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,  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...

  • 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.
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)