My mom is at a point in her life where I would rather make a happy memory for her than give her something to put on her shelf for her birthday. Partly because she doesn’t need anything and partly because I’ll eventually have to deal with her stuff and the less she has the less I have to deal with. To make a nice birthday memory for her Thomas & I took her to King Estate winery for a tour, wine tasting and fabulous dinner. Growing up in SF it is sort of obligatory to take out-of-town guest to the Napa Valley so, needless to say, I spent my fair share of time showing guests my favourite winerys there. Now that I live in Oregon we decided to start exploring our local wineries. Well, I’ve been to two … so that’s not really much of a list. But of the two we have a favourite so far and that’s King Estate. Their facility is gorgeous, the view is spectacular, and the wines are good! We had brunch there in February for a tweetup/birthday celebration and were treated quite well so we knew that mom would enjoy the experience for her birthday.
We started off with a tour of the winery. It was easy enough for mom to walk the entire way since there was a lot of stopping in between all of the walking. It’s a French styled winery so they use oak barrels made in France and boy are they expensive! I’ll bet they have over a million dollars in oak barrels alone!
After the tour we got down to the tasting. My favourite is the 2008 Signature Pinot Gris and since I’m such a drinker I worked on that while Thomas and mom tasted about 4 other wines. My second favourite was the 2006 Domaine Vin Glacé. It’s a dessert wine and has a hint of apple. Just thinking about it makes me want to open the bottle we bought. We also bought mom two small (375ml) bottles of the Pinot Gris and a Pinot Noir. Hey, you’ve got to send the birthday girl home with a memento!
It wasn’t until after we were done with the tasting that we decided to stay for dinner. (Thanks for babysitting Micah!!!) Given that it is May and the weather changes on a dime one may wonder why we chose to eat outside. All I can say is, when in Oregon act like an Oregonian! It was a decent enough evening and the view of the Lorane Valley was stunning so we risked it. It’s always tough chosing something from a menu when you’ve never had anything but we suffered through it. However when our server (Elizabeth of all coincidences) told us the specials we were back at square one … sort of. Once she told us the specials mom and I changed our minds and each chose a different special.
The meal started with an amuse-bouche which was a nice surprise! We were given one when we had brunch at the winery but did not know it was a regular event. It was goat cheese coloured with beet juice on a little toast and it was sprinkled with an arugula … um … drizzly stuff. Whatever. It was really freaking good!
Mom ordered the porkchop on creamy polenta. I ordered the braised short ribs with potato gnocci. And Thomas ordered the grilled NW salmon. I always encourage him to order salmon when we go out because my ability to cook fish is down around zero.
By the time dinner was over the weather was quickly changing and we were escorted inside to a nice fire in the fireplace for dessert and coffee. Mom had the French Meringue and Thomas and I split the flourless chocolate cake.
At the conclusion of our sumtuous meal mom said that it was the best meal she’d had since she moved to Oregon. She’s lived here for over five years …
As usual, I apologize for the formatting of where the pictures end up. I still cannot figure out this stupid program. Jonah told me to type my blog entry and put the pictures in at the end. As you can see, that didn’t help. I am sure, my estimable reader, that you can figure out which picture goes where.