Savoring Salmon and Pinot in Portland

No trip to Portland…or any part of Oregon, for that matter… is complete without at least one salmon dinner, accompanied by a bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir.

If you have just one night for a salmon excursion, there’s only one option: Jake’s Famous Crawfish, which has been serving Portland residents and visitors since 1892. Jake’s roasts salmon on a cedar plank, rendering the fish the perfect foil for a barrel-aged Pinot Noir.

If you’re staying in town for a few days, another option is Salty’s on the Columbia River, which has salmon on the menu year-round, but during the month of April is featuring an amazing preparation of lobster and shrimp-stuffed salmon.

Other can’t-miss choices include Higgins, which includes bites of salmon in a Brazilian seafood stew; and Serratto, where the roasted king salmon is served with cauliflower puree, Brussels sprouts, grilled fennel and a nutty romesco sauce.

Based on the 2011 harvest in the Beaver State, these restaurants will have plenty of Pinot Noir to pour a few years hence. As was reported in The Register-Guard newspaper, 2011 produced a record crop of winegrapes—41,500 tons—even though vineyard land had decreased by 100 acres.

The key to the success of the vintage was a warm and sunny fall, something that never is a sure thing in Oregon. When all the grapes were weighed, there was 40 percent more Pinot Noir harvested than in 2010.

Growers and vintners are calling 2011 “a memorable vintage”, and not just because of the weather. I visited a number of Willamette Valley wineries just before Christmas, and the barrel samples of Pinot Noir that I tasted should evolve into very tasty, food-friendly wines.

Wines that will pair perfectly with Northwest salmon.

Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes, Wine Region Profiles
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