Somm Series: Al Fresco Dining 



Intertwining their love for hospitality and wine, sisters Emma and Daisy Vande Brake have turned their Dundee roots into thriving careers in the Dundee Hills. While the local wine scene was being built around them as kids, the two sisters were absorbed in childhood adventures. 

They fondly remember extended family dinners with a dining table so long it curved into the hallway, their grandma’s strawberry soup, and sneaking olives before dinner. Every Thursday in their home was “Kid Cook Night,” where they would bury themselves in their mother’s recipe books, gather ingredients, and then cook dinner together for the family to share.

Today, Emma works as a Tasting Room Lead at Purple Hands Winery, while Daisy manages La Bastide Bed and Breakfast. Their journey from childhood to their current roles highlights a deep connection to family traditions and a shared love for their professions. Both sisters pursued wine education at Linfield University and completed the WSET Level II courses. They dream of someday opening a winery, restaurant, and tasting room together.

Despite their busy schedules, Emma and Daisy still look forward to Thursday family dinners – though now their parents do the cooking and the sisters bring the wine!

 

Course 1: Chickpea Salad (Recipe)

Featuring chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, kalamata olives and feta cheese.

Begin your al fresco meal with a refreshing white wine from one of our Dundee Hills wineries. Whether you choose the fruity notes of a Sauvignon Blanc or the fresh acidity of a sparkling wine, each sip will enhance the flavor of this Mediterranean salad.

Wine Characteristics – A white wine, either still or sparkling, with clean, crisp and fruit forward notes. 

  • Durant Winery 2022 Lark Sauvignon Blanc: The Sauvignon Blanc, grown by the Durant family, makes an exquisitely refreshing wine with notes of golden apples, honeysuckle, pineapple, and a fresh herb garden. The crisp freshness of the wine brings Mediterranean food a fun accent in flavors. The balsamic can increase these flavor changes but is unnecessary, as this salad is delicious without dressing. A mouthful of freshly grown vegetables helps highlight the wine’s crisp apple and sweetheart candy tartness. 
  • Roco Winery 2019 RMS Brut: Bubbles. Emma and I both love bubbles, no matter the method. However, a delicious Methode Champenoise from the Willamette Valley can accent this salad because it will tend to have bright green apple and pear flavors. Roco Winery has set up this fantastic program to create tiny, delicate, immaculate bubbles that dance on the palate. The flavors of this Brut highlight the freshness of the salad and are fun with the optional vinaigrette. Bubbles scream celebration, but Emma and I agree that bubbles are fun no matter the occasion.
  • Holloran 2022 Sauvignon Blanc Eola-Amity Hills: We selected another Sauvignon Blanc, this time from the Eola Hills, featuring tropical flavors like pineapple and peach. These notes complement the salad’s Mediterranean flavors, adding a summery vibe. The diverse Sauvignon Blancs from the Willamette Valley highlight the AVA’s depth and complexity, with this wine’s tropical notes perfectly enhancing the dish.

Course 2: Lemon Salmon (Recipe)

Featuring salmon, capers, lemon, garlic, oregano, paprika

Can you pair salmon with red wine? Yes! The capers in this recipe contrast with a jammy Pinot Noir and the citrusy saltiness of the salmon compliments. For those who prefer a Chardonnay, enjoy the silky texture and minerality of both the wine and the dish. A rosé can also be a delightful pairing, with the lemon of the salmon bringing forward the citrus and strawberry notes of the wine. 

Wine Characteristics – This dish lends itself to versatility in pairings, but Daisy and Emma recommend vintages with balanced acidity and tannins, as well as fruit-forward flavors.

  • Haakon-Lenai Winery 2022 Pinot Noir: This vintage is fruit-forward, with rich cherry pie and mixed berry flavors. It’s delicate, rich in tannins, and not overly jammy, which allows it to be enjoyed alone or with food. The jammy fruitiness contrasts well with capers, while the extra tannins complement the citrusy saltiness of the salmon. The fresh fruitiness of the 2022 Pinot Noirs will make them excellent pairing wines.
  • Haakon-Lenai Winery 2022 Chardonnay: Emma and Daisy prefer brighter, crisp Chardonnays, and Oregon Chardonnays consistently deliver these flavors. This soft Chardonnay is filled with honeyed fruit tasting notes. Paired with salmon, it highlights the wine’s silky texture and enhances its mineral flavors. The wine’s softness complements the fatty richness of the salmon perfectly.
  • Hyland Estates 2023 Rosé: This rosé is perfect for a summer evening, pairing well with any fish or chicken dish. It enhances the salmon’s lemon, bringing out the wine’s strawberry and citrus tartness. The lemon highlights the rosé’s raspberry and strawberry flavors, complementing the fish. Rosé of Pinot Noir, with its juicy berry flavors, is ideal for summertime and pairs wonderfully with lemon caper salmon
  • Winderlea 2021 Worden Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir: This Pinot Noir offers delightful complexity with dark cherry and ripe blueberry flavors that both sisters love. These fruity notes contrast nicely with the sourness and saltiness of the lemon and capers. This Pinot Noir benefits from Biodynamic farming and Jory soil that exhibits a natural, earthy profile with bright cherries. This wine pairs well with salmon on a cooler summer night, providing a delicious way to close out the summer season.

Course 3: Grandma’s Strawberry Soup (Recipe)

Featuring Oregon strawberries, cream, vanilla and Grenadine

A family heirloom recipe concludes this menu, and it’s made all the better by a wine pairing that compliments the sweetness of Oregon’s famous strawberries. The sisters admit to having licked their bowls clean more than once!

Wine Characteristics – Look for a wine that accentuates the strawberries in the dish, either by complimenting it through its own fruity notes or by contrasting it through brightness and acidity. 

  • Purple Hands Winery 2022 Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir: Shea Vineyard produces some of the juiciest, red fruit-forward wines in the Willamette Valley, thanks to the owners’ excellent care. This Pinot Noir, with dark cherry, cocoa, and licorice flavors, pairs wonderfully with strawberry soup. The wine’s rich red flavors become brighter with the soup’s sweetness, creating a fantastic combination.
  • Cramoisi 2022 White Pinot Noir: Cramoisi’s White Pinot is bright and acidic, balancing the soup’s sweetness and highlighting the fruit’s ripeness. This wine complements the Oregon strawberries in the soup, which Emma and Daisy love for their unmatchable bright and juicy berry flavors. 

 

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