Edit Blog Post
Published: January 26th 2011
Our home for the 2 days we visited Bob and Mary Ann
Never having been to any part of Oregon before, I only heard rumors of what to expect - the greenery, the coffee, the laid-back population, the Pinot Noir. As if to set the tone, Michael's cousin Bob called us as we pulled into town to let us know his favorite bar is right next to the Amtrak station and he'd meet us there. We did and within 2 minutes each had a glass of some fabulous Oregon Pinot Noir in our hands.
Now let me just take a minute to tell you this: I am not normally a fan of Pinot Noir. Nothing wrong with it, but given a choice I'll take a darker, fuller-bodied potion. But since we're deep in PN territory I've decided not to resist. Little did I know that when you ask for a red wine here, that's pretty much all they have to give you. Either that or it's just assumed that's why you came here in the first place, this is what we do exceptionally well and why WOULDN'T you want to drink PN you fool? And it's true. PN is such a difficult wine to make
and in its perfect state it reaches an elegant delicate rank that is the pride of not only the local vintners but of the population in general. Gotta respect that.
Cousin Bob and his wife Mary Ann showed us an all-around good time. First just by having the good fortune to live outside such an amazing city as Eugene (go Ducks!) and second by having an extensive network of neighbors and friends. Nowhere was this more evident than at Robbie's Windowbox Caffe, a once-weekly stop for Bob who was greeted with the appropriate amount of sass and retort as soon as he poked his head in. Robbie herself oversees the shop daily and she not only hosts a playfully cheeky group of regulars but also some weightier events - County Commissioners hold their "meet and greet" socials there. Despite the fact that there are about 2,000 other little coffee shops in the area, Robbie holds her own very well.
From the coffee shop to the University of Oregon campus to the King Estate Winery, we were shuttled around by Bob in a thin mist that could have broken out into a mild rain at
any time but seemed to choose not to. The mist, however, seemed to do Mary Ann's garden a world of good. But by "garden" I don't mean the little patch of lawn that most of us City People think of as a garden, no. She has the good fortune to have an ample amount of ground to work with as well as a talent for the pursuit that blows my mind. And when I complimented her work she explained that the garden wasn't even in bloom yet - we should come see it in its full glory. That's as good a reason for a future trip as any.
Our Eugene visit was topped off with an unexpected treat - an event at the nearby LaVelle Winery called Friday Night Flights. It consists of food, wine and music and it's the hottest thing going on in Eugene's outlying settlement of Elmira by far. Not that they have much competition. For $25, two people each get a glass of wine (provided by LaVelle) and a meal (provided by gourmet sandwich maker Devour, who roll their VW bus in for the occasion) and a wonderful night of guitar music (provided
last Friday by Brooks Robertson, a supremely talented young musician who Mary Ann confessed to having a little crush on and I imagine she's not alone). Due to the cold weather, the event took place in the facility where all the barrels of wine are stored. Plastic tables were topped with tablecloths and candles were perched everywhere. Neighbors and friends gathered for food, drink and gossip. It was one of the most charming affairs I've ever attended.
Bob and Mary Ann are members of the wine club at LaVelle. That seems to mean they get a steady flow of bottles from their winery neighbor, giving them a particularly explicit grasp of the details involved in Oregon winemaking. Everyone in the area talks about the local goods with a mindfulness of subtleties usually wielded only by wine professionals. Not bad for a bunch of old hippies, pioneer cowboys and retired drop-outs - wink, wink!
Tot: 0.876s; Tpl: 0.055s; cc: 14; qc: 62; dbt: 0.0296s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb