Mar 10, 2013

Posted by in Articles, Featured | 0 Comments

An Oregon Pinot Noir Enthusiast and Locavore Foodie Fanatic: That’s Me

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King Estate 09 Blackjack Block Vineyard Designate Pinot Noir – made with organic grapes

Everyone who reads knows I am not only a devoted wine enthusiast, they also know my wine enthusiasm is most evident when writing about Oregon Pinot Noir.  Oregon Pinot Noir is elegant, lush, and very often described as liquid silk.  Although many are full bodied, rich and have solid acidic backbones, there’s a precise delicacy that’s not found in any other wine.  And even though the Pinot Noir grape is considered “mysterious, seductive and difficult to manage,” much of Oregon’s terroir is perfect for growing this finicky grape.  Blend our terroir with some of the most talented winemakers in the world, and you’ve got world-class, high quality, stellar Pinot Noir.

Some of the typical aromas and flavors of Oregon Pinot Noir are cherry, raspberry, strawberry, rhubarb, cranberry, blackberry, cinnamon, mushroom, violet, sweet wood and earth.  Very often the mouthfeel is lush, juicy, full, round and arrives on the palate in seamless waves of silk – creating an abundance of elegance. But, one of the very best qualities about Oregon Pinot Noir is that they are super food-friendly.

excelsior farm stand

Excelsior Inn and Ristorante courtyard Farm Stand | photo: Excelsior facebook page

So, most of my readers already know I am a lover of fine Oregon Pinot Noir, but one thing they may not know is that I am an admitted foodie and locavore. Don’t know what a locavore is? offers a great definition and explanation of this particular term.

Question: What is a Locavore?

Locavore is a word often used to describe people who represent or take part in the growing local food movement. But what is a locavore exactly, and what distinguishes locavores from other consumers who appreciate the benefits of locally grown food?

A locavore (or localvore) is someone who is committed to eating food that is grown or produced within their local community or region.

What Do Locavores Eat?

Excelsior Maurizio

Excelsior Ristorante chef and owner Maurizio Paparo selects fresh vegetables from the Excelsior Farm for his culinary creations. | photo: Excelsior facebook page

Locavores may purchase local food from farmer’s markets, through a CSA (community supported agriculture) that provides local produce to its members, or at one of the growing number of national and regional supermarket chains that now stock a variety of locally grown foods.

There is nothing better than a glass of Oregon Pinot Noir next to a meal created from local sources and prepared by Oregon chefs; especially, those that are in and around my home town of Eugene, Oregon.  Three of my favorite places that use the bounty from their own farms to prepare and serve the finest and freshest ingredients in town are Heidi Tunnell Catering Company, Excelsior Inn and Ristorante and King Estate Winery.  Not only does each place have stellar food, but their wine lists have some of the absolute best Pinot Noirs in the state, or in my humble opinion, in the world.

HTCC desserts barn dinner

Locally sourced ingredients are used to prepare desserts for the famed Heidi Tunnell Catering Company Barn Dinners | photo: HTCC facebook page

My love for wine shines through the many articles and reviews on, but my love for food is mainly exposed through a super fun column I write on Eugene Daily NewsLocal Lunch Gals. Local Lunch Gals is a column based on Eugene’s food and wine scene as seen through the eyes of a teacher, a restaurant owner and a wine expert. It all started when two of my best friends from high school, Maria Curtis and Jennifer Rosales, and I would meet weekly at local restaurants for some girl time, food time and wine time.  We soon realized that each of us expected something unique from restaurants – an expectation that would either make or break our views on certain venues.  Maria, the teacher, is the menu-modifier – with her strict dietary restrictions, there’s never an item on a menu that isn’t going to need some modification, so the chef must be willing to tweak and adjust the menu for her.  For Jennifer, the restaurant owner, service and food quality are most important.  If either of these are lacking, Jennifer takes note.  For me, the wine expert, I not only appreciate a restaurant’s ambiance, but I expect restaurants to offer local wines.  Since we are located in the heart of the Willamette Valley, I am only fully happy if there is a list of wines that support our local wineries and wine industry.  I’m especially happy when I find wine lists that offer Oregon Pinot Noirs.  Creating Local Lunch Gals was a way we could share our thoughts and views on restaurants with our community – all while having a blast doing it.  As good friends, we get to spend time together while supporting our local economy and community of farmers, wineries, breweries and dining establishments.

KE wild turkeys

400+ turkeys live on hundreds of certified organic acres at the King Estate property | photo: King Estate facebook page

Being a Locavore has a trickle effect in a community, if you’re lucky enough to be living and loving life in the Willamette Valley and Lane County, support our local farmers by sourcing fresh food for your own home.  Visit Willamette Farm and Food Coalition, and of course, my three favorite Locavore havens: Heidi Tunnell Catering Company, King Estate Winery and Excelsior Ristorante.   Follow me over to Eugene Daily News to follow and read all of the Local Lunch Gals articles. Also, check out