While writing about the pot roast I forgot to mention my other adventures for the weekend: On Saturday I made apple/pear fruit leather, and we visited a couple of local wineries.

The fruit leather was basically the Best Thing Ever: easy to make, uses up a lot of those apples and pears we keep getting from the CSA, and very tasty. First I made applesauce (well, apple & pear sauce), which is ridiculously simple by itself: peel and cut up 4-5 pieces of fruit, boil with with some water, sugar and cinnamon for half an hour or so, and mash it up. To make the leather, spread it out on a silicone baking mat and bake at 170F for six hours or so. I basically screwed everything up; I cooked the sauce for an hour and a half, after managing *not* to turn off the stove before starting a workout, so there was no extra liquid left and the fruit had a few blackened bits. This made it harder to spread out in a thin layer; it remains to be seen if being less liquidy made for better fruit leather texture. Then the oven decided it doesn’t like staying on for a long time at low temperature – it had the same problem Sunday while trying to cook the pot roast at 225F for 3 hours. Seems like the gas doesn’t always relight when it tries to – fortunately the gas does NOT keep flowing when this happens – and then the oven doesn’t realize it needs to be warmer so it doesn’t try again. But neither of those issues spoiled the taste any. We went out to the wineries, the oven was barely warm when we came back, so I turned it back on and gave it another hour.

The wineries were interesting too.

We visited only two this time, Kramer and Elk Cove. Kramer is unique around here in that they sell a number of sparkling wines – made from Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir rose, and in Methode Champenoise with traditional Champagne grapes (I think those are a mix of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). I really liked the sparkling Müller-Thurgau, which is sort of a “lawnmower wine” – light, refreshing, not at all complex, and slightly sweet at the end. Ted didn’t like it as much as I did so I bought a bottle to take with me on the Rose City Yarn Crawl. My LYS is doing a van or small bus this year, to be a bit more comfortable than last year’s limo (which required a lot of crawling to get into the farthest seats) so I’m sure I can find people to help me drink it! Their non-sparkling wines were lower end, mostly $22 or under which is pretty reasonable for out here. They weren’t bad, especially for the price, but we weren’t bowled over either. We did end up buying one of their other sparkling wines (the Pinot Noir Rose, I think) to try at home.

Next we went to the other end of the spectrum, Elk Cove, where we’d been once before. They are one of the oldest vineyards in the area, and one of the priciest – their Pinots range up to $75 or so. They have two different tasting flights: a cheaper one with more variety (Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, etc as well as Pinot Noir) as well as a more expensive one of some of other their higher end Pinot Noirs. Bit expensive for our pocket, but it’s fun to taste them. In general we found they were good, but the $60 wines are most definitely not three times better than the $20 wines! Since this was a cloudy day in winter with rain on and off, it was fairly empty there compared to the time we went in summer. I think that benefited us; we bought two and a half bottles of their more reasonable wines and they comped both our tastings even though normally it would have covered only the cheaper one. (The half was a 375 ml bottle – very handy when one of us is out, or we both feel like having just one glass, and I appreciate that it costs just half of what a 750ml normal bottle of the same wine does – no premium price for the smaller bottle.)