s5003097.jpgWalking Portland on a hot Indian summer day is a big deal, and I enjoyed it to the fullest taking in the sights and sounds of this cool and thriving city. Of course there was a stop at Powell’s Books, though it really does require maybe more than a single afternoon to browse! I think a month! Then just wandering around the Pearl District before lunching at Clyde Common, a chic restaurant and whiskey bar that serves up fresh and interesting dishes all of which were awesome. This was also my start to Oregon Pinot mission, with a glass of the brand new 2007 Broadley Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley. A very nice easy wine that went great with the flavors of my dishes, with soft juicy cherry and raspberry fruit and round full mouth feel. So, I was off to a good start and went heading for more. A long walk up Burnside in the warm, well it might be better if I said hot, sunshine ended at Zupan’s Market, a great place to take in all the goodness of the produce and wines from the local area. Alaya Wyndham-Price, wine writer and now on screen wine expert, led of through the selections and gave of a turn of her cellar. She puts on food and wine events for Zupan’s and the cellar looks to be a fine venue indeed with lots of fantastic wines all around. So if you get up this way be sure to check it out, you’ll be very happy you did.
With all the great bistros and brewpubs, Portland has one of the best food and drink scenes I’ve ever come across, lucky me I didn’t have to decide on a place for dinner, that was planned by friends and it turned out wonderfully. We ate and drank and laughed in total bliss and were treated like royalty the entire time, all this heaven was at Clarklewis Restaurant. To say the food was great is just not enough, and to tell you the service was fantastic would still not cover it, as this place just has it all and is relaxed and casual to boot. The open space and see everything floor plan adds to the whole experience, especially when you see the raw and beautiful ingredients being prepared by engaging, joyful staff. Then there is the wine list, where you can find a fine array of interesting selections by the glass and bottle, from around the world and up and down the Willamette Valley. Oh, by the way, the wine pricing up here is more than fair and we took advantage of that and drank in some super wines. The highlights were the 2005 St. Innocent Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, which was full of dark fruits, pleasing earth, lavender and subtle oak notes all of which matched up with the cuisine perfectly. Then there was the 2006 Wahle Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, that was floral, bright fruited and plump, round with a creamy sweet finish that was a good distraction between courses, and I thought it was a very fine wine.
After the chef’s meal, served family style, all a blur now of frenzied feeding and grunts of joy, I mean how else can I explain the overwhelming pleasure of the meal given to us, we took to their bar for the medicinal effects of exotic liqueurs and the sublime Stumptown coffee, roasted in Portland. These worked well to settle the stomach, maybe too well, as we then decided on another bottle of Pinot to finish the night! The wine was the juicy and fruit filled 2006 Patton Vineyards Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, which started out a little much, but opened into a very nice wine indeed, with black and red fruits delivered in layers of texture, sweet oak and it finished smoothly. This was a day and meal to remember and this was just my first day in Oregon.

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