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Lent's almost over - crack open the wine

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: ANDREA JOHNSON - Kramer Vineyard is hosting Bubbles and Bunnies, a spin on the traditional Easter egg hunt, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at both tasting rooms.

Christians around the world have just a few more days of fasting, penance and prayer before Lent ends and the joyous celebration of Easter occurs. This is Holy Week: Today is Maundy Thursday, the day of Christ’s Last Supper with his disciples; Friday is Good Friday, the day He was crucified and died on the cross. Then three days later, we celebrate Easter, the day Christ was raised from the dead as the Son of God.

Christians, myself included, are spiritually resurrected with Jesus so that we may walk in a new way of life — definitely this is cause for celebration. Bring out the flowers, dye the Easter eggs and lay out the Easter brunch or dinner. And don’t forget the wine because we’ve got some extremely tasty options this Easter.

Kramer Vineyards: I have a soft spot in my heart for Kramer Vineyard’s wines, especially their sparkling portfolio, which winemaker Kim Kramer has been making since 2009. She says she makes sparkling wines because she enjoys the challenge.

‘”The margins for error are razor thin — from the date of harvest through the primary fermentation. Because sparkling wines are fermented twice, there’s a level of unpredictability, as bubbles can emphasize characteristics that may go unnoticed otherwise. The base wine has to be perfect before the bubbles are created. Making sparkling wine has made me a better winemaker overall.”

The sparkling portfolio was expanded this spring. Added to the offerings are a 2012 zero-dosage Brut made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and a 2013 Celebrate Rose of Pinot Noir. The original offerings in the portfolio include traditional method Champenoise 2012 Brut, a dry wine made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay; 2013 Celebrate Muller-Thurgau and 2013 Celebrate Pinot Gris.

Kramer now offers a sparkling only wine club and a series of sparkling events, the first of which is this Saturday. Plan on attending Bubbles and Bunnies, a vinous spin on the traditional Easter egg hunt. Visitors to both the Gaston and Carlton tasting rooms will receive an Easter egg with a special prize inside. Your egg might contain a discount on wine purchases, complementary tastings or free admission to summer events or another fun surprise.

Other events planned for later this year include winemaker dinners and exclusive sparkling club events.

Bubbles and Bunnies goes from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 19 at both tasting rooms; 26830 NW Olson Road, Gaston, 97119 and 258 Kutch St., Carlton, 97111.

You can meet the whole family, founders Keith and Trudy Kramer and winemaker Kim, at Bubbles and Bunnies. Learn more at kramervineyards.com.

Elizabeth Chambers Cellar: Located in McMinnville, this boutique Oregon winery specializes in Willamette Valley pinot noir and has just released its first wines on a national basis. Owner Liz Chambers is a third-generation Oregonian; her family has been making wine since 1991.

Chambers said her passion for pinot noir marries well with winemaker Michael Stevenson’s expertise. This was really tasty, and for those of you who select wine based on a pretty label, this fits the bill. There is a blue butterfly on each label, a tribute to Liz’s mother, who collected them, and who encouraged Liz to pursue her passion of creating exceptional pinot noir.

Elizabeth Chambers Cellar is located at 455 NE Irvine St., McMinnville 97128. The tasting room will be open noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and daily thereafter. The website is elizabethchamberscellar.com.

Ayres Vineyard and Winery: Founded in 2000, Ayres states “our health, the earth’s health and the health of the plant are our top priorities.” Winemaker Brad McLeroy honed his winemaking skills at Domaine Drouhin Oregon. “My wines will always have a soul,” he said. “Open a bottle and it shows. We believe our wine gives voice to the soil. We believe that our wine guides us as much as we guide our wine.”

I haven’t tasted Ayres’ pinot noir but the pinot blanc was wonderful. Owner Don Ayres says they are a small operation and asks that you make an appointment for tasting online at ayresvineyard.com.

Grapes for Bombing Range Red are grown where during WWII fighter pilot training took place. The label is a tribute to that colorful history.

McKinley Springs Winery: Located in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills AVA, this small, family-owned business has a reputation for producing award-winning wines. During World War II, the family’s 2,000 acres were used as a training ground for fighter pilots. Try their 2010 Bombing Range Red, another wine with a fun label. The U.S. P-40 Hawk fighter plane depicted on the label is a tribute to U.S. troops and the colorful history of the vineyard. Learn more online at mckinleysprings.com.

Division Winemaking Company: “Pair with good times, good food and good people” is the philosophy of Division Winemaking Company, founded in 2010 by Kate and Thomas Monroe. Inspired by the dinner table wines found throughout France, Division has launched a line of affordable, everyday wines that uphold DWC’s dedication to high quality artisanal wines. The new wines include Beton, Oregon Red Wine; Les Petits Fers, Oregon Gamay Noir; L’Isle Verte, Chenin Blanc, Yakima Valley; Methode Carbonique Pinot Noir. These wines are available at SE Wine Collective, 2425 SE 35th Place in Portland and at many New Seasons stores throughout the metro area. Visit divisionwinemakingcompany.com for more information.

Archery Summit: In honor of winemaker Chris Mazepink’s birthday, Archery Summit is having a case sale of its 2012 Premier Cuvee Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Stock your cellar and raise a glass to the hard work and dedication Chris and his team have put into creating this wine. Visit Archery Summit at 18599 NE Archery Summit Road, Dayton.

Is it sacrilege to write of Easter and wine in the same column? I’d say not. The sin would be in not sharing with your friends and family. Whether your Easter celebration includes church services or not, take the opportunity to share a great meal with friends and loved ones, and include a little wine.

This recipe for Goat Cheese Quiche would be a nice brunch entrée, served with fruit salad and a glass of sparkling wine.

Bon appetite! Make eating an adventure!

Goat Cheese Quiche

with Hash Brown Crust

Serves 6

2 tablespoons butter, softened, plus more for pan

1 package (1 pound) frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed

12 large eggs

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 1/2 cups reduced fat sour cream

1 package (4 to 5 ounces) soft goat cheese, room temperature

4 scallions, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 9x12 inch spring form pan with butter. Line the sides of the pan with strips of waxed paper (the same height as pan); brush paper with butter.

Squeeze excess moisture from hash browns. Mix in a bowl with butter, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pat into bottom and up sides of prepared pan, using a moistened dry measuring cup. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until set, 15 to 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk sour cream, goat cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoons pepper until well combined; whisk in 11 remaining eggs. Pour into crust and sprinkle with scallions. Bake until set, 45 to 50 minutes. Unmold quiche and peel off waxed paper before serving.

To tell when it is done, gently tap or shake the pan. If the filling jiggles slightly in the middle but not on the sides, the quiche is set.

From Martha Stewart Everyday Food, Dec. 2005

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281, ext. 100 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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