555 NW 12th Ave
Portland, OR 97209
The evening came about as jwa’s employer gave him an Oba! giftcard a few months ago for doing some extra work. The giftcard has actually just sat around the last couple of months in the dining room until I heard about this Argyle Wine Dinner. So, that was convenient and gave us about 55% off the total of the dinner.
In the beginning…
I don’t have a picture of how the evening started, but I can say tell you that it was Dungeness Crab Crostini with house made black raspberry conserves. This was very tasty and was served with Argyle Knudsen Vineyard Blanc de Noirs 1998, a white sparkling wine. We had a couple of glasses of that one — it was good.
Going into the dinner, I was a little apprehensive of a group setting as jwa and I both like to keep to ourselves in social situations. Upon arriving, we noticed that there were, in fact, four big tables.
As it turned out, it was just fine. A minute or two after we sat down a couple sat across from us, L & J, and we ended up talking with them all night. It was fun. Alcohol — such a great ice breaker!
Smithfield Ham -Wrapped Asparagus Spears with Apricot-Serrano butter. Served with Argyle Riesling 2004.
This was very good too. The ham was super salty and went well with the sweetness of the Riesling.
In between courses, Rollin would speak about the wine we were starting to drink and about the winery in general. He would start each with the introduction of clanging a knife against a glass and announcing, “This is a winemaker’s dinner and I am the winemaker…” This intro proved more and more helpful as the night (and the wine) wore on. These talks were also delivered in a Texas drawl, accented by the frequent use of the word “knucklehead”.
There was also an interesting sort of rivalry between different factions of Texas at this meal. It had something to do with sports teams and with Rollin and Scott Neuman, the chef, who later opened his chef jacket and revealed his team on a t-shirt.
Seared day-boat scallops, creamy polenta and tropical salsa paired with Argyle Nuthouse Chardonnay 2001.
I loved the scallops. And the salsa was fabulous. The chardonnay was very buttery and is produced in a converted nut house. There was something about Chardonnay clones and stuff but I don’t remember what exactly. Hey — this was after about five glasses of wine.
Here, I’ll go check the Web site.
- Nuthouse Chardonnay and Spirithouse Chardonnay are single vineyard wines, made in small quantities and are very limited in quantity…Starting with the 1995 vintage, Argyle Winery prestige Chardonnays are 100% Dijon clone. At 40 acres, Argyle Winery has the largest plantings of small cluster, Dijon chardonnay clones in Oregon.
In any case, I want to get a bottle of this now. jwa thought it tasted like butter too.
Roasted Lamb Chops with mashed Cuban sweet potato and guajillo chili demi-glaze. Served with Argyle Pinot Noir Reserve 2003.
This might have been my favorite course of all. I love lamb and these chops were amazing, as was the chili demi-glaze.
Chef Neuman came out and talked about a couple of courses before we ate them. Mainly, how he approached pairing a food with each wine and why. This was fairly interesting, even if I don’t remember most of the details now.
Coconut Angel Cake with almonds, rose water and raspberry coulis paired with another sparkling wine, Argyle Brut Rose 2003.
This was probably my least favorite, as it seemed a little denser than I expected. But hey, there was some stiff competition here. I would probably pick the the lamb as my favorite course, followed by the scallops, then the ham, then crostini, then cake. jwa, however, picked up an interesting combination between the cake and the wine and really liked it!