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Friends share good leads, great wine

As is the case with all journalists, I have a circle of folks I have come to rely on to provide unique fodder for stories.

Two people who have consistently given me great leads are Janell Lubanski and Erin Stutesman of Trellis Growth Partners LLC. Founded by Dixie Huey, this media relations firm serves family owned and operated wineries, cider makers and food artisans. They consider their clients family, and that same appreciation is extended to the journalists they serve.

Trellis recently gathered clients and members of the media for lunch at Portland-based Peruvian restaurant Andina to share what’s new in the vineyards. At least one of the winemakers was missing — the harvest is early this year, and when the grapes are ready, you gotta harvest.

Word around the table was that the combination of a warmer than average spring, mild weather during bloom followed by a healthy fruit set and warm summer days just might produce the largest crop in history.

I’ll share some of the conversation from the lunch, particularly what wines you ought to be drinking now.

Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Sample Oregon Olive Mills Frantoio Extra Virgin Olive Oil at Red Ridge Farm in Dayton, Ore.

To start, get to Red Ridge Farm for a tasting of Oregon Olive Mill’s Frantoio extra virgin olive oil. Libby Clow, the olive oil program ambassador had us sample this oil in blue glasses, so that we wouldn’t be influenced by the oil’s color when discerning the flavor.

You can sample the oils anytime at Red Ridge Farm, but you might want to wait for the fifth annual Olio Nuovo Festa to be held Nov. 22 through 24. At this free event you can be among the first to sample this season’s freshly-milled olive oils right at the source. The festival is set up as a traditional Italian market with tastings artisan foods and the latest Durant Vineyard’s Pinot Noir.

Paul Durant poured a sample of 2012 Durant Vineyards Olivia Grace Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills — put it on your list of wines to try.

Visit redridgefarms.com for tasting room hours and more information.

Kim Kramer of Kramer Vineyards is continuing her focus on sparkling wine production — much to my delight. She shared her 2011 Kramer Vineyards Brut, Yamhill-Carlton with us at the lunch. Visit kramervineyards.com to learn about events and tasting hours.

Barb Randall recommends Stoller Family Estates 2012 Reserve Chardonnay, Dundee Hills.

Melissa Burr, winemaker at Stoller Family Estate, was heavily involved with harvest and unable to attend. Try the 2012 Stoller Family Estate Reserve Chardonnay, Dundee Hills.

Of special note is the fact that in 2006, Stoller became the first winery in North American to receive LEED® Gold Certification and since then has been certified by Low Impact Viticulture and Enology (LIVE), as well as by Salmon Safe. Learn more about tasting hours and events at stollerfamilyestate.com.

A big announcement was the release of 2012 Knudsen Vineyards Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills. Cal Knudsen is a name many fondly remember from early Willamette Valley winemaking days. This vintage marks a return to winemaking by Page Knudsen Cowles and her brothers, inspired by their father, Cal. Nate Klostermann of Argyle Winery is the winemaker. Visit knudsenvineyards.com for details.

Donna Morris of Winderlea shared her 2010 Winderlea Salud Cuvee Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills. This special wine will be one of many auctioned at the November Oregon Pinot Noir Auction to raise money for Salud, which supplies healthcare services for vineyard workers and their families. The program is a collaboration between Tuality Healthcare and 40 top Willamette Valley wine producers.

Donna reported that services are provided now via a mobile clinic, which has increase the number of people served from 500 to more than 5,000 workers. The program has become a model for the nation and provides preventive care, which in turn has reduced incidents of diabetes and high cholesterol; immunizations and pediatric care, dental and eye care.

This auction truly deserves our support. Donna said 40 plus winemakers have agreed to donate a case of wine from their best barrel, from the best block and the best blend for the auction. Talk about incentive! Get tickets and more details at

Learn more about the auction at saludauction.org and about Winderlea Vineyard and Winery at winderlea.com.

Another wine Randall recommends trying is Mercer Estates Eagle & Plow Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills 2012.

We learned more about Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills Winegrowers Association. With 11,000 vineyard acres, Horse Heaven Hills comprises 25 percent of Washington State’s wine grape plantings. It is home to 28 vineyards and six wineries.

Try 2011 McKinley Springs Syrah, Horse Heaven Hills (mckinleysprings.com) and 2011 Mercer Estate Reserve Cavalie, Columbia Valley (mercerwine.com). The Mercer family has farmed the property since 1886. They have more than 2,000 acres in vineyards and have a strong commitment to sustainability and philanthropy.

Andina provided an inventively delicious lunch. One of the entrees offered was Lomo Saltado, a dish made of beef tenders wok-fried with onions, tomatoes, oyster sauce, garlic and ají amarillo, served with Yukon Gold papas fritas and garlic rice. This recipe is similar. Try it with a nice Oregon pinot noir.

A lunch time spent sharing good wine and good food with good friends — life doesn’t get any better.

Bon Appetit! Make eating an adventure!

Lomo Saltado

Peruvian Beef Saltado

Serves 4

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 to 1 1/2 pounds flank steak, sliced into 1 1/2-inch-wide strips

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large red onion quartered and thinly sliced

1 large tomato, coarsely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely minced

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Heat the oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the steak, season with salt and pepper and stir-fry until the meat is browned on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Using tongs, transfer the steak to a plate and set aside. To the drippings in the pan, add the onion, tomato and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir it until the onions are soft and the tomatoes start to break down, about 2 to 4 minutes.

Return the beef to the pan, add the soy sauce and red wine vinegar. Cook for 1 minute, season with salt and pepper, to taste and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Television Food Network, 2014

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or by email at brandall@lakeoswegoreview.com. Follow her on Twitter @barbrandallfood.

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