New recipes

Oregon Garagiste

Oregon Garagiste

John Grochau is the classic impassioned winemaker. He makes around 5,000 cases out of his tiny Grochau Cellars winery in McMinnville, Oregon, just about enough to be a viable operation. He didn’t have the "cashout" or early retirement from a previous existence to get started, nor the cushion of family funding. In his case, he spent 13 years waiting tables and serving wine as a waiter, bartender, and floor manager at Higgins in Portland. Then a part-time stint at Erath Winery and an intensive four-year apprenticeship at Brick House Wines as Doug Tunnel’s assistant substituted for formal training in winemaking. Since 2008 Grochau Cellars has been his full-time job. The results show today as polished winemaking skills and an uncompromising outlook on the style of wine he wants to make.

On a recent visit to Dallas we tasted some of his wines at Hibiscus restaurant alongside the cooking of chef (and fellow Higgins alumnus) Graham Dodds. Any Oregon winery stands or falls on the quality of its pinot noirs, the state’s go-to grape. Grochau’s expressions from Dundee Hills and Eola-Amity Hills showed his appreciation for qualities other than massive power, extraction, and concentration. The 2012 Dundee Hills, in particular, bore its diffused fruit through a soft fabric of forest floor, herbs, and black pepper. It was the diametric opposite of the primal rush of California Russian River pinot noir, but not one bit a lesser wine for it. One might describe this elegant style as feminine.

The 2012 Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir brought a more structured expression of firmer tannins and more dark fruit. Grochau considers this his wheelhouse. He also considers it a wine age-worthy for a decade. The grapes are grown in volcanic soil in the proximity of the Van Duzer corridor, which provides a channel for air to and from the coast. This allows a path for cool air from the coast each evening (temperatures drop from 90 degrees F to 60 degrees F and accounts for vibrant acidity in the fruit.

On arrival at the winery, the grapes are hand-sorted; including the removal of overripe (raisiny) grapes, put into the fermenter, and sulphur (50ppm) added. The cap is punched down during the cold soak but is covered with CO₂. Once fermentation starts, twice daily punch downs are initiated until brix (sugar) levels are down to about three to five degrees. Then punch downs are scaled back in order to prevent the emergence of bitterness due to over extraction. The wine is racked into all-French, 25 percent new, barrels; the cooper (barrel maker) determined by the vineyard that is being processed. The wine ages in barrel for about 18 months.

Neither Grochau wine will snag 100-point scores from magazines obsessed with tiring, fruit-forward monsters. Rather, they appeal to the wine lover who likely cherishes Premier Cru red Burgundies (the quality level unspoiled by nods to New World styles, bearing a refined distinction in its own right). I admit to admire powerful, intense wines as well. But what is best is a world where I have a choice.

The tasting did not confine itself to reds. Grochau also makes Melon de Bourgogne (Muscadet) as both a dry monovarietal and blended with pinot blanc in a sweeter style. The dry version, in particular, had racy acids and precise fruit-acid balance that made it a well-tuned foil for Dodds’ oysters with gypsy pepper escabeche and lardo. Grochau believes there are likely only about 40 acres of Melon in Oregon. He gets his from the Stavig Vineyard due east of Portland in a very cool region closer to the Cascade Mountains than the Coast Range.[pullqote:right]

It is impossible not to regard the Melon de Bourgogne as an alternative to the ubiquitous pinot gris that flows like water out of Oregon wineries, and a welcome one at that. Also coming down the pike is a chardonnay from a 20-year-old vineyard in the south Salem Hills. The area has the same Jory soil found in the Dundee Hills AVA but is a little cooler. Grochau picks early for bright acids and then whole cluster presses. He settles the juice for only 24 hours before going to barrel for fermentation. The barrel treatment was 80 percent neutral and 20 percent in a new 500-liter puncheon. The lower surface area to size ratio versus standard 225-liter barrels results in a subtle new oak presence. I much anticipate its release in about a year.

One last question I put to John was when we could expect to see a "Marc d’Oregon." “I don’t have a still,” he dryly replied


Grochau Cellars’ individualistic wines are slowly making their way into distribution but may be best ordered directly from the winery website.


Filling Station

It&rsquos a quiet early evening at Garagiste, but already a handful of neighbors have come in. One needed a bottle of wine suitable for patio sipping while his folks visited from out of town. A few others popped in for a casual work meeting over a glass or two. A few others, I was told, would drop in later to refill their trusty reusable bottles.

There are barrels of 2014 wines stacked two-high at either end of the restaurant. The sleek Douglas fir bar and playful chalkboard menus are an invitation to stay awhile. Behind the bar are six 200-liter stainless steel tanks fit with spigots for bottle fills. They contain various wines made just a short walk away.

Such is the scene at Jan-Marc Baker&rsquos new north Portland joint, best described as a wine bar and restaurant. He opened Garagiste with his wife, Barbara, in April, a dream for a couple who met in culinary school in San Francisco three decades ago. The hope was to create a convivial, neighborly spot to showcase both their talents: cooking and winemaking.

&ldquoThe key is to let diners do things at their own pace,&rdquo Baker says. He shuffles back and forth between the kitchen, where he&rsquos preparing salmon, and the bar, fielding questions about his wines, including which one he&rsquod pair with the butter lettuce salad. Returning to the kitchen, he&rsquos talking fish now: &ldquoI drove back from The Dalles today and thought I&rsquod get some salmon on the way back.&rdquo

Baker worked the food scene in the Bay Area before heading north. He was always in the proximity of great wine, but most of his energy was tied up in cooking, catering and home-brewing. He moved to Portland in 1995, taking a job at a suburban country club. Here, he inched a little closer to wine, chatting up vintners at winemaker&rsquos dinners.

He started hanging out at Rex Hill in 1997, and in 2003, a few barrels became available. &ldquoThere is serendipity in everything,&rdquo he says. Baker opted to fill those barrels with wine of his making and a label was launched.

Currently, production is at about 1,000 cases per year and spans the varietal spectrum from Gewürz and Chardonnay to Pinot Noir and Merlot. The fruit is sourced from vineyards in the Gorge as well as Sunnyside Vineyard in Salem. As a PDX Urban Winery member, Jan-Marc&rsquos cellar is within city limits, just seven blocks from the restaurant in a converted two-car garage.

The benefits of making wine nearby are many. With a thirsty, captive audience, whether in the restaurant or neighborhood, in general, Baker can essentially hand-deliver his product. He can avoid the often costly and wasteful bottling approach by utilizing the tanks in his eatery. Moreover, the wines he does bottle incorporate the Vino-seal &mdash a reusable glass top system. To perpetuate the plan, the Bakers offer discounts on refills.

Just about everything Baker makes is available by the glass or bottle at Garagiste, including a dry and citrusy Riesling from 2012, as well as a floral, berry-driven 2013 Pinot. Two of his 2013s from the Gorge, the Syrah and Merlot, bear &ldquocampfire&rdquo in their names as they were made from fruit that &ldquocoughed&rdquo on a bit of smoke from a nearby wildfire. Interestingly, the smokiness does not overwhelm. Both wines show an intriguing amount of fruit and spice.

The Pacific Northwest-inspired menu is comforting and changes weekly, give or take a day. The salmon Jan-Marc was working on ended up being the headliner entrée, served on a bed of jasmine rice with fresh tomatoes and yellow corn vinaigrette. Other options included beer-braised bratwurst with potato salad and sauerkraut, and a fried chicken po&rsquo boy with couscous and green beans. Sides included a few salad riffs and marinated chèvre crostini, among other items.

Barbara Baker, a trained pastry chef, is in charge of the sweet side. Three impressive-looking cakes were available that day, including a classic chocolate version, carrot and angel food. Pies are typically available, too, the perfect accessory to a balmy night at Garagiste&rsquos outdoor patio.

In a city prone to fussy menus, Garagiste offers welcome escape in the form of simplicity. The quality is there, and it&rsquos arguably more obvious because it&rsquos not lost in convoluted techniques, obscure ingredients or posturing. In many ways, it&rsquos a reflection of its people &mdash Jan-Marc, Barbara, and bartender and longtime coworker Dave Hetz &mdash which is to say, laid-back, warm and easy to get along with.

The Rose City is now home to nine PDX Urban Wineries, according to the association, and even more labels given that several house multiple producers. Passports are available to those who wish to hit the urban wine trail and explore a plethora of varietals and styles, all within sight of the city&rsquos ever-growing skyline.

Garagiste is not the first to split the focus between food and wine, but it&rsquos arguably one of the best at juggling the two. Cyril&rsquos, in Southeast Portland, offers a well-curated, veggie and cheese-centric menu to accompany its Clay Pigeon wines. Southeast Wine Collective has expanded its menu from wine-friendly snacks to pastas, salads and roasts.

Back at the bar, Baker plates his catch of the day. Having thought it over, he decides to suggest a sample of both the Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay to accompany the steelhead. They both fare well, but the former expressly boosts the acid of the tomatoes and cuts into the richness of the fish. When I explain my findings, Jan-Marc sponges them up like any good neighborhood barkeep. &ldquoGood to know,&rdquo he says, returning to the kitchen.


Filling Station

It&rsquos a quiet early evening at Garagiste, but already a handful of neighbors have come in. One needed a bottle of wine suitable for patio sipping while his folks visited from out of town. A few others popped in for a casual work meeting over a glass or two. A few others, I was told, would drop in later to refill their trusty reusable bottles.

There are barrels of 2014 wines stacked two-high at either end of the restaurant. The sleek Douglas fir bar and playful chalkboard menus are an invitation to stay awhile. Behind the bar are six 200-liter stainless steel tanks fit with spigots for bottle fills. They contain various wines made just a short walk away.

Such is the scene at Jan-Marc Baker&rsquos new north Portland joint, best described as a wine bar and restaurant. He opened Garagiste with his wife, Barbara, in April, a dream for a couple who met in culinary school in San Francisco three decades ago. The hope was to create a convivial, neighborly spot to showcase both their talents: cooking and winemaking.

&ldquoThe key is to let diners do things at their own pace,&rdquo Baker says. He shuffles back and forth between the kitchen, where he&rsquos preparing salmon, and the bar, fielding questions about his wines, including which one he&rsquod pair with the butter lettuce salad. Returning to the kitchen, he&rsquos talking fish now: &ldquoI drove back from The Dalles today and thought I&rsquod get some salmon on the way back.&rdquo

Baker worked the food scene in the Bay Area before heading north. He was always in the proximity of great wine, but most of his energy was tied up in cooking, catering and home-brewing. He moved to Portland in 1995, taking a job at a suburban country club. Here, he inched a little closer to wine, chatting up vintners at winemaker&rsquos dinners.

He started hanging out at Rex Hill in 1997, and in 2003, a few barrels became available. &ldquoThere is serendipity in everything,&rdquo he says. Baker opted to fill those barrels with wine of his making and a label was launched.

Currently, production is at about 1,000 cases per year and spans the varietal spectrum from Gewürz and Chardonnay to Pinot Noir and Merlot. The fruit is sourced from vineyards in the Gorge as well as Sunnyside Vineyard in Salem. As a PDX Urban Winery member, Jan-Marc&rsquos cellar is within city limits, just seven blocks from the restaurant in a converted two-car garage.

The benefits of making wine nearby are many. With a thirsty, captive audience, whether in the restaurant or neighborhood, in general, Baker can essentially hand-deliver his product. He can avoid the often costly and wasteful bottling approach by utilizing the tanks in his eatery. Moreover, the wines he does bottle incorporate the Vino-seal &mdash a reusable glass top system. To perpetuate the plan, the Bakers offer discounts on refills.

Just about everything Baker makes is available by the glass or bottle at Garagiste, including a dry and citrusy Riesling from 2012, as well as a floral, berry-driven 2013 Pinot. Two of his 2013s from the Gorge, the Syrah and Merlot, bear &ldquocampfire&rdquo in their names as they were made from fruit that &ldquocoughed&rdquo on a bit of smoke from a nearby wildfire. Interestingly, the smokiness does not overwhelm. Both wines show an intriguing amount of fruit and spice.

The Pacific Northwest-inspired menu is comforting and changes weekly, give or take a day. The salmon Jan-Marc was working on ended up being the headliner entrée, served on a bed of jasmine rice with fresh tomatoes and yellow corn vinaigrette. Other options included beer-braised bratwurst with potato salad and sauerkraut, and a fried chicken po&rsquo boy with couscous and green beans. Sides included a few salad riffs and marinated chèvre crostini, among other items.

Barbara Baker, a trained pastry chef, is in charge of the sweet side. Three impressive-looking cakes were available that day, including a classic chocolate version, carrot and angel food. Pies are typically available, too, the perfect accessory to a balmy night at Garagiste&rsquos outdoor patio.

In a city prone to fussy menus, Garagiste offers welcome escape in the form of simplicity. The quality is there, and it&rsquos arguably more obvious because it&rsquos not lost in convoluted techniques, obscure ingredients or posturing. In many ways, it&rsquos a reflection of its people &mdash Jan-Marc, Barbara, and bartender and longtime coworker Dave Hetz &mdash which is to say, laid-back, warm and easy to get along with.

The Rose City is now home to nine PDX Urban Wineries, according to the association, and even more labels given that several house multiple producers. Passports are available to those who wish to hit the urban wine trail and explore a plethora of varietals and styles, all within sight of the city&rsquos ever-growing skyline.

Garagiste is not the first to split the focus between food and wine, but it&rsquos arguably one of the best at juggling the two. Cyril&rsquos, in Southeast Portland, offers a well-curated, veggie and cheese-centric menu to accompany its Clay Pigeon wines. Southeast Wine Collective has expanded its menu from wine-friendly snacks to pastas, salads and roasts.

Back at the bar, Baker plates his catch of the day. Having thought it over, he decides to suggest a sample of both the Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay to accompany the steelhead. They both fare well, but the former expressly boosts the acid of the tomatoes and cuts into the richness of the fish. When I explain my findings, Jan-Marc sponges them up like any good neighborhood barkeep. &ldquoGood to know,&rdquo he says, returning to the kitchen.


Filling Station

It&rsquos a quiet early evening at Garagiste, but already a handful of neighbors have come in. One needed a bottle of wine suitable for patio sipping while his folks visited from out of town. A few others popped in for a casual work meeting over a glass or two. A few others, I was told, would drop in later to refill their trusty reusable bottles.

There are barrels of 2014 wines stacked two-high at either end of the restaurant. The sleek Douglas fir bar and playful chalkboard menus are an invitation to stay awhile. Behind the bar are six 200-liter stainless steel tanks fit with spigots for bottle fills. They contain various wines made just a short walk away.

Such is the scene at Jan-Marc Baker&rsquos new north Portland joint, best described as a wine bar and restaurant. He opened Garagiste with his wife, Barbara, in April, a dream for a couple who met in culinary school in San Francisco three decades ago. The hope was to create a convivial, neighborly spot to showcase both their talents: cooking and winemaking.

&ldquoThe key is to let diners do things at their own pace,&rdquo Baker says. He shuffles back and forth between the kitchen, where he&rsquos preparing salmon, and the bar, fielding questions about his wines, including which one he&rsquod pair with the butter lettuce salad. Returning to the kitchen, he&rsquos talking fish now: &ldquoI drove back from The Dalles today and thought I&rsquod get some salmon on the way back.&rdquo

Baker worked the food scene in the Bay Area before heading north. He was always in the proximity of great wine, but most of his energy was tied up in cooking, catering and home-brewing. He moved to Portland in 1995, taking a job at a suburban country club. Here, he inched a little closer to wine, chatting up vintners at winemaker&rsquos dinners.

He started hanging out at Rex Hill in 1997, and in 2003, a few barrels became available. &ldquoThere is serendipity in everything,&rdquo he says. Baker opted to fill those barrels with wine of his making and a label was launched.

Currently, production is at about 1,000 cases per year and spans the varietal spectrum from Gewürz and Chardonnay to Pinot Noir and Merlot. The fruit is sourced from vineyards in the Gorge as well as Sunnyside Vineyard in Salem. As a PDX Urban Winery member, Jan-Marc&rsquos cellar is within city limits, just seven blocks from the restaurant in a converted two-car garage.

The benefits of making wine nearby are many. With a thirsty, captive audience, whether in the restaurant or neighborhood, in general, Baker can essentially hand-deliver his product. He can avoid the often costly and wasteful bottling approach by utilizing the tanks in his eatery. Moreover, the wines he does bottle incorporate the Vino-seal &mdash a reusable glass top system. To perpetuate the plan, the Bakers offer discounts on refills.

Just about everything Baker makes is available by the glass or bottle at Garagiste, including a dry and citrusy Riesling from 2012, as well as a floral, berry-driven 2013 Pinot. Two of his 2013s from the Gorge, the Syrah and Merlot, bear &ldquocampfire&rdquo in their names as they were made from fruit that &ldquocoughed&rdquo on a bit of smoke from a nearby wildfire. Interestingly, the smokiness does not overwhelm. Both wines show an intriguing amount of fruit and spice.

The Pacific Northwest-inspired menu is comforting and changes weekly, give or take a day. The salmon Jan-Marc was working on ended up being the headliner entrée, served on a bed of jasmine rice with fresh tomatoes and yellow corn vinaigrette. Other options included beer-braised bratwurst with potato salad and sauerkraut, and a fried chicken po&rsquo boy with couscous and green beans. Sides included a few salad riffs and marinated chèvre crostini, among other items.

Barbara Baker, a trained pastry chef, is in charge of the sweet side. Three impressive-looking cakes were available that day, including a classic chocolate version, carrot and angel food. Pies are typically available, too, the perfect accessory to a balmy night at Garagiste&rsquos outdoor patio.

In a city prone to fussy menus, Garagiste offers welcome escape in the form of simplicity. The quality is there, and it&rsquos arguably more obvious because it&rsquos not lost in convoluted techniques, obscure ingredients or posturing. In many ways, it&rsquos a reflection of its people &mdash Jan-Marc, Barbara, and bartender and longtime coworker Dave Hetz &mdash which is to say, laid-back, warm and easy to get along with.

The Rose City is now home to nine PDX Urban Wineries, according to the association, and even more labels given that several house multiple producers. Passports are available to those who wish to hit the urban wine trail and explore a plethora of varietals and styles, all within sight of the city&rsquos ever-growing skyline.

Garagiste is not the first to split the focus between food and wine, but it&rsquos arguably one of the best at juggling the two. Cyril&rsquos, in Southeast Portland, offers a well-curated, veggie and cheese-centric menu to accompany its Clay Pigeon wines. Southeast Wine Collective has expanded its menu from wine-friendly snacks to pastas, salads and roasts.

Back at the bar, Baker plates his catch of the day. Having thought it over, he decides to suggest a sample of both the Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay to accompany the steelhead. They both fare well, but the former expressly boosts the acid of the tomatoes and cuts into the richness of the fish. When I explain my findings, Jan-Marc sponges them up like any good neighborhood barkeep. &ldquoGood to know,&rdquo he says, returning to the kitchen.


Filling Station

It&rsquos a quiet early evening at Garagiste, but already a handful of neighbors have come in. One needed a bottle of wine suitable for patio sipping while his folks visited from out of town. A few others popped in for a casual work meeting over a glass or two. A few others, I was told, would drop in later to refill their trusty reusable bottles.

There are barrels of 2014 wines stacked two-high at either end of the restaurant. The sleek Douglas fir bar and playful chalkboard menus are an invitation to stay awhile. Behind the bar are six 200-liter stainless steel tanks fit with spigots for bottle fills. They contain various wines made just a short walk away.

Such is the scene at Jan-Marc Baker&rsquos new north Portland joint, best described as a wine bar and restaurant. He opened Garagiste with his wife, Barbara, in April, a dream for a couple who met in culinary school in San Francisco three decades ago. The hope was to create a convivial, neighborly spot to showcase both their talents: cooking and winemaking.

&ldquoThe key is to let diners do things at their own pace,&rdquo Baker says. He shuffles back and forth between the kitchen, where he&rsquos preparing salmon, and the bar, fielding questions about his wines, including which one he&rsquod pair with the butter lettuce salad. Returning to the kitchen, he&rsquos talking fish now: &ldquoI drove back from The Dalles today and thought I&rsquod get some salmon on the way back.&rdquo

Baker worked the food scene in the Bay Area before heading north. He was always in the proximity of great wine, but most of his energy was tied up in cooking, catering and home-brewing. He moved to Portland in 1995, taking a job at a suburban country club. Here, he inched a little closer to wine, chatting up vintners at winemaker&rsquos dinners.

He started hanging out at Rex Hill in 1997, and in 2003, a few barrels became available. &ldquoThere is serendipity in everything,&rdquo he says. Baker opted to fill those barrels with wine of his making and a label was launched.

Currently, production is at about 1,000 cases per year and spans the varietal spectrum from Gewürz and Chardonnay to Pinot Noir and Merlot. The fruit is sourced from vineyards in the Gorge as well as Sunnyside Vineyard in Salem. As a PDX Urban Winery member, Jan-Marc&rsquos cellar is within city limits, just seven blocks from the restaurant in a converted two-car garage.

The benefits of making wine nearby are many. With a thirsty, captive audience, whether in the restaurant or neighborhood, in general, Baker can essentially hand-deliver his product. He can avoid the often costly and wasteful bottling approach by utilizing the tanks in his eatery. Moreover, the wines he does bottle incorporate the Vino-seal &mdash a reusable glass top system. To perpetuate the plan, the Bakers offer discounts on refills.

Just about everything Baker makes is available by the glass or bottle at Garagiste, including a dry and citrusy Riesling from 2012, as well as a floral, berry-driven 2013 Pinot. Two of his 2013s from the Gorge, the Syrah and Merlot, bear &ldquocampfire&rdquo in their names as they were made from fruit that &ldquocoughed&rdquo on a bit of smoke from a nearby wildfire. Interestingly, the smokiness does not overwhelm. Both wines show an intriguing amount of fruit and spice.

The Pacific Northwest-inspired menu is comforting and changes weekly, give or take a day. The salmon Jan-Marc was working on ended up being the headliner entrée, served on a bed of jasmine rice with fresh tomatoes and yellow corn vinaigrette. Other options included beer-braised bratwurst with potato salad and sauerkraut, and a fried chicken po&rsquo boy with couscous and green beans. Sides included a few salad riffs and marinated chèvre crostini, among other items.

Barbara Baker, a trained pastry chef, is in charge of the sweet side. Three impressive-looking cakes were available that day, including a classic chocolate version, carrot and angel food. Pies are typically available, too, the perfect accessory to a balmy night at Garagiste&rsquos outdoor patio.

In a city prone to fussy menus, Garagiste offers welcome escape in the form of simplicity. The quality is there, and it&rsquos arguably more obvious because it&rsquos not lost in convoluted techniques, obscure ingredients or posturing. In many ways, it&rsquos a reflection of its people &mdash Jan-Marc, Barbara, and bartender and longtime coworker Dave Hetz &mdash which is to say, laid-back, warm and easy to get along with.

The Rose City is now home to nine PDX Urban Wineries, according to the association, and even more labels given that several house multiple producers. Passports are available to those who wish to hit the urban wine trail and explore a plethora of varietals and styles, all within sight of the city&rsquos ever-growing skyline.

Garagiste is not the first to split the focus between food and wine, but it&rsquos arguably one of the best at juggling the two. Cyril&rsquos, in Southeast Portland, offers a well-curated, veggie and cheese-centric menu to accompany its Clay Pigeon wines. Southeast Wine Collective has expanded its menu from wine-friendly snacks to pastas, salads and roasts.

Back at the bar, Baker plates his catch of the day. Having thought it over, he decides to suggest a sample of both the Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay to accompany the steelhead. They both fare well, but the former expressly boosts the acid of the tomatoes and cuts into the richness of the fish. When I explain my findings, Jan-Marc sponges them up like any good neighborhood barkeep. &ldquoGood to know,&rdquo he says, returning to the kitchen.


Filling Station

It&rsquos a quiet early evening at Garagiste, but already a handful of neighbors have come in. One needed a bottle of wine suitable for patio sipping while his folks visited from out of town. A few others popped in for a casual work meeting over a glass or two. A few others, I was told, would drop in later to refill their trusty reusable bottles.

There are barrels of 2014 wines stacked two-high at either end of the restaurant. The sleek Douglas fir bar and playful chalkboard menus are an invitation to stay awhile. Behind the bar are six 200-liter stainless steel tanks fit with spigots for bottle fills. They contain various wines made just a short walk away.

Such is the scene at Jan-Marc Baker&rsquos new north Portland joint, best described as a wine bar and restaurant. He opened Garagiste with his wife, Barbara, in April, a dream for a couple who met in culinary school in San Francisco three decades ago. The hope was to create a convivial, neighborly spot to showcase both their talents: cooking and winemaking.

&ldquoThe key is to let diners do things at their own pace,&rdquo Baker says. He shuffles back and forth between the kitchen, where he&rsquos preparing salmon, and the bar, fielding questions about his wines, including which one he&rsquod pair with the butter lettuce salad. Returning to the kitchen, he&rsquos talking fish now: &ldquoI drove back from The Dalles today and thought I&rsquod get some salmon on the way back.&rdquo

Baker worked the food scene in the Bay Area before heading north. He was always in the proximity of great wine, but most of his energy was tied up in cooking, catering and home-brewing. He moved to Portland in 1995, taking a job at a suburban country club. Here, he inched a little closer to wine, chatting up vintners at winemaker&rsquos dinners.

He started hanging out at Rex Hill in 1997, and in 2003, a few barrels became available. &ldquoThere is serendipity in everything,&rdquo he says. Baker opted to fill those barrels with wine of his making and a label was launched.

Currently, production is at about 1,000 cases per year and spans the varietal spectrum from Gewürz and Chardonnay to Pinot Noir and Merlot. The fruit is sourced from vineyards in the Gorge as well as Sunnyside Vineyard in Salem. As a PDX Urban Winery member, Jan-Marc&rsquos cellar is within city limits, just seven blocks from the restaurant in a converted two-car garage.

The benefits of making wine nearby are many. With a thirsty, captive audience, whether in the restaurant or neighborhood, in general, Baker can essentially hand-deliver his product. He can avoid the often costly and wasteful bottling approach by utilizing the tanks in his eatery. Moreover, the wines he does bottle incorporate the Vino-seal &mdash a reusable glass top system. To perpetuate the plan, the Bakers offer discounts on refills.

Just about everything Baker makes is available by the glass or bottle at Garagiste, including a dry and citrusy Riesling from 2012, as well as a floral, berry-driven 2013 Pinot. Two of his 2013s from the Gorge, the Syrah and Merlot, bear &ldquocampfire&rdquo in their names as they were made from fruit that &ldquocoughed&rdquo on a bit of smoke from a nearby wildfire. Interestingly, the smokiness does not overwhelm. Both wines show an intriguing amount of fruit and spice.

The Pacific Northwest-inspired menu is comforting and changes weekly, give or take a day. The salmon Jan-Marc was working on ended up being the headliner entrée, served on a bed of jasmine rice with fresh tomatoes and yellow corn vinaigrette. Other options included beer-braised bratwurst with potato salad and sauerkraut, and a fried chicken po&rsquo boy with couscous and green beans. Sides included a few salad riffs and marinated chèvre crostini, among other items.

Barbara Baker, a trained pastry chef, is in charge of the sweet side. Three impressive-looking cakes were available that day, including a classic chocolate version, carrot and angel food. Pies are typically available, too, the perfect accessory to a balmy night at Garagiste&rsquos outdoor patio.

In a city prone to fussy menus, Garagiste offers welcome escape in the form of simplicity. The quality is there, and it&rsquos arguably more obvious because it&rsquos not lost in convoluted techniques, obscure ingredients or posturing. In many ways, it&rsquos a reflection of its people &mdash Jan-Marc, Barbara, and bartender and longtime coworker Dave Hetz &mdash which is to say, laid-back, warm and easy to get along with.

The Rose City is now home to nine PDX Urban Wineries, according to the association, and even more labels given that several house multiple producers. Passports are available to those who wish to hit the urban wine trail and explore a plethora of varietals and styles, all within sight of the city&rsquos ever-growing skyline.

Garagiste is not the first to split the focus between food and wine, but it&rsquos arguably one of the best at juggling the two. Cyril&rsquos, in Southeast Portland, offers a well-curated, veggie and cheese-centric menu to accompany its Clay Pigeon wines. Southeast Wine Collective has expanded its menu from wine-friendly snacks to pastas, salads and roasts.

Back at the bar, Baker plates his catch of the day. Having thought it over, he decides to suggest a sample of both the Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay to accompany the steelhead. They both fare well, but the former expressly boosts the acid of the tomatoes and cuts into the richness of the fish. When I explain my findings, Jan-Marc sponges them up like any good neighborhood barkeep. &ldquoGood to know,&rdquo he says, returning to the kitchen.


Filling Station

It&rsquos a quiet early evening at Garagiste, but already a handful of neighbors have come in. One needed a bottle of wine suitable for patio sipping while his folks visited from out of town. A few others popped in for a casual work meeting over a glass or two. A few others, I was told, would drop in later to refill their trusty reusable bottles.

There are barrels of 2014 wines stacked two-high at either end of the restaurant. The sleek Douglas fir bar and playful chalkboard menus are an invitation to stay awhile. Behind the bar are six 200-liter stainless steel tanks fit with spigots for bottle fills. They contain various wines made just a short walk away.

Such is the scene at Jan-Marc Baker&rsquos new north Portland joint, best described as a wine bar and restaurant. He opened Garagiste with his wife, Barbara, in April, a dream for a couple who met in culinary school in San Francisco three decades ago. The hope was to create a convivial, neighborly spot to showcase both their talents: cooking and winemaking.

&ldquoThe key is to let diners do things at their own pace,&rdquo Baker says. He shuffles back and forth between the kitchen, where he&rsquos preparing salmon, and the bar, fielding questions about his wines, including which one he&rsquod pair with the butter lettuce salad. Returning to the kitchen, he&rsquos talking fish now: &ldquoI drove back from The Dalles today and thought I&rsquod get some salmon on the way back.&rdquo

Baker worked the food scene in the Bay Area before heading north. He was always in the proximity of great wine, but most of his energy was tied up in cooking, catering and home-brewing. He moved to Portland in 1995, taking a job at a suburban country club. Here, he inched a little closer to wine, chatting up vintners at winemaker&rsquos dinners.

He started hanging out at Rex Hill in 1997, and in 2003, a few barrels became available. &ldquoThere is serendipity in everything,&rdquo he says. Baker opted to fill those barrels with wine of his making and a label was launched.

Currently, production is at about 1,000 cases per year and spans the varietal spectrum from Gewürz and Chardonnay to Pinot Noir and Merlot. The fruit is sourced from vineyards in the Gorge as well as Sunnyside Vineyard in Salem. As a PDX Urban Winery member, Jan-Marc&rsquos cellar is within city limits, just seven blocks from the restaurant in a converted two-car garage.

The benefits of making wine nearby are many. With a thirsty, captive audience, whether in the restaurant or neighborhood, in general, Baker can essentially hand-deliver his product. He can avoid the often costly and wasteful bottling approach by utilizing the tanks in his eatery. Moreover, the wines he does bottle incorporate the Vino-seal &mdash a reusable glass top system. To perpetuate the plan, the Bakers offer discounts on refills.

Just about everything Baker makes is available by the glass or bottle at Garagiste, including a dry and citrusy Riesling from 2012, as well as a floral, berry-driven 2013 Pinot. Two of his 2013s from the Gorge, the Syrah and Merlot, bear &ldquocampfire&rdquo in their names as they were made from fruit that &ldquocoughed&rdquo on a bit of smoke from a nearby wildfire. Interestingly, the smokiness does not overwhelm. Both wines show an intriguing amount of fruit and spice.

The Pacific Northwest-inspired menu is comforting and changes weekly, give or take a day. The salmon Jan-Marc was working on ended up being the headliner entrée, served on a bed of jasmine rice with fresh tomatoes and yellow corn vinaigrette. Other options included beer-braised bratwurst with potato salad and sauerkraut, and a fried chicken po&rsquo boy with couscous and green beans. Sides included a few salad riffs and marinated chèvre crostini, among other items.

Barbara Baker, a trained pastry chef, is in charge of the sweet side. Three impressive-looking cakes were available that day, including a classic chocolate version, carrot and angel food. Pies are typically available, too, the perfect accessory to a balmy night at Garagiste&rsquos outdoor patio.

In a city prone to fussy menus, Garagiste offers welcome escape in the form of simplicity. The quality is there, and it&rsquos arguably more obvious because it&rsquos not lost in convoluted techniques, obscure ingredients or posturing. In many ways, it&rsquos a reflection of its people &mdash Jan-Marc, Barbara, and bartender and longtime coworker Dave Hetz &mdash which is to say, laid-back, warm and easy to get along with.

The Rose City is now home to nine PDX Urban Wineries, according to the association, and even more labels given that several house multiple producers. Passports are available to those who wish to hit the urban wine trail and explore a plethora of varietals and styles, all within sight of the city&rsquos ever-growing skyline.

Garagiste is not the first to split the focus between food and wine, but it&rsquos arguably one of the best at juggling the two. Cyril&rsquos, in Southeast Portland, offers a well-curated, veggie and cheese-centric menu to accompany its Clay Pigeon wines. Southeast Wine Collective has expanded its menu from wine-friendly snacks to pastas, salads and roasts.

Back at the bar, Baker plates his catch of the day. Having thought it over, he decides to suggest a sample of both the Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay to accompany the steelhead. They both fare well, but the former expressly boosts the acid of the tomatoes and cuts into the richness of the fish. When I explain my findings, Jan-Marc sponges them up like any good neighborhood barkeep. &ldquoGood to know,&rdquo he says, returning to the kitchen.


Filling Station

It&rsquos a quiet early evening at Garagiste, but already a handful of neighbors have come in. One needed a bottle of wine suitable for patio sipping while his folks visited from out of town. A few others popped in for a casual work meeting over a glass or two. A few others, I was told, would drop in later to refill their trusty reusable bottles.

There are barrels of 2014 wines stacked two-high at either end of the restaurant. The sleek Douglas fir bar and playful chalkboard menus are an invitation to stay awhile. Behind the bar are six 200-liter stainless steel tanks fit with spigots for bottle fills. They contain various wines made just a short walk away.

Such is the scene at Jan-Marc Baker&rsquos new north Portland joint, best described as a wine bar and restaurant. He opened Garagiste with his wife, Barbara, in April, a dream for a couple who met in culinary school in San Francisco three decades ago. The hope was to create a convivial, neighborly spot to showcase both their talents: cooking and winemaking.

&ldquoThe key is to let diners do things at their own pace,&rdquo Baker says. He shuffles back and forth between the kitchen, where he&rsquos preparing salmon, and the bar, fielding questions about his wines, including which one he&rsquod pair with the butter lettuce salad. Returning to the kitchen, he&rsquos talking fish now: &ldquoI drove back from The Dalles today and thought I&rsquod get some salmon on the way back.&rdquo

Baker worked the food scene in the Bay Area before heading north. He was always in the proximity of great wine, but most of his energy was tied up in cooking, catering and home-brewing. He moved to Portland in 1995, taking a job at a suburban country club. Here, he inched a little closer to wine, chatting up vintners at winemaker&rsquos dinners.

He started hanging out at Rex Hill in 1997, and in 2003, a few barrels became available. &ldquoThere is serendipity in everything,&rdquo he says. Baker opted to fill those barrels with wine of his making and a label was launched.

Currently, production is at about 1,000 cases per year and spans the varietal spectrum from Gewürz and Chardonnay to Pinot Noir and Merlot. The fruit is sourced from vineyards in the Gorge as well as Sunnyside Vineyard in Salem. As a PDX Urban Winery member, Jan-Marc&rsquos cellar is within city limits, just seven blocks from the restaurant in a converted two-car garage.

The benefits of making wine nearby are many. With a thirsty, captive audience, whether in the restaurant or neighborhood, in general, Baker can essentially hand-deliver his product. He can avoid the often costly and wasteful bottling approach by utilizing the tanks in his eatery. Moreover, the wines he does bottle incorporate the Vino-seal &mdash a reusable glass top system. To perpetuate the plan, the Bakers offer discounts on refills.

Just about everything Baker makes is available by the glass or bottle at Garagiste, including a dry and citrusy Riesling from 2012, as well as a floral, berry-driven 2013 Pinot. Two of his 2013s from the Gorge, the Syrah and Merlot, bear &ldquocampfire&rdquo in their names as they were made from fruit that &ldquocoughed&rdquo on a bit of smoke from a nearby wildfire. Interestingly, the smokiness does not overwhelm. Both wines show an intriguing amount of fruit and spice.

The Pacific Northwest-inspired menu is comforting and changes weekly, give or take a day. The salmon Jan-Marc was working on ended up being the headliner entrée, served on a bed of jasmine rice with fresh tomatoes and yellow corn vinaigrette. Other options included beer-braised bratwurst with potato salad and sauerkraut, and a fried chicken po&rsquo boy with couscous and green beans. Sides included a few salad riffs and marinated chèvre crostini, among other items.

Barbara Baker, a trained pastry chef, is in charge of the sweet side. Three impressive-looking cakes were available that day, including a classic chocolate version, carrot and angel food. Pies are typically available, too, the perfect accessory to a balmy night at Garagiste&rsquos outdoor patio.

In a city prone to fussy menus, Garagiste offers welcome escape in the form of simplicity. The quality is there, and it&rsquos arguably more obvious because it&rsquos not lost in convoluted techniques, obscure ingredients or posturing. In many ways, it&rsquos a reflection of its people &mdash Jan-Marc, Barbara, and bartender and longtime coworker Dave Hetz &mdash which is to say, laid-back, warm and easy to get along with.

The Rose City is now home to nine PDX Urban Wineries, according to the association, and even more labels given that several house multiple producers. Passports are available to those who wish to hit the urban wine trail and explore a plethora of varietals and styles, all within sight of the city&rsquos ever-growing skyline.

Garagiste is not the first to split the focus between food and wine, but it&rsquos arguably one of the best at juggling the two. Cyril&rsquos, in Southeast Portland, offers a well-curated, veggie and cheese-centric menu to accompany its Clay Pigeon wines. Southeast Wine Collective has expanded its menu from wine-friendly snacks to pastas, salads and roasts.

Back at the bar, Baker plates his catch of the day. Having thought it over, he decides to suggest a sample of both the Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay to accompany the steelhead. They both fare well, but the former expressly boosts the acid of the tomatoes and cuts into the richness of the fish. When I explain my findings, Jan-Marc sponges them up like any good neighborhood barkeep. &ldquoGood to know,&rdquo he says, returning to the kitchen.


Filling Station

It&rsquos a quiet early evening at Garagiste, but already a handful of neighbors have come in. One needed a bottle of wine suitable for patio sipping while his folks visited from out of town. A few others popped in for a casual work meeting over a glass or two. A few others, I was told, would drop in later to refill their trusty reusable bottles.

There are barrels of 2014 wines stacked two-high at either end of the restaurant. The sleek Douglas fir bar and playful chalkboard menus are an invitation to stay awhile. Behind the bar are six 200-liter stainless steel tanks fit with spigots for bottle fills. They contain various wines made just a short walk away.

Such is the scene at Jan-Marc Baker&rsquos new north Portland joint, best described as a wine bar and restaurant. He opened Garagiste with his wife, Barbara, in April, a dream for a couple who met in culinary school in San Francisco three decades ago. The hope was to create a convivial, neighborly spot to showcase both their talents: cooking and winemaking.

&ldquoThe key is to let diners do things at their own pace,&rdquo Baker says. He shuffles back and forth between the kitchen, where he&rsquos preparing salmon, and the bar, fielding questions about his wines, including which one he&rsquod pair with the butter lettuce salad. Returning to the kitchen, he&rsquos talking fish now: &ldquoI drove back from The Dalles today and thought I&rsquod get some salmon on the way back.&rdquo

Baker worked the food scene in the Bay Area before heading north. He was always in the proximity of great wine, but most of his energy was tied up in cooking, catering and home-brewing. He moved to Portland in 1995, taking a job at a suburban country club. Here, he inched a little closer to wine, chatting up vintners at winemaker&rsquos dinners.

He started hanging out at Rex Hill in 1997, and in 2003, a few barrels became available. &ldquoThere is serendipity in everything,&rdquo he says. Baker opted to fill those barrels with wine of his making and a label was launched.

Currently, production is at about 1,000 cases per year and spans the varietal spectrum from Gewürz and Chardonnay to Pinot Noir and Merlot. The fruit is sourced from vineyards in the Gorge as well as Sunnyside Vineyard in Salem. As a PDX Urban Winery member, Jan-Marc&rsquos cellar is within city limits, just seven blocks from the restaurant in a converted two-car garage.

The benefits of making wine nearby are many. With a thirsty, captive audience, whether in the restaurant or neighborhood, in general, Baker can essentially hand-deliver his product. He can avoid the often costly and wasteful bottling approach by utilizing the tanks in his eatery. Moreover, the wines he does bottle incorporate the Vino-seal &mdash a reusable glass top system. To perpetuate the plan, the Bakers offer discounts on refills.

Just about everything Baker makes is available by the glass or bottle at Garagiste, including a dry and citrusy Riesling from 2012, as well as a floral, berry-driven 2013 Pinot. Two of his 2013s from the Gorge, the Syrah and Merlot, bear &ldquocampfire&rdquo in their names as they were made from fruit that &ldquocoughed&rdquo on a bit of smoke from a nearby wildfire. Interestingly, the smokiness does not overwhelm. Both wines show an intriguing amount of fruit and spice.

The Pacific Northwest-inspired menu is comforting and changes weekly, give or take a day. The salmon Jan-Marc was working on ended up being the headliner entrée, served on a bed of jasmine rice with fresh tomatoes and yellow corn vinaigrette. Other options included beer-braised bratwurst with potato salad and sauerkraut, and a fried chicken po&rsquo boy with couscous and green beans. Sides included a few salad riffs and marinated chèvre crostini, among other items.

Barbara Baker, a trained pastry chef, is in charge of the sweet side. Three impressive-looking cakes were available that day, including a classic chocolate version, carrot and angel food. Pies are typically available, too, the perfect accessory to a balmy night at Garagiste&rsquos outdoor patio.

In a city prone to fussy menus, Garagiste offers welcome escape in the form of simplicity. The quality is there, and it&rsquos arguably more obvious because it&rsquos not lost in convoluted techniques, obscure ingredients or posturing. In many ways, it&rsquos a reflection of its people &mdash Jan-Marc, Barbara, and bartender and longtime coworker Dave Hetz &mdash which is to say, laid-back, warm and easy to get along with.

The Rose City is now home to nine PDX Urban Wineries, according to the association, and even more labels given that several house multiple producers. Passports are available to those who wish to hit the urban wine trail and explore a plethora of varietals and styles, all within sight of the city&rsquos ever-growing skyline.

Garagiste is not the first to split the focus between food and wine, but it&rsquos arguably one of the best at juggling the two. Cyril&rsquos, in Southeast Portland, offers a well-curated, veggie and cheese-centric menu to accompany its Clay Pigeon wines. Southeast Wine Collective has expanded its menu from wine-friendly snacks to pastas, salads and roasts.

Back at the bar, Baker plates his catch of the day. Having thought it over, he decides to suggest a sample of both the Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay to accompany the steelhead. They both fare well, but the former expressly boosts the acid of the tomatoes and cuts into the richness of the fish. When I explain my findings, Jan-Marc sponges them up like any good neighborhood barkeep. &ldquoGood to know,&rdquo he says, returning to the kitchen.


Filling Station

It&rsquos a quiet early evening at Garagiste, but already a handful of neighbors have come in. One needed a bottle of wine suitable for patio sipping while his folks visited from out of town. A few others popped in for a casual work meeting over a glass or two. A few others, I was told, would drop in later to refill their trusty reusable bottles.

There are barrels of 2014 wines stacked two-high at either end of the restaurant. The sleek Douglas fir bar and playful chalkboard menus are an invitation to stay awhile. Behind the bar are six 200-liter stainless steel tanks fit with spigots for bottle fills. They contain various wines made just a short walk away.

Such is the scene at Jan-Marc Baker&rsquos new north Portland joint, best described as a wine bar and restaurant. He opened Garagiste with his wife, Barbara, in April, a dream for a couple who met in culinary school in San Francisco three decades ago. The hope was to create a convivial, neighborly spot to showcase both their talents: cooking and winemaking.

&ldquoThe key is to let diners do things at their own pace,&rdquo Baker says. He shuffles back and forth between the kitchen, where he&rsquos preparing salmon, and the bar, fielding questions about his wines, including which one he&rsquod pair with the butter lettuce salad. Returning to the kitchen, he&rsquos talking fish now: &ldquoI drove back from The Dalles today and thought I&rsquod get some salmon on the way back.&rdquo

Baker worked the food scene in the Bay Area before heading north. He was always in the proximity of great wine, but most of his energy was tied up in cooking, catering and home-brewing. He moved to Portland in 1995, taking a job at a suburban country club. Here, he inched a little closer to wine, chatting up vintners at winemaker&rsquos dinners.

He started hanging out at Rex Hill in 1997, and in 2003, a few barrels became available. &ldquoThere is serendipity in everything,&rdquo he says. Baker opted to fill those barrels with wine of his making and a label was launched.

Currently, production is at about 1,000 cases per year and spans the varietal spectrum from Gewürz and Chardonnay to Pinot Noir and Merlot. The fruit is sourced from vineyards in the Gorge as well as Sunnyside Vineyard in Salem. As a PDX Urban Winery member, Jan-Marc&rsquos cellar is within city limits, just seven blocks from the restaurant in a converted two-car garage.

The benefits of making wine nearby are many. With a thirsty, captive audience, whether in the restaurant or neighborhood, in general, Baker can essentially hand-deliver his product. He can avoid the often costly and wasteful bottling approach by utilizing the tanks in his eatery. Moreover, the wines he does bottle incorporate the Vino-seal &mdash a reusable glass top system. To perpetuate the plan, the Bakers offer discounts on refills.

Just about everything Baker makes is available by the glass or bottle at Garagiste, including a dry and citrusy Riesling from 2012, as well as a floral, berry-driven 2013 Pinot. Two of his 2013s from the Gorge, the Syrah and Merlot, bear &ldquocampfire&rdquo in their names as they were made from fruit that &ldquocoughed&rdquo on a bit of smoke from a nearby wildfire. Interestingly, the smokiness does not overwhelm. Both wines show an intriguing amount of fruit and spice.

The Pacific Northwest-inspired menu is comforting and changes weekly, give or take a day. The salmon Jan-Marc was working on ended up being the headliner entrée, served on a bed of jasmine rice with fresh tomatoes and yellow corn vinaigrette. Other options included beer-braised bratwurst with potato salad and sauerkraut, and a fried chicken po&rsquo boy with couscous and green beans. Sides included a few salad riffs and marinated chèvre crostini, among other items.

Barbara Baker, a trained pastry chef, is in charge of the sweet side. Three impressive-looking cakes were available that day, including a classic chocolate version, carrot and angel food. Pies are typically available, too, the perfect accessory to a balmy night at Garagiste&rsquos outdoor patio.

In a city prone to fussy menus, Garagiste offers welcome escape in the form of simplicity. The quality is there, and it&rsquos arguably more obvious because it&rsquos not lost in convoluted techniques, obscure ingredients or posturing. In many ways, it&rsquos a reflection of its people &mdash Jan-Marc, Barbara, and bartender and longtime coworker Dave Hetz &mdash which is to say, laid-back, warm and easy to get along with.

The Rose City is now home to nine PDX Urban Wineries, according to the association, and even more labels given that several house multiple producers. Passports are available to those who wish to hit the urban wine trail and explore a plethora of varietals and styles, all within sight of the city&rsquos ever-growing skyline.

Garagiste is not the first to split the focus between food and wine, but it&rsquos arguably one of the best at juggling the two. Cyril&rsquos, in Southeast Portland, offers a well-curated, veggie and cheese-centric menu to accompany its Clay Pigeon wines. Southeast Wine Collective has expanded its menu from wine-friendly snacks to pastas, salads and roasts.

Back at the bar, Baker plates his catch of the day. Having thought it over, he decides to suggest a sample of both the Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay to accompany the steelhead. They both fare well, but the former expressly boosts the acid of the tomatoes and cuts into the richness of the fish. When I explain my findings, Jan-Marc sponges them up like any good neighborhood barkeep. &ldquoGood to know,&rdquo he says, returning to the kitchen.


Filling Station

It&rsquos a quiet early evening at Garagiste, but already a handful of neighbors have come in. One needed a bottle of wine suitable for patio sipping while his folks visited from out of town. A few others popped in for a casual work meeting over a glass or two. A few others, I was told, would drop in later to refill their trusty reusable bottles.

There are barrels of 2014 wines stacked two-high at either end of the restaurant. The sleek Douglas fir bar and playful chalkboard menus are an invitation to stay awhile. Behind the bar are six 200-liter stainless steel tanks fit with spigots for bottle fills. They contain various wines made just a short walk away.

Such is the scene at Jan-Marc Baker&rsquos new north Portland joint, best described as a wine bar and restaurant. He opened Garagiste with his wife, Barbara, in April, a dream for a couple who met in culinary school in San Francisco three decades ago. The hope was to create a convivial, neighborly spot to showcase both their talents: cooking and winemaking.

&ldquoThe key is to let diners do things at their own pace,&rdquo Baker says. He shuffles back and forth between the kitchen, where he&rsquos preparing salmon, and the bar, fielding questions about his wines, including which one he&rsquod pair with the butter lettuce salad. Returning to the kitchen, he&rsquos talking fish now: &ldquoI drove back from The Dalles today and thought I&rsquod get some salmon on the way back.&rdquo

Baker worked the food scene in the Bay Area before heading north. He was always in the proximity of great wine, but most of his energy was tied up in cooking, catering and home-brewing. He moved to Portland in 1995, taking a job at a suburban country club. Here, he inched a little closer to wine, chatting up vintners at winemaker&rsquos dinners.

He started hanging out at Rex Hill in 1997, and in 2003, a few barrels became available. &ldquoThere is serendipity in everything,&rdquo he says. Baker opted to fill those barrels with wine of his making and a label was launched.

Currently, production is at about 1,000 cases per year and spans the varietal spectrum from Gewürz and Chardonnay to Pinot Noir and Merlot. The fruit is sourced from vineyards in the Gorge as well as Sunnyside Vineyard in Salem. As a PDX Urban Winery member, Jan-Marc&rsquos cellar is within city limits, just seven blocks from the restaurant in a converted two-car garage.

The benefits of making wine nearby are many. With a thirsty, captive audience, whether in the restaurant or neighborhood, in general, Baker can essentially hand-deliver his product. He can avoid the often costly and wasteful bottling approach by utilizing the tanks in his eatery. Moreover, the wines he does bottle incorporate the Vino-seal &mdash a reusable glass top system. To perpetuate the plan, the Bakers offer discounts on refills.

Just about everything Baker makes is available by the glass or bottle at Garagiste, including a dry and citrusy Riesling from 2012, as well as a floral, berry-driven 2013 Pinot. Two of his 2013s from the Gorge, the Syrah and Merlot, bear &ldquocampfire&rdquo in their names as they were made from fruit that &ldquocoughed&rdquo on a bit of smoke from a nearby wildfire. Interestingly, the smokiness does not overwhelm. Both wines show an intriguing amount of fruit and spice.

The Pacific Northwest-inspired menu is comforting and changes weekly, give or take a day. The salmon Jan-Marc was working on ended up being the headliner entrée, served on a bed of jasmine rice with fresh tomatoes and yellow corn vinaigrette. Other options included beer-braised bratwurst with potato salad and sauerkraut, and a fried chicken po&rsquo boy with couscous and green beans. Sides included a few salad riffs and marinated chèvre crostini, among other items.

Barbara Baker, a trained pastry chef, is in charge of the sweet side. Three impressive-looking cakes were available that day, including a classic chocolate version, carrot and angel food. Pies are typically available, too, the perfect accessory to a balmy night at Garagiste&rsquos outdoor patio.

In a city prone to fussy menus, Garagiste offers welcome escape in the form of simplicity. The quality is there, and it&rsquos arguably more obvious because it&rsquos not lost in convoluted techniques, obscure ingredients or posturing. In many ways, it&rsquos a reflection of its people &mdash Jan-Marc, Barbara, and bartender and longtime coworker Dave Hetz &mdash which is to say, laid-back, warm and easy to get along with.

The Rose City is now home to nine PDX Urban Wineries, according to the association, and even more labels given that several house multiple producers. Passports are available to those who wish to hit the urban wine trail and explore a plethora of varietals and styles, all within sight of the city&rsquos ever-growing skyline.

Garagiste is not the first to split the focus between food and wine, but it&rsquos arguably one of the best at juggling the two. Cyril&rsquos, in Southeast Portland, offers a well-curated, veggie and cheese-centric menu to accompany its Clay Pigeon wines. Southeast Wine Collective has expanded its menu from wine-friendly snacks to pastas, salads and roasts.

Back at the bar, Baker plates his catch of the day. Having thought it over, he decides to suggest a sample of both the Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay to accompany the steelhead. They both fare well, but the former expressly boosts the acid of the tomatoes and cuts into the richness of the fish. When I explain my findings, Jan-Marc sponges them up like any good neighborhood barkeep. &ldquoGood to know,&rdquo he says, returning to the kitchen.


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