At our July 5 party, one couple brought a wine from a winery naught but a kilometer from their house in Oregon City, Kings Raven. I opened it to allow it to breathe while we drank the other local wines I had selected: Anne Amie Pinot Noir, Rex Hill Pinot Noir, Four Graces Pinot Blanc, and August Cellars Pinot Noir. But my husband sampled it soon after it was uncorked and pronounced that the Kings Raven tasted of “smoky pickles.” I let it breathe another half hour before tasting it. Yes, the vegetable tones were there. It definitely didn’t have the cherry tones of a Dundee Hills pinot noir. Apparently, Kings Raven has an organic Marechal Foch wine. We didn’t think the pinot noir was bad, just interesting. It seemed more like the earthy, vegetal California pinots I’ve tried. I far prefer the Dundee Hills pinots. Luckily – they are local!
Update: The Kings Raven folks have asked that I give them another try, as they think something must have been wrong with the bottle we had. So, in November 2009 I bought another bottle of the 2006 Kings Raven Pinot Noir. The smoky pickles flavor was gone. Instead, it’s a very nice pinot noir with a pleasant flavor. Of interest is that we went wine tasting in Dundee the same weekend and found another winery who poured us a pour of pinot that tasted like dill pickles.
I spent at least a half hour washing the beet greens. I saved the beet roots for roasting the next day, as I didn’t want the house to smell of beets for the party. I made my acclaimed spaetzle, boiled in the chicken broth I made from my pasture-fed chicken carcass. The party was a success, and Cathy gave me tips on deadheading my rhododendrons.