Take the Fall Wine Trail in the Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge is stunning at any time of year, and it hold some surprises for wine lovers this autumn. The fall Gorge Wine Adventure suggested by the Columbia Gorge Winegrowers highlights some newer, stunning tasting rooms and some of the oldest vines in the Hood River area.

Viento Wines - Rich Cushman
Viento Wines – Rich Cushman

You only have to take a slight detour off of I-84 to visit the Viento Wines tasting room just west of Hood River.

Bee Thinking Opens Mead Market Tasting Room

Portland’s first mead-only tasting room and bottle shop, Mead Market opens October 1, 2016 at 1744 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, Oregon. It’s brought to you by Matt Reed and Jill McKenna of Bee Thinking, Portland’s leading independent beekeeping company.

Mead Market
Mead Market

Mead is an ancient alcoholic beverage brewed from honey. It has a surging popularity with production doubling between 2012 and 2014. There are about 400 meaderies in the US now, compared with under 75 just five years ago. One undoubtedly popular aspect of mead is that many varieties are gluten and grain free, although some varieties such a braggot include grains.

You can taste and buy mead at Mead Market. A tasting counter will feature a variety of meads of different styles, many of them from the local area. You can taste the meads on tap and fill growlers to take home.

Over 100 different mead labels will be available by the bottle in the shop to take home. Local meaderies include Fringe Meadery, Stung Fermented, Ethereal Meads, Nectar Creek and Hierophant.

Mead Market
Mead Market

If you’d like to join the mead movement, you can buy a mead-making kit and join in classes to learn how to ferment mead and how to taste and pair mead with cheese.

The different varieties of mead yield very different pairings.

Urdaneta Serves Basque/Spanish Tapas on Alberta

Javier Canteras brings his Basque regional Spanish cuisine to Portland at Urdaneta, 3033 NE Alberta. The cozy space was previously home to Natural Selection and opened in July, 2016. Here, you can enjoy tapas that feature the rustic comforts of the Basque region as well as the sophistication of Madrid tapas bars.

Long Walk Home
Long Walk Home

Drinks play a large role in tapas culture, and I tried The Long Walk Home- Bourbon, Basque Sidra, Amaro, citrus. As a walker, I found it both refreshing and intricate, quite satisfying to savor. They have a variety of Spanish wines by the glass, cider, sherry, and cocktails.

You can select tapas by size, with the Pintxos del Bar being the smallest and best enjoyed by one person.