what did you say we're doing right now, the what? Rob: The Leche de Tigre. Vince: What does that mean? Rob: That means tiger's milk. Vince: Tiger's milk. Rob: So I'm going to start with zest, zest and juice of a bunch of citrus. All right, so now I have the juice. I'm going to take a little bit of green garlic. So this is seasonal right now. This is the very young garlic clove. You can sort of see the cloves forming in there. I also have a little shallot. And so here's a little fresno chili. Got a bunch of herbs here, so cilantro, tarragon and chives. Vince: You can probably use whatever fresh herbs you have around. Rob: Whatever you got. And yet another weird kind of seasonal allium. So this is a scape, this is a leek scape. They shoot out of the underground bulbs of allium so in the springtime. Vince: If I can't find leek scape. Rob: If you can't find it don't worry about it. You can use fresh leek, you can use red onion if you want. And then I have a little bit of fennel, fresh fennel. Vince: Get some crunch. Rob: Crunchy, it's very aromatic and floral. And then our last kinda seasonal ingredient to go in here, is going to be these green strawberries. Vince: So literally, this is a normal strawberry that are picked a little early Rob: It's a normal strawberry. It's not so much that it picked early. They just pick the ones that didn't really ripen because they have a lot of acidity and a lot of good texture. Here's our Leche de Tigre is virtually ready and then I will go ahead and incorporate the fish into here. And then just to plate it. Got a little bit of pickled red onion. Last bit of the Oregon seasonal ingredients, the fir tips. These are the fresh Douglas Fir. Vince: Oh wow. Rob: It's citrusy, green, that's-- Vince:that's cool. Rob: Yup, it's the tender little offshoots of all the new growth in the spring. Vince: Wow, look at this. Can we try it? Rob: Absolutely. Vince: All right, let's go for it. Rob: Yeah, let's go for it. Vince: The meatiness of the fish is amazing and then the kind of crunch, I love the crunch from the strawberry. Something I never would have used personally. That's really cool. Rob: Yeah. Vince: So yeah, we're pairing this with the Pinot Gris and right off the bat, like you get such ripe citrus from this, Rob: Yes. Vince: I think it's going to go great with this. Rob: I mean the first thing that pops in my mind when I smell this is lemon zest and especially that oiliness a little bit too. The standout quality of this wine is the acidity. Vince: All right, I'm just gonna leave, he's got it. Rob: Vince:: No, that's perfect. I mean that's literally what I would say. I mean all of that. All that citrus in the dish, goes great with the citrusy wine. Plus, the acid from all that citrus needs a high acid wine. The hearty meaty halibut goes great with the medium plus bodied wine. And while I wouldn't describe the wine as sweet, the over the top fruitiness of the Pinot Gris is balanced by that little bit of spice from the chili. I notice we got an oven that we haven't used yet. Rob: Right now, we're gonna do salmon, and then we're gonna roast some turnips and porcini mushrooms. So we got some Coho Salmon, take your sharpest knife that you have and you're just gonna make very shallow incisions on the skin. Vince: And why are we scoring? Rob: We're scoring to allow that subcutaneous fat to escape so that we can actually get a crispy skin. Give it a liberal seasoning with kosher salts. So season that and like let it sit for a minute or two. So in the meantime we'll start roasting our vegetables. So here we have some hakari turnips and then we have some porcini mushrooms. Again this is a spray of seasonal treats. And then this is just gonna go straight back to the hottest part of our oven. Vince: Nice slide, nice technique. Rob:So in here I've got some, just some wild spring onion. I've got some ramps and then some more leek scapes. So for the sauce, I've started with some Pinot Noir, some fresh herbs. I've got thyme in here, I've got Douglas Fir. I've got some of the green garlic in there and I've got some really overripe strawberries. We're gonna reduce this and then we're gonna add some stock to it and that's gonna form our sauce. So this is kind of a play on a classic matelote, which is a red wine fish stew with mushrooms and glazed pearl onions. The salmon is not going to take long to cook in here at all. Lay the fish on gently, skin skid down. Vince: And what's your trick to making sure you don't overcook, 'cause that's a big thing with salmon and it's tough. Rob: I think the most important part when you're cooking any fish and you're doing it skin on. Cook it on the skin 90% of the way. You'll be able, Vince: 90%. Rob: 90%. Vince: Wow. Rob: You're gonna just kiss it on the other side. So our vegetables look like their nice and caramelized and perfect. Vince: Right. Rob: Onions, lightly caramelized, getting soft. Again we want to retain texture here. We don't want these to be mush. Add a little bit of sherry vinegar here. Vince:And this is, we're just gonna give it that kiss. Rob: Just a kiss. This fish is done. Vince: Yeah, that skin, that crisp and that char on the skin looks great. Rob: Let's put our turnips and porcinis around. Our nice glazed onions. Got some of the flowers from those onions. Vince: Beautiful. This looks like a garden. Let's give it a try. Rob: Right, yeah. Vince:The sweetness from the strawberry mixed with that savory and then the salt, feels like a dish that was crafted for this wine as opposed to we're trying to match, obviously using the wine but the meatiness of the preparation with the root vegetables. Rob: The herbs, and you always want an earthy quality with Pinot too, so the porcinis in there. Vince: Salmon and Pinot is a classic pairing. The strawberries in the sauce go great with the red fruit flavors in the wine. And the hearty roasted root vegetables match the earthy Pinot Noir. Also hearty, oily fish like salmon love the acid the Pinot Noir brings to balance it out. Cheers, man. Rob: Cheers. Vince: This has been so fun. Rob: Thanks Vince. Vince: Thank you so much for having us. Rob: Ah yeah, it was my pleasure. Vince: Thanks again. Vince: What a trip. What a place. To be so close to so much wonder and feel so far from the cares of normal routine. Before we left, we knew we had to take a trip to the Columbia Gorge, both an impressive valley and one of Oregon's most diverse AVAs. There's still a whole lot of land in Oregon yet to be claimed and developed for wine growing. A new land of opportunity for people to hitch their wagons to. I hope you enjoyed Oregon and we'll see you next time on "V is for Vino". ♪ I'm sittin' here wishin' ♪ ♪ I could feel something at all ♪ ♪ Like there's something I lost ♪ ♪ Like there's someone that's gone ♪ ♪ All this wishin' ♪ ♪ Ain't doin' a thing ♪ ♪ It's a robot's game ♪ Gio: I painted this one. I painted that one and I painted this one. Welcome Vince. Vince:Oh wow, you're so talented. Gio: Yeah. ♪ Woo oo hoo oo ♪ ♪ It's a false sense ♪ ♪ That we livin' ♪ ♪ Woo oo hoo oo ♪
- Whoa, whoa, whoa. ♪ It's a false sense ♪ ♪ Right of front of you ♪ ♪ Woo oo hoo oo ♪ ♪ Woo oo hoo ♪ Vince: Hey there, Vince here. Do you want more "V is for Vino"? I have a bunch of exclusive behind the scenes content on my Instagram @VisforVino. I interact with you and have new posts all the time. So go right now and give it a quick follow so we can stay in touch. Cheers. ♪ Can you take me back... ♪