On the 6th day there was Joyful Noise

Joyful Noise 2015 Pinot Noir with Tuna

On the 6th day of Wine we opened our bottle of  Joyful Noise Pinot Noir made by Deven Morganstern. 

2015 Joyful Noise Pinot Noir

We met Deven and Callie  of Joyful Noise at the Uncommon Wine Festival this summer and spoke with them about the 2015 Pinot Noir.  The grapes for this wine come from Lazy River Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA of the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

Joyful Noise 2015 Pinot Noir
Joyful Noise 2015 Pinot Noir

Deven’s pairing suggestions

I reached out to Deven to ask about a pairing for the holiday season and he was kind enough to respond with a pairing that makes things simple so that you can relax and enjoy the time at the holiday with family and friends.

Here is what I thought of when planning out our Christmas Dinner menu….my favorite part is all the excitement and build up to dinner which starts a few days before Christmas so we can best enjoy the crazy!

Deven Morganstern, Executive Noise Maker and Grape Wrangeler at Joyful Noise
Joyful noise quote
The back of the bottle of Joyful Noise says it all

In our house, Christmas Dinner is really an all day affair. Everyone wakes up, we make coffee, have pastries from the shop down the street and do the present thing. That all gets us to about lunch time when friends and other family start to stop by. Either just for a minute or coming early for Dinner you’ve got to have some snacks ready in advance or you will never get out of the kitchen. So, a couple days ahead I’ll bake loaves of Ken Forkish’s Saturday White Bread recipe from Flour Water Salt Yeast, pick up a ton of charcuterie from Chop and Olympia Provisions here in Portland, some pickled and fresh veggies, and then make this tuna spread (see below) with Jacobson canned tuna in oil. All can be whipped up days ahead of time, other than grilling some of that bread, and you can keep those hungry folks at bay while wrapping up the main show in the kitchen. Perfect thing about the 2015 Lazy River Vineyard Joyful Noise Pinot Noir is it can roll with all these snacks and transition straight into dinner time with roasted Duck, Prime Rib, or at our house this year, Smoked Ham. With enough color and structure that your Cabernet drinking Uncle will be cool with it and all the acid and fruit anyone that loves Oregon Pinot Noir will be filling their glass a second time, you can pop open a couple bottles and let the day fill with the noise of friends and family. 

Deven Morganstern, Executive Noise Maker and Grape Wrangeler at Joyful Noise
A Joyfull Noise, Deven & Callie
A Joyfull Noise, Deven & Callie

I didn’t have time to order tuna from Jacobson. But I will be sure to pick some up when I am back on the Oregon Coast.  (We will be heading to a wedding just up the road from there next year).  While I am familiar with Jacobson salts (and have been happily gifted a few), the tuna is new to me and I can’t wait!

I headed to the market and picked up a higher quality tuna than I typically do for sandwiches for this recipe.

The Tuna Mousse recipe

Joyful Noise 2015 Pinot Noir with Tuna
Joyful Noise 2015 Pinot Noir with Tuna mousse

It’s an actual recipe, from Patricia Wells’ Trattoria.
Lemon and Oregano Tuna Mousse
One 6 1/2 ounce can best quality tuna packed in olive oil. Do not drain (the Jacobson tuna was 7 1/2 ounces, but no big deal)
4 T unsalted butter, at room temp
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T olive oil
1/2 t dried oregano
1 plump fresh garlic clove, finely chopped
Put it all in a food processor and process till smooth and creamy. Taste for seasoning. I usually add salt and pepper.
It’s best served at room temp and will keep for about 3 days. 

We also put together a cheese plate to graze on. filled with a wide variety of cheeses, charcuterie etc. 

Joyful Noise 2015 Pinot Noir with Cheese Plate
Joyful Noise 2015 Pinot Noir with Cheese Plate

The Pairings

I will pull this quote again from Deven

“With enough color and structure that your Cabernet drinking Uncle will be cool with it and all the acid and fruit anyone that loves Oregon Pinot Noir will be filling their glass a second time, you can pop open a couple bottles and let the day fill with the noise of friends and family. “ 

Nothing could be more true.  I think of this as a relatively “big” Pinot.  Full of flavor.  It went beautifully with everything!  Not a single bad pairing.  I was a little skeptical of the tuna spread pairing.  I read the recipe, thought it sounded tasty and was charmed by Deven’s story.  But quite honestly I did not think this would be a spectacular pairing.  Boy was I wrong.  The acid in the wine was brilliant pairing with the lemon in the spread and then contrasting with the fat and and richness.  This was an enlightening pairing for me.

Want some?

Do you want a bottle?  They have a page on their site to tell you “How it Works” They are small, and this was the only wine they made annually, until this year when they added a Pet Nat to their line up (I can’t wait to try that!)

And go check out our interview that we did with them at Deven Morganstern is making a Joyful Noise

Want more?  Click through to all of our 12 Days of Wine posts!

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Day 5 Müller Thurgau from Montinore Estate and crab and celery root crostini

Montinore 2014 Muller Thurgau

It’s the fifth day of wine here at CGC this holiday season, and today we are enjoying a wine from the Northwest Willamette Valley, in the proposed Tualatin Hills AVA from Montinore Estate.

We have been doing a bit of posting lately about our trip to Montinore Estate and our visit with Rudy Marchesi.  You can learn a bit about the estate with our posts

Montinore Estate a Recent History

Montinore Estate the Deeper History

Montinore Estate – About the Wines

At the end of our visit, we picked a few bottles to have shipped to us, including their 2015 Müller Thurgau.  I mean how often is it that you come across a Müller Thurgau?

Montinore Estate 2014 Müller Thurgau

Montinore Estate Muller Thurgan 2014
Montinore Estate Müller Thurgan 2014

As we planned our 12 days of Wine, this was one of the bottles I pulled out to taste.  I sent a quick email to Kristin Montinore the President of Montinore Estate and she was kind enough to reply with a favorite pairing for this wine.

I love serving the Muller Thurgau with appetizers. One of my favorite pairings is a Dungeness Crab and celery root salad. Its both bright and creamy and can be served on it’s own or with a crostini.

Kristin Marchesi, President Montinore Estate

The recipe!

She was kind enough to share this recipe with me, and I pay it forward (it’s really delicious) by sharing it with you!

Celery Root and Dungeness crab crostini
2 tbl mayonnaise
1.5 tbl lemon juice
2 tsp whole grain mustard
1 small celery root, grated
1 bunch celery leaves, chopped
2 tbl minced scallions
½ lb cooked Dungeness crab lump meat
salt and pepper to taste
Whisk mayonnaise, lemon juice, whole grain mustard in a small bowl. In a larger bowl mix together remaining ingredients. Stir in dressing. Add Salt and pepper to taste and serve either with crostini, endive leaves or crackers.

Recipe kindly shared by Kristin Marchesi

Sadly I was unable to find Dungeness crab this time of year in Vegas, but we found some other crab that filled in. The crostini were delicious were quick to make.

Montinore 2014 Muller Thurgau with Crab Cakes
Montinore 2014 Muller Thurgau with Crab Cakes

The tasting and pairing

As we poured the wine, fine bubbles lined the glass.  Müller Thurgau is a Swiss hybrid grape created by Hermann Müller.  It is a cross of Riesling and Madeleine Royale.  You can definitely taste it’s riesling heritage in the glass.

It contrasted beautifully with the savory buttery sourdough crostini and the bright celery root and celery leaves and the richness of the crab, it’s fruit and slight sweetness rounding out the palate.  This wine sits at just 11% alcohol so feel free to finish the bottle with a friend!

If you find yourself in the Willamette Valley, take the beautiful drive up to Forest Grove in the Northwest portion of the Valley to visit Montinore Estate.

Montinore Vineyards Entrance
Montinore Vineyards Entrance

Montinore Estate

3663 SW Dilley Road Forest Grove, OR 97116

[email protected]

Want more?  Click through to all of our 12 Days of Wine posts!

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Oregon Wine Country

Join us on our exploration of Wine from across the Oregon Wine Region. Interviews with winemakers. Wine Festivals. Explore the AVA’s and discover the Terroir, The stories, The Wine, all across Oregon Wine Country beginning in the Willamette Valley. Follow us at Crushedgrapechronicles.com for your Oregon Wine Adventure.

Esther Glen Farm and Winery with Ryan Pickens

Vista Hills Uncommon Wine Festival Ryan Pickens

We met Ryan Pickens of Esther Glen Farm and Winery at the Uncommon Wine Festival at Vista Hills Vineyard, and had a chance to taste his wines.  The Uncommon Wine Festival gave us an “uncommon” occasion to meet and speak with several newer winemakers, who have smaller labels.  It was an opportunity to taste many interesting wines and hear the stories first hand of how they were conceived and made.  This was the 9th Annual event, but it was Ryan’s first time at the festival.

A little bit on Esther Glen

The name comes from Esther and Glen who came to the Dundee Hills in the 1960’s to start their holistic farm and be self-sustaining.  In 1970 Craig Rathkey came to Esther Glen. He was farming with a 1950 Vintage Formal Cub tractor and a 1948 John Deer “M” tractor.  He restores old tractors, as well as antique clocks.  In 2015 Ryan Pickens met Craig Rathkey and now Ryan makes wine with the sustainably farmed grapes grown on the vineyard.  The Estate is 15 acres located on the Willamette Valley Floor across the street from Sokol Blosser.

Ryan Pickens, the winemaker

Esther Glenn Winemaker, Ryan Pickens

Esther Glenn Winemaker, Ryan Pickens

Ryan put his Marketing degree to use working for the Benzinger Family in Sonoma, CA selling wine.  It was there that he learned about sustainable and biodynamic farming.  Talking with the Benzingers, he got the itch to work on the other side of wine, in production. He started with a harvest internship and was hooked.

“That was in 2012 and I haven’t looked back since.  I went to New Zealand, Germany, Australia, during that time also, trying to find which wine I wanted to make for the rest of my life, and Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are those three and Oregon is that place, that I’ve really found my heart, so I moved here in 2015.”

He does still work full time making wine for somebody else, so this is a side project.

“Yeah so this is just so fun, and I feel so blessed to be able to do this. I never thought that I would actually be able to start my own label.”

We tasted the two wines that Ryan was pouring, the 2017 Pinot Gris and the 2016 Pinot Noir.  Both are own rooted.

Esther Glen_Wine Bottles

Esther Glen_Wine Bottles

2017 Esther Glen Pinot Gris

This is the 2nd vintage of Pinot Gris for them, they are just getting started.  The 2016 is sold out, so not so bad for their first vintage.

The nose is bright with meyer lemon and the then a little softer on the palate. This wine retails for $18.00

2016 Esther Glen Pinot Noir

This is the first vintage of Pinot Noir for them.  It is a mix of Pommard, 777, 115 and 667.  It is aged in 20% new oak.

 “(I was).. Trying to capture, so when I moved here this forest floor, this mushroom characteristic, that everyone was talking about, and happy to see that this is starting to blossom out like that .”

There was definitely forest floor on this wine as well as leather and cola on the palate.  This wine retails for $28.00

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On Sustainability and holistic farming

Coming from Benzinger where they farm biodynamically and then at Esther Glen where that was the original idea of Esther and Glen, the grapes here are farmed sustainably.  Certification will come eventually, but it is a process and a cost and the vineyard and winery are young.  Regardless the idea of holistic farming is important to Ryan.

“Yeah, so you want to give back to the land you know, who knows if we are going to be there for 10 or 20 years, but we want to make sure that that land is ready for the next person coming around.  So really you’re just taking care of it for the next generation.

Esther Glen does tastings by appointment only and you can reach them by phone at (503)583-0970 or email them at [email protected]

You can also find them online at EstherGlen.com

And on social media on Facebook  and Instagram

You can also read our piece on the Uncommon Wine Festival, with our interview with Dave Pettersen the Winemaker and CEO of Vista Hills who founded the event. We look forward to bringing you interviews and discussions with all of the winemakers from this event, as well as details and visits with wineries in each of the Willamette Valley AVAs.  So check back here at Crushed Grape Chronicles  and don’t forget, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

And if you want to dive into details on the Willamette Valley, you can read our recent post Oregon’s Willamette Valley AVAs – a Primer

The call of Natural Wine

Natural Wines

I ran by the farmers market to drop something to a friend, say hello and then grab a quick and delicious lunch. I love the farmers markets. Finding the season fresh produce, meeting the farmers and hearing their stories. You walk through the market and smell the season, peaches or citrus, greens or spices…today I had planned to be in and out quickly, but then…someone said wine, natural wine and Mathieu pulled out 6 bottles and asked if I had a minute to hear about them. They will be starting a wine club soon and bringing in natural wine. It doesn’t hurt that Mathieu is handsome with a beautiful French accent (he also makes extraordinary preserves). And today he had a selection of Natural Wines, as well as a beer and a hard pear cider.


Natural Wines

Mathieu and the Natural Wines at the Intuitive Forager Farm Shop

Mathieu gave us a quick overview on the wines which got my brain going, so of course I researched further, so you will get some additional insights I dug up on the stories behind the wines, winemakers and wineries.

Costadila Bianco

Vino Frizzante da Tavola

Veneto Italia

Natural Wine Natural Prosecco

Costadila Bianco Vino Frizzante da Tavola A Natural Prosecco

Costadila means “the hillside over there”.  This winery was founded in 2006 by a group of partners.  Their mission statement is “Articoltura” – Art, Agriculture and Culture.  Their goal was to re-invigorate the agricultural traditions of Tarzo a municipality in the Province of Treviso in the region of Veneto.  Everything here is farmed organically and they grow more than grapes.  The emphasis here is on polyculture with fruits, grains, vines, vegetables and livestock.

This particular natural wine is a Natural Prosecco.  They do not add sulphur and the wine is shipped un-disgorged as you see in the photo (note all the sediment, that’s the dead yeast, in the bottom). This wine is fermented with native yeast until completely dry.  They then bottle it with passito grapes that are dried for a secondary fermentation.

The note at the bottom of the label (280 sml) indicates the elevation in meters where these vines grew.


Vino Bianco


Natural Wine Orange Wine

Dinavolino Vino Bianco from Denavolo in Italy

This is an Orange wine from Denavolo.  Mathieu tells us that it is made in amphoras in the ground and undergoes a 21 day maceration period, mixed with a stick.  The visions that I have of that seem prehistoric, so I did some more research.

For a little primer on Orange Wines, here is Madeline Puckette of Wine Folly!

I have tasted Orange wine at Le Cuvier in Paso Robles where the legendary John Munch is the “Co-owner, Wine Herd/Winemaker & Elliptical Pontificator” (please click through and read his bio,it will make you chuckle).  Tasting these wines for the first time you might find the taste and nose decidedly unexpected and those winemakers who choose to make them, well…they are decidedly unexpected also.

So indeed, Orange wines are made with white grapes in amphoras or Kvevri, typically placed in the ground with just the lid above.  The grapes get lots of lovely skin contact, which gives them that orange color.

Giulio Armani’s orange wines come from grapes grown high up in the hills of Emilia-Romagna near Piacenza These vineyards grow very small berries so the ratio of skin to must is high.  This wine is a blend of Marsanne, Malvasia (di Candia Aromatica) & Otrugo (or Piancentino).

He produces several other wines (he grew up making wine at La Stoppa from age 12!), and is constantly experimenting.


Domaine de Majas

2015 Rouge

Natural wine from Cotes Catalanes


Natural Wine Red Wine from France

Domaine de Majas 2015 Rouge Cotes Catalanes

Tom Lubbe was born in New Zealand and grew up in South Africa.  He worked at the only South African Estate that used indigenous yeasts and encouraged low yields (ie low yields better grapes).  He did an internship at Domaine Gauby, and ended up marrying the owners daughter.  He and Gerard Gauby then started Domaine Matassa making wines from the indigenous grapes in Cotes de Catalans.  Then he met Alain Carrere owner of Domaine Majas, together they made the vineyard biodynamic, went to all indigenous yeast, no manipulation and very little sulphur.

Rene Redzepi of Noma (named multiple times the “world’s best restaurant”) did an entire menu paired with the Domaine de Majas wines.

This wine is Carignan with perhaps a bit of Grenache.  They are picked early to keep the acidity higher.

I want to be sterotyped

Carbonic Cabernet Franc

Southold Farm & Cellars Long Island NY

Natural Wine Carbonic Cabernet Franc

I want to be stereotyped Carbonic Cabernet Franc from Southhold Farm & Cellars Long Island

So this is a Carbonic Cabernet Franc made in Long Island.  Yep, Long Island New York.  This winery has quite the story.

But first..Carbonic wine…Carbonic masceration is a technique used for Beaujolais.  Simply put it is fermenting whole grapes in carbon dioxide before crushing them.  If you want to be more sciency…well Ask Wine.com had the most satisfying answer that I came across. Now onto the winery story.

Southold Farm + Cellar was a family affair.  Regan & Carey met working in Manhattan and returned to Carey’s hometown to start the adventure of telling the story of this place through wine.  Southold Farm is in Southold, New York on the Northfork of Long Island.

With some whimsical and beautiful labels they created 2013 Cast your fate to the wind (Whole Cluster Cab Franc), 2013 Devil’s Advocate (Old Vine Chardonnay), 2015 Trust the Pain Langrein, 2015 Quiet Explosions (Teroldego) and sparkling wines Chasing Moonlight Sparkling (Langrein), 2015 You Pretty Things (Syrah/Goldmuskateller Pet-Nat) and then of course I don’t want to be stereotyped (Carbonic Cabernet Franc).  The names and labels create a lightness and depth of feeling at the same time.

This story is on hold right now.  The town of Southold denied their request for a single variance on their property.  They made the decision that they could not sustainably run their small business there.  They took a step back and looked at where to go to from there.  They are moving their family and the Winery to the Texas Hill Country.  So cherish those bottles if you have them and we will keep our ears to the ground and track their progress.

Le Communard

Fausse Piste

Natural Wine from Portland, Oregon

Natural Wine Blend

Le Communard Fausse Piste from Oregon

Jesse Skiles grew up in the Pacific Northwest.  A Chef by trade he became a winemaker.  He graduated from CIA and worked at Owen Roe Winery as well as being the Chef at Savage.  A blend of Gerwurtztraminer, Gruner Veltliner & Riesling from a cooler climate, this is a dry white wine.   It is basket pressed with native fermentation and extended aging on the lees.  You can find the tasting room at 537 SE Ash St. in Portland.




Natural Hard Pear Cider

Poire Authentique; Natural French pear cider by Eric Bordelet

Before 1992, Eric Bordelet was the Sommelier at Arpege, Alain Passard’s Restaurant in Paris.  In 1992 that changed when he took over the running of his family’s property in Normandy.  The location is in the south of Normandy on sedimentary rock that dates back to the Precambrian era.  Two thirds of the orchards are 40-50 years old, the remainder were planted in 1992.  He has 20 varieties of apple and 15 varieties of pears grown bio-dynamically.

These are small hard “authentic” fruit.  Think of the original crab apples in the United States.  They had pick and then dehydrate the fruit for several weeks before grinding and pressing them.  They settle and rack.  He calls these “Sydre” or “Sidre” reaching back for earlier spellings of the word cider.

The Poire Authentique made from pears (Poire=Pear in French).  and is 4% alcohol by volume.


Biere Artsanale de Touraine

Brasserie de la Pigeonnelle

Natural French Beer

Loirette Biere Artsanal de Touraine from Brasserie de la Pigeonelle

On to beer.  This Biere Artisanale de Touraine is called Loirette.  The brewery was started by the Hardouin brothers on their family property in Touraine, where they brought in their love of Belgian beers.  The Loire is plentiful in natural growers so they began by only using organic barley and grain.  They now make several wines as Brasserie de la Pigeonnelle

This Loirette is a simple farmhouse ale.

I look forward to finding these regularly now at the Market as well as others.  I have been fascinated with Natural wines, and am thrilled to have a local source to find them.

Check back here at Crushed Grape Chronicles for more on natural wines and details on the Farmers Market Wine Club!   You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram