Friday, August 3, 2007

Making the word "chocoholic" valid!

1 comment
Who knew that such an indescript little building would house not only some of the most unique wines I've ever tasted, and one of the most colorful and non compos mentis vintners I've ever met. Paul van der Veldt and his winery Shallon Winery of Astoria, Oregon has been operating with doors open to customers 365 days a year for 27 years. Josh, Micheal, Chris and I all took a journey up the beautiful Oregon coast with this winery as our destination.

Being a one man shop Paul knows that it is entirely impossible to compete on any level with the "big boys" of the Willamette, Rogue, and Columbia Valleys here in Oregon. For this reason he has created an array of 6-10 different wines (depending on what he has in stock). The paramount of which I intend to introduce here now. However just as my friend Josh has previously attested to and I will put into different terms, the foreplay leads to the climax so bear with me.

If you walk into Paul's small Astoria storefront he will abruptly interupt the whirlwind paced guided tasting he is in the midst of to tell you to just wait your turn, only to immediately return to the story at hand 900-words per minute and all. Once he is ready for another group of customers, assuming you've stuck it out past the obtruse welcome, the tour begins with an interogation of who you are, what you do, and where you're from. Post-introduction Paul takes you into his backroom, the winery. A one room operation consisting of eBay-esque equipment bought, borrowed, or stolen from various Oregon locations each with a sordid yet colorful history of its own. Once you've endured the explanation of the murals on the side wall, the history of Astoria and surrounding area, and the explanation of the various wine making devices he uses it is time for the tasting.

This is where we'll jump straight to Paul's premier wine, the Chocolate Orange Whey wine. Among the many colorful and scrumptious wines of unthinkable flavors for wines the last to taste is the thick and rich Chocolate Orange wine, the wine Paul exclaims gives validity to the term "Chocoholic!" This wine, made from six different chocolates from four different countries, has no preservatives or any unnatural ingredients. The primary ingredient after the chocolate is whey... What is whey you ask? "Little Miss Muffit sat on her tuffit eating her curds and WHEY." Whey is the after-product of cheese production. After the curds have been pulled for cheese-making the liquid remaining is whey, the world's most nutritious substance per liquid ounce.

The chocolate, whey, and mystery orange flavoring are all added together to make an amazingly delicious wine like no other. I cannot write like this wine like any other wine and talk about flavors or hints of flavors. The name says it all, Chocolate and Orange. What I can tell you about is what to pair the wine with, how to enjoy it, and where to get some of your own. The wine will pair with about anything you can imagine premium chocolate to pair with, especially on some top-notch vanilla ice cream. Or, as Paul's own literature exclaims from item number 20, "on a friend." That too has a story behind it that Paul has scripted to share upon request...

For more information visit Paul in Astoria off 16th street just two blocks from the riverfront, or online at


1 comment:

  1. I'd also advise you to not cross Paul, as he will laminate and keep your business card and show it to people 20 years later as he tells stories about you (like a certain federal judge from the south...)