Let's see, where was I? Oh yes, flying pigs!
Devitt and drove down the road to Wooldridge Creek Vineyard and Winery visit Greg Paneitz and beg him for a bottle of his best. Didn't take much begging to get an excellent bottle of '07 Syrah ($32), and as a treat, he also gave the newly released '08 Pinot Noir ($36) . Linda and I have been coming down to Ashland for years to attend the Shakespeare festival and a few years ago we were lunching at Allyson's and met Greg and Cara doing a wine tasting. The next day we drove to the winery and became wine club members and have been enjoying the wines every since.
One of the cool things about them is that they are always looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. One way they have come up with is to buy used beer kegs, refit them, and fill them with wine (25 bottles) and inert gas. They use a stainless tap for wine (Here is Greg with the newly designed Tap Pull). Beer uses brass and that is effected by the acids in the wine due to its copper component. The systems are sold complete and all the bar or other outlet has to do is have the tank refilled. The cost savings are enormous due to the lack of waste, bottle storage, breakage, etc. Standing Stone
in Ashland, Four Daughters in Medford, The Craterian Theater in Medford (16 taps for the intermission crowd), and The Melting Pot in Portland has installed the system. Look for the article in the Oregonian on the 2nd of March, I will link it from here and from news.
They also only use American made bottles with a thinner glass and smaller punts.
getting back to the really important stuff: WINE!
Greg let me taste a number of their wines beginning with an '08 Rose': Melon and Strawberry in the nose AND on the palate. Nice semi-sweet finish.
The Warwick '08 White Wine: White peach and vanilla in the nose and smooth ripe peach and pear with a little hint of honey in the mouth. Tannins, from being left on the skins, give it a complex and very pleasant mouthfeel. This is a keeper, unusual for a white.
Now the '08 Pinot Noir ($36): Chocolate covered cherry smell right out of the box, caramel, blueberry and black currents with a strawberry after taste. Nice tannins, great mouthfeel. I may bid on this one myself!
The '07 Syrah:($32): BIG nose! Black fruit with slight plum note over black current and a smokey undertone. Last was the '07 Tempernio: Tobacco, earth, chocolate and black fruit with bits of bright cherry. Very drinkable.
I bid Greg farewell and driving out of the winery, got this shot. You have to love Oregon weather, it was raining in Medford and Jacksonville.
Rosella's Vineyard and Winery was open and had a bottle waiting for me, a non-vintage Red Wine Blend ($18) that tastes like every grape it is made from. Strawberry, blackberry, chocolate, pepper, and a nice bite. I would match this with a good Parmesan cheese over red sauced pasta!
They are also pursuing the kegged wine concept. This is very exciting and is a good competitor to the California box wines.
I also tasted a really nice '06 Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine is aged in American oak, has great tannins, a complex structure, and great berry and earth notes. Good for at least ten years.
My last stop is one of the prettiest wineries around, and they just keep adding new things. The new tasting room is beautiful! Cal spent some time tastinga few of the wines as his staff left to get ready for one of the many events they have.
We started with a '07 Merlot that just got gold at the Chronicle tasting in San Fransisco. Lots of red cane berry in the mouth with a hint of red cherry, currents, and strawberry, with anise and clove in the back of the nose. Herby nose up front. Lovely wine.
The '07 Syrah is filled with big ripe berry and dark fruit, with a very subtla hint of pine. A little peper and spice. Long smooth finish.
The blended red, Soulea is a big earthy red with a pleasing ripe taste. Great for the purposes Cal and I were putting it to.
The last wine I tasted is what Cal donated, a wonderful '07 Cabernet Sauvignon that had all the right qualities. Firm structue with deep smooth black fruit and very slight notes of tobacco and earth. Unfolds as it hits different parts of your moth. Very nice wine.
Time to drive back to Eugene.