Coverage of the 2013 King Estate Tower Club Harvest Moon Festival

October 08 2013


In the company of our beloved Tower Club members, we celebrated the season’s bounty at the 8th Annual Harvest Moon Celebration on Friday, September 20th, 2013. Once again we gathered en masse for an evening of fine wine and food live music from a quartet lead by Michael Radliff.

The celebration’s menu featured fresh produce from our estate orchards, gardens, charcuterie kitchen, and bakery, supplemented by the high quality ingredients of three key vendors: fisherman Jacob Farrens of Oregon Pride Seafood, artisan cheesemaker Mariano Battro of La Mariposa, and pork farmers Mark & Kelly Payne of Payne Family Farms. These vendors gave special tastes of their products at the reception, and joined us for dinner.

Each of the evening’s courses, designed by Executive Chef Benjamin Nadolny, was carefully considered and paired with a selection from our wine library.

Photos from our 2013 King Estate Tower Club BBQ

September 27 2013


On a perfect July evening, we had the pleasure of hosting just over 300 wine club members for our annual summer BBQ. Each year we feature a fantastic menu of food and wine, and this year was no exception. Paying tribute to the different styles of BBQ across the country, we served regional specialties from the Pacific Northwest, Texas, and Tennessee, alongside mixed grill from our own charcuterie kitchen.  Guests took home freshly picked organic blueberries from our garden as party favors.


Wood Roasted Northwest Salmon with Apple Cider Gastrique, Caramelized Root Vegetables, Fingerling Potatoes & Blueberry-Cornmeal Cake


Slow Cooked Beef Brisket with Assorted Sauces,
BBQ Baked Beans with Pork Belly, Honey Glazed Carrots with Roasted Shallots & Red Velvet Cake


Dry Rubbed & BBQ Pork Spare Ribs,
Red Bliss Potato Salad with Crème Fraîche, Traditional Coleslaw & Pecan Tart


Estate-Made Sausages with Mustards
& Pickled Items, White Cheddar Mac & Cheese, Garden Salad


Artisan Cheeses & Accompaniments,
Assorted Estate-Baked Breads


2008 Blanc de Noir
2007 Signature Pinot Gris
2011 Luminous Pinot Gris
2006 Signature Pinot Noir
2006 NxNW CV Cabernet
2005 Domaine Pinot Gris Vin Glace


While some guests played lawn games, others danced the night away to Portland band “Five Guys Named Moe”, making their third straight appearance at this event. This 12-piece show band, rocking hits from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, is one of our favorites for live entertainment. A good time was had by all!  This event sells out every year, so contact Elizabeth Allcott at 541-942-9874 or to make advanced reservations for 2014.


Winner Declared in the Backbone Pinot Gris Recipe Pairing Contest

August 15 2013


Last fall we released a special Pinot Gris called Backbone, made from a blend of 5 top vineyards in the Willamette Valley. We posed a challenge to our members: create a recipe to pair with this wine. We received many incredible submissions – it was clear that our members are as passionate about food and wine pairing as we are. Picking a winner was no easy task, but in the end member Pam Spettel rose to the top. We were swayed by her story (Pam and her husband Scott were married at King Estate in 2010), her photos, her thorough instructions, and above all, her delicious creation.

Executive Chef Ben Nadolny prepared her recipe on video.  Click below to play, or watch on YouTube.


Curried Salmon Cakes with Mango Chutney
A recipe adapted by Tower Club Member Pam Spettel

Nearly three years ago, King Estate became a part of our family.  Our small wedding was held there, and we were truly made a King and Queen for the day. We still reflect on the thoughtful, specialized attention we received from Autumn Brown, Elizabeth Allcott, Catherine Davidson, Tobi Sovak, the chefs and each ancillary staff member who made our celebration one that is still talked about our friends and family as memorable. Our ten-ten-ten (October 10, 2010, at 10 a.m.) wedding couldn’t have been a more flawless, beautiful, day.

We still visit King Estate frequently, and enjoy the wines, the wonderful cuisine, and the attentive, professional staff. We have never once been disappointed, and are delighted to have such a high quality place to dine, celebrate, and relax in our area. That King Estate employs sustainable practices and environmental responsibility only makes it that much better.

Since King Estate provides a “backbone” of sorts to our family, it is with great joy that we submit this recipe for the Backbone pairing contest. We think that the curried salmon cakes and mango chutney synergistically highlight the wine’s tropical overtones and crispness. Hopefully you will as well.   – Pam

Mango Chutney
2 Cups peeled and diced fresh mango
Zest of one lemon (save the rest to juice)
2/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup peeled and minced fresh ginger-root
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2/3 cups rice vinegar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a non-alumninum saucepan over medium heat. Turn the heat down and simmer until the liquid becomes thick and syrupy, approximately 30-40 minutes. The chutney keeps in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks, and yields 2 1/2 cups.

Curried Salmon Cakes
1 (1 1/4 lb) skinless salmon filet, cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 T minced Italian parsley, fresh
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, fresh
3 T mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 T shallot, minced
1/2 cup apple, peeled and diced (granny smith or braeburn work well)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp Madras curry power
salt to taste (1/2 to 1 tsp)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Gently combine all ingredients, mixing until uniformly combined.

Place panko bread crumbs in a large plate or pie plate. Form about 1/3 cup salmon mixture into cakes. Carefully coat each cake in panko crumbs. Rest the cakes in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes.

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat until simmering. Place salmon cakes in skilled and cook with moving until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip cakes and cook until second side is golden brown, another 2-3 minutes. Serve.

Yields about 8 full-size cakes, enough to serve 4 people. Serve with King Estate Backbone Pinot Gris!

The 2012 vintage of the Backbone Pinot Gris was recently released. Classic and Ultimate members will be getting this wine in their summer release.

King Estate Hosts Special Demo and Dinner at Sprout! Kitchen

August 07 2013


Sprout! is a community food hub which strives to increase local food consumption and bolster the local food economy. King Estate Winery’s love for local food and our emphasis on stewardship has made our alignment with this organization a natural fit. King Estate donated a special cooking demo and dinner to Sprout! last spring, as the prize in a fundraising raffle. The event came into fruition this July, and King Estate Executive Chef Benjamin Nadolny was excited about the opportunity to share his passion and expertise with a group of Sprout! supporters. Nadolny conducted his cooking demo and dinner (with wine pairings, of course) at the Sprout! kitchen in Springfield. Twelve lucky guests enjoyed a 5 course meal comprised of locally grown and raised food products. The menu included:

Pastoral Amuse Bouche: ewe’s milk cheese, duck breast prosciutto, red beet, quail egg
Wine pairing: 2008 Blanc de Gris

Whiskey and Cherry Cured Salmon: pickled apricot, summer chive, curried kettle corn, cherry pinot gris ice
Wine pairing: 2011 Signature Pinot Gris

Baby Garden Vegetables: homemade ricotta, rosé mascerated strawberries, sprouted mustard seed
Wine pairing: 2012 Acrobat Rose

Seared Ling Cod: lamb belly bacon, morel mushroom, braised turnips, blueberry and pinot noir gastrique, balsamic marinated cucumber Wine pairing: 2011 Signature Pinot Noir

Dry Aged Filet of Beef: grilled asparagus and parmesan panzanella, red wine demi glace
Wine pairing: 2010 NxNW Columbia Valley Syrah

Flourless Chocolate Cake: brandied cherries, sea salt and caramel
Wine pairing: 2010 NxNW Columbia Valley Syrah


Sprout! promotes economic development through the support of emerging entrepreneurs and increased consumption of locally produced food through Kitchen@Sprout! -an incubator kitchen for use by small food-based businesses and farmers for value-added production. Marketplace@Sprout! is an indoor/outdoor year-round farmers’ market for retailing of locally produced food and related items. Hatch@Sprout! is a business incubator focused on the needs of the food industry.  Services include classes, workshops, one on one coaching, mentor groups, affordable office space, access to capital and more. Events@Sprout! provides the entire Sprout! facility to the public for event rental.

Vendor Profile: Ferns’ Edge Goat Dairy and La Mariposa Cheese

July 22 2013


King Estate’s culinary team recently took a trip to Fern’s Edge Goat Dairy, a small farm located in in Lowell, Oregon run by cheese expert Shari Reyna. Ferns’ Edge produces many different varieties of goat milk products, from fresh raw goat milk to cheese. Executive Chef Benjamin Nadolny‘s cheese products of choice include the dairy’s goat feta, and “purely plain” goat cheese. You can find a variety of Ferns’ Edge products on the menu at King Estate. A favorite is the Local Mesclun Greens Salad featuring garden vegetables, toasted walnut, lemon verjus vinaigrette with the choice of Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese or Ferns’ Edge Goat Cheese. The richness of goat cheese pairs wonderfully with our fine wines.

Ferns’ Edge cheeses can be found at many local grocery stores in Eugene, including Capella, The Kiva, Sundance, and even Market of Choice. You will also find cheeses made by Argentinian cheese maker Mariano Battro of La Mariposa Cheese. Mariano makes artisan cow’s milk cheeses using Ferns’ Edge’s kitchen, and is inspired by the cheeses of his family’s dairy back in Argentina. La Mariposa’s Chubut cheese is a regular on King Estate’s cheese plate.

Chef Nadolny has developed and nurtured strong relationships with local and regional producers, including Fern’s Edge and La Mariposa, which compliments King Estate’s philosophy of pairing Northwest wines with regional food products.

King Estate Wins "Best Savory Bite" at Chefs’ Night Out

May 23 2013

Chefs' Night Out 2013

This year’s annual Chefs’ Night Out proved, again, to be a successful fundraiser for FOOD for Lane County, with 100% of the ticket sales going directly to local hunger efforts. This gathering showcases all of your favorite Eugene restaurants, caterers, wineries and microbreweries under one roof. They offered samples of snack-sized bites of food, beverage, and dessert. King Estate offered tiny sandwiches made with Lamb Belly Bacon on Local Swiss Gougere with Green Apple, an assorted Charcuterie Plate with Saucisson Sec, Smoked Duck Breast Speck, Pork and Black Truffle Paté, and Espresso Panna Cotta with Cinnamon Spiced Donut. We also offered a variety of King Estate wine to pair.

Congratulations to all the winners: Best Overall Bite – Marché Restaurant.  Best Presentation/Hospitality – Sweet Life. Best Savory Bite – King Estate Winery. Best Vegetarian Bite – Govinda’s. Best Sweet Bite – Red Wagon Creamery.

Tower Club Release Party and Tasting

May 21 2013

Tower Club Release and Party

Last week we had the pleasure of hosting close to 600 guests over three days at our quarterly members-only tasting. We were graced by unseasonably gorgeous spring weather and held the event on the north patio of the Visitor Center. Tower Club members tasted six newly released wines and enjoyed some delightful nibbles prepared by Sous Chef Sean Winder, including Manchego and Quince Bruschetta with Pistachios, Salmon Cakes with Remoulade, and Pork Belly and Rouge River Blue Cheese Arancini with Roasted Tomato Aioli. Many members also opted to stay for dinner in our estate restaurant.

Invitations to these private tastings are extended exclusively to Tower Club members. Along with this benefit, members also receive limited-production wines, discounts on wine purchases, and complimentary tasting at the wine bar.

For more information about membership, please contact Tower Club Manager Elizabeth Allcott at or 541-942-9874, ext. 102.

Bees, Buds, and Blooms: The Beautiful Oregon Spring Arrives at King Estate Winery

April 08 2013

Spring Arrives at King Estate Winery in Oregon

King Estate Vineyard Manager Meliton Martinez estimates that bud break is still just around the corner, but other signs of Spring are popping up all across the estate. Daffodils, tulips, and native wildflowers decorate the landscape, and sheep borrowed from a local rancher dutifully graze on weeds between rows of grape vines. Our honey bees are diligently working, too. They return to their hives covered in pollen, which eventually becomes honey that we harvest and make available for purchase in the King Estate Visitor Center.

Garden Manager Jessie Russell just finished creating a walking path through the oak forest at the bottom of the hill below the main winery building, where visitors can take a stroll or sit in the shade and enjoy lovely views from all angles. She has begun planting spinach, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables intended for use in the restaurant at King Estate, or to be donated to Food for Lane County. Nearby in one of the ponds, Bullfrogs and Red-winged Blackbird harmoniously feast on insects. As the prospect of sunshine has become more promising, many visitors take a glass of wine out to our patio to enjoy the view.

Foraging in Oregon: Mushroom and Truffle Hunting with Executive Chef Benjamin Nadolny

March 07 2013

Foraging in Oregon: Mushroom and Truffle Hunting with Executive Chef Benjamin Nadolny

King Estate Executive Chef Benjamin Nadolny moved to Oregon eager to forage in the state’s lush forests. With it’s moist and mild climate, the Willamette Valley provides the perfect environment for fungus to fruit. The mycelium works as mycorrhizal, creating a symbiotic relationship with the roots of trees. Chef Nadolny started out hunting morels and chanterelles, then once he met local fungi expert Joe Spivack, he began to look for white truffles. Spivack has been providing The Restaurant at King Estate with locally foraged fungi since its inception. “Joe’s commitment to providing the best mushrooms from the woods plays a great role in the quality of our food at King Estate,” Nadolny said. “Joe helps me enrich the lives of my cooks by taking them on truffle forays and expanding their knowledge on the subject of mycology. This is important to us because most of our staff are culinary students and continuing their education is a part of our job.” Last year’s long, dry summer was perfect for the development of the grapes at King Estate, but not so great for fungi growth. It was an especially bad year for chanterelles, but that didn’t stop Nadolny and Spivack from looking for them.

Recently, the two went on a truffle foray at a top secret location near the winery. It’s on private land that Spivack has acquired permission to hunt on. “White truffles have a relationship with the trees,” Spivack said. “They really like to associate with young Douglas Fir trees, which is the most common tree in the Willamette Valley.” A good place to look for white truffles would be in a young Douglas Fir forest (10-30 year old trees) that was planted on land previously used as pasture, because it doesn’t have existing fungi that would compete with truffles. “It’s best to hunt with someone who has some experience, who can tell the difference between truffles and other underground fungi that are not edible,” Spivack said. It’s also important to be careful not to wander onto private property without permission. Gently rake a thin layer of pine needles and soil in a prime spot, and keep a look out for the delicate white truffles.

At King Estate, we celebrate Oregon food culture. Oregon white truffles are something Oregonian’s are proud of as Italians and French people have their own species of truffles. Locally foraged mushrooms and truffles are especially tasty when paired with Oregon wine. “The earthy, pine aromas of the chanterelles and porcini are nicely accented by the fruit and spice nuances of our pinot noir,” said Nadolny. “Shavings of raw porcini and white matsutake have a lighter, woodsy flavor that brings out the crisp apple and pear flavors of our pinot gris. A mushroom tastes best when the purity of the texture and flavor are preserved, which also makes it better to pair with our wines. Sometimes that might include just a light sauté and a splash of reisling, or a slow braise into a rich ragout to serve with a cabernet. Porcini, White Matsutake, and truffles we usually serve raw, shaved fresh, or coated with a touch of olive oil. Our morels we cooks with a little bit of butter fat, a rich olive oil, or cream to bring forward the nutty richness of this delicious spring mushroom.”

Currently, the restaurant is shaving white truffles fresh over the frisee salad with duck confit. Next week, the culinary team will be shaving them over confit asparagus with a quail egg. During the peak season they were offered complimentary over every dinner entrée.

King Estate Winery's Executive Chef Ben Nadolny

February 06 2013

King Estate Chef Ben Nadolny in Kitchen
King Estate Winery Executive Chef Ben NadolnyThere’s a feeling at King Estate that’s undeniable. It’s a passion for excellence that is apparent with each person you meet, and is especially evident concerning the most recent promotion of Ben Nadolny to Executive Chef at King Estate.

Executive Chef Ben Nadolny began his King Estate career as Sous Chef in 2007, shortly after the restaurant opened its doors, and was promoted to Executive Chef in 2012. His enthusiasm for seasonal, local, wild, and sustainably managed ingredients perfectly complements King Estate’s philosophy of pairing Northwest wines with regional food products. “I believe Ben is the hardest working, most inspired chef in the Northwest, and a very creative culinary thinker as well,” noted Ed King, CEO at King Estate.