Living with the Wildlife | Part 2

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A bottle of Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs at the lake in Oregon summer 2019
Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs for Oregon summer picnics by the l
A bottle of Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs at our man-made two acre lake

Living with the Wildlife | Part 2

Three Feathers is blessed with an abundance of water. We have two, year-round springs on the property. The main spring fills the man-made two acre lake that is used to irrigate during dry summers. We also use it for recreation after long days of hot work haying or working on the vines. The water is always refreshing and our dock allows for hours of fun.

The second spring was once used as drinking water for the farm house. They had an elaborate system between the well and the spring that they could switch back and forth. The spring creates a small pond, filled with willows, reeds and other aquatics near our planting of Pinot Gris.

I am sure that we are not the only ones using all of this water. The main pond has a large colony of salamanders and crawdads. There is always the occasional duck family, heron, kingfishers and flocks of swallows in the summer. Of course deer, and sightings of bear and bobcat. And recently a few goldfish, gone “native”, are flashing occasionally yellow or white under the surface.

A rare crawdad sighting

In the past two years we have had a couple of not so welcome guests. The telltale signs of a beaver started showing up in the spillway. There are many beavers on the mountain and we have had several dams at another sites on our property.

This one must have tracked the overflow from the pond and settled in along the bank. As long as the water was high we did not see any signs of beaver activity but as soon as we removed the sluice gate to allow excess rainwater to flow out during the winter the level dropped and it instinctively started to try to keep the level high by peeling sticks with its teeth and placing them across the mouth of the overflow. No matter how many times we remove the debris the “busy beaver” comes back and puts in more sticks.

Beaver activity in the spillway

This summer our foreman told me that there was a mystery creature in the smaller pond. Trails leading in and out of the water – occasional brief sightings and chattering noises – but nothing identifiable. Then trees started to fall. No longer a mystery – another beaver! This one has an easier time of it and he has blocked up the flow of water raising the level of the pond to overflowing into the vineyard. This is not funny anymore!

We’re not sure what the solution is but I doubt there is a chance for peaceful coexistence. My next question is do beavers chew on grape vines?

Cetacean Stranding
Cetacean Stranding, from the series Wild Wild West © Elise Prudhomme

Season’s Greetings from Three Feathers Estate & Vineyard

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Season's Greetings 2018 from Three Feathers Estate & Vineyard.  Celebrating the New Year 2019 with a decorative table and Three Feathers Pinot Noir.
Season's Greetings 2018 from Three Feathers Estate & Vineyard.  Celebrating the New Year 2019 with a decorative table and Three Feathers Pinot Noir.
Season’s Greetings from Three Feathers Estate & Vineyard

Season’s Greetings from Three Feathers Estate & Vineyard

Three Feathers wishes all of you a fabulous Holiday Season and a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Join us during Wine Country Thanksgiving from Friday to Sunday at Lady Hill Winery in Saint Paul to celebrate over a wine tasting and Event Only Special Offer!

Tasting Notes from Paris with Love

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Tasting notes illustrated by a photographic still life for Three Feathers 2018 Blanc de Noirs.  Photograph by Elise Prudhomme.
Three Feathers Oregon Pinot in Paris, France
Three Feathers Oregon Pinot in Paris, France

Tasting Notes from Paris with Love

As revealed in our previous article Smuggled!, Three Feathers wines have been traveling to France for several years now. In the spirit of Pinot Noir grape vines themselves that traveled across the Atlantic in cross-agricultural exchanges between France and the United States, our wines have sallied forth in search of new horizons and new palates.

In early November, Three Feathers organized a wine tasting workshop in Paris at Studio Galerie B&B for professionals in the industry as well individuals passionate about Pinot Noir. The goal of the event was to present our wines to a select international audience and receive their written feedback and constructive comments. Working in small groups of 3 or 4, we asked our guests to review, discuss and rate our wines based on the standard procedure for wine tasting; the eye, the nose, the palate using vocabulary appropriate for Pinot Noir.

We are amazed and pleased at the results of our Collective Intelligence Wine Tasting Workshop from all perspectives! Note only did a lot of ink flow about our wines, but ideas burst forth for marketing / communication and future production. Our savvy “collective palate” has produced beautiful tasting notes from Paris with Love.

Without further ado, and in tandem with a series of Tasting Note Still Life photographs made by Three Feathers partner and photographer Elise Prudhomme, here they are:

Illustrated tasting notes - still life of Three Feathers 2018 Bl
Tasting notes Study #1 – Three Feathers 2018 Blanc de Noirs

2018 Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs

Pale pink in color with amber highlights, this wine’s fruity nose reveals a highly perfumed bouquet of fresh flowers reminiscent of champagne.  Vivid on the palate with a hint of brioche, it finishes with aromas of strawberries, green apple and melon.

Pairing notes : Shellfish, notably oysters, cockles and clams – Spaghetti with Clams.


Illustrated tasting notes - still life of Three Feathers 2017 Pi
Tasting notes Study #2 – Three Feathers 2017 Pinot Noir 667

2017 Three Feathers Pinot Noir 667

An intense ruby color, this wine has an expressive and fruity nose with nutty aromas.  Lively and robust in the mouth, its tannins bring structure, power and complexity with flavors of hazelnut and candied fruit, finishing with a subtle note of mushrooms.

Pairing notes : Game such as duck or deer


Illustrated tasting notes - still life of Three Feathers 2017 Cu
Tasting notes Study #3 – Three Feathers 2017 Cuvée Virginia in front of a découpage painting by Dorothea Virginia Roosevelt

2017 Three Feathers Cuvée Virginia

The Cuvée has a beautiful cherry red color, brilliant and limpid, that presents a warm bouquet of spices and cocoa. Ample and supple on the palate, the fine-grained tannins add to the spicy notes of Blackberry and Currant, finishing with a slight earthy note.

Pairing notes : An ample wine that pairs well with savory plates as well as desserts such as chocolate cake.


Oregon Coast picnic with Pan Bagnat and Three Feathers Pinot Noir. The 'Pan Bagnat' is a traditional local sandwich NICE Alpes-Maritimes French Riviera Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur France
Picnic pairing with Pan Bagnat and a bottle of 2016 Three Feathers Pinot Noir.

2016 Three Feathers Pinot Noir 667

This wine presents an intense, clear garnet color with a touch of brick.  The distinctive nose is very aromatic and fruity with a hint of earthiness.  Light, supple and long on the palate, the flavors evoke cherry and ripe red fruits finishing with notes of leather, vanilla and kirsch.

Pairing notes : A unique wine that merits being associated with any meal.

Wine Country Thanksgiving with Three Feathers

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Three Feathers Estate & Vineyard is participating in Wine Country Thanksgiving 2019 at Lady Hill Winery.

EVENT ONLY SPECIAL OFFER
BUY 3 BOTTLES OF RED and GET 1 BOTTLE OF RED FREE!

Friday, November 29 to Sunday, December 1st
from 11 am to 5 pm

EVENT ONLY SPECIAL OFFER on Three Feathers Red Wines
Buy 3 bottles of Red Wine and get 1 bottle of Red Wine FREE!
*


Wine Country Thanksgiving | Willamette Valley Wineries

For the first time this Thanksgiving, Three Feathers Estate will be participating in the biggest wine tasting event of the season, the Wine Country Thanksgiving Wine Tour. This tour features many vineyards, like ourselves, who are not generally open to the public and gives those who appreciate the unusual a taste of our limited production. We will be sharing this event with our wine making partner, Lady Hill Winery in St. Paul. They have a gorgeous facility where we make our wines and their tasting room, across from the historic Champoeg State Park, is very special.

We will be serving all of our wines, including our 2018 Cuvée Virginia which will be making it’s debut, at this Open House event in the Columban Hall Tasting Room.  Come and enjoy an afternoon of fine wines and music in this historic Oregon setting and sample our special Smoked Turkey sandwiches with cranberry cream cheese spread.

Lady Hill Winery
8400 Champoeg Rd NE
St. Paul, OR  97137

*Offer is valid on location at Lady Hill Winery for the event duration only while supplies last

Contact Sandra or Christine for details

Three Feathers Holiday Hostess Gifts – Wrapped and Ready!

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Three Feathers Hostess Gift Bag for the Holidays
Three Feathers Hostess Gift Bag for the Holidays

Three Feathers Hostess Gift Bags for the Holidays

Three Feathers wines make great gifts for the Holidays, especially when they are presented in these simple, sturdy and colorful carrying bags. Visit us during one of our numerous tasting events in November and pick up a bottle or two – Wrapped and Ready!

Here is our fabulous November line-up of wine tasting events:

  • November 14 – Pouring at Taste on 23rd from 6 – 8 pm
  • November 15 – MEMBERS ONLY – Wine Tasting at the Portland Golf Club 5:30 – 7:30 pm
  • November 16 – Wine Tasting at Decarli Restaurant 5:30 – 7:30 pm
  • November 27 – Pouring at Seasons and Regions Seafood Grill 5:30 – 7:30 pm
  • November 29 to December 1 – Wine Country Thanksgiving at Lady Hill Winery 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

We can’t wait to welcome you there!

Harvest Lore 2019

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Harvesting 2019 Pinot Gris clone at Three Feathers Estate.  Harvesting our 2019 grapes, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.
Early harvest mornings at Three Feathers Estate & Vineyard.

September 2019 | In the Vineyard

September is an anxious time for Vineyard owners.  We all are hoping for optimum harvest conditions; perfectly ripened fruit, warm dry autumn days and a crew that is ready to pick when we are – an ideal harvest scenario.

This year Three Feathers Vineyard looked pretty good; disease-free, unlike other vineyards in the valley with mold issues, with fruit that was progressing according to schedule and warm dry weather. 

Harvesting 2019 Pinot Gris clone at Three Feathers Estate
Harvesting 2019 Pinot Gris

Then on the 8th of September, we got some rain.  That’s nice.  The rain washed off the dust and the plants got watered – not a problem, right?  But ever since that day, we experienced cooler temperatures and intermittent rain, even a few downpours. 

Rain at harvest season creates problems with ripening sugars in the grapes.  Every time it rains, the sugars are diluted and intense flavors reduced.  It takes several succeeding days of dry weather to get the sugars back where they were before.  The possibility of rot or damaged fruit increases.  As the fruit hangs on the vines the birds become an issue.  Cooler temperatures can put the plants into dormancy and they never get to the point that we hope for.

We didn’t expect to pick until the end of September or early October so we will waited, watched, tasted and tested.

Early harvest mornings at Three Feathers Estate & Vineyard.
Early harvest morning

October 2, 2019 | Snatching Victory from the Jaws of Defeat

The harvest season in Oregon has been a challenging one with cold temperatures, occasional pouring rain and flocks of hungry birds. We have all been doing a balancing act between getting our fruit to ripen as in previous, warmer years, and keeping the fruit from spoiling or getting eaten.

There are few options for preventing the bird predation- netting is costly and time consuming, bird cannons annoy the neighbors as well as us, and decoys don’t fool any of them for long. There is the option of hiring a falconer (bring back jousting as well!). Basically you just have to hope you get the grapes picked before the birds get them all.

Birds nest during harvest time at Three Feathers
Birds nest during harvest time

Today we succeeded in avoiding the rain, rot, birds and freezing temps and have completed the harvest in Three Feathers. Pickers arrived at dawn and swarmed the vineyard with their buckets – plucking Victory from the Jaws of Defeat. It took no time at all to fill the bins with our succulent Pinot Noir. Christine picked a small crop of Pinot Gris and kept an eye on the progress. David, Scott and Victor moved bins with our big New Holland tractor.

We are satisfied, having avoided mildew that plagued other vineyards and brought our grapes in despite all the issues. The 2019 Vineyard season is over and it was not “for the birds”.

Harvesting 2019 Pinot Noir clone at Three Feathers Estate
Harvesting 2019 Pinot Noir clone

Carrot Cake, Parma-style

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Parma Style Carrot Cake - Recipe Giada de Laurentis
Parma Style Carrot Cake - Recipe Giada de Laurentis
Slice and serve with a glass of Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs.

Parma-style Carrot Cake by Giada De Laurentiis

This fabulously subtle and unique Carrot Cake, Parma-style recipe by Giadi De Laurentiis, makes repeat performances in our family ever since we discovered it on the Food Network.

Lightly sweet, not too spicy, well-balanced and zingy with a touch of fennel and lemon zest, this carrot cake can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or at tea time and makes a perfect finish to an evening meal.

While we are watching, waiting and measuring our Pinot Noir grapes with bated breath for the right Brix level to harvest, we whipped up a Parma-style Carrot Cake to share with you, complete with helpful step-by-step illustrations.

Parma Style Carrot Cake - Recipe Giada de Laurentis
Ingredients to make a Parma-style Carrot Cake

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pine nuts (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 cups peeled and chopped carrots (about 6 carrots)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
5 eggs
Powdered sugar to garnish

MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE

We substitute Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix for the flour in even quantities and omit the baking powder since this gluten-free mix contains baking powder in it already. This particular mix is made with almond flour and makes a moister cake than the regular flour version.

Parma Style Carrot Cake - Recipe Giada de Laurentis
In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
Parma Style Carrot Cake - Recipe Giada de Laurentis
Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs pairs beautifully with a Parma Style Carrot Cake - Recipe Giada de Laurentis
Parma Style Carrot Cake - Recipe Giada de Laurentis
  • Place the pine nuts, 1/2 cup sugar, and fennel seeds in a food processor and pulse to mince the nuts. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and the carrots. Pulse to mince the carrots. Add the mascarpone cheese and pulse until the cheese is incorporated.
Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs pairs beautifully with a Parma Style Carrot Cake - Recipe Giada de Laurentis
Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs pairs beautifully with a Parma Style Carrot Cake - Recipe Giada de Laurentis
  • In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, until well blended.
Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs pairs beautifully with a Parma Style Carrot Cake - Recipe Giada de Laurentis
Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs pairs beautifully with a Parma Style Carrot Cake - Recipe Giada de Laurentis
  • Add the carrot mixture to the butter mixture and stir until combined. Add in the reserved dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated.
  • Place the mixture in a lightly greased and floured 8 by 10 by-2-inch baking dish. We use silicone without greasing.
  • Bake for 55 to 60 minutes at 375 degrees F.
Parma Style Carrot Cake - Recipe Giada de Laurentis
Parma Style Carrot Cake - Recipe Giada de Laurentis
Slice and serve with a glass of Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs.

Serve with a glass of our 2018 Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs (white Pinot Noir), whose tasting notes of melon, citrus and green apple pair beautifully with this delicate Parma-style Carrot Cake.

Decarli restaurant in Beaverton features Three Feathers wines

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Decarli Restaurant in Beaverton, OR features Three Feathers wines; Blanc de Noirs by the glass or bottle and our 2017 Cuvée by the bottle.
Decarli website homepage

Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs served at Decarli restaurant in Beaverton, OR

Beginning Friday, July 19th, our Blanc de Noirs will be available by the glass at Decarli Restaurant in downtown Beaverton, 4545 SW Watson Avenue, Beaverton, OR 97005. For reservations, call 503-641-3223.

Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs up on the wine board at Decarli

Additionally, the Blanc de Noirs and the 2017 Cuvée will be available to purchase by the bottle.

Interior view of Decarli Restaurant, Beaverton, OR

Hungarian Sausage Bake

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Handwritten recipe for the Hungarian Sausage Bake
Handwritten recipe for the Hungarian Sausage Bake
Handwritten recipe for Hungarian Sausage Bake

Hungarian Sausage Bake with a low-carb version

This is a lovely family recipe that you can easily make on-the-go, or create from leftovers (such as barbecued sausage links) for a new nourishing meal.

Our lighter, low-carb version uses cauliflower instead of potatoes : cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable and marries well in flavor texture with smoky sausage and smooth hard-boiled eggs.

Handwritten recipe for the Hungarian Sausage Bake
Hungarian Sausage Bake Recipe coming out of the oven.

VERSION # 1

Ingredients:
1/2 lb of Hungarian Sausage (we use Beef Polksa Kielbasa), sliced
1/2 lb potatoes
4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T of paprika (Penzeys Hungarian-style Paprika is great for this recipe)
2 T butter
2 cups sour cream
1 tsp flour
1/4 cup light cream
2 T bread crumbs

VERSION # 2

Substitute lightly steamed cauliflower for the potatoes. To make this recipe gluten-free, use cornflakes or gluten-free bread crumbs and potato flour.

Handwritten recipe for the Hungarian Sausage Bake
Handwritten recipe for the Hungarian Sausage Bake

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pre-cook the sausages separately by roasting them simply in the oven. If they are set in links, four links should be sufficient.
  3. Boil the potatoes with their skins in salted water for 15 minutes. Peel and slice when cool. If you are substituting with cauliflower, break the head into florets and steam them lightly.
  4. Butter a 12″ x 8″ x 2″ baking dish (Pyrex works well) and arrange half of the potatoes, sausage and eggs in a layer.
  5. Combine the paprika, salt, sour cream, flour and light cream.
  6. Spread the cream mixture over the first layer.  
  7. Make a second layer with the remaining ingredients and top with bread crumbs.  
  8. Bake for 25 minutes.

Serve this hearty casserole with a simple green salad and a fresh bottle of our 2018 Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs (white Pinot Noir), which adds a fruity and acidic touch.

Handwritten recipe for the Hungarian Sausage Bake

Keeping up the Oregon wine producing tradition

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Early morning looking out over Torio Vineyard and Mount Saint Helens
Vineyard team member wearing the indispensable straw hat tying up Pinot Gris plants to promote strength on Three Feathers Estate & Vineyard.
Wearing the indispensable straw hat while tying up plants on Three Feathers Estate & Vineyard.

Keeping up the Oregon wine producing tradition

At Three Feathers, our goal is to perpetuate the Oregon tradition of locally owned and operated vineyards and handcrafted wines for which our region Internationally known.

The success of Oregon Pinot Noir has made us the envy of many other larger wine producing regions who are now trying to muscle in, buying thousands of acres of Oregon Vineyards. Mass producers, frequently owned and sometimes operated out of State, where production laws for Pinot Noir are looser, are motivated by different things than smaller locally owned producers.

Their target is the mass market and the result is that prices are going down and the cost of land is going up. There have been instances where wine promoted and sold as “Oregon” wine was not produced in Oregon. In certain states production rules are not as strict as in Oregon. California legislation, for example, allows Pinot Noir wines to be blended with up to 25% of other varietals without naming them on the bottle.

Colin Prudhomme working on Torio Vineyard with a hoe.
Christine Stimac pruning vines at Three Feathers Vineyard Block One

Our response to this is to appeal to the true Pinot lover who understands the value of what we produce, who does not want to buy their wine in a can and who appreciates that the real way to buy quality wine is to get it from the source; directly from the Vineyard.

Why is that important? As in the traditional wine making that has existed for thousands of years, the quality of the wine depends a lot on the location of the vineyard, the soils, the climatic variations from season to season. That’s what makes every year, every vintage, different.

Early morning looking out over Torio Vineyard and Mount Saint He
Early morning looking out over Torio Vineyard and Mount Saint Helens.

For a wine that is drunk every day, a table wine, you want consistency and value. A mass produced wine which is blended in large quantities from many different sources can produce an inexpensive option. In a small vineyard/winery setting, this is hard to achieve.

However, in the process of creating “sameness” the wine loses its individual characteristics. Wines like ours are unique to our vineyard and reflect all the fascinating elements that make a great taste experience. Taste and aroma are affected by seasonal temperatures, rain and the length of the season, the particular Pinot Noir clone grown, when the grape was picked, early or late. Then the winemaker adds his talents by choosing the yeast, time on the skins and the aging process in new oak, neutral oak, or stainless. The variables are endless.

People who appreciate these subtleties are our customers. The only thing we don’t do anymore is squish the grapes with our feet!

Three Feathers Estate and Vineyard, trimmed and Pinot Noir grape
Three Feathers Vineyard Block One trimmed and Pinot Noir grapes maturing