Category Archives: WIne

Stack Wines

I first learned of Stack Wines a few months ago and was fascinated by the concept.  Stackable wines that you can take on the go?  No corkscrew necessary?  It almost sounded too good to be true.  Lucky for me, the folks behind Stack Wines were kind enough to send me a couple of their wines so I could try Stack out for myself!

Stack Wines comes in four different varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Charisma, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio.  The wine comes in 4 plastic cups that are “stacked” together.  All you have to do is twist the cups apart, pull of the lid and enjoy!  The concept is so simple.

stack wines towerI happened to have some family coming over to watch the Breaking Bad finale on Sunday, so I decided to break out the Stack Wine so everyone could have their own cup to help comfort them as the series drew to a close.  I know I relied heavily on my cup of Pinot Grigio to get me through the finale.

stack wines close upThe verdict?  Not only is the concept awesome, the wines are also good!  If you are expecting an award-winning Napa Valley Cab this isn’t it, but these wines are miles better than your typical two buck chuck.  Plus, you can class it up a bit by drinking Stack Wines out of cups that look like glasses instead of a typical red solo cup.

stack wines cupsI can definitely see myself getting Stack Wines again in the future – it’s the perfect way to travel with wine and you can’t beat the conveinence factor.

Thanks for the opportunity Stack Wines!

Visiting Carlton

Our trip to the pacific northwest didn’t just involve Portland and all of it’s delicious food, it also included visiting Carlton, in the heart of the Willamette Valley aka Wine Country.

carlton wine countryThe Englishman and I are big wine country fans.  We got engaged in Temecula, love to frequent Napa, and are evening getting married at a winery in Santa Ynez.  We were both looking forward to getting out of the city and seeing what Oregon wine country had to offer.

Carlton is about 45 minutes southwest from downtown Portland, and is quite possibly the smallest town I have ever been in, as evidenced by the photo below.

carlton main streetThe actual main street of Carlton was less than half a mile long, a fun fact I learned from my garmin when the Englishman and I were out for a run.  And given that we were there during the week, many of the shops and restaurants were closed, which is definitely a novel concept for this Orange County girl.

While Carlton was quite small, it definitely had a lot of charm.  The people were lovely and incredibly friendly, and always eager to strike up a conversation.  Carlton may not have the hustle and haute cuisine of Portland, but it was the perfect wine country escape.  Here are some places you must check out if you ever find yourself visiting Carlton:

Carlton Bakery

carlton bakeryThis bakery was one of our favorite spots in Carlton.  There were fresh baked breads and pastries every morning, as well as other specialties such as quiche, sandwiches and other desserts.

carlton bakery pastriesEverything is made in house and the homemade Earl Grey shortbread were to die for.  I meant to save them for the plane ride home, but ended up eating them on the drive back from Portland.  We also loved their croissants, savory tarts and 10-grain seeded bread.

carlton bread 1Republic of Jam

I unfortunately do not have any pictures from the Republic of Jam, but this is seriously the best jam I have ever tasted.  They offer free jam tastings and have unique flavors such as Apple Beer, Pacific Berry, and Pineapple Vanilla Clove.  All of the jams are made with all natural ingredients and sugars, so a double win for that.  We brought home a few jars of the jam and can’t get enough.

Valley Emporium

valley emporiumAfter a long day of wine tasting and a 2 mile walk alongside the road in the 90 degree heat (long story), we needed a place to sit and relax and enjoy some wine.  Luckily, Valley Emporium was more than willing to accommodate and Val poured us some of the best wine we had on the trip.

carlton valley emporiumIn addition to offering delicious wine, Valley Emporium is also an a vintage store that has all sorts of interesting collectables.  In addition to the case of wine we ordered from Valley Emporium, I also got a Moose Cafe mug, which I am currently obsessed with.

valley emporium bigfootOh, and Valley Emporium also has a poster of a big foot drinking wine.  So that’s pretty cool.

 R.R. Thompson House

rr thompson houseThe Englishman and I stayed at R.R. Thompson House and Roselyn and Mike were lovely hosts.  The bed and breakfast is located just off the main drag, and has a bunch of nice rooms with private bathrooms.  It was nice to be staying in a B&B instead of a corporate hotel.

If you ever find yourself passing through Carlton, be sure to check these places out.  And if you are on a wine tasting adventure, you’ll definitely want to make a stop at these places:

Omero Cellars

Troon Vineyard

Carlton Winemakers Studio

So I’ve been to Napa, Temecula, Santa Ynez and the Willamette Valley.  Where should I go next for wine tasting?

Keeping it Simple in 2013

Happy New Year!  I know it sounds cliche to say, but 2012 really did zip by in the blink of an eye.  I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings.

For New Year’s Eve this year the Englishman and I decided to forgo the parties and keep it simple.  Just the two of us (and Pip of course), some take out, movies, and champagne.  It was a nice low key evening and since neither of us were feeling hungover this morning we were able to go out for a nice run to kick off 2013.

During our run, I was thinking how I need to simplify my life in 2013.  I tend to want to do things the “hard way” when really they don’t need to be hard at all.  So that’s one of my goals for 2013 (among other things of course).

Sometimes the simple things are really the best things.  The other day, the Englishman and I went to a wine bar and just each had a glass of white wine, a warm baguette with goat butter and that was it.  No frills. No fuss.

WineLabPhotoAnd goat butter on a baguette is pretty darn amazing if you ask me.

So here’s to keeping it simple in 2013!

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

For awhile now, I’ve been on the hunt to find a local watering hole “Where everybody knows your name.”  I love the idea of just having a cozy pub to go down to for a drink that isn’t pretentious, has a good vibe and a nice crowd.

I’ve sampled a few places over the past few months, but none of them felt like “my pub.”  Then I went to Wild Goose Tavern.  Wild Goose is a new pub in the area, and after reading numerous reviews on Yelp, the Englishman and I felt it was high time we check it out.  And apparently my excitement also equals blurry photography.

We decided to go in the late afternoon on the weekend, and when we arrived the place was already full with people playing pool and watching football on tv.  We grabbed a couple of glasses of wine and found a seat not too long after while admiring the woodsy decor (this place definitely has a man cave vibe).

Wild Goose specializes in signature cocktails (especially of the whiskey variety), but also has a variety of beers on tap and a few wine selections.  The tavern also serves more “gourmet” food such as a Kobe beef or wild boar sausage, sweet potato tots, and a caprese burger.  I saw a couple people enjoying the caprese burger and it made my mouth water.

I have to say that I was quite impressed with the Goose on my first visit.  It just had a nice, neighborhood feel to it, and I can definitely seeing this being my “Cheers” bar.  Of course, I have to stop by a few more times to see if it will become the bar where everybody knows my name,  but as of right now, Wild Goose Tavern has taken the lead.