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The drama! The intrigue! In a battle of the taste buds who will survive?! *cue dramatic Iron Chef-type music*
Huh? Are we watching reality television? Is this thing on?
Fortunately (or unfortunately) there will be no Kiva reality series. (Although, I tend to think it would make for some very entertaining material!)
There will, however, be another monthly wine and cheese pairing featuring notes from Ziggy and Josh, our wine and cheese buyers. This one is particularly interesting because of their difference of opinion. There is only one way to settle this dispute and that is to taste for yourself!
Ziggy: Since it’s beginning to look like spring is here, everything is coming up rosés.
If you think sweet and sickly when you see pink, you might want to rethink your drink. Rosés are often misunderstood and their versatility can be under-appreciated.
A rosé wine can vary in color from palest pink through peach and orange hues to varied shades of clear, vivid red; and can vary in palate from delicate to bold. Some, yes, are sweet, and some are dry with varying degrees of tannin. The right rosé can complement a mild fish dish or take on a grilled steak, and the color alone won’t tell you a great deal about the character of the wine.
There are several ways rosés arrive at their rosy hue. Most are made from grapes used to make red wine, either as a single varietal or a blend, and colored by being allowed to remain in contact with the skins, where the pigment resides. Others may be produced by blending white and red wines. While this is not a popular method in many regions, there are some very tasty wines that result from it.
Most rosés will be crisp and have vivid fresh fruit notes like strawberry, cherry, apricot or melon, and, served chilled, will complement and enhance a summer afternoon or evening.
We chose Territorial’s Pinot Noir Rosé for our pairing this month. The Kiva has carried Territorial wines for many years, and their Rosé has shown consistent quality and been a steady seller.
We are currently stocking the 2010 Rosé; and the 2011 is expected in soon. I and my tasting partner found it to be drinking extremely well. While the usual advice about drinking rosé fresh is good, many will continue to show well for at least one or two years after bottling. Don’t throw ‘em away without uncorking a taste.
We found the 2010 to have a bright, deep rose color. On the nose, I found notes of violet and strawberry lollipop. The palate was light, bright, and crisp with lots of soft, icy fruit including cherry and stone fruits. We drank it chilled but not iced.
My tasting partner and I particularly liked the rosé with the Fern’s Edge Pleasant Hill cheese, which has a young, sharpish cheddar-like flavor, a crumbly texture, and a bite on the finish. This cheese brought out fresh fruity notes in the wine. Of the Fern’s Edge cheese we tried, this pairing was by far our favorite.
While Josh and Emma especially enjoyed the Mt. Zion with the rosé, I have to disagree. The cheese is excellent–earthy, meaty, and scrumptious–but I wanted to pair it with a big, rich, full-bodied wine (like a Washington Cabernet). I found that it made the rosé taste alkaline and overpowered its bright and fruit notes.
The feta was fresh, rich, mild, and, while salty, it was not overpoweringly so. We thought it went well with the Territorial Rosé and brought out some tannin on the palate.
The Five Corners was soft, initially mild, but with a complex buttery musk on the finish. The Territorial Rosé was a pleasing accompaniment, but the butteriness of the cheese seemed to blunt the wine’s acidic crispness a little.
Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Pays d’Oc 2011: Less than 1000 cases produced. I found this to be crisp and lucid, with clean, clear berry fruits. Quite dry but not acerbic. Made from a blend of Grenache and Cinsault grapes from the Roussillon region. Many pairings are possible, but grilled chicken and vegetables is a top choice. $15.50
Calcu Rosé 2010: A perennial favorite of mine from the Valle de Colchagua, Chile. Made from 50% Malbec, 40% Syrah, and 10% Petit Verdot, there is some complexity to this round, slightly magical blend. It deserves its name, which means “magician” in a local language. $11.75
Druid’s Fluid Pink 2009: Lightly sweet, fruity, and easy to drink, Druid’s Fluid wines hail from Oregon’s Troon Vineyards in the Applegate Valley. If you’re looking for a crowd-pleaser, it’s “the wine for everyone”–in their own words. $12.00
Hey Mambo Kinky Pink 2010: A California Pinot Noir Rosé. A tasty, dry rosé that will cool off a hot afternoon, accompany salmon on the barbeque, or otherwise serve any function you desire of a dry rosé. Good value–and a fun name. $10.50
Melrose Two Dog Red 2009: Sweet but not too sweet, with a residual sugar of 1.7%, this rosé contains a fair amount of Pinot Gris. Another easy quaffer for a warm summer night, it would also make a good aperitif with many hors d’oeuvres. $12.00
Cardwell Hill Rosé of Pinot Noir 2011: From a small producer of excellent Pinot Noir, Cardwell Hill’s Rosé is dry and bright with a cherry/berry nose and a fresh finish. A fine value and versatile dinner guest from the Willamette Valley. $10.50
Charles & Charles Rosé 2011: Yes, you can drink rosé and still be bad… Edgy packaging and copy, and a solid mouthful of dry, bright syrah rosé. A bucket of ice is all it lacks. $10.50
Del Rio Rosé Jolee: A rosé that tastes sweeter than its official figure of .5% residual sugar because of the predominance of the heavenly fragrant Early Muscat that makes up 63% of the blend. 17% Riesling and 20% blend of red grapes makes up the rest of this salmon-colored wine that would be equally at home with spicy Asian food or a cheesecake dessert. $11.75
This list is not exhaustive, and it doesn’t even touch sparkling rosés, which also come in a spectrum ranging from the fascinating, complicated, and elegant to fizzy pink grown-up soda-pop. As the season warms up (yes, it will–I think it will…) we’ll be seeing more rosés from France, Spain, and Italy. Ask Ziggy to tell you exactly what’s in stock!
Josh: “I don’t have to go away for the weekend, I’m already here, ” says Fern’s Edge Goat Dairy owner, Shari, as she casts a proud glance across her farm indicating her view of Dexter Lake through the trees. She has been raising award-winning dairy goats at her beautiful farm in Lowell since the early 1970’s.
Happy goats produce good-quality milk, and her goats have every reason to be happy. Each goat is named and cared for as a member of the family, grows up on organic feed, dutifully produces milk, and then retires with her fellow “beloved old ladies” to live out her days in the bucolic pastures of the farm. She pays to have each goat’s milk tested every three weeks to ensure the health of the animals and the quality of the milk. Her impeccably-clean dairy results in fresh, clean-tasting cheeses that would never be described as “goaty”.
I chose to celebrate this devotion to sustainable farming, happy, healthy goats, and high-quality local cheese, by selecting Fern’s Edge Goat Dairy’s pride and joy, their Mt. Zion aged goat cheese, for this month’s wine and cheese pairing:
The Wine: Territorial Vineyard’s Rosé is fruity, bright and clean, portending of lazy summer evenings to come.
The Cheese: Mt. Zion is a raw, toothsome aged artisan farmstead goat cheese in the style of a Spanish Manchego. This cheese serves as a showpiece for a great collaboration between the goat herd owner and cheese-maker that brings together decades of of dairy goat experience with generations of cheese-making experience.
The Pairing: A good, straight-ahead, innocently refreshing rosé meets an older, more seasoned cheese and suddenly becomes more interesting.
What comes to mind when you think of fermented foods? Perhaps it is that dusty old jar of sauerkraut you keep pushing around the pantry shelf. After attending the Fun with Fermentation Festival last Saturday, I can tell you that the fermented foods of today are fresh, abundant and exciting. With over a dozen local food and beverage producers in attendance, there was certainly some sauerkraut to be seen, (and tasted), and a whole lot more.
Held at the historic WOW Hall, the festival is hosted by Willamette Valley Sustainable Foods Alliance (WVSFA) and is a benefit for Food for Lane Countyand WVSFA. What a great way to have fun and do good!
After donating our cans of food and getting our hands stamped for admission, our first tasty tidbit was some of Cousin Jacks Steak and Ale Pasty.
We got to chat with owner, Kim, who reminded us that the ale in their delicious pasty, courtesy of Ninkasi Brewing, is one of the oldest known fermented beverages!
Our next stop was at the Pickled Planet table where we tried one of their seasonal specialty blends, Blueberry Love Bomb.
Fermented blueberries? Yes. This will take your next salad to new heights.
Moving on, we sipped some Love Potion #9 from Herbal Junction Elixirs, an intoxicating fermented herbal beverage with saw palmetto.
Love bombs, love potions, love is in the air… ah yes, Valentines Day is not far off!
One of the best things about events like this one, is discovering new things. This happened when we came across the 8…9…Tempeh booth, formerly Magi Fungi. This gluten free and soy free tempeh was amazing! With garbanzo, black bean and quinoa varieties, it was versatile and delicious. Unfortunately they don’t have retail packaging yet, but they do take direct orders.
There were so many more good things, including Holy Cow tempeh sandwiches, Cafe Mam coffee, Brew Dr. Kombucha, Premrose Edibles Chocolates – (one of our favorites here at the Kiva), and Grateful Harvest Farms who make my personal favorite, Garlic Kraut. The cabbage is crunchy, not soggy, and the garlic flavor is robust! We also spent some time with the ladies of Mountain Rose Herbs and their loose tea leaves.
Ever wondered what the difference between black tea, green tea, oolong tea, or any of the other varieties is? It’s about the fermentation!
On our way out to pick up some Take Root Magazines, (winter issue now available at the Kiva), we ran into Molly of Mckenzie Mist Water. While the water isn’t fermented, it is a necessity, and it’s also the best stuff out there.
She was excited to tell us about her artesian well that provides so many of us with pure, unadulterated drinking water.
We made our way downstairs to find fermented beverages of the adult variety in abundance. Ninkasi had brought their record player for the enjoyment of all. Oakshire was there with four beers on tap and also Hop Valley. We got a sneak peek at Falling Sky Brewery, opening soon! We didn’t partake, except with our eyes, since we were working of course. It was great to see all the craft brewers of our fine city together in one place!
We came to the end of our fermented field trip, happy to have seen friendly faces and tasted so many vibrant flavors that come from so near us!
Grocery manager Tom, our liaison to local food producers, visited Hummingbird Wholesale today with our bulk buyer Zeke, our herb buyer Holly and our supplement buyer Sherrill. Hummingbird is a local distributor that has been providing outstanding products to each of these departments, and we wanted to see their operation up close.
Local Sourcing for Organic Staples:
“Our 2009 crop of Local Organic Pumpkin Seeds grown in Scio, Oregon, is now in stock. These large dark-green seeds offer a potent, rich pumpkin seed flavor without a bitter aftertaste, and they look beautiful. In order to share with our farmer the risk of growing this crop, we purchased the original seeds from which our seeds were grown. We were able to get these original seeds at a lower cost than last year and we had a much better yield per acre this year, so we have been able to pay our farmer more for growing the seed, and also reduce our price from last years’ crop by $.24/lb.”
Hummingbird is so committed to localizing the economy that they have several times shared the risk with the local farmers by investing in a crop before it was planted. Hummingbird feels that food security is important, meaning that locally produced food is not only better for the planet but local food producers are directly accountable to the end consumers so the entire food processing structure is more transparent. For instance, Hummingbird was able to monitor the entire growing process for sourcing the seeds to processing them in the case of the local organic pumpkin seeds. Hummingbird tested the seeds after processing and they had zero detectable contaminants.
Visit Hummingbird Wholesale yourself! From 10 AM to 2 PM on Tuesday and Thursday Hummingbird is open to the public as a retail establishment. Hummingbird Wholesale is located at 254 Lincoln Street in Eugene. Get to know the people behind this great company yourself!
Dairy Post: From the Farm to the Kiva
Brought to you by Emma Buckley, Kiva Dairy Department Manager
We are proud to carry eggs from four local farms at the Kiva. All of these eggs are from free-ranging chickens and ducks. We recently visited all four farms to get to know the farmers and to make sure our customers are getting the best quality eggs they can get.
Fritz and his wife Beverly have had their farm for forty years, and they have raised chickens the entire time. At first they were harvesting eggs for personal use, but have expanded the number of chickens they have on the farm to provide eggs for sale at local stores. They have over 100 chickens, all of the Red Star breed. Red Star chickens produce brown eggs. They are fed diatomaceous earth to prevent worms internally and mites in the nest. They are also fed fresh milk from the dairy, which they love! Additional supplemental feed is yard scraps (grass clippings, weeds from the vegetable garden, etc.), wheat, and a pellet mix containing wheat, oats, barley, soy meal, corn gluten, limestone, salt, vitamins and minerals. There are no chemicals or hormones in the pellet mix that the birds eat. Of course, the chickens supplement their own diet by pecking around in the large fenced pastures that they have rotating access to. The chickens always have access to the outside and spend most of their time out in the yard and pastures. By rotating which pastures the chickens have access to, Fritz can ensure that there is always plenty of bugs and grass for the chickens to peck at.
They also have Anconda, Moscovy and Pekin Ducks. The chickens and ducks have year round rotating access to fenced grass pastures. The ducks scavenge for the vast majority of their feed, but the chickens’ feed is supplemented by a layer pellet mix, oyster shells, and all the fallen fruit from the plum, apple, pear and cherry trees on the farm. There are no chemicals or hormones in the layer pellet mix that the birds eat.
Keith and Petrene have been raising chickens at Sweet Briar Farms for six years. They currently have 165 chickens. They raise Black Star, Red Star, Araucana, Blue Andalusian, Cuckoo Moran and Barred Rock chicken breeds.
This guy runs the roost at Sweet Briar. He followed us around the entire time, making sure we didn’t cause any trouble with his ladies!
Sweet Briar Farms is USDA certified and has a grant for brown power to reuse all the waste from the chickens and hogs to power the farm. They supplement their chickens’ feed with flax seed, squash, garlic, carrots, kale, celery, seed blocks, corn and apple cider vinegar. Of course, the chickens also eat insects and other small creepy crawlies when they are pecking around in their fenced pasture area.
Pamela Turpen and her husband have been running this family farm for 17 years with their two daughters. It is an entirely family run operation. They currently have 900 chickens. They raise many different kinds of chickens, including Golden Sex-Links, Araucana, Australorps , Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rock breeds. The chickens always have access to outdoor pastures on their 72 acre property. The chickens’ diet is supplemented with alfalfa pellets, ground whole corn, yard clippings that have never been fertilized or sprayed with pesticides, and a layer pellet containing corn, soybean meal, and vitamins and minerals. The pellet does not contain hormones or antibiotics. As always, chickens feed themselves with bugs and whatever else they can dig up while pecking around outside.