IPNC Winemaker’s Dinner at Domaine Serene Winery

Thursday evening  we attended a pre-IPNC winemaker’s dinner at Domaine Serene Winery. Many of these dinners were available at various wineries and selecting which one to attend was difficult.  We so much enjoyed a visit and VIP Tasting at  Domaine Serene last year that we decided this would be our choice. Domaine Serene is owned by Ken and Grace Evenstad who came to the Northern Willamette Valley Oregon in 1989.

One of the highlights of the evening besides the wonderful food and wine was meeting and chatting for a while with Head Sommelier Dennis Kelly of The French Laundry in Napa.  Yes, that’s right, I’m name dropping.  :-)

…well…”for a while” might be stretching the truth abit and actually “chatting” is a gross exaggeration.  Ok, ok, I’m going to come clean here, I briefly fawned,  and shamelessly called him a Rock Star and then begged for a photo with him.   But yes, I did meet him.

It was HOT, guests find a place in the shade on the patio.

The evening began with a reception on the patio overlooking the beautiful scenery of the vineyard.  Upon arrival we were greeted with 2007 Rockblock “Del RioVineyard” Voignier.  Appetizers included:
  • Summer Vegetable Terrine on Thyme Crostini
  • Tartlet of Bay Shrimp and Grapefruit Salad
  • Boudin Blanc, Brioche Bun, Onion Marmalade

Sorry, no pictures, I think at that point I was just trying to “blend”,  but take my word; presentation was wonderful and flavors to match.

Inside for dinner, our first course, we were served a 2006 “Cote Sud Vineyard”  Chardonnay to pair with Lobster Flan, topped with summer black truffles, zucchini blossoms and tomato vinaigrette.  I must say the flavor combination on this plate was exceptional.   I really thought the squash blossom was the star.

Moving on to the next course, we were served 2006 “Evenstad Reserve” Pinot Noir.  It was served with slow cooked, house cured and smoked pork belly with Borlotti bean cream, shallot confit alongside a roasted fig.

Ok, I’ve never had pork belly before and I’m glad my first experience was this elegant.  I have preconceived notions of a deep fat-fried grease all over your hands and running down your arms situation.   Not the case at all, this was WONDERFUL.   Fabulous flavor with creamy melt in your mouth texture.  At the end of the evening questions from the audience to the chef shed no light on the secrets of this dish, with no more of a clue than “It’s a Louisiana secret”.  Drat!   :-)

Next Amber served us a 2006 “Grace Vineyard” Pinot Noir.

Midway through dinner, Grace Evenstad welcomed and addressed the group.

 Our next course, served with the above mentioned Pinot:

  • Grilled Filet of New York Steak
  • Sweet Corn, Chanterelles and chive “Tater Tots”

Steak and taters it was not.


The desert finale a 2005 Rockblock “Seven Hills Vineyard” Syrah served with:

  • Selection of Artisanal Cheeses with Grape Must and Pumpkin Jam

My first experience with cheese and Syrah as a dessert course was at a Penner-Ash winemaker’s dinner last year.  I love the idea and was thrilled to see this on the menu.  Delicious.  I’d like to see a show of hands of those who have eaten, prepared, or even know what “grape must” is.  I’d be lying through my Pinot stained teeth if I said yes to any of the above.   I’ll even take it a step further, I’m not sure I can even point it out on the plate.

 Our Chef for the evening was Kenny Giambalvo from BlueHour Restaurant in Portland.  He and his staff were invited to address the audience at the end of the evening.   He spent quite abit of time talking about and describing each course.  Loved this and hung on every word.  See the tall  smug skinny kid behind and to the right of Chef Kenny…he’s the one we need to hog-tie for that Pork Belly recipe.

More pictures below:

Where’s Waldo?



Me and my new BFF Dennis Kelly of French Laundry…

well…maybe not BFF’s… :-)

On this day..

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  1. says

    Oh those dinner’s are amazing aren’t they! That pork belly has me wishing for some right now. I wish it could have been cooler…today we finally have relief!

  2. says

    I’m really enjoying reading these posts about your trip, and the wonderful wines and wineries you got to experience. Except for that fact that I wasn’t there with you. I’m trying hard not to dwell on that. 😉

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