Note: Some of these photos were taken from the Irving Street Kitchen/Hawks View Cellars websites as we had some technical difficulties.
After a great adventure at Portland's Feast, we were lucky enough to be invited to a celebratory wine pairing dinner hosted by Hawks View Cellars and Irving Street Kitchen. We tasted six small plates and seven wine pairings. I had my favorites of both, but overall the food and wine were A-MAZE-ING!
I have done a few winery excursions in Oregon but had not had the opportunity to taste the wine of Hawks View Cellars. The origin story of this 50 acre winery is something you must ask owner and storyteller, AJ Kemp, about! It's a great family story. The winery does tasting by appointment only. I have already scheduled a second tasting for a group of friends. When you book your tasting appointment, get ready for great wine, stories, and new friendships.
Irving Street Kitchen is located at 701 NW 13th Ave. They serve locally sourced and sustainable foods. This restaurant is very modern but cozy at the same time. There is a dining section, a large bar, and an enclosed private dining room. Our dinner was hosted in the spacious and modern private dining room. The staff was very friendly and prompt. Every time they came to serve us I would thank them, and their response was always, "My pleasure!" It made me feel like they loved their job and wanted us to have the best experience ever!
When we entered the room we were greeted by a beautiful array of wine bottles and friendly associates. The first pour was of the Hawks View's 2012 Oregon Pinot Gris. It has a very light, crisp and refreshing flavor. I was surprised to hear it is at 15% alcohol because it was so smooth. I could drink glass after glass of this one. I think it would be a great bottle to bring to Thanksgiving or other holiday/family/party events. I have to say this was my favorite wine of the night.
Pictured below is Irving St Kitchen Salmon's Gravlax served on rye crackers with gribiche (a sauce similar to a house-made tartar sauce but lighter and with a hint of dill). Paired with Hawks View's 2011 Oregon Chardonnay, this was a delicious light Hors d'oeuvre to go with a the hints of pear and honey from the chardonnay.
Next came one of the best parts of the night. The Guessing Game! I love silliness, games, and big personalities. Hawks View knows how to not only make great wine but to entertain! Owner AJ Kemp came around with a brown bagged wine and we had to guess the type. I'm not an expert wine connoisseur, but I do know that Pinot Gris is white and Pinot Noir is red, right? Well, not when it comes to the "Unicorn", the best nickname ever for Hawks View's 2012 WHITE Pinot Noir. This was a surprise- to me--a white Pinot Noir. I had never even heard of this before, but the results were delicious. I really enjoyed the undertones of peach and ginger. This wine was paired with one of my favorite dishes of the night, Chicken Fried Oysters topped with Herbsaint Aioli. I would have loved to have a few more of these moist, tender, flavorfully fried oysters.
The best PAIRING of the evening was the Marinated Pork Chop, Country Ham & Shelling Bean Ragout and Celery Root Apple Slaw with 2010 Hawks View Oregon Pinot Noir. This was my favorite for the evening. I've never been really good at understanding pairings, but when I tasted these two together I knew it was a match made in foodie heaven. The earthy flavors came together perfectly. This food dish was the absolute best of the night. When listed separately--beans, pork chop, celery root--these ingredients might seem bland, but when put together and flavored by the wonderful executive chef Sarah Schafer of Irving Street Kitchen, the dish comes alive. It is a flavorful, hearty, comfort, fall home-cooked meal. I wish I knew how to cook like this.
Next came the national comfort food--fried chicken with smashed potatoes, country gravy and greens. The chicken was fine but the greens were to die for! I wanted a whole bowl. Maybe it was because they were cooked in bacon!
This course was paired with the WHALE, 2011 Hawks View La Baleine. The whale is named after the owner's father. The blend of the "whale" changes year to year but the great story behind the name will stay the same and never be forgotten as long as AJ continues his amazing family storytelling. A large bottle of the whale is pictured center below.
The best way to finish off a meal is with dessert and a glass of wine. The dessert was a flourless chocolate torte sprinkled with Jacobson's sea salt. I'm embarrassed to say I actually asked for seconds. I couldn't help it. It was literally one of the best things I have ever tasted in my life! They didn't have extra except the display piece on the center table. I didn't........but I was thinking about it!
The torte was paired with Hawks View 2011 California Syrah. I am a Syrah fan and this did not disappoint. Hawks View uses their own grapes but they also import grapes from California. AJ explained that they get the grapes within 8-12 hours from California to Hawks View. The grapes are transported in a refrigerated truck and are processed within hours of their arrival.
This was a great evening full of wonderful food, wine and company. I recommend wine lovers or even wine newbies head down to Hawks View for a private tasting. Owner AJ is friendly, knowledgeable, and passionate about his family legacy.
If you haven't eaten at Irving Street Kitchen, it's a MUST! Chef Sarah Schafer delivered the best pairings I have ever had. No lie! I'll be back for a Happy Hour.