Category: BELLA Wine Buys

The Berglund Report

September 5th, TwentyTwenty Baker City, OR

Viking Blod $ 29.95 Pours a beautiful, thick golden amber, as you would expect from a honey based drink. But what I DIDN’T expect was the rush of peppery, floral notes that followed the initial honeyed sweetness. TONS of spice, with a hefty amount of molasses. Anxious to try this slightly warmed…. and really get in touch with my Scandanavian roots : )

Berglund and the Big Danish Meads

Spiceology Mesquite Peppercorn Lager Rub $ 15.95 I can see where this belongs on a brisket, but I am obsessed with coating all of my roasted veggies with this stuff. I can’t think of a protien that this doesn’t belong on either! The zing of the pink peppercorn is unique and will leave your guests asking “What’s your secret?!”

Vikingernes Dansk Mjod $ 29.95 Water, honey, hops, yeast. Such simple ingredients to assemble. Such and elegant, rich drink that has satiated countless desires over centuries. Boozy burnt sugar nose, tastes of Raw Honey. Very sweet, but somehow earthy. Hops are a little more deliberate in this one, but not overwhelming. High alcohol will leave you feeling warm from the inside out… no wonder the Vikings did so much pillaging.

Les Petit Sardines Muscadet Sur Lie $ 12.95 Let me set the scene here… it’s the beginning of July, you’re sprawled out on a blanket on the bank of your nearest body of water with the person in your life that makes you laugh the hardest. The picnic you packed includes a bowl of perfectly ripe strawberries and pineapple, an herbaceous tuna and orzo dish and a bottle of a Muscadet from a tiny cooperative of clever winemakers in the Loire. This is the way muscadet of this caliber is meant to be enjoyed. Its simplicity may be its best trait. Floral on the nose with citrus notes reminiscent of grapefruit, wrapped up with a satisfying minerality that is like a breeze over the sea salt flats of Camargue. Pairs best with a sunset and belly laughs.

CRUX 2020 (Banished) Series
All Worked Up Barrel Aged Wheat Wine Ale $ 14.95 Caramel, dark fruit and distinctive alcohol on the nose. I was pleasantly surprised at how dubdued the sweetness was, but the viscosity on the palate lets that sweetness linger… like a spoonful of honey! An elegant wheat wine that is well worth the 6 months long wait while it spent time in barrels.

Case Paolin Prosecco DOC $ 17.95 refreshing! If I were to descibe the perfect drink for a scorching hot summer evening this would be it! Summer-y aromas or fresh cut grass and granny smith apples with a fizzy and light body. A great balance of pear sweetness and lemony acidity.

Watermill Winery Chances R Red (Milton- Freewater, OR) $ 13.95 This wine was definitely my biggest surprise this month. A bold and unique blend for a truly incredible price! Normally I shy away from wine with pronounced oak, but the buttery qualities in Chances R are married with a touch of brown sugar. Notes of deep dark fruits and a smoky finish in this classic Bordeaux blend of Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cab Franc and Malbec with bits of Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere as well. Super interesting. Enjoyed this all by itself, which is testament to how balanced the wine is!

Sarah says….

September 5th, 2020 Baker City, OR

Spiceology PIZZA Cheese Blend $ 15.95 The kids loved it sprinkled on popcorn – great pizza flavor! Will definitely be adding a sprinkle to quesadillas-mad & cheese and anywhere ele that good tomatoey-basil-cheesy flavor can go.

Sarah, Salts and Some Fine Fleurie

Domain Haute Moliere Fleurie Beaujolais ’13 $ 17.95 Light smooth red from the Beaujolais region – 100% Gamay! Crisp, bright cherry fruit with earthiness and a slightly smoky finish. Delicate body but full of flavor. Perfect picnic wine- keep summer as long as you can and think SALAMI, CHEESE and chicken salad sandos : )

Jacobsen Black Garlic Salt $ 11.95 Oregon harvested kosher sea salt infused with black garlic. This finishing salt adds a sweet, earthy flavor to ALL the meats and vegetables. *** Fun Fact: Black garlic is the result of the Maillard reaction- that is, heating bulbs of garlic over low heat over the course of several weeks to create super- UMAMI rich black cloves.

August 1st, 2020
Dos Fincas Cabernet/Malbec 2017 $ 14.95 A classic Argentine blend with strong cherry and oak notes with unsweetened cocoa on the finish. Dark, earthy and dry – a good wine for red meats or game.

Cono Sur (organic) Bicicleta Reserva Carmenere 2017 $ 12.95 Nice value red wine for summertime and backyard drinking! Raspberry and cherry with a green chile note on the finish. Clean and soft finish- perfect during warm weather! This grape variety originated in Bordeaux, France and has become the dominant variety in Chile.

Inkarri Bonarda 2016 $10.95

Organic and biodynamique, this 100% Bonarda is tart and fruity with blueberry, black tea and cranberry notes. Would go well with a classic red sauce Italian pasta dish, or with red meats. Very food friendly, like Mencia -and would probably go anywhere a Mencia would go!

HellaHot Hot Sauce Techno Destructo Garlic Death Grip $9.95

Great garlic flavor and serious heat from habaneros, jalpenos and chipotles. Made in small batches with NO preservatives in California. Great on breakfast burritos – pizza – pasta – anything really!

WINNER – 2019 Fiery Food Challenge

Hedge Rose Calypso Beans $ 5.95

The *PLUMPEST* beans ever. I enthusiastically recommend these! Grown by Hedge Rose Farm – a small, draft horse powered, diversified farm sustainably producing vegetables, fruits and meat in Halfway, OR. BELLA stocks several varieties of beans and currently has garlic scapes from Hedge Rose Farm.

Viu Manent Reserva Malbec 2018 $ 10.95

This wine is a safe bet for a BBQ-friendly red – a crowd pleaser for sure. Berries and cherries with notes of warm raisins and chocolate. Light, refreshing acia and soft tannins.

Spiceology/Derek Wolf Jalapeno Lime Pilsner Rub $ 15.95

Rubbed this on chicken, roasted the chicken, shredded the chicken, then sprinkled on MORE of the rub. Put the spicy shredded chicken on tortillas with cilantro, onion and lime. I see lots of possiblilities with this blend. Before (as a rub) and after cooking (as a spice!)

Spiceology Greek Freak $ 13.95

confession: I am currently adding the Greek Freak to everything I make with reckless abandon. Roasted vegetables with Greek Freak. ANY meat with Greek Freak. Add it to made from scratch Ranch Dressing . I dream of putting it in teh next caramelized onion dip I made for the next BBQ I’m invited to…. just sayin’.

The Berglund Report

the brew news…

Pfriem Flanders Blonde $11.95

Pfriem shines when it comes to Flemish style ales. This beer is aged 18 months in Pinot Noir barrels which shines throught with delicate notes of French oak. Aroma-wise- it gives a unique buttery, pineapple, granny smith apple combo. Very mild sour with balanced sweetness. Super impressive

Pfriem Druif Rougem $14.95

More Pinot Noir action from Pfriem! The base of this concoction is a lambic (inspired) ale (already aged in Pinot Noir barrels) blended with Pinot Noir grapes. The grae/grain combo is something that these guys do masterfully. Pours shockingly Ruby Red with a stiff, billowy head. Big classic Bretto-funk well supported by a kiwi, melon sour. Well worth the money!!

last but certainly not least…

Deschutes The Abyss 2019 Reserve $ 19.95

Exceptional beer. Not surprised. The consistensy of The Abyss has made this beer so critically acclaimed and sought after that when my first thought as I took a sip was “Ah… that’s Abyss”, I knew they had done it once again. The bouquet is BUSY with dark malt, dried fruit and bourbon heat. Tastes smoky with roasted malt dominant with licorice and cocao. Can’t wait to write the same good review again next year.

and then we turn to the grapes…

Time Waits for No One Monastrell 2017 $ 16.95

Wow! Now I finally understand Monastrell. Very fruit forward, with lots of spice and coffee. Very bold and jammy, almost thick on the palate. This Spanish red woule be absolutely delightful with smoked red meat or wild game. Not for the faint of heart but worth the challenge.

Garage Wine co. Pais 215 BC 2018 $ 23.95

Such a nerdy wine! My first 100% Pais wine (to my knowlege!) The 215 BC name relates to the fact that the Pais grape was around 215 years BEFORE CABERNET. Very spicy and rich with hints of star anise and cardamom. Super easy to drink with a great tannin/acid balance. I think I’m in love.

If you’d like to know more about this very tiny ‘natural’ winemaker check out this link.

Marchesi Incisa della Rocchetta ‘Futurosa’ Rosato 2017 $ 16.95

This rose’ was exactly what I wanted on a warm summer evening. Refreshing with a red berry crispness. Equal parts Barbera and Merlot, with a 24 hour period of skin contact for richer color than many rose’ wines gives this wine fine, intense notes of strawberries. This wine went wonderfully with my earthy garlic scape pesto pasta.

Terrapin Cellars Pinot Noir 2017 $ 16.95

Incredible value for Oregon Pinot Noir! I picked up a lot of spice notes… black pepper, cinnamon, maybe even white pepper. Heavy cherry and black currant flavors with a light lavender florality! Lots of subtle layers, it really kept me thinking! Pair this Pinot Noir with freshly caught Pacific NW fish fro a match made in heaven.

Holly’s Weeknight Nashville Chicken

Nashville Spiceology Whole Roasted Chicken – coooked in Cuisinart Presser Cooker.
This is a staple at my house, not only does it only take 25 minutes to prepare, it costs about $5!

It’s super easy- turn your pressure cooker to SAUTÉ, and while that’s warming up, I grab my seasoning of choice. Lately it has been Spiceology Nashville Hot Chicken. The chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and garlic really kicks a boring bird up a notch, it’s a must try! Rub the chicken inside and out, don’t be shy if you really want to feel the heat.

Add a little oil to your pressure cooker, then place chicken breast side down for about 5-8 minutes just long enough to brown the skin on the chicken.

Remove the chicken and place on a trivet or roasting rack ( I use a Norpro round silicone roasting rack – which you can purchase at either BELLA location!) Place chicken back in your Cuisinart pressure cooker, lock the lid and set on high pressure for 25 MINUTES! (That’s the average time for a 5 lb chicken!) While that’s cooking I prep my sides (and of course am drinking some type of wine).

When time is up, just let the cooker naturally release pressure. Now just cut & serve!

I can not express how much I love my Cuisinart Pressure Cooker, the speed and convenience is unmatched! I use it several times a week to cook all my soups, low carb desserts, meatloaf and of course my (all time favorite)Pozole!

Yours truly- Holly B

Mother Earth “Sin Tax” Imperial Stout

Mother Earth Brew Co. consistently produces unique, quality beer at a reasonable price and the “Sin Tax” is no exception. Pours the color of deep molasses with a stiff, meringue head. The aroma of barley malt and cola is the first thing that hits you, followed by a teasing hint of peanut butter. This beer is ROBUST, with notes of peanut brittle and toffee with moderate bitterness on the finish. Note the velvety mouthfeel! I didn’t pick up as much peanut butter as I had expected, but that may not be a bad thing! Coming in at under $9, it’s a truly incredible value.

PESTO Bitchin’ Sauce

Pesto Bitchin’ Sauce

Meet your new favorite dip.The Pesto variety of Bitchin’ Sauce boasts an herby basil flavor that can go anywhere the Original Bitchin’ Sauce has gone. Great to scoop up with crackers or tortilla chips. Solid as a fresh veg dip. Definitely put a spoonful on your sandwich or salad. Like hummus, but with creamy almonds instead of garbanzos and nutty nutritional yeast and ultra savory Bragg liquid aminos instead of tahini. Dairy-free & Vegan. Find it in the refrigerated grocery section at BELLA.

Review by Sarah Fry

the friends we keep

Bill Wayne, owner of the Abbey Ridge Vineyard and cyclist was in Baker City on a group ride and he stopped by last month and spent the afternoon of his ‘rest day’ with me. It was a wonderful visit and we caught up on all the high notes of the past 25 years (since I left the Red Hills of Dundee and moved east!)

Things took an even sweeter turn 2 weeks later. Allen Holstein stopped in on his way back home from parts further east. Allen, owner of Holstein Vineyard, father of Jackson (Purple Hands Winery) and a fellow chocolate lover walked into BELLA at the same time that Bill came through on his second group ride.  They were relocated here for a deju vu tour after the fires in CA forced a change in the ride plan.

So, here were are… two of my favorite grape growers, friends from my sommelier and grape stomping days… here where I planted myself in eastern Oregon on my own wine adventure. These boys are literally pilgrims in the Oregon grape story (not the only ones, but definitely my favorites!) and it was really a thrill to have them both here at BELLA Main Street Market. It was also a reminder about how much friendships shape our lives. We became friends when we were just pups and the wine business was barely a business. We are all still doing what we love, but differently. I was inspired by them back then and even more so now!