Wine writers, reviewers and media producers Robin and Michael Renken of Crushed Grape Chronicles BLEW. OUR. MINDS. by featuring our 2020 Rhapsody Pinot Blanc and 2020 Prelude Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir as their choice to celebrate Memorial Day 2021. The pair specialize in telling wine stories of the regions, the wineries, the people and the wines. But they don’t stop there. They also create bespoke recipes to match the wines, developing inspired pairings that bring people together to celebrate the whole point of wine: community.
In their post, “Bells Up – Wine to Celebrate Memorial Day,” the Renkens share some of our backstory and explain the winery name. They also write extensively about the two wines and their musical names.
About 2020 Rhapsody, they write:
They [the Specters] found this fruit “Lithe and Lively” and call this a jazzy white (so it is aptly named!). They aged it sur lie in Stainless Steel for 6 months. This adds body to the wine, rounding it out, but it still retains wonderful crispness.
About 2020 Prelude, they note:
There is not a lot of depth in a typical rosé it doesn’t sit on the skin very long, it comes out bright-eyed and a bit naïve, not having touched all the difficulties that the skin of the grape endured throughout the year, being made mostly of the juicy protected pulp of the grape. This wine is different.
This wine did a cold soak for 24 hours and then was lightly pressed. This gave the skins time to impart some of the lessons learned over the year to this wine. It is joyful despite adversity, not because it was sheltered from it.
The nose is at first dusty with bright red fruit beneath it as well as bramble, you know, the prickly part of the bushes that create such delicious fruit. It is a blend of light and dark.
So while joyful, this wine has depth and a sense of seriousness to it.
As if all this wasn’t wonderful enough, the Renkens went totally OVER. THE. TOP. They created SEVEN different food pairings to go with these two wines. Wanna see them? How convenient for you that they created this XXX-Food-Porn Video that showcases the food and the pairings. (Are you even kidding me with this???)
Their mouthwatering and refreshingly easy recipes include:
- Halibut Sliders with Garlic Parmesan Aioli: Fish in foil on the grill, dressed with an aioli sauce of grated parmesan, garlic, and mayo and topped with fresh thyme. They pronounced these to be “PERFECT with the Pinot Blanc!”
- Mexican Street Corn: Made with a sauce of mayo, sour crème, lime zest, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, and salt and pepper that is painted onto the corn after it is grilled, then you rolled in crumbled cotija cheese. “With the Pinot Blanc, the cotija cheese was so flavorful!”
- Watermelon Balls with Kiwi and Basil: Easy-peasy watermelon balls, sliced up kiwi, and fresh basil.
- Bahn Mi Inspired Sausage Dogs: Grilled sausage with a honey mustard dressing (stone ground mustard, mayo, and honey) smeared on the bottom of a brioche bun, topped with the sausage, thin ribbons of carrot and cucumber, and more mustard mixture and fresh mint. “I decided it was worth trying this with the Pinot Blanc and was rewarded. The Pinot Blanc brought out the smokiness in the sausage in a wonderful bright way. This was an unusual pairing, interesting and delicious.”
- Hamburger Sliders with Bleu Cheese and Fig Jam: Juicy little burgers topped while hot with bleu cheese and finished with a dollop of fig jam, sandwiched in a Kings Hawaiian Sweetbread wheat roll. “The rosé really made the bleu cheese pop!”
- Prosciutto Wrapped Cantaloupe: Slice the cantaloupe and wrap each slice with a delicate thin piece of prosciutto. “The savoriness of the prosciutto and the sweetness of the cantaloupe made this go well with the rosé.”
- BBQ Sliders with Purple Slaw: Pulled pork BBQ topped it with slaw from purple cabbage, apple, cucumber, and carrot, with a dressing of mayo, honey, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. “This was stunning with the rosé, the wine picking up on those sweet notes in the BBQ sauce.”
- Bonus Pairing: Salt and Pepper Crinkle Cut Potato Chips.
They conclude: “If you will be in the Willamette Valley and want to book a tasting, you can do that! They are a micro-boutique winery (ie. really small). The best part about that is the personal service. Call and schedule a one on one tasting with Dave himself!”