Somm stories: What are your go-to Oregon wines for guests?

Ganna Federova and Jody Petit are Certified Sommeliers on opposite U.S. coasts, sharing  beverage director titles, as well as a love of Oregon wine. While Ganna serves as the national beverage director of City Winery in New York, with seven eastern locations offering music, food and wine, Jody is the wine director and assistant restaurant manager at the stately Allison Inn’s JORY Restaurant in Oregon.

Ganna Federova, National Beverage Director of City Winery

We sat down with each of them to ask which Oregon wines they pair with food, and which are instant hits with restaurant guests.

Says Ganna:

Oregon wine country has anything someone interested in wine might ask for – history and expertise, a range of microclimates, classic expressions of grape identity and creative experimentation.

Its community holds itself to an unbelievable standard of quality and integrity, from entry-level to ultra-premium bottles, which makes it a very reliable “go-to” region for any wine lover. Known for a classic, recognizably elegant and complex Pinot Noir, Oregon has an abundance of wines made from other grapes. Those wines are remarkably good and I hope we’ll be able to get more of them in every corner of the country soon.

For the three wines that are showing really well, I picked grapes other than Pinot noir exactly because I admire the wines made from that grape in all the variety of styles coming from Oregon and I love sharing them with my guests and my friends. But I invite you to celebrate the diversity of delicious, age-worthy, alive wines from Oregon.

2015 Hiyu Wine Farm & Smockshop Band Ramato Blend, Hood River, Columbia Gorge AVA
This wine is a trip to a Wonderland, with heady aromatics of Gewürztraminter, acidity and red fruit notes of Pinot Noir, and density and lushness of Pinot Gris that ties this co-fermented, skin-macerated blend together. It’s lovely and lively, with a big personality and so much life you’ll feel immediately rejuvenated. That’s it, it’s a soul elixir.

2017 Leah Jorgensen Cellars, Tour Rain Vin Rouge Oregon
A Loire Valley-inspired blend of Cabernet Franc and Gamay, Tour Rain is so pretty you won’t be able to stop thinking about it. Aromas of fresh raspberries, cherries and pomegranate give way to lifted notes of violets and hibiscus and develop into a seductive polyphony of cocoa bean aromas, roasted red peppers, cloves, and fresh tobacco leaf. It’s wonderfully tart with soft, yet abundant tannins. Pair with a day with your loved ones.

2012 Brittan Vineyards Estate Syrah, Willamette Valley
This a cool-climate Syrah is a yin-yang of deeply intellectual and sensual driving forces. I love the power in its elegance, notes of cracked black pepper, lilac and leather, and the core of tart red and blue fruits. Tiny yields, poor soils, and Robert Brittan’s magic winemaker’s touch make this wine a very special one. Let it speak, contemplate and admire.

JORY Restaurant at The Allison Inn and Spa

Jody Petit CS came here to Oregon’s Allison Inn by way of Detroit, Michigan, then Vail,Colorado where he served as a sommelier and beverage manager. Next stop was Jackson Hole, where he was beverage director and on the production side of a small winery. On a 2014 road trip, he fell in love with Oregon and began to plot his way back. When The Allison Inn and Spa and the JORY Restaurant called him with a Wine Director opportunity, he jumped at it and started in this position in February 2019. His first day of work was during the Chardonnay Celebration at The Allison.

One of the first things Jody keyed into in his new role was the importance of Oregon Chardonnay and how to highlight its uniqueness in exploring “the land more than the hand” for staff and guests of The Allison and its acclaimed restaurant JORY. By having the staff focus on the uniqueness of the AVAs and soils in Oregon, it could tell a great story on why the wine tastes the way it does. Education on soil types and Oregon’s 19 unique AVAs has proven to lend a great positive effect as they relay info to guests through of what’s in each bottle. JORY carries over 40 unique Oregon Chardonnays on their wine menu, arranged by AVA, with representation spanning from the tiny Ribbon Ridge AVA —2016 Brickhouse Cascadia and 2015 Sequitur—and 10 from the Dundee Hills AVA alone.

Together with Nathan Ducker CS, who recently moved to Oregon from Chicago, the two showcase back-pocket wines, too. For instance, when dining at JORY’s “chef’s table,” guests may be treated to a blind tasting featuring old world and new world wines side by side, paired with exciting cuisine and letting the wine speak for itself.

Jody’s favorite Oregon wines at JORY, in his words are:

2016 Flaneur Flânerie Vineyard Pinot noir, Ribbon Ridge AVA
I fell in love with its balance and herbal notes with just a hint of orange peel plus savoriness to make this Ribbon Ridge organically farmed wine go over really well with guests and staff.

2018 Walter Scott “La Combe Verte” Chardonnay, Willamette Valley
Showcases the Willamette Valley’s freshness alongside vibrant minerality.

2016 Sequitur Pinot noir, Ribbon Ridge AVA
Offered by the glass at The JORY. Now in its third year of production, the Sequitur vineyard is beginning to reveal its personality through the clonal diversity and the surrounding environment.

2015 Cameron Riserva Nebbiolo
An off the wall choice as I had never seen Nebbiolo growing in the Willamette Valley before, and this wine serves as a great conversation piece for the sommelier team. Its acidity makes it a great food pairing wine, and it finishes with power and finesse. This wine takes me to rustic Barolo Italy and stands out as a unique choice and discussion starter at several recent industry dinners featuring guests such as Evan Goldstein MS and Karen MacNeil visiting the Willamette Valley. It’s poetic up front, yet raw and animalistic in the finish.