Cranberry & Rosemary White Christmas Sangria

Sangria is a crowd favorite and is very easy to make in large quantities. Most people think of it as a summer classic, but when paired with cranberry and rosemary, it’s the perfect cold season beverage! Ready to be a holiday hero?

Oregon Win | Rainstorm Pinot Gris

 

Photo via SheKnows

Start with a Great Foundation

Often sangria-lovers will opt for lesser quality wines: if they are making bulk sangria and covering the taste with fruit and sugar anyway, what does it matter, right? Wrong. The wine should be able to stand alone.

The simpler the recipe, the better. If we do not have to cover the taste of low quality wine with added sugar, our end result will be a little less calorie-dense (we all know we were going to have seconds, anyway). Your sangria will also taste cleaner and crisper. We recommend carefully selecting your wine for this recipe. Choose a fine Oregon wine as your sangria base. You (and your guests) will be thankful for the results.

Oregon’s mild temperatures create ideal growing regions, and many types of grapes are grown here. Oregon wine, in particular pinot noir and pinot gris, are by far some of the most popular in their class. Rainstorm pinot gris is a top choice for sangria, because its fruity tones and aroma pair perfectly with the apples and strawberries you will cut up for this cocktail.

Rainstorm pinot gris are bone dry and refreshing. They will not overpower nor be ignored.

For this Cranberry and Rosemary White Christmas Sangria, you will need

  • 1 bottle of Rainstorm pinot gris
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup fruit juice (we recommend grape)
  • 12 oz club soda
  • Fresh cranberries
  • Sprig of rosemary (wonderful for taste and presentation)

Combine and allow to sit and cool – and don’t forget to add some more rosemary for garnish. This drink is gorgeous, festive, and easy to make.

Fennel Garlic Pork Roast and Pinot Noir

You’ll definitely want to put this on the menu soon. The Mediterranean-inspired dish is delicious, versatile, and the bold flavors of fennel and garlic pair perfectly with a fine Oregon Pinot. Plan ahead, though, as it needs to brine overnight and then absorb the flavors of the rub for a couple of hours after brining.

Oregon Pinot | Rainstorm Wines

 

Brine Ingredients

¼ cup honey

2 tbsp black peppercorns

15 or so fresh bay leaves, or 5 dried

10 sprigs of fresh thyme

10 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley

2 heads garlic, halved horizontally

1 cup kosher salt

3 quarts cold water

4 lb. boneless pork loin

 

Rub ingredients

2 tbsp chopped fennel seeds

1 tsp crushed red pepper

6 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp lemon zest

Pinch of salt

¼ cup olive oil

2 tbsp canola oil

 

Steps

  1. Make the brine by combining the honey, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, garlic and salt with 1 quart of water in a small saucepan. Stir to dissolve the salt, and then bring the mixture to a boil. Pour into a bowl and let cool. Add the remaining 2 quarts of water, add the pork loin, and refrigerate for 12 to 18 hours.
  2. Pull out your food processor or go old school with a mortar and pestle. Combine fennel seeds, red pepper, garlic, lemon zest and salt. Form a paste. Add the olive oil, stirring to combine. Rub half of the paste onto the lean side of the pork and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil. When hot, add the pork, fat side down, searing for about 5 minutes or until browned. Transfer the pork to a baking pan with a rack, placing it fat side up. Slather on the remaining rub and roast for about 1 hour, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 140 to 145 degrees.  

Serve this tender and flavorful pork roast with some roasted or mashed potatoes, fresh green salad and crusty rolls. For a wine pairing, the earthy and complex flavor profile of a Rainstorm Pinot Noir is a perfect accompaniment.

Smallest Park in the World: Portland, OR

What do you think of when you hear the word “park”? Do you picture acres and acres of greenery? Maybe some benches and fountains, or playground equipment for the kids? Enjoying a picnic with some fine Oregon wine perhaps?

Smallest Park| Oregon Wine | Rainstorm

How about 452 square inches of land, complete with a tree and some ground cover? For reference, that’s roughly the size of a large manhole cover. And that’s exactly how big Portland’s Mill Ends Park — aka the smallest park in the world  — is.

Mill Ends came about almost by accident. The site, located across from legendary columnist Dick Fagan’s office, was originally intended to house a light pole.  As Fagan told it, he looked out the window one day and saw a leprechaun.

Ah, the luck of the Irish!

The newspaperman ran outside to catch the elusive sprite, and when he did, he was granted one wish. Fagan wished for a park of his own. But since he failed to specify the size, the leprechaun gifted him the 452 square inch hole in the ground. Fagan accepted this and planted the park’s first flowers. Two years later, on St. Patrick’s Day 1948, the site was dedicated as a park and became known as the “only Leprechaun colony west of Ireland.”

Today, the small park with the big reputation remains a local treasure among Portlanders. Mill Ends is located in the median of SW Naito Parkway, so it’s not exactly the most relaxing park to hang out in, but that hasn’t stopped visitors from popping by to take a picture or leave a memento. A swimming pool for butterflies has been added, complete with a diving board, and annual events, such as a St. Patrick’s Day celebration recognizing the park’s leprechaun colony, are popular draws.

If you’re ever in Portland, take the time to stop by Mill Ends. You can take a picture of this infamous Portland gem, or even have a mini picnic with a bottle of Rainstorm Pinot Gris. And maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of one of the resident leprechauns.

The Witch’s Castle in Forest Park, Oregon

Oregon is renowned – and beloved – for it’s wonderful weirdness. The Naked Bike Ride and The Peculiarium are some of the best known attractions, but there’s one place that makes the cut purely because of its spookiness. The Witch’s Castle in Forest Park, with its tragic yet intriguing history, has become one of our more mysterious draws. So fortify yourself with some Rainstorm Pinot Gris and prepare for a tale of terror. Maybe a little exaggeration – but get the wine anyway.

Oregon Wines | Rainstorm Pinot Gris

First, relax: there are no actual witches involved in this story. How the Castle ruins got its name is unclear, but it’s not due to any black magic being practiced in the area. The site of the Witch’s Castle was home to a man named Danford Balch, who built a cabin there in the mid-1800s to house his family of 12.

To help clear the area, Blach hired Mortimer Stump. Stump soon fell in love with one of Bach’s daughters, Anna, and requested her hand in marriage. Blach refused, and Stump and Anna decided to elope. When they returned, Blach was so angry, he shot and killed Stump on sight, a crime for which he was executed in 1859.

Over the years, the property changed hands several times before the Portland Parks and Recreation Department acquired it. They constructed a stone building to serve as a ranger station and restroom for hikers in the 1950s, but the property was curiously abandoned about 10 years later.

Since then, nature has worked hard to reclaim the structure. Today it looms ominously, greeting visitors with its moss-covered facade. The eerie atmosphere doesn’t seem to deter many, however, as the Witch’s Castle is still host to hikers and thrill-seekers.

If you’re not afraid of the bad juju that may be in the area, the hike to the castle is worth it. The site is one of Portland’s best-kept secrets and definitely should be on your list of spots to visit. Make a day of it with a picnic featuring the best Oregon Wines. Just make sure you don’t go on a Friday night, unless you want to hang out with local teens, whose palates are most certainly not as refined as yours.

Snow Covered Portland, Oregon- Drone Footage

Oregon Wines | Rainstorm Pinot Gris

Ever wonder what Portland might look like during a zombie apocalypse?  A recent snowstorm provided the perfect setting for this when a drone captured the city at a virtual standstill. A few daring drivers attempted to navigate the freeways, and for that they were rewarded with snow packed roadways all to themselves.

The footage got us pondering just how little it can take to shut down an entire city. 

A few inches of snow was enough to send everything to a screeching halt. To be fair, this type of weather doesn’t happen often in Portland, but when it does, well, you have be ready for it. And what’s the best way to prepare? With plenty of firewood, candles, some comfort food, and an assortment of fine Oregon wines.

 

Snow days really aren’t so bad, are they? In fact, we would argue that they’re kind of perfect. They’re like a pause button, and since you don’t have control over it, you have to simply stop and wait it out. These moments are a good time to reflect, to take a mental vacation, and to spend quality time with family or friends.

If you’re going to be stuck at home for a couple of days on account of bad weather, you might as well make the most of it. And really, being “stuck” at home can be just the cure for stress, weariness, and fatigue. So the next time the forecast calls for a snowstorm, make sure you’ve got all the essentials on your list: easy-to-prepare foods (read: chocolate), maybe a few board games or DVDs, and some Rainstorm pinot gris or other delectable Oregon wines.

And count your lucky stars that it’s just snow that’s making you homebound, and not brain-eating zombies!

Summer Adventuring with Rainstorm Pinot Gris

Everyone knows that summertime is the best time to go adventuring. The sun is out, the weather is warm, and the opportunities for outdoor (and indoor) fun are plentiful. Grab a glass of Rainstorm Pinot Gris or another fine Oregon wine, and start planning your own adventure! Need some ideas? We’ve got you covered!

Rainstorm Pinot Gris | Rainstorm Wines

  • Go hiking: Grab your pack, head to your closest national or state park, and hit the trail. Hiking is an excellent way to get in tune with nature, and you’re guaranteed to witness some amazing sights and scenic vistas. Stash a bottle of Oregon wine in your pack for a top-of-the-trail treat.
  • Take a stay-cation: Being a tourist in your own city is underrated. When you take a stay-cation, you get the chance to look at your home with a whole new perspective. Do some research online for the most ‘tourist-y’ things to do, and enjoy!
  • Jump out of an airplane: Send your adrenaline skyrocketing by booking a tandem skydiving session. If free falling isn’t your thing, a white water rafting trip or a visit to your nearest zip line park will get your heart pounding.
  • Hit up an outdoor music festival: Summer is THE time for partying at a music fest. If there’s not one in your town, no problem. Gather up a few friends and make a road trip out of it! Because road trips + music festivals = unforgettable summer adventure.
  • Venture to wine country: No, we’re not talking about Napa Valley! Oregon boasts its own premier wineries, and the scenery in our fine state is second to none. A delightfully crisp Rainstorm Pinot Gris will have you convinced of this in no time.

When it comes to adventures, there’s no time like the present.  We may be halfway through July, but that’s okay – there’s still plenty of time for you to plan an adventure or two before autumn comes!