Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Rich Rewarding Day

After sleeping late and dreaming about broken wine glasses, I roused myself and drove out to King Estate Winery do do something I seldom have time to do: just taste the wines.
Josh ( shown here looking a bit fearful) took me through all the whites and reds while helping others on their exploration. The newest offering from King is a restaurant, on premise wine called Acrobat ($12). I was very impressed with its full flavor: lots of pear, green apple, in the nose and tropical fruits on the palate. Full mouth feel and a bit of a tang on the finish. Very enjoyable. I took two home and we had one with lemon, basil paste and it was perfect. My wife was surprised by the flavor as it is very pale in the glass.My favorite among the many whites was the '07 Domaine Pinot Gris: ($25) Lively and fresh with lots of peach and citrus, nice finish with a clean mineral taste.
The reds were all the North by Northwest brand, (yes, that is what NxNW means) and were all really good entry level wines for those whose palettes have not been honed to a sharp point by tasting hundreds of wines...or who just like a good, simple, drinkable wine. My favorite was the Cabernet Sauvignon- Walla Walla ($35). Deep rich red with strong ceder, berry, and earth. Soft finish and drinkable now.

 A very nice family from Taiwan, Katrina, Li-Hsiang, Tsung-min, and Jessie, was there enjoying their first tastes of Oregon wines and seemed very impressed by the wines and the place.I offered some tickets to our concert for them to enjoy while in Eugene so they will get a bit of "South of the Border next weekend.

As I left there were two cars at the bottom of the hill with the people out looking up at one of the trees. As I got closer I saw what was so interesting. He was balancing atop a spruce and his weight was bending it over. As I took the second picture, he sprang up and took flight down through the vineyards. Stunning!


Angela at Silvan Ridge had promised me a bottle so I showed up as she was still opening. As she turned around I realized how long it had been since I had seen her as she is "with child" and due in February! Very happy and radiant!She presented me with a bottle of their wonderful '06 Cabernet ($24). From their tasting notes:
The rich, velvety wine has quickly become a staff favorite! Smooth blackberry and raspberry flavors melt in your mouth upon entry, with well-balanced tannins lingering on a smoky oak finish. Truly an amazing example of Oregon Cabernet.

After I had tasted  through the wines that she had out she opened a bottle of the Cab and let me sample. Smooth, soft, and rich with great finish. Should be very drinkable in about 4-5 years.

Next stop, Sweet Cheeks Winery nestled atop the hill across the road. As I drove in I saw something that I have become so used to seeing that now I don't notice. The very well done murals on the end of the building as you drive in are worth a second look.
 Next time you are out there, take a close look.
I hang the paintings there in the tasting room and wanted to try some new ones out so after a taste of their many great wines I put up two paintings by Barry Geller.
My favorite wine there was the '08 semi-sweet Reisling. Tropical flowers, peach, and a hint of spice make this a perfect sipping wine.


The drive north on Terroirtorial Highway led me to Pfeiffer Vineyards and a visit with one of my favorite winery owners, Robin Pfeiffer. He took me in to the Pinot tasting room, separate from the regular tasting bar and very cave like. He let me taste an very lightly oaked blue line Pinot Noir from '08, then we got busy with a '06 Blue Dot Pinot Noir($60). He donated to the OMP "South of the Border" outreach fund so I get to talk about them from the stage on the 9th and 10th before the concert.

Eyrie Voted Best of the Year by Wine Revue Online

Wine Revue Online selected Eyrie Vineyard as the Best of the year:
Many reasons exist for choosing a winery as your Best of the Year.  I have named The Eyrie Vineyard as my Best Winery of the Year for reasons that include long term performance, historical significance and personal fondness for the people and the wines -- and also as an opportunity to memorialize David Lett, the winery’s inimitable founder and winemaker, who passed away this year. (more)

Great News from Southern Oregon

Cowhorn Vineyard, a donor last time and I hope this time, had a couple of great things happen for them:

APPLEGATE VALLEY, OREGON Hidden away in a remote river valley of a region historically known more for gold than grapes is COWHORN VINEYARD & GARDEN, a boutique Biodynamic® estate winery whose first releases are the toast of The James Beard Foundation, Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women Summit, and Oregon’s emerging eco-culinary scene.  (read more)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Great Reviews!

Kelly Fox, who was kind enough to donate one of her fine Pinot Noirs to our auction, got a very nice write up in Portland Monthly Magazine along with Belle Pente and Scott Paul (she is the wine maker there):
Last August, Oregonian wine writer Katherine Cole sang the praises of pinot noir from Burgundy, France. “Wines like these feel like a refreshing slap to the face,” she wrote. “They quiver with an electric energy that shocks the lips, waking up the palate to the possibilities of pinot.” Cole went on to conclude that “our local wineries are capable of observing all of these rules; many just choose not to.” More

Thursday, December 24, 2009

One Bottle, One Case

When I arrived at Anam Cara I was greeted by a very large dog and a small dog. They were VERY glad to see me, as if they new a dog lover when they saw one. After a couple of tries at connecting, Sheila Nicholas of Anam Cara Cellars was finally able to get a bottle in to my hands. I had been through and missed her, I had called with a wrong number, I had flaked out on a meeting, yet still she came through with a fine bottle of her best.
The '07 Nicholas Estate Pinot Noir ($33) is rated 90 points from Wine Advocate "...a lovely perfume of toast, mineral, spice box, cherry, and raspberry, Round, ripe, and elegant, this silky, savory wine is well balanced, lengthy and nicely priced."
It was aged for 11 months in 21% new french oak. The wine is made from 9% Pommard. 13%, Dijon 777,
23% 114, 26% 115, and 29% 667. Only 1,100 cases were produced.
 When I left she had to go out and keep my new friends from following me to my next stop.

I dropped of my collected wines with Rebecca at Northwest Wines To You, located at The Abbey outside Lafayette and headed off to pick up one bottle from Wayne Baily at Youngburg Hill Vineyards. The drive up was foggy but I hoped that when I got to the top the sun would break through...no such luck, but the trip was not without its rewards.
I encourage everyone who reads this to take the drive up and if you are in the market for a place to stay for a couple of days of wine country touring, this is among the best places to park yourself. The views are without peer!




From their own web site: "The spacious house features four suites and four luxuriously appointed guest rooms. All rooms have private in suite baths, comfortable chairs to relax in and enjoy the views. The house is centrally heated and air-conditioned. For the guests' enjoyment, on the first floor you will find a library, lounging salon and large dining room. The entire house is encircled by covered decks overlooking our vineyard and the valley to the Coast Range, Mount Jefferson, Mount Hood and the Willamette Valley."
When Wayne went in to get his "one bottle" it turned in to a CASE! He presented me with 12 bottles of the '06 Jordan Block Pinot Noir ($40). It has an intense flavors of black fruit, mushroom. chocolate, and pepper  and a soft mouth feel! Lush and rich and with good tannins, this is a keeper.
I plan on bringing Linda up for a stay one of these days as a treat for putting up with my crazy idea of gathering "one bottle" from all these wonderful wineries!

My last stop for the day, a short one by my usual standards, was Coelho Winery, but not for wine: they sell the  Brigittine Monks chocolate fudge! I picked up a box and was on my way. Someone is in for a treat on Christmas morning!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

South of the Border


OMP PRESENTS

Warm Your Soul
Saturday, January 9
8:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 10
2:30 p.m.

Soreng Theater
(Hult Center)

Program:
Chavez: Symphony No. 5
Ginastera: Variaciones Concertantes
Villa Lobos: Bachianas Brasilieras No. 9
Cortese: Tango Fantasy * world premiere
featuring surprise guests




Order tickets online here
or call 541.682.5000


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Outreach to Broader Audience

On Sunday, January10, 2010 at 2:30pm OMP will present its "South of the Border" concert in Soreng Theater at the Hult Center. The concert will feature music from three Latin American composers, plus a world premier of a “Tango Fantasy” written by our conductor, Glen Cortese. 
OMP will partner with Centro Latino Americano, an organization serving the Hispanic population of Eugene/Springfield, to bring the inspiration of live classical music, and in particular the classical music of Latin America, to a broader community than is typically served at classical music concerts in Eugene. With help from Centro Latino Americano, OMP will personally distribute up to 100 free tickets to the concert to selected families in the Eugene/Springfield Hispanic community. OMP will also host a bilingual reception before the concert, during which informational background on both the concert and the classical music tradition will be conveyed to the audience in both Spanish and English          
 Oregon Mozart Players South of the Border 2009–2010 Ticket Sponsorship Form
Yes, I would like to make a contribution to help sponsor free tickets in support of OMP’s outreach to the Hispanic community
at is January South of the Border concert!

$50: Ticket Sponsorship: Your gift of $50 can help defray the cost of giving two free tickets to a parent and a child.

$100: Family Ticket Sponsorship: Your gift of $100 can help defray the cost of giving free tickets to this concert to a family of four, including children.

$250: Bilingual Reception Sponsorship: Your gift of $250 can help defray the costs of holding the pre-concert bilingual reception

$500: Outreach Initiative Sponsor: Your gift of $500 will help underwrite a variety of concert expenses, including the cost of the reception, the free tickets to Hispanic families, and the cost of producing the concert

Name _______________________________________________________ I wish my gift to be anonymous _____
Address ________________________________________City __________________ State____ Zip ________
Phone __________________ Email ________________________________________________________
___ Check (Enclosed) ___VISA ___MasterCard Card #_________________________ Expires ____/____
Signature: ____________________________ Date____________ Zip Code:_________
Mail to: Oregon Mozart Players PO Box 11474 Eugene, OR 97440, Or donate online at http://oregonmozartplayers.org/


  Thank you for your help in this project

Monday, December 21, 2009

Domaine Drohin, Vista Hills, and more

I roused myself from bed about 7:00 and took off to make copies of my auction form at the Safeway. Thanks to their Starbucks, I was soon awake and ready to go. My usual spot for breakfast when I am up here is Farm to Fork and today it was just the right place to start a busy day. Almond Battered Brioche French Toast with
Honey-Orange Poached Quince, Marcona Almonds, Chantilly Cream, a side of crisp bacon, OJ, and I was ready to go.
First stop was at Eyrie to pick up a bottle of Jason Lett's '07 Pinot Gris. Last year they gave the '06 Pinot Gris because I ask for a wine that represented the daring spirit of David Lett, a pioneer in Oregon's wine industry.Eyrie was the first producer of Pinot Gris in the United States!
Here is his son, Jason, excepting a degree for Davis. Here is part two.
This is one of the best and most important speeches I have heard about the history of Oregon Pinot Noir.
Jacques (right) presented me with the bottle and I listened to him educate a couple about the complexity of Pinot Noir.

I went over to Panther Creek to ask for a bottle and met the wine maker, Michael Stevenson, who was dealing with a wounded dog. Another dog had went after his and she was still shook up when they came in. He was still gracious enough to spend a little time and present me with their new wine, Verde Vineyards Pinot Noir.
( from their tasting notes)
Bright, ruby red color and striking clarity are immediately noticeable on this first-ever bottling of Pinot from three sustainably farmed vineyards in the Willamette Valley: Momtazi Vineyard (bio dynamic), Temperance Hill Vineyard (Organic), and Elton Vineyard (L.I.V.E. Certified*). The nose is highly aromatic and shows spiced cherry, vanilla, lavender and rose hips. The mouth is velvety with fine tannins, flavors of wild raspberry, cinnamon,clove, touches of earth and Christmas spices.

A quick trip over to Carlton to visit Joni at Troon and taste the new Viognier. Great tasting wine! They have a really nice tasting room in Carlton, and along with a couple of other wineries from Southern Oregon, have introduced some new flavors to the mix. I don't yet know what, or if they will donate this year but I can hope.


After a quick bite I went up to visit Domaine Drouhin and meet with 
Jack Hastings,  Assistant Cellar Master, and Chris Burrough DDO.
They led me on an amazing tour of the entire facility from the tasting room and back.

We tasted the '08s in the barrel. Wow, this is going to be a great year for them. Lots of complexity and depth to all the ones we tatsed, all very different, but that is why they blend.
The whole visit was a little overwhelming! They were so generous with their time and knowledge that I wish I had taped the conversation.
(from StarChefs.com, by Jim Clarke) A French invasion sent ripples through the Oregon wine making community in 1988.  They didn’t come en masse, the way Champagne producers came to California.  Only one producer made the journey, but in the close, neighborly fraternity of Oregonian wine making, they made a splash - like a Peugeot in a pond. more
They presented me with a bottle of '06 Laurène Pinot Noir
In recent years, Laurène has been named one of the Great Wines of America by Paul Lukacs in his book of the same name and perennially one of Oregon's best wines by Portland Monthly Magazine (Sept. 2009).
                                                                                              Jack (right) and Chris (left) in the bottle room.



Last stop for the day was Vista Hills. Well named indeed! The view from the tasting room is breathtaking as are the wines. Here Dave Paterson, the general manager, holds their donation, the '07 Marylhurst Estate Pinot Noir.
Dr. Jay Miller's score in Wine Spectator: 89 Points.
"This intriguing Pinot Noir mixes spices with tart cranberry fruit, then shows some barrel time with toast and vanilla layers taking over through the finish."


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dundee, Carlton, McMinville and in Between


After a panic level morning of racing to the dealer to have them repair my air conditioning and the driving to Carlton by 11:30 to meet my friend Kelly Fox, I was exuberant when she presented me with a bottle of her Momtazi Pinot Noir. (reviewed here) 

Most winemakers dream of having their own eponymous label at some time in their career. Kelley Fox has been crafting wines in Oregon for ten years including terms at Hamacher, The Eyrie Vineyards and Torii Mor. Since 2005, she has been co-winemaker with Scott Wright at Scott Paul Wines, where she emulates the style of elegant Pinot Noir that her mentor at The Eyrie Vineyards, David Lett, taught her. As she notes on her website, www.kelleyfoxwines.com,    “What I love most about Pinot is its transparency. I prefer authenticity and even grit to armchair idealism. Pinot does this. There is something so real about it, for the better or the worse.” With the 2007 vintage, along with her father, Gerson Stearns, she has launched Kelley Fox Wines. Two vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs from Momtazi Vineyard and Maresh Vineyard have already created a buzz among pinot aficionados. The tiny production will have a small window of availability. Contact Michael Alberty at www.StorytellerWine.com in Portland, Oregon (503-206-7029, 800-753-2531).
Your browser may not support display of this image.

2007 Kelley Fox Wines Momtazi Vineyard McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13% alc., 133 cases, $39, screw cap. Sourced from a 10-year-old block of Dijon 113 and 115 clones. Bio-dynamically-farmed vineyard. · Light garnet color in glass. Mineral-infused aromas of cherries with a whiff of iron, wet stone and funk. Discreetly composed core of earth-dusted dark red fruits, especially bright, juicy cherries. Moderate tannins with balancing acidity. Very good and recommended. 


After visiting at Scott Paul I went over to  Ken Wright Cellars and see what  he had put aside for us. I was thrilled when he gave a '05 Abbot Claim and a '02 Tyrus Evan Claret. Tyrus Evan's tasting room is just across the street so I went over to taste the reds and get pricing for the donations. I am always impressed by Ken's skill in wine making. I had an argument with a fellow the other night at UVA wine bar about the effects of "place" on the grape and therefore the wine. The best example I had for him was the Syrahs from Tyrus Even: one from Del Rio and one from the Columbia Valley. These two wines, made from the same grape, are as far apart in smell, taste, and feel, as any I have tasted. Both are outstanding but one (Dell Rio) is earthy and richly fruity while the other is cleaner, brighter, and has a more complex back taste.
Carrie Simonson led me through the reds before I had to rush off to visit Troon and Alexana. Here she is holding the 'o2 Claret.

Lunch at Cielo Blue was Polo Scallopini with a nice Pinot noir. Fantastic! Perfectly done pasta tasty local chicken, and lots of bacon, artichoke, and sauce.

Relaxed, well fed, and determined to get a couple more bottles before the sun went down, I set out across the street to visit Alexana.  
(from the web site) Alexana Wines was born of Dr. Madaiah Revana’s love of the great wines of Burgundy. In the spring of 2005, Dr. Revana began a search for both the ideal region and an experienced winemaker with the goal of making Pinot Noirs that could rival those from Burgundy. His search ended in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where he met Lynn Penner-Ash .(More)

I met the Dr. at the IPNC this year and he promised a bottle so as soon as he gets done traveling I will be bringing back one of his exquisite wines. They also have a lovely tasting room. Kelda tasted me through the wines and I must say they are amazing, My favorite is the '07 Revana Vineyard Pinot noir. I was impressed by the grassy, floral notes and the spicy red fruit . It received a 92 from Parker and a 91 from Wine Spectator.

I had to rush over to Newburg and out to Sineann cellars to pick up Peter's donation. I had no idea what he had in mind. When I got there Russ was working in the lab and called Peter to see which bottle to hand over. He ran upstairs and came back with a CASE of '07 Lachini Pinot noir.
Blackberry and black fruit are prominent in this dark, dark  Pinot. Brown spice nutmeg  in both the nose and flavor.
I was overwhelmed! This will mean a huge amount for the OMP auction.
As I left I took this shot of the valley as the day began to fade.


Last stop of the day was Chehalem Winery where I met Deanna. She lead me through a tasting of the Chardonnays. I really love the whites they produce. They are crisp, steely, and clean with lots of texture and complexity. They gave a bottle of the INOX, as they did last year, and I bought a bottle to enjoy with fruit and cheese at a friends house later that night.
I had dinner at Press Wine Bar and met Jack Hasting and
Chris Burrough who work at Domaine Drouhin and after a great meal and some good conversation, they invited me for a tour of the winery and offered a bottle of their fine wine. We arranged to meet at the winery in the morning.



Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Scores for Oregon Wines

Volcano Vineyards  '06 Lakeside-Serenade Syrah got an 88 from The Wine Spectator. 

The latest issue of Portland Monthly rated Archery Summit's 2006 Red Hills Estate Pinot Noir the No. 1 wine in Oregon out of 650 Oregon wines. It was awarded an impressive 95 points
Portland Monthly's wine columnist Condé Cox - a wine critic for more than 30 years and one of a select few to be accepted at the prestigious London-based Institute of Masters of Wine - chose thier 2006 Red Hills Estate out of more than 650 regional wines, giving it top honors in his list of "Oregon's 50 Best Wines." 
Check out the full list at Portland Magazine.
Isabelle Dutartre's 1789 was second with 93 points. Love the wine she makes!

Last Night's Ghost Hill '07 Pinot noir

Many Oregon wines can take you by suprise. Linda and I had finished putting our house back in order after weeks of new floor turmoil when she sugested Mexican take out from our local favorite, Tio Pepe's.
I returned home armed with Carne Assada, chile rellano, enchilada, rice and beans. After thinking long and hard about what you drink with Mexican food when you don't have beer we decided to delve in to on of the cases we bought at the OMP auction in April.
Ghost Hill, who's winemaker, Rebecca, is a dear friend, came to the top of the list..(it was the first bottle I grabbed)
I pulled out the giant Pinot glasses and uncorked the '07 Pinot noir to let it relax a bit, then poured.
Rich, cane frouit with spices in the nose, then smooth dark cherry, wood, current, plum, and a little aftertaste of black cherries.
Great with the food and it stood up to the spices better than I would ever have thought!

Great Reviews For Amity Vineyard Wines

 This review of Amity Vineyard's wines goes further to prove the naysayers wrong about '07 wines from Oregon!

2007 Gewürztraminer
 “Exceptionally concentrated, unctuous and oily, this reveals the floral/spicy character of the grape in all its glory. It's a complex wine that just keeps on going, with jasmine, lemon polish, citrus and more fleshing out the flavors.”

92 points
Wine Enthusiast



2007 Crannell Single Vineyard Pinot noir
“Vivid red color. Sexy aromas of red berry preserves, kirsch, potpourri and smoky minerals. Juicy red fruit flavors become more tangy with aeration and are energized by a late note of blood orange. With its finishing clarity and spicy cut, this reminds me a Chambolle-Musigny. I really like this wine's vivacity.                                  
91 points
Steve Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

91 points
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate



2007 Sunnyside Single Vineyard Pinot noir
 “Cherry red in color, it has an attractive nose of cinnamon, allspice and red fruit.  Made in an elegant style, this balanced effort has a silky texture, spicy flavors, and a pure finish.”

90 points
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

90 Points
Steve Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 

“Though just 11% alcohol, this still feels vividly dry in the mouth. It's less floral than many Rieslings, but brings dried herb, paper, dried apple and other fruits in a range of flavors with plenty of dry extract and concentration.  A very fine autumn wine.”
90 points
Wine Enthusiast


Thursday, December 3, 2009

W I N E E N T H U S I A S T B E S T O F Y E A R 2 0 0 9 Oregon

Though these are good choices, I think there are many more Oregon wines that should have been included.
95 Abacela 2005 South Face Block Reserve
Syrah (Southern Oregon); $45. Look out,
Hermitage, this has the grip, the earthiness, the
herbs and spice, and above all the massive, ripe,
complex fruit to compete. The layers of this wine
just keep unfolding; the longer it breathes,
the more it gives you. Crushed rock, lead pencil,
Asian spice, blackberry, coffee and caramel…
it never stops. What a superb achievement.

96 Adelsheim 2007 Winderlea Vineyard
Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills); $75. This
vineyard has an interesting history that dates back
to 1974. Formerly the Goldschmidt vineyard, it
was replanted, repurchased, and renamed. It’s a
magical site, one of the greatest Oregon Pinot
vineyards. The wine has the majestic plumpness
of grand cru Burgundy, with potent cherry fruit,
laced with sweet spices, that seems to expand
through a generous midpalate and keep on
keeping on as long as you are paying attention

94 Chehalem 2006 Ian’s Reserve Chardonnay
(Dundee Hills); $34. This is certainly
the finest Ian’s Reserve Chardonnay ever made. A
softly appealing entry leads gracefully into a
remarkably complex wine that puts the lush
barrel flavors of butterscotch, toffee and toasted
hazelnuts right up front. But it doesn’t stop there,
layering in candied apricots and a rich array of
ripe tropical fruits. Remarkably concentrated,
the wine lasts a full two minutes or more in the
mouth.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Think Baroque. Think Candlelight.


Just in time for the holidays, it's that perennial seasonal treat, OMP's Candlelight Concert in the warm ambience of First Christian Church. Vaughan Williams, Bach, Pergolesi and Laura Zaerr. Flute, violin and harp. What could be more delightful? Get your tickets early for these popular concerts.

Bring your friends—and kids

Children 12th grade and younger can sit in any seat in the hall for just $12 per concert—$10 if they are subscribers. To encourage them and your friends you might use this amusing and informative link.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oregon Wine at White House Dinner

On the menu for the state dinner tonight: 2006 Riesling, Brooks "Ara," Willamette Valley, Oregon

EdenVale, RoxyAnne, and Agate Ridge

This trip, on a Monday, was on kind of an odd schedule as my intention was to deliver some prints to a former gallery owner in Ashland and have her ship them, along with the ones she had, back to my friend and teacher Dan Weldon. She did not realize they were framed, so I drove all the way to Talent and back with four framed prints. I was NOT in a good mood and almost just bagged it and headed north.
I was at EdenVale Winery when I got the news. They were so kind and helpful.
Here is Misty, the tasting room manager, with the bottle they gave.
I ask Anne Root, who I had met at the Newport Wine and Seafood Festival, if she would donate one of her wines and she gave a bottle of a very good, very drinkable 2004 Heritage Red. I tasted a number of their wines and liked them all, especially the 2005 Pinot Noir! Lots of earth and dark fruit with just a hint of leather and smoke. Really a good wine.By the time I left I had lost my bad mood and went happily on my way to visit Roxy Anne.
I was greeted at RoxyAnne by Tiffany (holding the Pinot Gris) and after tasting their wines and buying some fresh bread , cheese, and a glass of the Claret, I met with Michael Donovan, the managing director, who presented me with a bottle of 2007 Pinot Gris. What a great white, a brilliant straw-colored wine with big, bold aromas of ripe pears, peach and grapefruit with accents of  mango and honeysuckle, creamy on the palate,with nice acid, mineral and citrus aftertaste. It was the

GOLD MEDAL WINNER, BEST OF SHOW WHITES 2008 World of Wine Competition.
I always enjoy visiting RoxyAnne. The staff is well versed in all things wine and are always glad to see you. The selection of foods and wines is perfect. 

Dinner and a place to stay

38 Central has become my go to stop for food in Medford. I am sure that there are other restaurants the create wonderful food but right now I am very happy they are there. David Graham, owner and chef, shown here recommending that I contact Pebblestone Winery for a donation of "one bottle", was overseeing a great crowd, especially for a Monday night, but took time to come and visit. I started with a Lafayette (gin shaken with a mint leaf then poured into a chilled martini glass washed with  Grand Marnier) and then had an off menu herb rubbed chicken with perfectly cooked carrots, and greens. Perfect with a bottle of the Pebblestone 2006 Cabernet Franc.
Red Lion is close (two blocks away), clean, and has a good free breakfast. They also have a safe parking lot and a nice, 1970's kind of lounge that is campy enough to be entertaining.

The morning found me driving out Crater Lake Highway to visit Agate Ridge Winery. I tasted the whites and reds and was very pleased. My favorites were the rich Cabernet that has lots of tannins and a rich deep well of flavors that will grow and mature with time. The other was the Viongnier, a gentle fruity, perfectly made wine.  Kim Kinderman , the owner, handed over a great bottle of 2006 Syrah and introduced me to Black Jack, the resident cat. He really wanted to come home with me but we have enough cats already. Then I met the chicken! Every winery I have been to has a dog, or a cat, but they have a chicken that comes when called and likes to be petted. As I left I took a picture of Mt.McLaughlin.
Lunch at 38 Central and a list of wineries to approach next time I am down there. Can't wait till next time.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

More Good Press About Oregon Wine

The Flathead Beacon, out of historic downtown Kalispell Montana, carried a nice piece on our very own King Estate Winery!
Please send me any news about Oregon wines that you happen to find.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Candlelight Baroque

Monday, December 7 and Tuesday, December 8 — 7:30 p.m. First Christian Church, 1166 Oak Street

One of Eugene's favorite musical traditions, OMP's Baroque Holiday candlelight concert is always both musically and visually rewarding. Set in the intimate and strikingly beautiful First Christian Church, this season's concert includes Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, featuring flute and violin soloists from OMP's collection of outstanding musicians, as well as well as a harp concerto composed and performed by the University of Oregon's Laura Zaerr. The orchestra will be joined by a small choir in Pergolesi's Magnificat.
Glen Cortese, conductor
Laura Zaerr, harp
Jill Pauls, flute
Alice Blankenship, violin
The University of Oregon Repertoire Singers, chorus
Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Greensleeves
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G major BWV 1049
Laura Zaerr: Celtic Concerto
Pergolesi: Magnificat
Program notes are not yet available.
Concert sponsors Nonnie Cole and Tom Ing

Thursday, November 19, 2009

General News

  • King Estate's Pinot Gris was recommended by Gwendolyn Osborn, who writes a wine blog for Wine.com,  chose the '07 King Estate Pinot Gris for a match to Bento; “This Oregon Pinot Gris has ripe, tropical fruit balanced by zippy acidity,” she said. “It is a perfect match for the mix of salty and spicy in a Bento Box.”
  • SouthCoastToday says: ,, Oregon, $34.99 — For most wine drinkers, finding great quality wines that won't bust the wallet is an important part of enjoying the lifestyle of wine. However, there are occasions that warrant a special bottle, and Thanksgiving is one of them for many families. 
  • There is a disturbing article in Natural Resource Report about Oregon wines. Worth a read...

  • Forbes.com has an interesting piece on Oregon Pinot Noir that includes Daniel Johnnes' Oregon Pinot Noir Picks
    Prices will vary by retailer and the state of purchase.
    Ponzi Vineyards, Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2007 ($33)
    La Source, Seven Springs Vineyard 2007 ($75)
    Domaine Drouhin, Pinot Noir “Cuvée Laurène” 2005 ($60)
    Hamacher Wines, Pinot Noir 2006 ($40)
    Brick House, Pinot Noir “Dijonnais” 2007 ($40)Cristom, Pinot Noir “Mt. Jefferson Cuvée” 2007 ($32

    Also on CBS' Early Show:
     Thanksgiving Wines for Less Than $20 Actor Kyle MacLachlan Shares His Love of Winemaking and His Low-Budget Favorites

    Viridian Pinot Noir, Ore. - $16
    MacLachlan loves this wine, partially because it is such a terrific value. Viridian Pinot noir is a deep, rich ruby color that makes it almost impossible to see through the glass. It exhibits an intense aroma of dark cherries and pomegranates that develop into a strong depth of flavor. It lingers on the tongue and finishes with a hint of spice in the background.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oregon Wines Chosen Among Best For Holiday!

Three Oregon Pinot Noirs were chosen by the Wall Street Journal for the perfect match with Thanksgiving dinner!
WillaKenzie Estate 'Estate Cuvée' 2007, Erath Winery 2007, Domaine Serene 'Evenstad Reserve' 2006 Two, WillaKenzie and Erath gave wine last year and I hope they will this year for the "one bottle" project. Domaine Serene gave us a couple of tasting coupons.
Thanks to Rebecca from Northwest Wines to You for the heads up.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Benton Lane, Johan, and Much Much More!

Getting a late start on Wednesday was a result of figuring out a way to print an auction form. After 10 tries at various complicated solutions  gave up and just copied the whole thing and put it in another file...I hate Adobe sometimes.
Anyway, off to Benton Lane to pick up our wine club bottles and the very nice '08 Pinot Gris, which, by the way, was rated one of the top 100 wines IN THE WORLD!!!
Not bad. I of course had to taste it to see if it really is...it is.
On the way to McMinniville I finally got to stop at Johan Vineyards and thank Dag,(center) Allison,(right) and Danial  for supplying wine for our tables at the April auction. They also donated a bottle to be auctioned off. This year they were so kind as to give me a bottle of the '07 Nils Reserve Pinot Noir. Wonderfully flavored, complex, and rich in the mouth. Enchanting and vibrant.
• Aged 15 months in French Oak
• Currents, blackberries, spice, and earth
• Acidic backbone, with big full tannins
• Only 185 cases made

Rebecca was waiting for my help at Ghost Hill to barrel the '08 Sarah and help prep for bottling of the '08 Pinot Noir next week. I must say I worked very hard passing bottles, manhandling heavy things (good at that) and drinking beer. A couple of Lafayettes (chilled martini glass, coat with Gran Marnia, then shake ice, gin and fresh mint and pour) and a burger at Golden Valley were well deserved.



I spent the night at a friend's house and was off for a wander this morning after a wonderful breakfast at Farm to Fork. I drove up to Gaston, Yamhill, and then down to Carlton, dropping off requests for wine at wineries along the way.
When I got to Carlton I stopped at Carlo & Julian Winery just as they were filling bottle of the '08 Pinot Noir. I felt bad interrupting but Felix Madrid, the owner, was gracious and gave not "one bottle" but 6!
His '06 Reserve Pinot Noir (2), '06 Estate Pinot Noir (2), and '06 Tempernio(2).

Anne Amie also was very generous this year: '06 Winemakers Selection Pinot Noir and '08 Anne Amie Pinot Gris! Both are remarkable. The Pinot Noir has a chewy, earthy taste with lots of black berry fruit and hints of tobacco and leather. It just kept opening as I tasted. The Gris was a real treat! Pineapple, peach, and banana, along with bright, clean mouth feel.
One of the things I like so much about visiting the wineries is taking in the tasting rooms of the larger ones. The view from up at Anne Amie is astounding and the overall feel of the place is warm and welcoming.

I dropped off the three cases of wine collected over the last few week at Northwest Wines to You for storage, then made one last stop in McMinniville at Walnut City Wineworks where Jennifer presented three great wine to the cause: WcW Pinot Noir '06 Reserve Willamette Valley, Bernard Machado Pinot Noir '06, and the Zivo Pinot Noir '04
I spent the better part of an hour tasting and visiting with her and with Nicholas Keeler, who sells barrels for Allary tonnellerie. He has a lot more tasting experience than I do and I learned a lot about the wines we were sampling.
The balance of the '06 Machado is perfect. Great first taste and then a mouth filling explosion of fruit and earth, followed by a deep, rich aftertaste that makes you want more.
The '06 WcW Pinot Noir is spicy and complex. More than just the big fruit that '06 is known for, with great lightness. It is going to be great with food.
The Zivo '04 Pinot Noir tastes of black cherry and plum, with smoky wood tones.with a smooth finish.
Time to head home and enjoy the comfort of my home, cats, wife, and a good wine from the last auction. We bought three cases last time and I am finding some remarkable wines. Tonight was the Torii Mor '06 Pinot Noir.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekend Off

Linda and I ventured north to Portland on Sunday for a little theater. We saw "Ben Franklin; Unplugged " at PCS.
Terrific show! A must see!
We had made a reservation on Open Table for Blue Hour but found out when we got there that they were doing brunchy kinds of food, being as it was Sunday. We ask if there was a place close where one might procure a non egg meal; Fifty Plates, a block away on 13th!
Linda had an array of vegetarian things. I had flank steak and fries, paired with Oswego Hills '07 Pinot Noir. So perfect with the food. It just kept opening and the taste was perfectly balance with the steak. Loved it.
I am going up soon to ask them for "one bottle". They gave last year.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Carlton Cellars, Stone Wolf, and R.Stuart


Last night I had the pleasure of driving Amy Burton to the Portland airport for her quick flight to New York after her rehearsal with OMP . She performs Saturday and Sunday at the Hult Center with her husband,  John Musto . Driving back to Eugene at 10:00 did not seem practical so I went as far as Woodburn and stayed at a La Quinta Inn, watched TV, and got ready  for a nice day of driving and asking for wine.
Breakfast was at one of my favorite new places, Farm to Fork. I sat down to a plate of Almond Battered Brioche French Toast: Honey-Orange Poached Quince, Marcona Almonds, and Chantilly Cream and a side of BACON! A little orange juice and a Latte' and I was ready to take on the world, or at least go beg for "One Bottle" from some wineries. The waitress was so sweet and commented on one of the prints that I was signing while waiting for my food. I left her one as a gift. She was VERY happy and it made me feel glad that someone likes my work.
A very nice surprise came my way as I started gathering wines for the auction. Carlton Cellars' Dave Grooters and I talked at length about how people were underestimating the wonderful '07 Pinots and how a few wine writers who think Pinot is only good if you can stand a pencil up in it declare it a bad year and spoil the chances for people to taste a true Oregon Pinot with all the complexity of  a Burgundy! He turned and handed me a Magnum of his Gold Medal winning '07 Roads End Pinot Noir!

I visited Cana's Feast and Carlton Winemaker's Studio just for a taste and to visit friends, then off to Stone Wolf Winery , who I missed last year,where Jessica handed me a bottle of the Lindsay '02 Pinot Noir. Just amazing! I also got my cat fix from Frank, who adopted the winery and now rides the fork lifts and is the constant companion of one of the winemakers.

I stopped in to drop off a request at R.Stuart & Co. Wine Bar in downtown McMinniville and was greeted with a glass of the '07 Dry Riesling. Tremendously good. Bright clean taste with a hint of sugar and citrus in the nose and a smooth, soft mouth feel with a great range of classic Riesling notes.  Nicole presented a bottle of the '07 Autograph Pinot Noir, the top of their line!
I stopped at a couple of wineries on the way back to Eugene and left requests for One Bottle and will be back to hopefully collect in the next week.
A wonderful trip and great results!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunset's List of Top Wines

Included in Sunset's list were some wineries that donated to  the "one bottle" auction.Good Values // $16 to $30  (In red)

White:  Geyser Peak “Block Collection” River Ranches Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (Russian River Valley; $19) Why we chose it: Fresh herbs and pink grapefruit add up to a vibrant sip.Runners up: Anne Amie Pinot Gris 2008 (Willamette Valley; $19) // Chateau Ste. Michelle “Indian Wells” Chardonnay 2007 (Columbia Valley; $18) // Morgan “Metallico” Unoaked Chardonnay 2007 (Monterey; $20) // Schramsberg “Mirabelle” Brut Multivintage (North Coast; $23) // Tsillan Cellars Estate Riesling 2007 (Columbia Valley; $22)
Red:  Hahn Meritage 2007 (Central Coast; $16) Why we chose it: Sweet black cherry and cedar with a touch of espresso. Runners up: Brandborg “Bench Lands” Pinot Noir 2006 (Umpqua Valley; $22) // Cadence “Coda” Cabernet Blend 2006 (Columbia Valley; $25) // Monte Volpe Sangiovese 2005 (Mendocino County; $17) // Pellegrini Family Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Alexander Valley; $28) // Siduri Pinot Noir 2007 (Willamette Valley; $20)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

New Art at Sweet Cheeks



Anne Teigen, who, after a career in fine jewelry and printmaking in California, decided to move up here and paint, is one of my clients. I hang her work for sale at various venues around the area and the tasting room at Sweet Cheeks has been the most lucrative so far. Her work is bright and bold and fits perfectly with the atmosphere and wines there.
After hauling large paintings in and out I had to do a little tasting.
  • The '07 Pinot Noir is a gentle, subtle, yet strongly flavored wine. Hints of cherries and spices in the nose, with a complex taste and velvety mouth feel. 
  • The '08 Pinot Fusion combines Cab Franc and Merlot into a very pleasant wine. Lots of variety in tatste from cherries to ripe black berry.
  • My favorite is the Semi-Sweet Riesling. I love this just to sip. Great with spiced foods. Lots of hints of fruits such as peach and pear.
  • Always a great wine from these folks is the Pinot Gris. The '08 is no exception. Bright, clean, and tasty, with fig, apple, pear, and melon.
  • '07 Dry Riesling; We had a few bottles of this for afternoons on the deck when the weather permitted in late summer. Nothing better than the dry, clean taste of grapefruit and green berry to enjoy in the sun.
I forgot my labeling machine and now I have to go back and spend an hour labeling, sipping, labeling, sipping...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Weekend in Portland

Of note:
  • Ten 01 Restaurant for lunch with Barbara Thomas' '07 Pinot Noir. Outstanding. Pared with a squash and apple soup and a halibut with tomato sauce dish. Rich on the front with many levels of taste coming through as the food and wine had their little conversation.
  • Portland Center Stage for Ragtime. See it. See it twice. It is that good.
  • The Holt International auction was big hit. Two items that were very wine related: Ken Wright, who donated ALL the wine for the event, also donated a party at the winery for 75 people in the Spring and Linda and I are going. Ghost Hill Cellars donated a day in the vineyard for picking the Rose grapes, working the crush, and getting 6 bottles when it is done plus two overnights .at the Carlton Inn.
  • Stayed at the Silver Cloud in Portland, up at 2426 NW Vaughn Street  near another of our favorite Restaurants, Meriwether's .It has free parking, a great little workout room, quiet rooms, and a very nice staff.
  • Breakfast this morning at Farm to Fork in Dundee. A bit of a drive for brekies but it was worth it many times over. Best French Toast I have EVER had! Love the feel of the place. Been back three times so far.
  • A long, meandering drive through the western Oregon hills, past vineyards, odd rocks ( Linda sits atop the largest "Erratic" rock in Oregon...look it up!), and little towns got us back to Eugene in time for the Jazz King's at the Shedd.
  • This was in front of a hardware store in Dallas Oregon: It is just wrong on so many levels...

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