There are certain benefits to living on the Oregon coast. Stunning views when you are on your way to the grocery store, delicious Dungeness crab for an affordable price and the sounds of the ocean while you go to sleep. There are trade offs, too – I can’t find any Indian food, and coastal life can be a bit sleepy, especially in the rainy, chilly days of February.
The 33rd Annual Newport Seafood & Wine Festival brought some much-needed revelry to the central Oregon coast this past weekend. Eighty local wineries, over 20 food booths and a number of arts and crafts vendors provided festival-goers with a good times and great wines.
My husband and I arrived on what was considered “Locals’ Day,” the opening Friday of the Festival. However, there were plenty of visitors from Portland, Eugene and beyond that added to the party-like atmosphere. Held in a giant tent on the bay under the Yaquina Bay Bridge, the Festival is a major tourist draw.
Wine tastings were $.75 cents apiece, or 3 for a dollar, depending on the booth, and wine was sold for $4 to $6 a glass. Because I was scheduled to run the Coast Festival 5K the next morning, I had to be careful how much wine I drank, so I decided to sample three glasses of wine and really make my wine festival experience count.
I was drawn to Sweet Cheeks Winery’s booth, mainly because I am a sucker for free stickers. I started off with a glass of their 2008 Estate Pinot Gris. I’m not a wine connoisseur by ANY stretch of the word, but this flavorful wine definitely had hints of fruit in its finish. The Pinot Gris paired well with the Dungeness Crab Wrap from Pacific Breeze Seafood I split with my husband.
A former southern Oregon resident, I was excited to see the Jacksonville, Oregon-based Valley View Winery booth. I decided to taste Valley View’s award-winning 2007 Anna Maria Viognier. Yum! The Viognier was the clear winner of the evening for me, with a super-clean flavor, light and almost sunny feel.
I decided to go sparkling for my last wine of the evening. It’s no secret that I am a Prosecco fanatic, so I wanted to see if I could find a local wine to satisfy my taste for the dry, slightly sweet frizzante wine. I stopped by Noble Estate Winery’s booth and bought a glass of their 2007 Muscat Semi Sparkling. Its sweet taste and high notes reminded me of ice wine, the dessert wine made from frozen grapes.
After all this tasting, I was feeling snacky, so my husband and I split a bowl of lobster gumbo from the Newport Volunteer Fire Department. Yes, lobster is not an Oregon Coast product, but when you live on the coast like we do, you certainly get your fill of the local flavors.
~Erin Martin, MustHaveMenus.com