Thursday, March 26, 2009

Got Naked...Got Argyle and Machesi To

Tuesday was slow and gentle. I met with Rebecca and had lunch at The Filling Station in Carlton with the owners of Ghost Hill. They gave me their 2007 Pinot Noir in the new bottle. Looks great! Nice label. We drove out to the house and I looked for the ghost but alas, all I saw was some guy atop the hill with a pickup sitting in a lawn chair gazing out over the wineries. We tasted the 2006 Pinot Noir and I was impressed by the lean, cool elegance it displayed unlike the big fat fruity wine that some produced.Wine Spectator rated the 2006 Pinot Noir a 91 in their December 15, 2008 issue. The wine is described as "Silky and open-textured, glowing with cherry and raspberry character. Orange cream overtones add interest as the finish rolls on with refinement."
Rebecca gave me a tour of the Abby and of her business, Northwest Wines to You. What an interesting and complex person. She wears as many hats, well, as anyone I have ever met.
I stopped in McMinnville and picked up a 2006 Dukes Family Vineyards Thomas Pinot Noir.
Rolling out after having my breath taken away by the amount and range of wines in the Abby, I went to Dundee for a stop at Argyle and a bottle of 2006 Brut Rose'. I love their sparkling wines and this one really hits the mark. 90 points in Wine Spectator!
I drove straight through to Hood River and found a place to stay and found a great meal at Celilo. I had eaten there once before while wearing my curator hat. I stopped in for a dinner and saw the amazing artwork adorning the walls and ask after the artist. Ellen Dittebrandt became one of the artists at OPUS6IX and when we hung her work the next day, a piece sold 8 minutes after it went up! A record I am sure.
I called it an early night and went back to the hotel for really bad TV reception and no computer.
Morning came early and I made the most of the free breakfast, read the maps of the wineries, and prepared my plan of attack.
The Dalles was first. I drove down the Gorge past white capped river and driving wind until the sun came out and presented a spectacular view of the hills. The visitors information center had a great deal of info on the wineries and the area in general and I thought it was very funny how the first words out of them when I ask about wine was "Washington"!
So much for state pride. Bolton Cellars left a 2006 Great Southern Pinot Noir for me at Sigman's, the flower shop next door. I left messages with the other two wineries in The Dalles but heard nothing back so I took off to Hood River.
First stop was Phelps Creek, where the owner had left a bottle of Becky's Cuvee' 2007 Pinot Noir in a bag with my name on it in the basket in front of the tasting room. Rural Oregon at its best.
On the way back to town I stopped at Hood River Vineyards for a special treat, a 1998 Oregon Zinfandel Port! On down the road to Cathedral Ridge Winery. Voted Oregon winery of the year in 2007 by Wine Press Northwest, it has a lot to live up to and from the tastes I had there, it does. I walked away with a 2006 Columbia Valley Sarah. A nice family from Colorado was there tasting when I was there and it was fun hearing their tasting notes. "I smell pine tar and berries!"
Teresa, with help from Lisa,
shows what they gave

I made a quick stop at a new winery called MarchesiVineyards a few block away and met Franco, the owner (pictured here filling out my paperwork). Italian and very proud of his wines, he gave me a 2007 Barbera.
I drove in to downtown Hood River and found The Pines 1852. The Pines Vineyard's Old Vine Zinfandel was first planted by an Italian stone mason in the late 1800s. Louis Comini made his home in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge, bringing with him grape vines from his homeland in Genoa, Italy.This is one of the oldest vineyard in Oregon.
Here is Sierra holding our bottle of 2007 Sarah

They also have a very nice art gallery that is worth the stop even if you don't like wine. I ran down the street and around the corner to Springhouse Cellars and caught James as he was about to go shopping. He handed over his Homestead Red.
Last stop for the day: Naked! I had missed them at the Newport Fest. because there were so many people surrounding the booth. I got lucky this time. It was slow day so I got to taste and visit and relax.
Jody gave me taste of all the wines of Naked Winery from Foreplay to Penetration, a fine Cabernet Sauvignon (banned in two states).
Very clever marketing and a great sense of humor. All the prices end in .69.
I visited the gallery next door, Benjamin Benjamin and was impressed by the quality of work. I suggested Barry Geller for the walls of the Winery. I think he will be a good fit.

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