Portland Bloggers, Portland Food Bloggers, Portland Local, Review, Wine

Pairings Portland: How it Works

The worst thing you can do for a place is to keep it to yourself (AKA hoard it). I’ve kind of been doing that with a little shop up in NE PDX called Pairings Portland since about March. My original intentions of teaming up with Pairings Portland was to host a casual bloggers evening for late May, and after a visit with the owner, I was quick to realize that with its close-in location, conscious selection, and fun atmosphere, there was little chance I was going to ever get away from this place. We ended up planning a “Keep Portland Weird” pairing theme for the Portland Bloggers night, and the response from those who attended was extremely positive. While a narrow shop, the owner, Jeffrey, creates a flexible atmosphere–all aisles of wine are on rollers, and chairs and tables are easily moved to recreate the space a hundred different ways to accommodate groups. There are even tables and chairs outside for those looking to lounge with their wine and enjoy the delicious scents of 24th & Meatballs, Uno Mas, and The Sudra.

This shop is built like a wine shop but caters to those looking to sip a glass and socialize as well. It’s one of the only spots I’ve found in Portland that carries one of my sought after wineries–Truchard (base in CA). Pairings Portland specializes in wines that are organic and have not been inoculated. The shop is organized by different pairings–you dream it and the owner can pair it! You’ll find wines paired to food, emotions, and even TV shows! I found the funniest picture was snapped by my friend Macey the night of our bloggers event :)

The owner of Pairings Portland is Jeffrey, is a bubbly gent who is difficult to get pictures of as he rarely sits still! He’s extremely knowledgable and so very passionate about what he does. He is the mastermind behind each and every pairing in the shop–finding the strength in each bottle of wine and connecting them to different genres. I recently took one of his pairing courses and was delighted by the amount of applicable knowledge I learned during the afternoon course.

Exploring Wine Through the Pairings Basics Class

The key to pairing a good wine is to try it with a variety of tastes. Since my least favorite type of wine to drink is white (don’t read that the wrong way people–just when given the option, I usually go red or go home)–because it’s usually too sweet–I decided it was time for some forced growth and jumped into the course hoping that by the end, white wine would be more tolerable. We tried either a white or a red that had been picked for the class, and the first goal was to try it on its own and rate it. Then we applied different flavors to the pallet to basically manipulate the senses. For me, both acid and fat made the wine much more flavorful and enjoyable. Salt and sweets–not as much.   

The class’ little nibbles throughout kept you from getting too carried away with your wine, and with each step you tracked your rating of the wine’s taste. What I loved most about this class (besides Jeffrey’s wealth of knowledge) was learning how different the tastes of those around me were. It made me realize how difficult it could be to pick a wine to share at dinner–if others didn’t have the same tastes it could even ruin the experience! Luckily, for whites–most loved the addition of fats and the only disagreement was when it came to citrus with that particular white wine. 

Think the Wine Pairing Course is interesting? The shop holds the classes monthly and you can soak up all the knowledge and nibbles for a mere $25 a person. Pairings Portland also has an active events calendar–find that here. You will find Pairings Portland on the southwest corner of NE 24th & Glisan in NE Portland. Hours are Wednesday-Friday 2-8pm, Saturday & Sunday 12-8pm.

If you get a chance to stop by this Portland gem please let me know what you thought! Do you have a favorite wine shop?

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