The Black Walnut Inn and Vineyard in Dundee, Oregon, was the setting for an unforgettable brunch made even more memorable by the presence of fantastic Oregon sparkling wine. Not only were the dishes superlatively prepared with quality and care by Chef Kris (owner and executive chef of Renaissance Catering) but the matches with the sparkling wines were sensational.
My three favorite bubbles from brunch:
It was also great to have guests from each winery in attendance: Courtney Harris from Soter Vineyards, Buzz Kawders from Domaine Meriwether, and Rollin Soles (pictured) from Argyle Winery. Each spoke to the additional challenges of making sparkling wine; it is definitely a labor of love. Though these difficulties do have their rewards, and beyond the substantial ones that were in each bottle of Oregon sparkling wine on the table. As Rollin emphatically stated, “I am a better winemaker today because I made bubbles.” And Buzz spoke of how more people are embracing sparkling wines. He told an amusing anecdote about how when he would ride with salespeople to visit steakhouses, they would tell him to stay in the car because steakhouses only bought red wine. Now he finds that even the most ardent beef-eaters appreciate that “…bubbles cleanse a palate covered with fat.”
Speaking of the intrinsic properties of sparkling wines, the 2001 Argyle Extended Tirage was able to cut through the richness of the white-truffle infused custard at the top of this post. Bubbles are also a fantastic accompaniment to shellfish, like the Dungeness crab atop the custard. And you don’t need to go to Champagne to enjoy the classic match with caviar; the pop of local sturgeon eggs along with the fine bubbles of the Argyle helped make this dish.
Another pairing worth mentioning was the Soter Brut Rosé alongside braised bacon with blood orange-infused hollandaise on toasted brioche. The touch of blood orange really complimented the rosé.
The company, the setting, the food and, of course, the sparkling wines all made for a memorable (late) morning. Brunch will never be the same again.