Last week I was fortunate enough to take a vacation to Portland, Oregon. Last year was the first time that I visited the West Coast and I knew as soon as I left that I would be back. But rather than make a trip back to Northern California, I wanted to head north to Oregon or Washington. I made it as far as Oregon and it was as far as I needed to go (for now).
Oregon is BEAUTIFUL. Portland is such a great city to visit because you can experience the city life and food, travel to East and visit the waterfalls and scenic views of the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood, travel West to the green and fertile vineyards of Oregon and Pinor Noir heaven, or drive an extra hour to the gorgeous, rocky coastline. We did everything! And in only five days. I will so be back!
During our trip to Willamette Valley, where most of the vineyards are located, we tasted several great wines. This region is best known for its Pinot grapes, making rich Pinot Noirs and light and refreshing Pinot Gris. There are a few other grapes grown in the region but I think the Pinots are the best. As my husband and I meandered through the valley, we started to notice that wild blackberries were growing like weeds all over the place! Apparently they are a weed in the region, which totally blows my mind! Fresh blackberries on the side of the road? You've got to be joking! No joke. We stopped and filled up a pint (empty from a farmers' market trip the day before) on our way out of WillaKenzie Winery. The blackberries you see in the picture above were the sweetest blackberries I have EVER tasted. Ridiculous.
When I left Oregon I was filled with good views, good wine, and good food (and a few extra pounds). I was sad to go but inspired by my experiences. In particular, I was inspired by the wine and the blackberries. So as a tribute to Oregon, I made a White (wine) & Blackberry Sorbet for you this week, made with Erath Pinot Gris. Enjoy!
White & Blackberry Sorbet
Adapted recipe from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz
Unfortunately I did not collect enough blackberries to fly them home with me, so I used frozen blackberries in this recipe. If you have access to fresh blackberries, definitely use them, but if not frozen berries will work just fine. You do not need to thaw them before using.
1 cup (200 g) sugar
¾ cup (180 ml) water
1 bottle (750 ml) unoaked white wine (I used Pinot Gris)
3 cups (15 ounces/400 g) fresh or frozen blackberries
Place first three ingredients (sugar through wine) into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow mixture to boil for one minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and add the blackberries. Cover and let steep for 1 hour.
Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve or strainer set over a medium bowl, and then use a rubber spatula to mash the berries and push the juice through the sieve (keeping pressing until you a left with seeds and juice stops running). You can also use a food mill fitted with a fine disk.
Cover and refrigerate mixture until thoroughly chilled. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer sorbet to a container, place plastic or parchment over sorbet (to prevent ice crystals) and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.