While it’s still nice and sunny here in Portland, the evenings have gotten decidedly cooler, a sure sign that fall is here. The so-called “shoulder season” – the liminal space between summer and fall – is one of our favorites here in the PNW. The leaves are starting to turn color, the wildfire smoke has mostly dissipated, and it’s finally appropriate to pull out the sweaters again. The food’s good too; the market’s last tomatoes and berries mingle with new-crop artichokes and leeks, and wild mushrooms are popping up on forest floors everywhere. We thought we’d highlight a few of our favorite wines to accompany this autumnal equinox, bottles that that straddle the line between summer and fall, and will be perfect for the table as we make this transition into the cooler months.
Situated high in the hills of Navarra, Bodegas Aroa is pioneering the local use of organic and biodynamic vineyard management. This philosophy extends into the cellar, where the wine is fermented naturally and nothing is added. This Pet-Nat is 100% Grenache Blanc, full of life, and absolutely delicious. Aromas of stone fruits and honey dominate the nose, and the palate is zippy and refreshing, tasting of pear and citrus shot through with prickling acidity. The perfect wine to in late summer and early fall, it tastes like an afternoon orchard picnic as the last bit of warming, dappled sunlight breaks through the leaves overhead.
Another stunner from Jess Hereth, this single-barrel skin-contact Riesling made with grapes from far Northeastern Oregon is nuanced and complex. Structurally restrained for a skin-contact wine, its fine, silky tannins lead to an explosion of tropical pineapple with notes of gingersnap, coriander, lemon and subtle notes of lily. A bit of a shy guy at first, we recommend decanting or opening at least 20 minutes before drinking to unleash its full aromatic potential. Exceptional.
A new project, and one we’re very excited about. Brent Braun, wine director at local fave OK Omens, and his partner Jordan Sowers have teamed to offer a new perspective on the classic negociant model. Working with local winemakers, they seek “to foster creative approaches to the production of sustainable, natural wines in each partnership.” In an effort to make lemonade out of lemons, Post Familiar worked with Julia Bailey of Loop de Loop Wines in Underwood, Washington to craft this clever antidote to 2020’s potentially devastating wildfire smoke; the result is a dynamic, chillable red wine that tastes like a “pomegranate mezcal margarita.” Yes please!
Cotes de what? Nestled in northeastern France near the Vosges Mountains, this cool-climate region is tiny and considerably less famous than known pink wine powerhouse Provence. But their viticulture traditions stretch back to Roman times (and in the case of Domaine Migot, about 13 generations), and the locals can claim fame with the region’s profound “Vin Gris,” or Rosé. Migot’s version is almost incomprehensible in its combination of texture and power, lightness and zing; a waxy, deep and mouth-coating salmon-tinged rosé that, despite its depth, quivers with acidity. A wine that makes it feel like it’s still summer.
If you haven’t had a chance to hear Wellspent founder Jim Dixon rant about salt, well, we’ve got a treat for you. San Juan-based foodwriter Alicia Kennedy took a deep dive into our favorite flavor enhancer, and spoke with Jim about why we should all be using the good stuff. Check out Alicia’s newsletter here and Jim’s own article on the topic here.
Interested in learning more about our journey from anonymous warehouse to world wide web? Join Wellspent Market partner Noah Cable and Josh Redshaw, founder of Portland’s Matter Supply Co, in conversation with Shopify’s Justin Hong as they break down the journey from brick and mortar retail to ecommerce. Hosted by the Oregonian, Noah and Josh will discuss the benefits of expanding their business online, insights they gained along the way and how Shopify Partners made it a seamless experience. It all goes down on Thursday, September 23rd, and you can register for free here.
Our friends at Baird Family Orchards grow the best peaches in Oregon, but nothing good lasts forever. Peach season is almost over and you’ve got only one more week of juicy deliciousness, so order soon.