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,,    “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 in Portland, Oregon (503-206-7029, 800-753-2531).
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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.

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