Local Events

This month I’ve been invited to Clark College to host an updated version of the popular Wine 101 Class from Salut! to be held Tuesday, April 27th from 6:30 to 8:30pm.

The Corporate and Continuing Education programs at Clark College are taking advantage of the newest addition to their campus, a full kitchen at their new hi-tech Columbia Tech Center campus in East Vancouver.  The Cooking and Wine School programs include a wide range of inexpensive ways to enhance your knowledge repertoir.

Wine 101 is a fun 2-hour class that will demonstrate the different components of wine, 6 different grapes, different glasses, and the information that ties them all together.  How to describe flavors, how to pair wines with food, what stemware to use, and how to serve & store wines will all be covered in this informative session.  It’s only $45 per person, including wine!  Sign up today!

The Sommelier Series

In addition to Wine 101, I’ll be complimenting the coursework with three additional Sommelier Series classes for enhanced wine expertise.  These classes will extend focus on an array of grapes and regions.  Wine afficianados, restaurant and grocery store stewards, hobbyists and winery employees can earn Continuing Education Credit certificates for this trio of courses to enhance their resume and skills.   Each class features sampling of an array of 8 wines and 2 hours of instruction.

The Sommelier Series classes start with Advanced Wine Expertise on March 17th.  Each of 8 different major grapes is featured as a representation for 8 different important aspects of fine wine production such as grape clones, oak barrels, blending, geography and more.

Next up on March 24th is New World Wine Regions including the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and South America.  In this class, each region’s recent history will be featured along with the most important wines of that area.

Finally, the trio is capped on June 6th with a brand new class on Old World Wine Regions including a tour of European wines.  Experience wines from France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Portugal. 

The Sommelier Series trio is offered as a combo for just $110 for all three 2-hour sessions.

For more information:


On November 12th from 2-8pm Salut! will host our biggest tasting event ever…our first “Squatters Wine Tasting“.  We’ll take over the beautiful courtyard at the Jupiter Hotel for 6 hours to feature a stunning array of great wines at unheard-of prices with no limits, no minimums, and all open for sampling until sold out!

  • SquattersLogoup to 100 wines to sample
  • all wines 25% off while supplies last
  • Closeouts, overstocks, and other great deals
  • plus Riedel Crystal at closeout pricing
  • $15 at the door, discount tickets online

A little support during a tough economy

We’ve decided to create this event to help our distributors after a difficult year, bring our customers an exciting way to save plenty of money, and offer up a grand event to bring awareness to our online offerings.  It’s a win-win-wine event and we hope you can attend. 

Stock up for the holiday season.  We’ll have Riedel Crystal at the lowest prices anywhere online or not, to prepare you for your holiday events.  Taste test wines that you can give as holiday gifts to employees, friends & neighbors, or serve at your next party.  We’ll be on hand to answer questions and if you want we can set you up with a theme for your dinner or party plus links to recipes to match.  1 bottle each, or 6 of one, you’ll still save 25% off everyday prices.

Spread the word!

We also hope you can help spread the word.  Tell your friends and wake the neighbors.  This is one event not to miss!  Discount tickets are available online with the best discounts available when buying 6 tickets.  So get 4 friends, take your partner and sample through up to 15 of the wines for just $10 each.  Amazing!

Sign up for to follow Salut! on Twitter, or Facebook, or subscribe to this blog using the buttons to the right (on this blog’s HOME page).  You’ll receive automatic updates telling you what’s coming up and going on.  We’ve got plenty of great events planned, and you won’t want to miss them.

SalutElementDon’t forget, Salut! Wine Outlet offers the Portland/Vancouver area FREE DELIVERY of online wine purchases and special orders, including gifts & baskets, wine accessories, crystal stemware, kitchen utensils and much more.  Check out our shopping pages to peruse the 1000’s of items offered in our store.

For More Information

1254601004This Saturday, October 24th, 2009 marks the Grand Opening of Vancouver’s only downtown winery, Gougér Cellars!  Winemaker & owner Gary Gougér decided to turn his hobby into career after winning several awards for his Washington wines.  Now, after spending time training in Australia, he has returned to open his winery at 1812 Washington St. (map)

Juice for the wines comes from select vineyards in Walla Walla.  Sunday will put them back to work crushing six tons of newly picked fruit!  The winery utilizes a familiar wine-friendly location… on the grounds of Cellar 55, Vancouver’s downtown professional wine storage facility.  The combined operation now sports an additional reason to drop in and visit!  Tastings will be held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Gary’s wines are blended offerings named with dates.  “Blend 829”, named in honor of their August 29th wedding day is a Cab/Syrah/Cab Franc blend with a vibrant berry nose rounding out with an entry of berry and increasing white pepper spice.  The full body is strengthened with a backbone of well integrated fine tannins leading into a very fruit-filled finish.

Gougér Cellars enjoys a connection to Salut! Wine Outlet as well.  Gary recently married our former Chef at Salut!, Bonnie Brasure, who will whip up her culinary masterpiece brownies to serve up at the Grand Opening celebration.  Join them 2pm – 8pm Saturday to sample wines, brownies and hors d’ouvres.

A brownie from heaven!

A brownie from heaven!

The winemaking bug continues to hit more and more people north of the river, with Clark County now boasting six wineries within a quick drive from Portland.  Each winery boasts a unique tasting room, beautiful grounds, and plenty of wine to sample! 

bethanylogoBethany Vineyard (map) is one of Vancouver’s oldest wineries, with lakefront grounds so beautiful that weddings are a frequent phenomenon.  You can imbibe in a large tasting room with an array of wines just off a cellar of their aging barrels. 

  • Visit Bethany Vineyard online,
  • call 360-887-3525
  • or set the GPS to 4115 NE 259th St., Ridgefield.

Confluence Vineyards and Winery (map) is one of Ridgefield’s youngest wineries, born in 2008 and is just west of I-5 using the 179th Ave. exit.  Their first vintages include Petite Verdot, Merlot, Syrah and a Cab blend.  Plans for the winery grounds are expansive, with a small ampitheater and enlarged cellars. 

  • Visit Confluence online,
  • call 360-887-2343
  • or head to 19111 NW 67th Ave., Ridgefield.

EastForkEast Fork Cellars (map).  Use the 179th street exit to visit the East Fork tasting room as well, straight ahead just north of the exit on NE 10th Ave.  Of the six area wineries, this is the easiest to spot and visit.  A large retail building features not just this winery but a thriving local seafood business sharing the same parking lot.  Their estate, locally-grown grapes include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. 

  • Visit East Fork online,
  • call 360-666-4514
  • or drive to 24415 NE 10th Ave., Ridgefield.

English Estate (map) is the most established local vineyard and is located at the Northeast corner of the Cascade Park area in Vancouver.  Their stately family-run grounds have welcomed visitors for over a decade to sample a range of Pinot Noirs, white wines, and dessert offerings.  

  • Visit English Estate online,
  • call 360-772-5141
  • or set the GPS for 17806 SE 1st St., Vancouver.

Rusty Grape Vineyards (map) is the eastern-most winery of the set.  The relatively youthful winery has an expansive and casual event space both outdoor and indoor, with weekly live music events.  Available wines include Syrah, Cabernet, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Merlot and berry dessert wines. 

  • Visit Rusty Grape online,
  • call 360-513-9338
  • or head to 16712 NE 219th St., Battle Ground.

ThreeBrothersThree Brothers Vineyards and Winery (map) sits directly behind East Fork Cellars.  Their local, estate plantings of almost 15 acres include a wide range of grapes:  Tempranillo, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, Gewurztraminer and Riesling.  An event room at the winery can accomodate events with up to 40 guests. 

  • Visit Three Brothers online,
  • call 360-887-2085
  • or check them out in person at 2411 NE 244th St., Ridgefield. 

regionprofileThe Rhone River begins its 250 mile journey high in the Alps of Switzerland and divides the wine regions of France’s Rhone Valley before reaching the Mediterranean Sea. 

It’s in this deep valley that some of the world’s most esteemed wines are created, using to a large degree just 7 grapes 4 red and 3 white (23 total, most of them rare, are allowed but relatively obscure).   Rousanne and Marsanne join the more widely known Viognier grapes for white wines, while Grenache, Mourvedre and Cinsault join the worldwide fame of Syrah to create the wonderful Rhone reds. 

 One Region, Two Distinct Traditions

France's Rhone Valley Wine Regions

France's Rhone Valley Wine Regions

Although “the Rhone” can be considered one of France’s most influential and famous wine regions, it has two very separate areas split North and South.  In the slim Northern section, you’ll find only the Syrah grape creating the red wines (no blends).  White wines here are more esteemed, with Rousanne and Marsanne hailing a larger reputation than the also-ran Viognier (Vee-own-yay) grape which has recently caught favor on America’s west coast. 

Viognier is grown for a more traditional and unique reason…as a white blending grape adding complexity to the red Syrah.  It is a widespread practice to add one to three percent Viognier to Syrah releases.  This added layer of delicate floral and stone-fruit notes adds dramatic aromatics and contemplative depth.

In the more broad area of the South, blending takes on a whole new meaning, with 23 different grapes allowed in blends that, instead, are usually comprised of “GSM” wines made from Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.

Blends Emulated Worldwide

Almost 95% of all Rhone wines come from the Southern area, which is one reason that blending Syrah with Grenache and Mourvedre is so popular worldwide.  California and Australia both take pride in Rhone-style blends vinified with a more new-world flair.  You’ll find big berry flavors bouncing from glasses of Yalumba or Rosemount G-S-M reds.  California’s “Rhone Rangers” have settled into the Sierra Foothills, Central Coast and beyond to create New World traditions of their very own, with more pronounced spice and tannin backbone to strengthen the impression on the palate.  (Even the Northwest’s Cougar Crest and Efeste wineries have joined the Rangers)

You’ll find the true, traditional French Rhone red wines full of gritty character with spicy, meaty personalities and blissfully complex aromatics.  They pair perfectly with full-flavored lean meats like venison and other game meats.  Don’t expect the full-fruit extraction of California Cabernet or Australian Syrah.  Fruit flavors will stand equally with the savory character, spices, and the minerality so important to culinary match-ups. 

cwesbanner2Join me as I give a Wines of the Rhone Valley presentation to the local Columbia Willamette Enological Society on October 14th, 2009 in Vancouver!  I’ll be serving up an assortment of 6 wines including both whites and reds to show you in detail how the areas and wines differ throughout the region, and how you can best enjoy these great French releases.

More Places to Explore Rhone Valley Wines & Styles

Vineyards in the Rhone Valley

Vineyards in the Rhone Valley

ViniferaLogoThose of you keeping track know that I (David Gray) have accepted a position with one of my favorite wine distributors to sell Italian wines throughout the Portland area.  Vinifera wines has a 30 year national reputation for carrying the finest Italian wines produced, including names such as Fontodi, Felsina, Valdicava, Rinaldi, Canalicchio di Sopra, Giacomo Bologna and many more.  Some of my favorite wines at Salut! Wine Co. have been selections from this catalog.

I am excited to have been invited to present some of these wines to you at Evergreen Wine Cellars this coming Friday!  For just $10, from 5-8pm, July 31st we will be sampling through a selection of 6 wines in Pam’s wonderful shop on Evergreen Blvd. (map). 

ItalianWineTasteJoin me while tasting through:

Caruso & Minini 2008 Inzolia

A refreshing and clean wine with an excellent bouquet of white fruits that leaps from the glass.  The finish is very crisp yet soft on the palate.

Caruso & Minini 2007 Nero d’Avola

This hearty Sicilian red offers rich aromas of ripe red fruit, herbs and chocolate.  It is a very juicy wine with refreshing acidity on the palate. Namesakes Stefano Caruso and Mario Minini teamed up in 2002 to revamp the wines of this 19th century winery in Marsala to produce great value wines from indigenous grapes as well as a line of reserves that shows off a range of blends and terroir-driven wines.

Mormoraia 2006 Vernaccia di San Gimignano

9 months of oak aging allow the ample structure to develop, while harmonious flavors of toasted almonds, apple, dried fruits and melon blend as well.

Mormoraia 2006 Chianti Colli Senesi

Aromas of ripe fruit, spice, plum and tobacco greet the taster, with mouth-filling body to pair with roasted and barbequed red meats, casseroles, and charcuterie.  The outstanding value wines of Mormoraia are sure to impress.  With vineyards situated in the heart of Tuscany, and a panoramic view of the beauty of the Chianti hills and San Gimignano towers, they produce world-class olive oils as well as delicious Sangiovese and Vernaccia red and white wines.

Pra 2006 Soave Classico Superiore Monte Grande

There are few if any Soave examples this rich, powerful and savory.  A match like no other for tasty fish, Pasta e fagioli, soups and white meats.  Located in the heart of the Soave region, in Verona, is the team of two brothers.  One is a skilled modern oenologist, the other a talented vineyard manager recognized for the invention of new training systems for vines.  Their obstinace, devotion, experience and passion place them among the best Soave wine interpreters.

Canalicchio di Sopra 2006 Rosso di Montalcino

Still-youthful fruits display dried aromatics with light sage and dusty berry.  Firm acidity is balanced with a full-bodied palate.  Grandfather Primo Panceti has left his relatively new (1977) and small (15 hectares) winery & vineyards to his grandchildren Simonetta, Marco and Francesco who run the operation today.  His position in leadership at the consortiums of Montalcino winemaking hint at the greatness in the firm traditions exhibited in the wines here.

The tasting will be Friday, July 31 from 5-8pm at Evergreen Wine Cellars, 2608 E. Evergreen Blvd. in Vancouver.  Call Pam at 360-993-8880 for more details.

Those of you who attended the fun wine tastings at Salut! Wine Co. and enjoyed the wines selected by myself and our vendors can look forward to a coming tasting at Evergreen Wine Cellars on July 31st!

Now that I represent the wines of my favorite Portland-based Italian wine catalog, I have selected a special set of 6 wines to share including my favorites Canalicchio di Sopra Rosso di Montalcino, Fontodi Chianti Classico, and another red, two white wines and a sweeter dessert selection (TBA). 

The tasting will be Friday, July 31 from 5-8pm at Evergree Wine Cellars, 2608 E. Evergreen Blvd. in Vancouver.  Call Pam at 360-993-8880 for more details.

Profiles of the wines we will feature will be posted soon!

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