What to pair this week? Maybe an Illahe Viognier. The sun was out this morning. We spent a bit of time in the backyard, planning our upcoming #travelinabottle trips, and letting Loki enjoy the great outdoors for a bit. I may have even taken on a bit of a pink tinge. It was the perfect day to have the windows open and feel the breeze, a rare thing in Las Vegas.
Today’s bit of travel in a bottle
Today, we were traveling to Oregon, to a spot in the Willamette Valley west of Salem in what is on it’s way to being the Mt. Pisgah/Polk County AVA.
ILLAHE, pronounced Ill-Uh-Hee, is a local Chinook word meaning “earth” or “place” or “soil”
We visited Illahe Vineyards a bit ago and spent a morning with Owner Lowell Ford, tasting through the wines, touring the winery and cave and taking in the view in front of the tasting room.
This glorious spring day was perfect for a spring pasta! We made a Pappardelle from Sun Basket that was perfect for the day and the wine!
Spring vegetables and pasta
Fresh pasta, shallots, lemon juice and zest, parsley, spinach and peas, get topped with crushed hazelnuts and ricotta salata. The dish is beautiful, as you can see. It also tastes as good as it looks. Bright and fresh without being overly acidic.
Illahe 2017 Viognier
The same can be said for the wine. The nose has stone fruit, as it says above, but I also get Meyer lemon and lemon zest which of course made it perfect with this dish. This wine was Re-Fresh-Ing! It is nuanced with the citrus notes, a bit of chalk, stone fruit pit (like a crisp white peach). There were pits of beeswax in the background. For a 2017 it was remarkably crisp and fresh and rounded beautifully.
With the food, it was bright with the green notes, had great acid for the pasta, was perfectly matched with the lemon and lemon zest, and picked up the notes from the hazelnuts.
While they no longer have this vintage, you can find their 2019 in their online store at a most reasonable $19.00 per bottle. This is perfect for lunch with the alcohol sitting at just 12.5%.
5 more Articles on Illahe
You can read more about Illahe in the pieces below (you’ll also find great video of our visit)
- Illahe Vineyards
- Illahe into the Cellar
- Illahe Vineyards – into the Winery
- Illahe Vineyards – deep roots…
- Illahe Vineyards – stepping back in time…
***On a side note…as I was writing this my best friend called me from Yorktown Virginia. I had visited a few months ago and we were in a wine shop in Williamsburg. Looking for a bottle I saw and Illahe Pinot Noir on the shelf and pointed it out to her. She picked it up, planning for us to enjoy it together, which we ran out of time for. She opened it, as I was writing this and called me immediately to tell me how good it was. Another Illahe convert!
Visit us again for more on wine, wineries, amazing people as well as some food and wine pairings!
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.
I wish more wineries made Viognier, it can be one of my favourite white wines. One of our local stores carries Illahae’s Pinot Noir but unfortunately not their Viognier. How are their Pinots?
Their Pinots are delicious. My favorite is the Percheron (named for the draft horses). If you can get the 1899, it’s pretty special. This wine is made without modern conveniences. Hand picked, taken to the winery by hand or by Percheron (depending on weather). Pump overs are done by bicycle pump, no electricity is used. To get it to market, it goes by horse drawn carriage to the river and is canoed to Portland, where they bicycle it to the shop! I have a bottle of that in the cellar. My dearest friend picked up a bottle while I was visiting her in Virginia and she opened it last week and called me immediately because it was so good.