In 2007 Rich Cushman, returned to his birthplace of Hood River, Oregon to be a part of the exciting emergence of winegrowing in the Columbia Gorge. Rich graduated from Oregon State and then went on to the UC Davis master’s program, followed by a year (Vintage 1980) at Weingut Dr. Bürklin-Wolf in Germany. He was at Weingut Dr. Burklin-Wolf in the village of Wachenheim an der Weinstrasse, in the Pfalz.
He began his Oregon winemaking career in the Willamette Valley in 1982. His Riesling vineyard, planted in 1981 is now the oldest Riesling in the Gorge. Rich makes his own label, VIENTO, in Hood River, with his sons – Peter as co-winemaker, and Joe working with vineyards.
Rich has been involved in the establishment of 21 wineries in Oregon. He also continues to consult for several wineries and work with the 4th generation master barrel maker, Alain Fouquet of French Cooperage in the Northwest.
Rich joined Mt. Hood Winery in 2007. As a Hood River classmate (Wy’East High School) of owner Steve Bickford he has brought the talent, knowledge and vision in showcasing the best of our Estate wines, in addition to varietals from the warmer sides of the region in the Columbia Valley.
One of the highlights of our cooperation is our semi-legendary Friday lunches at the winery where our winemaking group all get together to eat taste and share.
WINE SNIPPETS: The fifth wheel, dynamics of food and wine
We’ve always understood that humans can perceive four basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty and bitter. But some people who study food have concluded that a fifth taste exists. This taste is called umami (pronounced oo MAH me), and experts say that it is associated with a savory character in foods. Shellfish, oily fish, meats and cheeses are some foods high in umami taste. Umami-rich foods can increase the sensation of bitterness in wines served with them. To counteract this effect, try adding something salty (such as salt itself) or sour (such as vinegar) to your dish. Although this suggestion defies the adage that vinegar and wine don’t get along, the results are in the proof of the pudding.
~ WINE FOR DUMMIES, 2nd Edition
In The Works, More Reds to Come
If you haven’t noticed, or are new to the Summit Club, we have done a number of specialty small production lots for our members, this included the 2012 Grenache, the 2011 Barbera and Zinfandel and of course the Estate Reserve Pinot Noir.
In the future look for 2013 Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon from Echo Vineyards in Pendleton, along with a Merlot from Dry Hollow Vineyards in the Dalles.
Featured Summer Recipe
Indian Chicken Curry (Murgh Kari)
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup safflower oil
1 2/3 cups chopped onion
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger root
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 can chopped green chilies (optional)
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. water
1 (15 oz.) can crushed
1 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with 2 tsp. salt
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat; partially cook the chicken in the hot oil in batches
until completely browned. Transfer the browned chicken breasts to a plate and set aside.
3. Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium-high; add the onion, garlic and ginger to the oil remaining in the skillet and cook and stir until the onion turns translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir the curry powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander, cayenne and 1 Tbsp. water into the onion mixture; allow to heat together for about 1 minute while stirring. Mix the tomatoes, yogurt, 1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro and 1 tsp. salt into the mixture. Return the chicken breast to the skillet along with any juices on the plate. Pour 1/2 cup water into the mixture; bring to a boil, turning the chicken to coat with the sauce.
4. Cover the skillet and simmer until the chicken breasts are no longer pink in the center and the
juices run clear, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the cilantro and lemon juice to serve.
Serve this dish with our 2012 Estate Reisling!