More than 250 supporters of Oregon's Special Olympics gathered Saturday night to dine with Governor John Kitzhaber and First Lady Cylvia Hayes, and taste the 2012 Oregon Governor's Cuvée, a special blend from small lots of pinot noir harvested from the Willamette Valley.
Jim Bernau of Willamette Valley Vineyards in Turner, south of Salem, hosted the event in his newly renovated estate room.
The limited-edition, classic Oregon Pinot Noir is made from the 2012 harvest, which Bernau calls “Oregon’s best vintage.”
Winemaker Don Crank assembled the blend and the wine was given away to guests at the Oregon Leadership Dinner benefiting Special Olympics Oregon.
Hors d’oeuvres in the tasting room included house coriander and Benedictine Monastery mustard grilled Pacific shrimp, Olympic Provisions prosciutto wrapped in Rogue Blue Cheese and rocket-stuffed Oregon pear served with Willamette Valley 2012 Pinot Gris.
In the barrel room, Winemaker Crank and Quail Run Vineyards grower Michael Moore were offering tastes from barrels.
The wine was served with wood-fired Tillamook smoked cheddar Gougeres, Olympic Provisions Saucisson d’Alsace, Willamette Valley Cheese raw milk Brindisi cheese wheel, Rogue Creamery Oregon hazelnut smoked blue cheese wheel, Briar Rose Creamery Carena goat cheese and Cascade Baking Co. rosemary baguette.
First course: Columbia River steelhead cake, Monastery mustard aioli, Fresh to You roasted corn salsa paired with 2010 Estate Chardonnay.
Second course: Willamette Valley rabbit and dried tart cherry house-made En Vol-au-vent with Oregon Mushroom chanterelle and house-smoked Carlton Farms bacon ragu served with 2010 Tualatin Estate Pinot Noir and 2010 Elton Estate Pinot Noir
Third course: Grilled Anderson Ranch lamb loin with porcini, Oregon huckleberry gastrique, Full Circle Creamery white cheddar cheese and Fresh to You scalloped yam paired with 2009 Estate Pinot Noir and a taste of the 2012 Oregon Governor’s Cuvee Pinot Noir.
Fourth course: Wood-fired Siletz wild game, dried fruit sausage, Cascade Baking Co. fennel brioche, Fresh to You butternut squash, Oregon Bark bittersweet chocolate and Oregon Mushroom black trumpet demi paired with 2010 Griffin Creek Syrah from Quail Run Vineyards in the Rogue Valley.
Fifth course: Gerry Frank’s Konditorei spiced pumpkin cake with 2007 Late Harvest gewürztraminer.