How did we come to the end of the tour so quickly? It seemed only a week ago that we had opened the tour in San Francisco with a beautiful dinner at Slanted Door. As important it is to open the tour with a special dinner, it is equally the case for our end of tour dinner. Virginia had us booked in at Andina, listed as No.1 of Portland's 3,000+ restaurants, their cuisine was Peruvian inspired. In the afternoon, Virginia and I went to the restaurant and met with the Sommelier to make the wine choices for the evening, also to drop off a magnum of 2008 Archery Summit Red Hills Pinot Noir gifted to the group by winemaker Chris Mazepink 2-days earlier.
Their wine list was global and extensive, well-chosen and done so with the flavours of their Peruvian inspired cuisine top of mind. So, we selected a Growers Champagne (new nothing about it, relied on the Sommeliers advice), a Willamette Valley Chardonnay, a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and two reds… 2013 Tenuta Setti Ponti Crognolo (Super Tuscan Sangiovese dominant red from Italy) and Nicolás Catena Zapata 2011, a Cabernet/Malbec blend from outstanding Mendoza (Argentina) producer Catena Zapata.
I had earlier extended an invitation to Archery Summit winemaker Chris Mazepink and his wife Corianna, to join us for dinner and help us enjoy his amazing magnum of 2008 Red Hills Pinot Noir, much to our delight, he rang late in the afternoon to accept. We arrived at our private room at Andina at 6.45pm to be greeted with a glass of Champagne. After more glasses and much audible excitement, we were shown to our seats around a long table to have dinner.
Sommelier Jake (American European, but fluent in Spanish), explained the menu, talking us through the dishes brilliantly. We began with a trio of salads that were so fresh, tasty and different they had us all waxing lyrical. These were followed by our entrees, which equally drew forth praise from everyone. Between entrees and mains, I spoke to the group, recanting our 17-day tour, refreshing their memories of the many highlights plus commenting on the individual contributions of everyone on tour (lots of fun moments and laughs). At this stage, the magnum of Chris's Pinot Noir was poured. Everyone was taken by this stunning wine… gorgeous fruit with complex savoury contrast, a luxuriously smooth palate and a long silky, salivating finish. It showed the undeniable rewards of ageing good wine, a tremendous wine with many years ahead of it.
After our mains (again such tasty, gorgeous food, beautifully complimented by our duo of Italian and Argentinean reds) several of the group took turns to thank us and share their thoughts on how they enjoyed the tour. It had been a happy, fascinating and fun tour for us, but it is immensely rewarding (particularly to Virginia who spends much of the preceding year putting the tour together) to receive such heartfelt appreciation. After desserts and coffees, we headed back to the hotel where everyone congregated in the foyer to farewell each other (lots of hugs and kisses). It was tempting (and suggested by a few of us) to adjourn to the bar for a nightcap and a few more tales, fortunately, sanity prevailed as most of us had early starts in the morning, all heading home or to other destinations.
Virginia and I were driving 3.5 hours south of Portland to a golfing resort just out of a beautiful town called Bend. We were spending several days staying and playing at the resort with friends and fellow tourists, Rex and Kathleen Howe and Graham and Cathy MacKinlay… we were so looking forward to unwinding, devoid of any responsibilities. A sensational tour, thanks to everyone who put their faith in Virginia and me and came with us on the tour… thanks also for your various contributions throughout that made the tour so memorable.