Friday, December 31, 2010

My good friend Jerry at Winopolis passed this along and I thought I would share:
Wine knowledge around here is going bite-size and easy to digest. I know, I know, what is he going on about now? You see, in the past wine classes have usually meant committing to two hour classes for two or more weeks in a row. It doesn't take a genius to figure that this format won't work for very many people, a good portion of the time. Well, we aren't geniuses here at WINEOPOLIS, which explains why we had to cancel many of these things for lack of participation. It wasn't that no one was interested, just not enough, often enough. The classes definitely weren't bite size.

Of course, we always have our Saturday tastings, usually two or three wines in an affordable price range of eight to twelve dollars or so. If you are persistent, this can be highly valuable in building up your repertoire of everyday, affordable wines.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Enjoy a Free Tasting

Travel Lane County has a wine tasting every Tuesday evening featuring a Lane County winery. This is a great opportunity to get to know the people involved and for the regional folk to discover what is waiting in their own back yard!
Easy to find, the Adventure Center is right across the lot from Best Buy. Big sign, can't miss it!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cooking With Oregon Pinot!

Thank You Greg
Brandy Glazed Ham
1 10-12 pound smoked ham,
with the bone in
6 cups Oregon Pinot noir  (use a nice dry one)
6 cups water
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3/4, teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 ounces currant, pomegranate,
or other tart jelly
1/4 cup good scotch
1/4cup brandy (Pendelton)
1/2 cup brown sugar, well packed

Place ham in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven
with a cover and cover the meat at least halfway
with the equal parts of wine and water. Bring the
mixture to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat,
cover, and simmer for 2 hours, turning ham after
1 hour to cover the other side with the liquid. In
the meantime, in a saucepan combine the
remaining ingredients and heat until thickened,
stirring well to blend.
Remove the ham from the pot and trim off all but
1/4 inch of fat. Score the ham well and
place it on a
rack in a baking pan with the scored side up.
Cover with 1/3 of the glaze and bake in a preheated
325" oven for 1 hour, basting twice with the
remaining glaze. Let ham stand approximately 3o
minutes before slicing.
Note: Do not let the ham cool between the
simmering and the baking steps. Simmering the
ham in the wine gives it a nice color and delicious
taste, eliminating most of the saltiness. .

Monday, December 20, 2010

Newberg and Carlton

On my way back from Portland, after visiting Gallery 903 to check out a possible purchase, I stopped at Anam Cara's new tasting room. Just as you turn right off 99 on to 240 out of Newberg you will see the new signs on the right. I was so pleased to see it but I had one caveat: they are next to Jem 100 Ice Cream Saloon, a malt shop that has THE BEST malts I have had in years. I have found it very difficult to make your taste buds behave after a burger and chocolate malt so be sure to go there AFTER you taste the wines!
With that in mind, and due to the fact that Sheila was rushing out to give a tasting, I just collected a bottle of their wonderful 2007 Nicholas Estate Pinot noir they gave us and did not take the time to taste.
This is very typical of the '07 Pinot Noir that was so maligned by short sighted people and has now proven to be elegant, delicate, and complex. I love this wine and this year. There are of course a few that were just not ever going to work themselves out but they are few and far between.
This '07 did very well: 94 points in PinotReport, 90 points from Wine Advocate and 88 points from Wine Enthusiast I will return soon and enjoy a taste.
Driving past all the winery signs between Newburg and Carlton made me realize what a chore I have in front of me. Some friends laugh and make fun of the "job" I have chosen to do again this year but it is work. I have met the most wonderful people, tasted the best wines, and actually worked in a few of the wineries picking, sorting, pruning, doing punch downs, and bottling. This has given me a real respect for all that goes in to making the "One Bottle" I am asking for.
When I arrived at Carlton I was very excited to find Seven of Hearts open and pouring! I usually miss them because I try and not go gathering on the weekends. The wineries are busy and don't have time to be interrupted by someone begging for "one Bottle".
 Byron Dooly, owner and winemaker, was there with some of his club members. I bought a Lavender dark chocolate with a dusting of sea salt from Byron's wife and partner Dana, who creates wonders for the palette (and matches fine chocolates to the wines!) under the name Honest Chocolates and waited for a taste.
My reward came with a sip of the Viognier and Roussanne blend that took me by surprise! Such a great balance of flavors and structure. It has the delicacy of the Viognier and the backbone of the Roussanne. This is a wine that recalls the great whites of the Rhone valley.
We went through the entire selection and I must say, none of the wines disappointed but some stood out as wines I could have a passion for. The Chatte D'Avignon Grenache and Syrah blend is outstanding. A soft, firm, and warn flavor with a strong earthy base. long finish with all kinds of fruits and flowers along the way. Byron writes in his blog::
   It’s a treat to have the opportunity to work with 15-year-old Grenache and Syrah vines situated on ideal    sites — truly reminiscent of the regions where these varietals initially gained their reputation in the Rhone Valley of France — right along the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge. All the elements that make those wines great there, are present here as well: the heat, the moderating influence of the river, the winds (much like the Mistral winds of the Rhone Valley), and the gravelly sandy soil).
These are special wines because they have a lot of soul. The Syrah is more of a northern Rhone meaty, earthy expression than the more fruity expression you may have come to know. The Grenache is the one that brings the fruit to the party. The truth is both of these were acquired to make the blend, something that reflects some of my favorite red Rhone wines, such as Chateauneuf du Pape that is dominated by the elegance of Grenache, but with enough Syrah to give it penetrating depth and backbone.more
After we were done with the Seven of Hearts he moved us on to the Luminous Hills wines. These are estate grown Pinot noirs that show  a very complex and educational range of tastes depending on what lot they are from, the clones used, and the treatment during processing. Here is what Byron has to say:
   The Luminous Hills “silver label” utilizes the 667 from the higher elevation volcanic soil in Luminous Hills vineyard to give it its bright fruit expression.  Darker, spicier notes are derived from the 115 clone on the lower elevation sedimentary soil.  A little bit of whole cluster Pommard (20%) rounds it out and gives it its fleshy quality.  
And about the Gold, which he gave for the auction along with the D'Avignon Grenache and Syrah.:
   LUX, or the “gold label”, is a special selection, much smaller production, from select parts of the Luminous Hills vineyard.  A favorite clonal combination comprised of a big foundation of Pommard from the lower sedimentary part of the vineyard, providing the bass notes, but with enough 777 off the higher elevation volcanic soil to give it high tone structure and lift.  50% whole cluster fermentation.  
His new sign, attached to the front of his hand made wooden counter fools the eyes. You will have to go by and see how it is made, and of course taste all his wonderful wines along with Ana' Chocolates.
Before I left town I stopped over at Alexana Winery's elegant tasting room located 116 West Main for a quick visit with Christie Shertzer. The wines they make are consistently wonderful! Lynn  Penner-Ash is the winemaker  I ask if they would again this year be willing to donate "One Bottle" for the cause and she said "Of course!".  I ask for a bottle of the Shea vineyard '08 Pinot noir. This wine was given 94 points from Wine Advocate and 92 from Wine Spectator! We will add this bottle to a set of wines made from Dick Shea's grapes and create a really exciting package for the highest bidder. I can't wait to come back next week and taste through all the wines.
My next trip will be south to Elkton and Roseburg.

Tod Hamina, Naked (wine, that is)

The  first wine interview is at Naked up in Hood River then about half way through we get to see Todd Hamina sorting and tasting!
http://explorenorthwest.podomatic.com/entry/2010-12-13T12_46_39-08_00

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Quick Trip for Tasting and Art

Pfeiffer Vineyards was my destination as I drove my new Subaru out on the country roads of Lane County and along Terroirtoial Road. Past Alpacas and roadside attractions and then to the winery. I came bearing paperwork asking for "one Bottle" for the June event for OMP but the boss was not around.
Not wanting to waste a trip, a wine tasting was in order so I choose the  whites. I am intimately involved with most of Pfeiffer's wonderful reds but less tuned in to the whites.
Imagine pulling a coconut cream pie out of the oven, one with a buttery crust. Now close your eyes and breath that wonderful smell in. THAT is the smell of the Viognier! The taste is bright and pleasing with a hint of lime and  a mouthwatering finish. I highly recommend this wine for a stand alone or with lighter fair such as  salads, and fruit.
The Chardonnay was equally pleasing, with a clean, un-oaked flavor of fruits and spices. There is little left of this one so get it while you can.
I took a few pictures for my etching project, one etching of an iconic tree in or near the vineyard of all the Lane County Wineries.
I drove out past the ponds, sheep, and alpacas, past the Grange Hall, and back to Terrirtorial then left toward Monroe. One of my favorite golf courses, Diamond Woods, stretches out along the left and you can see the Inn at Diamond Woods up on the hill overlooking a few brave souls out swinging their clubs. Benton Lane sits almost atop the border between the two counties, hence the name. Their wines are consistently good to great. Their '04 Pinot noir was rated in the top 100 wines in the world, as was their '06 Pinot Gris!
The last club release was a three bottle Pinot noir pack of '07, '08, and '09. I am so pleased that the '07 is now being respected . When they first bottled it the wine was weak, flutey, and had little backbone, now it has evolved into a Burgundian red with lush mouthfeel,  complex mid pallet flavors, and a long complex finish. It is elegant and ready to drink now but I am keeping a few bottle rack for a few years to see what happens.
The '08 is perfect now but it will be even better by next year and the '09 is even better as far as I can tell.  It is worth the drive to visit this winery for so many reasons, among them are the wines, the views, and the people. Lots of fun for all the senses.
I took a picture of the big oaks that stand guard at the entrance to the vineyard and will create their etching from it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lane County Winery Etchings

I plan to create an etching from an iconic element related to each Lane County Winery while out gathering "One Bottle" Here is the first.
This is of the big tree just outside the tasting room at Saginaw Vineyards.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Great Piece on Burgundy vs Bordeaux

I'm a Burgundy Man

Choosing sides in the great wine-world fight between Burgundy and Bordeaux.

 
Hundreds of buyers and journalists were in Bordeaux the week before last tasting barrel samples of the 2009 vintage. The Bordelais are second to none when it comes to hyping their own wines, and long before the expectorating masses came to town, they had already declared 2009 to be a possible vintage of the century. Of course, they made the same lofty
claim about 2005, and 2003, and 2000 before that; on the present trajectory, Bordeaux will have had 40 vintages of the century by the time the year 2100 arrives. But as ever, the buzz from Bordeaux prompted feverish speculation about the ratings that critics, namely Robert Parker, were likely to dole out and how much gouging the chateaux, who are also very adept at charging for their wines, would do. Indeed, as of last week, I literally had not seen a single Internet discussion regarding the 2009 vintage that hadn't morphed into a thread about scores and prices. And each of these conversations left me with the exact same thought: Thank God for Burgundy.
More

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The First Two Bottles for the Auction


Iris Vineyards is located in Cottage Grove, just past the Village Green on the right, and the Taco something on the left then left, and down Palmer Avenue, a side street that leads past the Territorial Seed Co.This leads you to the poorly marked front door of the winery.
First time visitors need to use the map.Having been there many times, I had no problem finding the place and was rewarded with some great tastes and some good conversation.
Laura Pearson, the office manager, lead me through a sampling of their wines starting with the '07 Pinot Gris. Rumor has it that the '09 kicks ass so I will have to come back and taste it when it is released. The '07 kicks at least 3/4 of an ass. Caramel and tropical flowers on the nose with a hint of melon, then a tropical fruit and perfumed taste with a not unkind acid back. Very nice with spicy salads.
The '06 Chardonnay was a bit of a surprise. It has aged very well and has a softer, cleaner pallet than when I tasted it last year. Smooth. The nose is a distinct white peach and honeydew smell and the mouth feel is soft with a pleasant finish of caramel and melon.
Next came what I was really looking forward to trying, the '07 Pinot noir. With all the bad press the '07 Oregon Pinot noirs got (undeserved in 80% of the cases) I had to taste this one again. It has softened, matured, and become a well from which to sip multiple layers of sublime tastes. Black fruit and cola on the nose with a very subtle hint of mint, then an unfolding of plum, pepper, clove, and red fruit on the tongue. Layer after layer of tastes , each supplanting the other to create a swirl of pleasure in the mouth. Very nice finish with a little allspice and pepper after taste.
Now the BIG deal: Last year we were blessed with a bottle of the '06 Pinot noir Reserve so I ask if we could have another. They said yes! This wine is so good it hurts me to give it away. It was given 90 points by Wine Enthusiast and 91 points by Wine Spectator, both in 2007! Now, as you may have noticed, it is 2010 and this wine has had time to mature a bit. The oaks have given way to soft, supple hint of wood, the sharper berry and cassis flavors are now mellow and inviting. This is a wonderful wine with the most appealing mouth feel and finish that  I am shocked that they still have any left.
Laura Pearson, the office manager, presented me with a bottle of the '06 Reserve Pinot Noir and I was on my way after many thank yous.
Next stop, Saginaw Winery, located at the Saginaw exit (176) off I-5 just north of Cottage Grove. Nice of them to name the exit after the winery!
I was driving my brand new Subaru and was having way to much fun on the freeway down to Cottage Grove so on the way back I just had to do a litttle back roads driving. Raelly not that much fun as all the roads leading to Saginaw Winery are straight. Still, there was a bit of adventure when I turned in to the winery and was comfronted by some very anoyed sheep. They wanted to know what I was doing disrupting their afternoon meal. Nice to see organic viticulture at work with weed control thrown in.
The tasting room was inviting and its walls were populated by paintings by many of the Lane County  plein  air painters group. The wine was wonderful! Cheryl Byler, one of the owners, started me out with a taste of '07 Chardonnay. Caramel and flowers wafted up my nose, followed by a smooth, soft fruit and floral taste with a nice clean finish. It won a gold at Newport in '09. A delicious wine, too bad there is none left!
Next came the '07 Pinot Gris. This wine is right at its limit I think. It has a fresh peach nose and is just a little in to the dried fruit tatse. Drink now and enjoy!
The first red she offered was the'08 Pinot noir. This wine stands out as one of their best. It has deep dark fruit with layers of complex vanilla, spice, leather, tobacco, and chocolate and finishes with a little pepper and spice. I ask if I could have a bottle of the this for the auction and she was gracious enough to say yes.
I must admit that I have a long time love affair with Marechal Foch. My wife and I were married at Chateau Lorane and our guests went through roughly 8 cases of Foch and Baco noir so I always have a soft spot for this wine. Their '08 Marechal Foch  is a superb example of what this wine can be. It is rich and dark, with a most unusual nose: hibiscus and lilac! I recommend this wine as stand alone or , if you must, with dark roasted meats.
I also tasted the '09 Rose' : fresh cut pear and apple with a silky mouth feel and an acid bright finish, the '09 Riesling: a perfect , not too sweet, flowery and fruity wine, and one of my favorites, the '09 Muller Thurgau. This has a bone dry nose followed by fresh peach and citrus flavors. Great wine for cheese and fruit.
This year was tough for everyone in the southern part of Lane County. Almost all the vineyards had problems with fruit set, birds, deer, and just ended up with nothing to pick. She said their Muller was completely eaten by the wildlife, Bohemian Waxwings to be exact.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Oregon Whites in Top 100!

From the San Fransico Chronicle

 2009 Brandborg Umpqua Valley Riesling ($16):
From an unexpected  corner of the Northwest - southern Oregon - comes this deeply juicy but firmly structured Riesling. A grassy herb note (think marjoram) plus nutmeg and sea spray aromas are matched to sweet peach skin and Fuji apple, with refreshing acidity that makes it almost gulpable.
King Estate2009 King Estate Winery Signature Oregon Pinot Gris ($17):
This is King Estate's forte, and winemaker Jeff Kandarian focused on texture, aging in steel tanks but leaving the wine on lees for five months. Slightly spicy - think nutmeg - with a clear, lemony brightness. 
more of the top Chronicle's Top 100

Great News for Oregon Pinot Noir

Great news! The San Francisco Chronicle has pegged our 2008 Nicholas Estate Pinot Noir as one of the TOP WINES OF 2010! "Here's to thinking small, and to the growing trend of wines that
reveal less sheer power and more attention to detail. These [wines] represent
the best of what West Coast wine can offer. Nick and Sheila Nicholas' estate on a southeast-facing slope near Newberg yielded a spicy, expressive take, heady with fennel, toasted spices, moss, bright raspberry and a lemon-peel edge. There's immediate pleasure from the great vintage, but also lots of potential to evolve.  
2008 Adelsheim Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($32):
This longtime Oregon name was on a roll in the 2008 vintage, offering coiled-up power at low alcohol levels. Adelsheim's more affordable blend is taut with leather and huckleberry aromas, and a darker mineral edge to anchor the ripe fruit.
2008 Bergstrom Bergstrom Vineyard Dundee Hills Pinot Noir ($78): Josh Bergstrom's dry-farmed parcel in Oregon's nonpareil vintage make for a perfect combination. Minty and packed with dark, moist-earth undertones, it's boldly aromatic and full of ripe blue fruit and tannic plum flavors, with enormous potential to improve with age. 
2008 Brooks Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($25):Winemaker Chris Williams found the right balance of robust cherry and raspberry-like brightness in this sleek, aromatic cuvee. Heady nutmeg and tree-bark scents and a camphor-like accent add momentum. 

www.sfgate.com
The Chronicle Wine section tastes wine from all over the world, but our Top 100 Wines are a showcase for the most compelling winemaking on the West Coast. — SFGate.com.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Top Ten Microbes in Your Wine : PALATE PRESS

Top Ten Microbes in Your Wine : PALATE PRESS
Put your ear up to that glass of wine in your hand. Can you hear the tiny voices shouting, “Hey! How about some credit for us little guys down here?”
From a certain point of view, winemakers don’t make wine; yeast and bacteria do. Juice becomes wine by the miracle that is fermentation, the conversion of sugar to alcohol and other compounds. Since I’ve yet to see a human person ingest sugar and expectorate alcohol (whoa)...more

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Candlelight Baroque

Monday, December 6 and Tuesday, December 7 — 7:30 p.m. First Christian Church, 1166 Oak Street

One of Eugene's favorite musical traditions, OMP's Candlelight Baroque is always both musically and visually rewarding. This season we feature an all-Bach program, including the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, the beloved Concerto for Two Violins, and Cantata No. 36.
Glen Cortese, conductor
Fritz Gearhart, violin
Alice Blankenship, violin
University of Oregon vocal soloists and chorus
Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1049
Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043
Cantata No. 36, BWV 36
Program notes
Concert sponsors Susan Keith and Jeanne Perry
Guest soloist sponsor Summit Bank

Cubanisimo's Holiday Party

You are invited to share holiday cheer with friends old and new at Cubanisimo's wine club holiday party as they enjoy wine, hors’d'oeuvres and Christmas carolers at the Cubanisimo Estate House. Friday, December 10th, 6pm-10pm
Reservations are $30 per person | $25 wine club member price

Reservation includes wine, hors’d'oeuvres, and a special performance by Willamette Master Chorus. Dress will be semi-formal.
RSVP by email Vino@CubanisimoVineyards.com or call 503.588.1763.  Reservations are required by all guests.  Reservations can be purchased online on our order page.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Brandborg Gets 90 pts. in Wine Enthusiast

Brandborg 2007 Bench Lands Pinot Noir (Umpqua Valley) Light and aromatic, this delicate and poised wine seduces with lush aromas of cherries and baking spices.  It has the elegance that only fine Pinot Noir can express.  Here the subtleties have been coaxed into rich expression, with details of spice and incense and chocolate truffles adding to the lingering finish. 
                     

Monday, November 29, 2010

Good News for Cana's Feast

Cana's Feast Winery's 2008 Meredith Mitchell Pinot Noir earned 90 pts from Wine Spectator! Great job Patrick!!

I always enjoy visiting and tasting there. Try the big reds!

 

Belle Vallée Cellars For First Thursday

As the holiday season moves into full swing, Belle Vallée Cellars would like to inform you of some upcoming specials and events in the Tasting Room.
Continuing our weekly featured wine program, Belle Vallée's side label, The Corvallis Wine Company Pinot noir will be offered at a steal for $79.99/case from 11/26-12/2!
First Thursday!
The place to be on the first Thursday of every month is down town.  This coming First Thursday (12/2), the Belle Vallée Tasting Room will host fused glass artist Claire Magee.  Take a stroll down town and enjoy local arts.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Oregon wins! Boise Loses!!!

Could not happen to a nicer bunch of guys, I am talking about Boise State of coures. Hubris does it again.
We drank a bottle of LaVelle 2009 Chardonnay sourced from the Columbia Valley. Great tasting with a little, and I do mean a little oak, kind of like a really dry martinee when you just wave the Vermouth over the shaaker.
It retains a nice crisp feel and slightly chill, was a perfect foil for our white cheeses and apples. We will drink this one again.
Latter we opened a bottle of Giradet Baco Noir '06 Reserve. Linda was less than impressed but she likes her wines a little more easy to deal with. I like a chalenge so this one waas mine.Lots of plum and black fruit with a little bite. Very strong prune after taste.
Great with roasted meats and fall vegetables.
Go Ducks!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving in Wine Country

It has become a real tradition for all of the wineries to open their doors to the public on this special weekend. The list is to long to put here but if you look over to your left you will see a huge table of wineries to visit all over the state.
Have a great Thanksgiving and buy lots of wine this weekend!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Last chance to get 2009 Viognier from Cowhorn

Our good friend Bill is running out of one of our favorites! Posted from Cowhorn's site:

You may ask, "Why on Earth are they saying goodbye to a vintage that just released?" Well, as soon as the word got out how little 2009 Viognier we made, Club COWHORN members, sommeliers, and wine shops made a run on the winery leaving us with less than half.
Our site's rocky soil and cold climate bring some brilliant flavor out of the white Rhône varietals growing here at COWHORN. While much of our Viognier is reserved for Spiral 36, a blend that includes equal parts Marsanne and Roussanne, we always set some aside for a small production. With just 13 cases left at last count, it won't last long.

> Read 2009 Viognier Notes

Nice Blog about Biggio Hamina

I am a big fan of Todd's wines and his way of approaching wine making. His wines are consistently good and his Pinot Gris is no exception. Though I do like most Oregon Pinot Gris, here is another opinion.
Here is a blog from "Beyond the Bottle"
I am not a big fan of Oregon Pinot gris, as most seem monochromatic to me. I rarely buy it, opting instead for more interesting white varieties from the state such as Chardonnay and Riesling. My subjective palate even finds Pinot blanc more intriguing than most Pinot gris.
The Biggio Hamina 2009 Pinot Grigio Cougar's Mark Vineyard Willamette Valley (12.9%) is an exception and- more

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Weddings in the Vines

Youngburg Hill, along with Willamette Valley Vineyards, David Hill, Ponzi, and some others are featured in Oregon Bride magazine as a place for your wedding.
I have been to most of these places and can't think of a better way to make your vows than surrounded by the bounty and beauty of Oregon's best product!
Linda and I got married at Chateau Loraine on the shores of Lake Louis and it will always be a wonderful memory! The wine was great also!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Next wave of Oregon Wine

I have decided to attempt yet another year of  "One Bottle Project" and will be bothering all the wineries in Oregon for one bottle for the next few months.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Glen Cortese announces his resignation as OMP’s Artistic Director

Glen Cortese announces his resignation as OMP’s Artistic Director, effective after the last concert of OMP’s 2010-2011 season in May, 2011.
OMP’s Artistic Director, Glen Cortese, has announced that he will resign at the end of the current 2010-2011 season. OMP’s concert with the American String Quartet on May 14, 2011 will be Mr. Cortese’s last conducting performance as Artistic Director with the group. However, Mr. Cortese has accepted an invitation to serve as Artistic Director Emeritus during OMP’s 2011-2012 season and will return to conduct one concert during that season. Mr. Cortese will continue working as Artistic Director of the Greeley Philharmonic in Colorado, the Western New York Chamber Orchestra, and the New York Chamber Sinfonia. He also plans to devote an increasing amount of his energy to composing and guest conducting. “My tenure with the Mozart Players has been rewarding and fulfilling,” states Mr. Cortese. “I will miss the Eugene community and my interaction with the players and our audiences.”
 Mr. Cortese has served as OMP’s Artistic Director since the 2003-2004 season, leading the group to new levels of artistic excellence and consistently engaging programming. Mr. Cortese has continued to live in New York during his tenure with OMP, and has used his connections there to bring distinguished guest soloists to Eugene to perform with the orchestra. His original compositions have been a highlight of each season, giving OMP’s patrons the opportunity to enjoy contemporary works alongside Classical and Baroque era pieces for which the group is best known. OMP Executive Director Larry Wayte notes that “Glen Cortese has been a very energetic, consistent, and generous artistic leader of this orchestra for the past eight years, and I am very glad to have had the opportunity to learn from him.” OMP Board President Robert Canaga adds, “Glen has been a driving force behind OMP’s transition to a more outward-looking, inclusive, and community-oriented organization. His generosity, humility, and willingness to give back to our community will be greatly missed.”
The Oregon Mozart Players will conduct a search for a new Artistic Director beginning immediately. OMP plans to invite a series of guest conductors to Eugene over the next two years, with the goal of identifying the next Artistic Director by the end of the 2012-2013 season.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Great Article in OregonWine.com about Carlton

Featured Story
THREE PERFECT DAYS IN CARLTON

by Jim Gullo

My friend Carol was visiting from Los Angeles, so naturally I drove her down NW Westside Road, the back way from McMinnville to Carlton, and naturally she gasped and cried out, "I want to move here!" We passed amazing grain silos and an enormous, white farmhouse, and the green fields, I told her, turn bright purple in May when the red clover plants mature, before they're harvested for seed. We passed the meat-packing plant, the town's park and ballfield, and when we crossed onto Main Street, Carol gasped again, because Carlton is an utterly picturesque collection of old brick buildings, and they're all full of wineries and tasting rooms.

"I want to live here," she repeated, remembering the traffic and congestion of southern California. It had taken all of thirty seconds for her to be seduced by Carlton's charms. Easy.(more)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Yamhill Carlton Tasting Event at Portland Armory

One of the coolest tastings you can find takes place in Portland at the home of PCS on the 30th of August.
I just found out that the Ghost Hill '08 Pinot Noir is down to 5 cases so this may be the last chance to taste and buy this remarkable wine! The Yamhill Carlton Winemakers all get together and show off their wonderful wines. It will only cost you $25 if you book now and $35 at the door, but my advice? BUY NOW!
Here is the list of wineries:
Adea*
Alexana Estate Vineyard & Winery*
Anne Amie*
Atticus Wine
Belle Pente
Biggio Hamina Cellars
Carlton Cellars*
Carlton Hill Vineyard
EIEIO & Company
Elk Cove Vineyards*
Ghost Hill Cellars*
Ken Wright Cellars*
Kramer Vineyards*
Lemelson Vineyards
Lenne’ Estate*
Lunimous Hills/Seven of Hearts
Merriman Wines
Panther Creek Cellars*
Penner-Ash Wine Cellars*
Roots
Solena & Gran Cru Estates*
Soter Vineyards
Stag Hollow*
Twelve
Wahle Vineyards & Cellars
WillaKenzie Estate Winery*

*Donated "One Bottle" in the past

Another Great Vintage from Bergström

I got this today in an email from Caroline, such good news for them! They always come through with spectacular wines. They are a real gift to the Oregon Wine industry.

Another Great Vintage from Bergström
as Reviewed by Wine Spectator!
We are delighted to share with you our latest scores from the Wine Spectator.
As we anticipated our estate vineyards have been recognized as the crown jewels of our portfolio. de Lancellotti Vineyard has been recognized by Harvey Steiman in the “HOT WINES” section of the Wine Spectator insider.
(94) Bergström Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains de Lancellotti Vineyard 2008 ($60)
Firm in texture and light on its feet, this has red cherry, raspberry and tangy lime flavors that pick up a distinct mineral note as the finish expands and rolls on and on. This has all the pieces to develop into something special. Best from 2012 through 2018.    H.S.
(93) Bergström Pinot Noir Dundee Hills Bergström Vineyard 2008 ($78)
Firm in texture and tightly packed with red cherry, raspberry, caramel and sassafras aromas and flavors, extraordinarily well-structured despite its light weight and harmoniously hinting at wet stone flavors as the expressive finish persists. Needs time. Best from 2012 through 2018.    H.S.

(92) Bergström Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge Le Pre du Col Vineyard 2008 ($55) Sold out
Supple, graceful and generous with its blueberry, currant and mineral flavors on a lithe, refined frame, persisting impressively on the long, harmonious finish. Drink now through 2018.    H.S.

(91) Bergström Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills Temperance Hill Vineyard 2008 ($55) Sold out       
Light and spicy, glowing with blueberry and cherry fruit, shaded with hints of mineral and clove as the finish lingers easily. This has grace and intensity. Drink now through 2018.   H.S.

These wines are extremely limited so please contact us if you would to purchase the 2008 de Lancellotti Vineyard Pinot Noir or 2008 Bergström Vineyard Pinot Noir. We are already sold out of the 2008 Le Pre du Col Pinot Noir and 2008 Temperance Hill Pinot Noir, these wines were offered exclusively through our wine clubs.
For additional information, contact Caroline Schoonveld cschoonveld@bergstromwines.com (503)554-0463.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

6th annual Portland Indie Wine & Food Festival

Great opportunity to taste some great wines and sample local foods.
Join 40 craft producers that represent the heart and soul of Oregon’s world-class wine industry as they pour their wines during the 6th annual Portland Indie Wine & Food Festival. The festival is an exciting opportunity to meet rising star winemakers from emerging cellars across the state in a farmer’s market-style setting. Most of the wines being poured are very limited in production and not widely available to purchase. This is your chance to buy wine you like from the winemaker on the spot and take them home.
2010 marks the official launch of the Indie Wine Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to preserving and sustaining the art of craft winemaking. We are excited to announce a few changes to this year’s festival, so please read carefully below.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sokol Blosser Winery Featured as Environmentally Sound

Great piece by  Organic Wine ExaminerKimberly King about Sokol Blosser:
The winery spotlight today is on Sokol Blosser Winery in Dayton, OR. Susan Sokol-Blosser and her family have played an important part in shaping and helping develop the Oregon wine industry while being a champion of environmentally friendly wine making and sustainable practices in the industry. In 2007, Sunset Magazine honored both Susan and Sokol Blosser with their prestigious "Green Winery of the Year" award.

Sokol Blosser strives to create wines that are of world class quality while being made with sustainable, environmentally conscious methods. Here are some facts about how Sokol Blosser's green efforts at the winery (courtesy of the SB website):
More here

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Great Trip Planner if Your in the Mid-Valley

Click the map for details:
Click for details.
Corvallis Wine Trail:
(they have it miss labeled as Eugene wine tour) but it is handy non the less.
A small town with big city culture, Corvallis, Oregon has an abundance of arts and culture, and what better way to drink it all in than a tour of local art galleries and local wineries? Join us as we meander across Benton County from the heart of historic downtown Corvallis to the tiny town of Wren. Indulge your creative senses and your palate in the heart of the Willamette Valley. The route is approximately 30 miles round-trip and one hour driving time.

Wineries

  1. Tyee Winery – Located on a Century Farm just south of downtown Corvallis, Tyee Wine Cellars is a family owned and operated vineyard and winery. Once a dairy farm, the vintage milking barn still stands today and serves as an art gallery adjoining the tasting room.
  2. The Wine Vault – Housed in an old bank in the small town of Philomath, Oregon, the Wine Vault is Pheasant Court Winery's official tasting room, and the old bank vault is still there!
More here

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Girardet at Astoria

Join Girardet Winery and many more this weekend--April 23rd-25th--for the 28th annual Astoria Warrenton Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival! Enjoy a great spread of northwest cuisine, myriad arts and crafts, a selection of Oregon and Washington’s finest wineries, the beer garden, live music and more!
If you are a member you can visit them at their booth you can enjoy a free wine tasting --one of your many perks as a member.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Good News for Some Very Good Winemakers

From Wine Enthusiast comes good news for some of our friends:

95 Chehalem 2006 Statement Pinot
Noir (Ribbon Ridge);
$99. This one of-
a-kind offering from Chehalem celebrates
what they are calling a “great” vintage. The wine
is dark, supple and immensely rich and dense,
yet retains a lightness that captures the elegance
of the Pinot Noir grape while propelling it to rarified
heights. The mix of red and purple fruits,
herb, spice and earth all come together in a
smooth and seductive wine that drinks like a
dream. Cellar Selection. —P.G.
95 Scott Paul 2008 Audrey Pinot Noir
(Dundee Hills);
$65. All Maresh vineyard
grapes are behind this gorgeous and feminine
Pinot, with soft and evocative scents of
truffle, chocolate and raspberry. Brilliant winemaking
that takes all the elements of great Oregon
fruit and puts them into unique focus, with
winemaker Kelley Fox’s trademark blend of biodynami
c e a r thy /fung a l f l a vor s , e legant
berry/cherry fruit, and just a touch of milk chocolate.
The alcohol just reaches 13%. —P.G.
94 Kelley Fox 2007 Maresh Vineyard
Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills)
; $50.
This has a surprising amount of vanilla cream in
the flavors, plus soft, seductive raspberry fruit.
The fruit comes from the oldest part of the
Maresh vineyard—38-year-old self-rooted vines.
The wine is a pale rose, yet substantial in the
style of a classic Pinot from Eyrie. After some
hours breathing it opens up with elegant, seductive
aromas and some caramel streaks, delicate
and perfectly proportioned. —P.G.
94 Ken Wright 2008 Canary Hill
Vi n e y a rd Pinot Noir (Eola-Amity
Hills)
; $50. The top wine from Ken Wright in
2008, this beautifully elegant wine clocks in at
just 13.3% alcohol, yet delivers a mouthful of
delicious flavors. A lovely mix of cranberry,
pomegranate and wild raspberry is annotated
with dusty herb. Excellent midpalate concentration
and length. Cellar Selection. —P.G.
93 Evening Land Vineyards 2007
Seven Springs Vi n e y a rd La Source
Pinot Noir (Eola-Amity Hills)
; $67.
Dominique Lafon consults on these wines,
sourced from a vineyard now almost 30 years old.
Evening Land is among the wineries who sense
an opportunity to make refined, elegant wines
from the terroir of this little-known region.
Lovely aromas, complex scents and flavors, pine
and herb, cranberry and raspberry, earth and
seafoam—lots of nuances here. Editors’ Choice.
—P.G.
93 Kelley Fox 2008 Maresh Vi n e y a rd
Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills);
$50. This
has pure fruit – strawberry especially – creating
an elegant, light, delicate, complex, though still
quite young wine. Some caraway seed flavors
come into play, and bolder black cherry fruit.
— P.G.
93 Longplay 2 0 0 8 Jory Bench
Reserve Lia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir
(Chehalem Mountains); $
30. Longplay’s
2008 reserve is quite different from its nonreserve
stablemate. The aromas include more
earthy barnyard scents, the color has a hint of
maturity, and no new oak was used. As a result,
this wine could pass for one with a few more
years under its belt; its flavors more suggestive of
fruit pastry, figs and plums, leather and compost.
Complex and detailed, it’s a lovely effort. —P.G.
93 Scott Paul 2007 La Paulée Pinot
Noir (Willamette Valley);
$30. Four
vineyards – Ribbon Ridge, Momtazi, Maresh and
Shea – are included here. Soft and seductive, this
wine caresses the palate with silky fruit. Aromatically
it weaves together red fruits, truffles and
clean, earthy scents. It reaches just over 13%
alcohol; truly Burgundian yet with an Oregon
flair to the fruit flavors. It puts the lie to any
notion that this was a poor vintage. Challenging
to be sure, but great wines were made in 2007,
and this is one of them. —P.G.
92 Adelsheim 2008 Elizabeth’s
Reserve Pinot Noir (Willamette
Valley);
$48. This barrel selection from the best
estate vineyards is given just 10 months aging in
30% new oak. The fruit is exceptional – a mix of
red berries with tasteful threads of caramel sneaking
into the finish. Let it breathe—it’s a baby—
but very nicely proportioned and showing layers
of detail throughout a lingering finish. —P.G.
92 Anne Amie 2006 L’iris Pinot Noir
(Willamette Valley)
; $75. Drinking
very nicely, this wine bursts from the glass with
rich aromas of cherry, chocolate, truffle and
loam. The fruit factor is ramped up, delicious and
coats the palate with bright cherry candy flavors.
But this is more than a fruit bomb; the acidity
and ripe tannins balance it out as it runs into a
clean, lengthy finish. —P.G.
92 Brittan Vineyards 2006 Basalt
Block Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley)
;
$45. The private project of veteran winemaker
Robert Brittan, the limited-production
wines under his own label are treasures. This is
his inaugural release. Both fruit ripeness and
meaty depth are here in abundance, with a complex
mix of tree fruits and stone fruits, streaks of
earth and a fine layering of chocolate. This is a
wine you excavate as much as drink; it’s full of
surprises. —P.G.
92 Ken Wright 2008 Abbott Claim
Vi n e y a rd Pinot Noir (Yamhill- Carlton
District);
$50. The 2008 Pinots from Ken
Wright display their individual terroirs quite succinctly,
with little evidence of the (roughly) 30%
new oak they receive. The Abbott Claim has a
bit more of a chocolaty flavor, with full, spicy
cherry fruit at its core. In fact there is so much
fruit, spicy and candied, that it is a bit like fruitcake,
in a good way. —P.G.
92 Ken Wright 2008 McCrone Vineyard
Pinot Noir (Yamhill- Carlton
District)
; $50. Still quite young, but showing
real depth and layering, the McCrone vineyard
designate offers pomegranate and raspberry fruit,
dusted with baking spices, and finished with a
tasty vein of mocha. This is a wine to enjoy in the
full bloom of its youth. —P.G.
92 Soléna 2007 Hyland Vi n e y a rd
Pinot Noir (Eola-Amity Hills)
; $45.
Laurent and Danielle Montalieu acquired this
high-profile vineyard in 2007; this is the first
Hyland release under their Soléna label. It’s a
beautiful Pinot, with the elegance of Burgundy
and the freshness of New World grapes. Fermentation
in rotary barrels (for color extraction
and tannin management) yields a silky, perfumed,
feminine wine that penetrates subtly and
lingers gracefully. Editors’ Choice. —P.G.
For a complete rating click here

Sunday, April 11, 2010

We Are Selling The Hat

Howard Hughes' "Lucky Fedora" 

Howard Hughes' Hat!
One of our board members gave us the hat for the auction. 
In his letter about the hat, he says:
For 35 years I was a practicing Medical Specialist in the Los Angeles area.  During that time my wife and I became very friendly with JOHN SLEETER,  a general practitioner in a neighboring community, and he and I developed a professional relationship as well.
One evening while my wife and I were the Sleeters' dinner guests,  John told us that while he was training at Los Angeles County Hospital, he came to care for HOWARD HUGHES, who was a patient there. Hughes had been taken to that hospital following a plane crash of his on July 7th, 1946. John,  for a period of time, became Hughes' physician.
That evening, knowing that I was a private pilot,  thinking I would appreciate it, John offered me a hat that Hughes had given him.  Was this the only such hat that Hughes had, since a famous photo of him showing him in the pilot seat of the Spruce Goose shows him wearing what appears identical to this one , or did he have multiple such hats, I do not know.
I kept it ever since and even considered donating it to the Smithsonian Museum Aviation Section at one time.  It now seems an appropriate time to make it available to a person or entity seriously interested in possessing what I consider to be a valuable and real bit of memorabilia.
  (John died in 2009. I downloaded his obituary from the Internet. It was from the Tama, Iowa local newspaper, the place of his birth, and it states that he had been Hughes' personal physician).   by Anonymous board member

Now that I have done a bit more digging, I have found that Sleeter was a Lt. and had indeed treated Hughes after the crash, and hitched a ride with him on his first flight after the ordeal. Read the book starting on the bottom of 157.page
I have also found reference to the hat being recovered and taken to a police station, then rushed to Hughes at the hospital. It kind of gave me chills, reading about the crash and his connection to Sleeter, and having the hat sitting here in front of me.
If you have any aviation fans (with money) please let them know about this. Click here to see some of the other items up for auction.
We now have a letter from Dr Sleeter's wife attesting to the authenticity of the hat. 
To quote the letter: To whom it may concern,
Approximately 15 years ago my husband, Dr John W. H. Sleeter while guests at our home at 1200 S, Orange Groove Blvd, Pasadena, gave to Dr Charles Tannenbaum the hat that Howard Hughes gave him while he was under John's care after he was discharged from Good Samaritan Hospital after his plane crash.
I witnessed this gift being given myself
Patricia G. Sleeter
There is also a certificate verifying his service at the hospital that makes direct reference to Hughes case.
These may be sent by email upon request.
rcanaga@gmail.com



Thursday, April 8, 2010

OK, Last Trip

This morning after a pleasant drive past Fern Ridge reservoir to LaVelle Vineyards I got to taste one of the most promising wines yet for the '08 vintage. Mathew LaVelle let me sample his '08 Reserve Pinot Noir($40) and I am impressed. This is realy his first attempt at making the wine himself and he picked a good year to start.
The wine was of course not ready to drink as it has only been in the bottle for a short time but it has so much character already that I can only imagine what it will be like in 2 or three years.Mostly made with 777 and Pommard with a little estate grown 115, it has great combination of dark aromas and delicate flavors.
The nose right now is filled with chocolate, earth, and warm fruit. Very aromatic and lush. The taste goes quickly from a tart cherry to a sweet berry. Delicate and long lasting with hints of sweet strawberry on the back of the tognue. The finish satys with you for a very long time and each sip brings up a new layer of flavors and complexity.
This wine has that rare quality of strength and delicacy and is, as Mathew put it, "...so much going on yet still is very feminine"
After leaving LaVelle I made a quick trip around the corner to see Buzz at Domaine Meriwether and pick up his wonderful donation of a magnum of '99 Captain Clark Vintage Cuvee'($75).
His new building is coming along fast and the epoxy is on the floor of the winery. As soon as that is all done they start on the front, which will be a large and modern tasting room with office space and storage. It has been designed by a friend who also does some architectural work in Las Vegas.
I can't wait to see waht it looks like when finished.
Wee, That about does it for the year. I have driven more miles and visited more wineries than I ever could have imagined.
Starting soon I will be doing more in depth interviews and will be filming some of the winemakers as the year progresses.
Hope you enjoyed this year as much as I did!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

14 Cases, 7 Magnums, and a Very Careful Drive

This morning I set out to pick up the rest of the wine from the Abbey and get a bottle of Amity Vineyards '06 Winemakers Reserve Pinot Noir. Both tasks were successful.
When I arrived at the Abbey I started packing in the cases, three in the front, 6in the back seat, and 5 in the back. The ride was very solid and I was a nervous wreck worrying about having something happen.
I stopped for lunch at Farm to Fork and spoke to Kendal about having them do an auction Item for next year. Her husband Paul gave us a bottle a few weeks ago of his wonderful wine, De Lancellotti Pinot Noir.
I had the Duck Confit salad and a glass of Maysara '08. It was perfect match. The tartness of the Rose' with its overtones of cherries and rhubarb worked perfectly with the blue cheese, figs, and dressed greens, and enhanced the flavor of the crisp duck. Wonderful!
I went carefully south and stopped at Amity Vineyards for a bottle to complete the founders case, wines with a long history, in this case 1971! I selected a bottle of the Winemakers Reserve '06 Pinot Noir($50), what they donated last year, and by pure luck, I bought the case it was in!
Jill let me taste all the Pinot Noirs they had out and I really enjoyed them, especially the '07 Crannell Single Vineyard, Pinot Noir: Earthy, big fruit, tobacco, pepper, and spice on the nose and a soft warm mouthfeel that has lots of subtle blackberry and spice. Long after with tangy citrus and berry.
And of course the devastatingly good '06 Winemaker's Reserve: Lighter than some of the '06 Pinot Noirs but with a cool steady raspberry and earth nose and a warm, mouth-filling berry, vanilla, coco, and black cherry pallet. Love it!
Now I am home and have to sort wine...
In the morning I am going out to pick up a bottle of wine that LaVelle has for me and  for a magnum of Merriweather's '99 Cuvee'!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Territorial Comes Through!

From Territorial Vineyards and Winery's notes about the '06 Capital "T" Reserve Pinot Noir:
This Silky Pinot is so smooth it's like ice skating behind the Zamboni. It starts with room-filling aromas of dark and red fruit, vanilla and toast, followed by multiple layers of mouthwatering fruit, berry and spice notes. Like its little brother Stone's Throw, Capital T is not produced every year. Its last sighting was from the 2003 vintage.
This is close to the last bottle though I must admit, this is like an addiction: "Just one more, I swear I'll stop, but just one more, please?"
Kind of silly but when you have driven x thousand miles and collected so much wine from so many wonderful people, you do miss it.
Looks like I may have to start again soon for next years auction!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Long and Winding Road

The last few months have given me a perspective on Oregon wines that I could never have achieved in any other way. From the difference in soil types, the slope, the micro climates, and the winemakers to the tasting rooms, the customers, and of course, the wines, there is such a huge amount of complexity, difference, and wonder one realy can't know it all, but its fun to try!
For the rest of this year I will be doing video interviews and more tastings leading up to next years auction.
For now, I have a couple of trips planed before Friday: One to oick up the Sake "G" up in Forest Grove, and one to haul 20+cases of wine.
Today I drove out to Sweet Checks and picked up a bottle of the '08 Reserve Pinot Noir as thier donation. The wine is very promising and needs to stay down for at least 3 years before it hits its stride. Lush, complex, and bold with that "just wait" feel to it. They also donated a barrel tasting for 8 that will go in to a package with two other wineries and a limo ride. Here Sasha, Jake, and Jen show off the wine and certificate.
I delivered a painting "Andy and Marylin Go for a Ride" by Barry Geller to replace the one that just sold , Fiddlers on the Roof" I have always thought that a good place for high art is a well appointed tasting room. It is the perfect formula for art enjoyment: Good wine, good people, and the relaxed feeling of informality and pleasure.It seems to work as we have sold many paintings there by both Anne Teigen, and Barry Geller.

Friday, April 2, 2010

At Long Last, Pinot!


After many visits and tastes, not an unpleasant course of events by any stretch of the imagination, victory has been achieved! One bottle from Lavelle winery here in the heart of Lane County.
Lorie gave me a bottle of the '07 Pinot Nor ($24), one of Mathew's first wines I believe, and a good one at that.
Very light in structure, fine in texture, baked fruit nose with a hint of choc and earth, a little hard in the mouth at first but gives way to cherry, strawberry, and vanilla, long finish of dry fruit. Best with roasted vegetables and hamburger.
The tasting room at Fifth street is one of the best around. Good food and music on occasion, with nice people hosting. Visit often!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Snow in the Coast Range, Wine on the Coast

The month of March had a few surprises left. I took off early for the coast, trying to make it to Ocean Dunes Golf Links to pick up  a certificate for 18 and one for 9, then head north. My Subaru got a work out. There was about 4 inches of brand new snow on the road , a truck had jack-knifed on a curve, and when we finally got going, the non-Oregonians were driving 8 mph out of fear. Fun day!
When I finally got to Florence I stopped by the Golf course for a visit with Randy, then headed to Flying Dutchman Winery up above Newport. Very stormy day, waves crashing, wind blowing, a perfect day to taste some wine. Dan High was pouring and we (there was a crowd) tasted through his whites, including a blend of Pinot Blanc and Riesling called "Mighty Fine White"($14)  and some of the reds. My favorite was the '06 Cabernet Sauvignon ($36): Deep red, big fruit, leather, earth, and chocolate nose with a milder mouthfeel and a wonderful plum and dark cherry palette.
I think that Dan should be cloned and put in every tasting room in Oregon. He NEVER lets a customer out the door without something in their hands, even if it a post card he gives them for free. Amazing salesman!
I did not have time to go next door for some chowder so I had to hold out till I got to Tillamook and the Blue Heron French Cheese Company where I picked up two rounds of Brie cheese for the auction from Sherryl, had a glass of Oregon Pinot Noir from August Cellars, who's wine I did not collect this year, and some cheese. After an hour of wandering around looking at cheese, sipping my wine, and sampling, I went in to town and poked around. Been a long time since I have been there. They have a great aircraft museum in the old blimp hangers, a must see!  I drove the windy road through the hills to McMinnville and just about did not make it. There is a very tight double corner about 12 miles along that was slippery and I took it just a little to fast: sideways three times, 180 each way, correcting all the way, snapped back and continued. You know how things slow down when you get in situations like that? Well know I remember that feeling.
I met friends at The Golden Valley Brewery and shared a bunch of appetizers then headed for bed.
Early rise and up to the Starbucks in Safeway for a scone and , due to a broken espresso maker, a cup of normal coffee; not bad!
When I got to Duck Pond Cellars, Connie was prepping for the day and though I was early, greeted me and handed me over to Lisa (what have I said about good looking people in the wine business?), daughter of the founders, now in charge of marketing, gave us a bottle of Pinot Gris ($12);Pear and island spice on the nose and a dry fruit, smooth pallet, great finish. I bet it would go really well with halibut or sole. The '08 Pinot Noir($20) she gave us is is the first wine that I have tried that smelled like berry pie! Warm, fesh baked berry pie, with choclate, then a red berry, spice, and pepper pallet and a long finish of soft spice and tart berry. Very nice and a real surprise!
Off to Tigard and a chance to try out my Android GPS...Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT depend on it to get you where you want to go. I ended up in someones driveway very flumuxed. I finally found the place by dumb luck, on the other side of town.
The Pacific Northwest Wine Club ships a variety of wines throughout the year and Dan, the owner, gave me a tour of the facility and handed over the bottle of Zerba Cellars wine that I had left on the counter in McMinnville a few weeks ago at SIP!.
From their notes on the Wild Z Table Wine: 2007 Wild Z returns us to our "Wild Thing" roots, showcasing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah from the heart of the rocky floodplain on the Walla Walla River. It contains cedar, strawberry, and white pepper aromas that lead up to tantalizing flavors of blackberry, blueberry, cedar, and hints of earth and olive. This is a balanced, medium-bodied red table wine that will pair well with a wide range of foods. 
Variety: 37% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Syrah, 4% Cabernet Franc
On the way back down to the Abbey I stopped by Ponzi and picked up a bottle for the founders case, an inexpensive Pinot Gris that put me out of pocket $19 but I really wanted to have something from an older winery.
Back at the Abbey i dropped off the few bottles I had and made a bee line for home, cats, my comfy chair, and a real good glass of Oregon Syrah.
One more journey to pick up a bottle of G Sake and we should be done for the year. Now I hope someone comes to the auction!




A Visit With Oregon Wine Histoy

Doyle Hinman greeted me at the door of his Eugene house, tucked in a secluded corner of town, where he does marketing for Henry Estate Winery and for his own company, DW Hinman Cellars,LLC. He named the wine Five H for a couple of reasons: to avoid confusion with the winery he founded in 1979, and to honor the other four family members involved.
We spoke for an hour about the history of wines here in Oregon and how when he and partner David Smith planted back in1979 he made friends with David Lett, Bill Fuller, and Bill Blosser. He spoke of opening the market in China and about the challenges facing wineries today: price point, volume, perceptions, and costs.
I plan on doing a series of interviews with him over the next year and posting the videos here so keep an eye out.
Their '08 Riesling is made in a very German style and has just a hint of the petrol nose famous in the best Rhine Rieslings and a crisp dry fruit on the pallet. Very good!
The '07 Syrah is full of tobacco, leather, dark fruit,and chocolate in the nose with a plum, black cherry, and coco pallet. Nice lond aftertaste. Like this one a lot.
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