The first (hopefully annual) Nouveau Division Crawl on November 20, 2014 delivered a fun evening with decadent bites, perky beaujolais nouveau and live music along Portland’s Division Street. It put a Portland spin on the French tradition of celebrating the first wine made from the annual Gamay grape harvest. The event benefits local schools, with tickets priced $25-$30.
We picked up our tour ticket at the SE Wine Collective and lingered to enjoy the three young wines offered with generous tasting pours. I’m new to beaujolais nouveau and discovered it enjoyed wine that had been in the bottle for only days rather than years.
The first 50 people to complete all stops of the tour received a growler from SE Wine Collective. But traffic kept us from making that a reality, so we missed the stop at New Seasons Market where they were pouring both domestic and French wine.
The crispy pork shoulder confit with French lentils from SE Wine Collective Chef Althea Grey Potter was one of the best things I’ve eaten all year. She layered it with fall spices for a wonderfully unique flavor. We received three food tickets for the spread at this stop and I used one to get seconds of the pork! They also had oysters on the half shell from Restaurant St. Jack and pizza from CIBO. The wines were Gamay nouveau from Division Winemaking Co, Grenache nouveau from Fausse Piste Winery and a French beaujolais nouveau chosen by Joel Gunderson of St. Jack.
We strolled down Division to St. Honore Boulangerie where Chef Dominique Guerin was pouring Beaujolais Nouveau which he said had been bottled only 5 days (or was it hours?) before. He plated tarte flambe and charmed us as we listened to jazz by Hot Club of Hawthorne. It was a delightful stop that made me long to move to the neighborhood.
Onward to Block + Tackle for a gougere stuffed with crab while listening to blues by Kevin Selfe and the Tornadoes and sipping a Nouveau Nouveau Gamay Noir.
We decided to turn back for the dessert stops, first at Salt & Straw for a beaujolais bubble tea and sampling their Thanksgiving-inspired ice creams. The salted caramel Thanksgiving turkey flavor was actually fantastic.
We crossed the street carefully to Lauretta Jean’s and swooned over the lovely pies. Our bites there were two salted caramel chocolate brownies. You have until Sunday, Nov. 23 to order a Thanksgiving pie from them!
Our final stop was Son of a Biscuit for a piece of fried chicken topped with cranberry sauce with sweet potato fries. We were so full that we wrapped it up to take home.
The Nouveau Division Crawl is a great value, we were stuffed with the food provided, the wine pours were generous and the live music was great. It made for a wonderful evening out enjoying the great places on Division Street. Put it on your calendar for next year, and don’t miss other great events organized by the SE Wine Collective. They will have urban pre-Thanksgiving wine tasting and bites Nov. 22-23. 2014, open at 1 pm till 10 pm Saturday, 8 pm Sunday.