Venture out to the Stephanie Inn by following US 26 west from Portland, Oregon, to the south end of Cannon Beach, Oregon, approximately 80 miles away. The Inn is nestled between the coastal mountain range and the Pacific Ocean offering visitors luxury accommodations, gourmet dining and memorable experiences.
Stephanie Inn’s Executive Chef Aaron Bedard joins forces with staff to develop events centered around fabulous food and beverages. He collaborates with local chefs, wine and beer artisans in the area and other adventure experts to create unique guided adventures for guests at the Inn.
“Inside the Mind of the Winemaker: Blend your own Wine with David Adelsheim” was the last sojourn of 2018. The Inn’s management came together with the leadership at one of Willamette Valley’s oldest wineries, Adelsheim, and together they crafted an educational and exciting wine-centric event.
My friend, Laura, and I checked into the Inn late on a Wednesday evening. After settling into our well-appointed room featuring a fireplace, ocean view, patio and Jacuzzi Pure Air Bath, we made our way to the library for the complimentary wine and beer tasting. Later, we meandered to the front desk where we arranged for a driver to transport us in the Inn’s new Tesla to a local restaurant, Newmans at 988.
After savoring a delicious French/Italian meal prepared by Chef John Newman, our driver returned and escorted us back to the Inn. Before turning in for the night, we ventured back to the library for a nightcap. Chef Bedard formulates his own limoncello and Oregon hazelnut liqueur, both of which are delicious treats for hotel guests.
Laura and I enjoyed a relaxing morning and late breakfast at the Inn. At 1:00 p.m., we headed to the dining room and joined in the lively conversations with Inn staff, winery employees and other guests attending the event. We sipped on Adelsheim’s pre-release Sparkling Brut rosé 2014. Soon it was time to sit down and begin the real work. Sam Schmitt, VP of Education at Adelsheim, commenced the afternoon by teaching us about the winery’s history and grape varietals.
We sipped on wines made from various blocks, or sections of the vineyards, and learned about their different tastes, acid levels, tannins, and aromas. After more than an hour of education, the wine blending began. We moved to tables set up like individual chemistry labs. Each station consisted of five glasses with wine from different blocks, a beaker for blending, a tasting cup for testing, water for palate cleansing, a dropper for distributing, and a graduated cylinder for measuring.
We each began our mad science experiment by putting together our custom blend. Once we found our desired combination, we gave the formula to Sam and he blended two bottles for us to take home.
The event finale, a delicious dinner by Chef Aaron Bedard paired with Adelsheim wines, was a perfect ending to the day. The feast began with more of the pre-release Sparkling rosé. Once all 14 guests were seated, a glass of 2016 Ribbon Ridge Chardonnay was poured for each person and served with a pear and arugula salad. The micro arugula was topped with Anjou pears, pickled red onion, and shaved Hannah cheese. An apple cider vinaigrette dressed the salad.
Next, wild king salmon sat atop chanterelle mushrooms with a Pinot Noir beurre rouge and red wine gastrique. The earthy mushrooms paired beautifully with the 2014 Bryan Creek Pinot Noir. Chef Bedard cooked Calkin grapes and made a spectacular grape Pinot Noir sorbet as a palate cleanser. It was sweet and flavorful with a bit of tannin at the finish.
My favorite course was the roasted venison loin with house-ground creamy polenta, roasted spiced beets, sautéed chard and Pinot Noir reduction sauce. The 2014 Calkins Lane Pinot Noir with dark fruit and cherry notes comes from the Calkins Lane grapes grown in marine sediment soil.
I delighted in this deep purple wine that deliciously mingled with the loin and left a touch of black pepper at the finish. I rarely get the chance to enjoy venison and Chef Bedard cooked it perfectly. The polenta was rich and luscious with the addition of cream and a trace of goat cheese. I fancied this dish to the point of asking the chef for the recipe, and he graciously obliged.
We finished dinner with a silky vanilla cheesecake accompanied by a huckleberry compote, caramel tuile cookie and lemon curd. This tasty dessert was a great ending to a perfectly paired day.
This sojourn was tasty, educational and a lot of fun. When visiting the Willamette Valley in Oregon, be sure to visit Adelsheim for a wine tasting and a tour. Purchase a few delicious wines and bring them out to the Stephanie Inn to enjoy at the beach. Enhance the visit by participating in the next sojourn.
Sometimes when traveling it is necessary to stay at fabulous places that are a bit easier on the wallet. Stephanie Inn’s sister property, the Surfsand Resort, is an incredible option. Both destinations are beachfront properties with ocean-view accommodations. Cannon Beach is one of the best places to play and eat in the Pacific Northwest. Don’t miss an opportunity to experience what this fabulous area has to offer.