Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Newport, Old Port

Sometimes I get a little tired of driving all over the atse asking for "one bottle" so today I decided to do what I did last year and get as many in one place as I could.
The Newport Wine and Seafood Festival has been held there for the last 33 year and has helped many Oregon Wineries develop a following.
I arrived early so I could find a close parking spot. After last years experience of carrying cases three blocks, I did not want a repeat. After paying $5 to park, $5 to enter, $1 or $2 for tastes it begins to add up but the food was good and the people were much clamer on Sunday than I have seen on Saturday, or as they call it, "Kids day".
My first stop was to say hello to Orchard Heights, who already gave us an '06 Pinot Gris. Next to them was a local winery that I just have not had time to get to yet, Chateau Lorane, owned and managed by Linde Kester. He gave us a nice bottle of his '09 Viognier (off dry)($16) that is pure nectar. I like all sorts of Viogniers and this one hits all the right spots on my taste buds. Wonderful bouquets of floral notes, sweet pear and ripe apple, hints of fresh cut pineapple and sweet spice. Great way to start the tasting!
K&M Wines was next. I introduced myself to Mauro and Ken, the owners and ask for a bottle of their best.
They handed over their '06 Alchemy Vineyard Pinot Noir, a richly fruity '06 with a delicate mid palate of cherry and spices, a little pepper and vanilla(?) with a long finish, unlike some of the '06 Pinots that just drop off.
Next door the Hinman Vineyards /Silvan Ridge booth was busy and looked like they were doing well. My friend Angela decided it was time for a day off after Saturday's crowd so I missed her. They already gave us their '06 Cabernet Sauvignon ( see the blog). I stopped to visit with the folks at Willamette Valley Vineyards and to meet Kristine, who I have ben corosponding with for a hwile about the blog. They had givenus a couple of real treats, the '08 Griffin Creek Viognier, and a '07 Founders Reserve Pinot Noir.
Nice to put a pretty face to the voice!
Chateau Bianca, located on highway 22 west of the 99 intersection, where Andreas gave us a tasty '07 Pinot Gris ($14) .It has notes of orange oil, tropical flowers, and tastes sweet/tart with lime and crisp green apple and finishes with a bright clean and pleasant sweetness on the sides of the tongue.
Melrose Vineyards, who had given us a bottle of their '08 Pinotage, were almost sold out of it! Good thing I went early. (See blog). Around the corner was a very busy Sasha and Lorie at Sweet Cheeks Winery. After my hug, I visited with Stephanie at Seufert Winery. She has had a bottle waiting for me for a long time but I always seem to miss her at the tasting room in Dayton, so today I got the prize! She handed over a bottle of the '06 Barrel Select Pinot Noir ($40).  This wine has deep dark secrets of black current and earth, allspice and sweet cherry. Aftertaste of creme de cassis and pepper. Wow! I plan to drop by later this week to get a taste or three.
Territorial Vineyards was buzzing with tasters so I snapped a picture of Lisa and Deanna as I went by. I plan on visiting them in the tasting room in Eugene next week and picking up their donation.
Ray Walsh of Capitella promised a bottle of his pewter labeled '07 Succession Cuvee Pinot Noir($75). He was almost sold out at the show so I decided to wait and get one later. Last year he ran out so he gave us a magnum as a replacement!
One of my favorite people at the show last year, and this year, was David Hamilton. He makes what can be said to be the best fruit wine in, dare I say, the world? He does not make fruit flavored wine, nor white wine based fruit wine, he makes wine from the fruit! Man is it good. I tried his new Cranberry Wine ($17) and was so pleased with the tastes: Natural cranberry tartness with a concentrated sugar/acid balance that washes over your tongue and wakes it up. You smell the clean bright crushed berry tartness and an almost citrus note. Love it! This one is aged in steel barrels for two years and is such a prize. He gave us a bottle of this one and I plan on driving out to Mt Vernon for a visit. I can hit 12 Ranches at the same time, only 300 miles apart.
Wasson Brothers Winery is over 25 years old and has been making fruit wine and traditional wine for their neighbors and fans, and now, for everyone. They gave us a bottle of the great sparkling wine, Oregon Spumine ($16)(a take on Spumante' I guess).
Off to Pheasant Valley Winery and a chat with Scott Haggee. I missed them on my trip a few weeks ago so today he gave me a bottle of a wonderful  '06 Reserve Pinot Noir($28) that had just won Gold here at Newport!
Stopped and said hello to the folks at Hauer of the Dauen, Amity Vineyards, Eola Vineyard,and Cliff Creek,  then Stopped at Oak Knoll to arrange a visit.
My next bottle came from the Ribera Vineyards of West Linn. Darrel presented me with a bottle of the '09 Viognier after I tasted it. Apricot brandy nose with swet notes of fresh pear and ripe melon on the tongue. A little different than others I have tasted, a little more complex. I am guessing it will last and be best served a little warmer than the usual chill. Great aromas.
I picked up a bottle of surprise wine from Cooper Mountain Vineyards !  Jason was hiss usual friendly self, a good trait for a hospitality manager of a major winery! He had read what I wrote about them when I picked up their donation and gave me a bottle of the new '07 Malbec ($25)!. This is bottle from grapes grown on their estate in Argentina and shipped here. Not really an Oregon wine but...
I was surprised, and a bit pleased, to see an unusual winery among all the trads, Bodhichitta Winery, dedicated to nonprofit fund raising and still willing to donate one bottle to someone out of their usual clients. They gave a bottle of their '06 Contemplative Cabernet ($32). Pepper and dark fruit with a nose of smooth spices.
Down the booths I saw lots of old friends: Methven family, Rivers Edge, Valley View, Girardet, and Palotai and stopped for a taste and a chat or just a hand shake.
 My bag was getting a little heavy so I found an empty case at  HV Cellars,out of Myrtle Point, and one of their fine berry wines to round out the case. They gave me an Oregon Blackberry Wine ($20).
 They were kind enough to store it for me so I would not have to sit it in a hot car. I plan on going down next trip south and doing some serious tasting. I did have a glass of their Pinot Noir. This is a very interesting Pinot. Grown at a higher elevation in a warmer climate, it has pepper, dried fruit, tobacco and leather, with lots of cherry and Raspberry. The pepper stayed around just long enough to make you want another sip. Very nice.
I wandered off unburdened, but not for long. 
I had passed Vitis Ridge and did not stop as they were slammed with folks asking questions and tasting. When I went back by things had calmed down so I reintroduced myself (they gave last year) and was given the '05 Pinot Noir($26) very full bodied but elegant, lots of complex fruits and spices.and the '07 Marechal Foch ($18) (which I love!). Deep dark red with mild tannins and a soft mouthfeel.. I do think Sally (left) could have been having a little more fun though. I went away smiling!
Speaking of smiling, I dropped by Sienna Ridge to let Cindy know that she had given me an extra bottle of the '03 Pinot Noir instead of the '04 Pinot Noir . She gave me the '04 Pinot Noir($27) and told me to just keep the other one!  As I was leaving she held out a bottle of the '03 Cabernet Sauvignon($29) to add to the collection. I am overwhelmed by the amount of wines given for this project! I only ask "One Bottle" and am so surprised when we get more. They are so generous and friendly. I love to stop by and visit on the way south. 
I finally got a David Hill Winery Pinot Noir. I can't tell you how many times I drove out to Forest Grove, up the hills, and to the beautiful old house that is their tasting room, only too miss the person who could say yes. Today I found him and he said "Yes", Jason Bull, the winemaker, handed over one of the finest Pinot Noirs at the show. His '07 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir ($38), Cherry candy right out of the box in the nose, bright fruit and earthy complexity in the mouth, a vital and compelling wine that is simple enough to sip with friends but good enough to keep down for a while and drink with your lover. 
Mark at Noble Estate Vineyard and Winery teased me a bit, waving a magnum, but it was empty, so he gave a bottle of his '07 Syrah Reserve($28), This wine is aged in American oak and has a long, almost sweet start with a bright cherry and dark berry mid palette, a long smooth finish, and has good tannins to make it last for a few years. 
The owner of Crater Lake Cellars said that he had not seen the note I left when I drove out to see where they were located, in Shady Cove. I could not find a cove but I am sure there is one there somewhere and they were not around but I enjoyed the trip and had a nice meal. Anyway, when Steve heard my appeal he smiled and handed over a bottle of '07 Cabernet Sauvignon ($19). Chocolate cherry nose and rich chocolate, black cherry, anise, and dark earth make this a really superb wine, especially for the price.
On down the crowded path was Steve and Cristy of Misty Oaks Vineyard. Though they are fairly close to me I have missed them so far and this is a great opportunity to connect. They are located in the northern Umpqua Valley up on the side of a hill not far from Henry Estate Winery. Their wines are among the best in the region, starting with their Gewurtztraminer, an unbelievably good mix of tropical  flavors and spices, to their deep rich "big" red '04 Gobblers Knob Blend. They gave me the '06 Gobblers Knob Red Blend ($24), it's a bit more complex and approachable than the '04 and though it should be put down for a few more years, it is drinkable now. Red meat or Salmon!
While we are on the subject of oak, let me tell you about Lone Oak Vineyard. They are just down the road from Monroe on a south facing hill in the coast range. They are near Benton Lane but have a different micro climate. I have been drinking their Pinot Noir for about 5 years and am yet to be disappointed. They presented me with a bottle of '07 Pinot Noir ($20), lighter than the '06 with much more complex tastes and a very nice finish with a hint of fig.
I rounded a corner and ran in to the folks from Anthony Dell Cellars. They share space in McMinnville with my friend Rebecca Pitock -Shouldis who makes wine for Ghost Hill Cellars so we have known each other for a while. They were quick to give a bottle of '07 Rio Red ($22)and one of the '07 Pinot Noir($30). They also threw in a cool hat and two pieces of fine stem ware.
I stopped over at Hood River Vineyards and Winery with a special request. Last year they gave a bottle of their 1998 Zinfandel Port($38) and I used it as one of the prizes on the tables. It went for a lot of money so I decided to ask again. This time they gave me two.   They are one of the oldest wineries in the gorge. It was established in 1981 and has been a family operation the whole time.
In 1979 I bought a Tempernio from Bernard and kept it down for 7 years. When we opened it the wine was absolutely wonderful.
I made a stop at Pyrenees Vineyard and Cellars' booth and said hello. I was just there and was told by Dick that the estate wines would be in for the Festival so I took a chance and ask Jazz if I could have one along with the other one Dick had given down at the tasting room. She said yeas so I got a nice bottle of the very first wines produced from the estate, a '06 Cabernet Sauvignon. from their tasting notes:
A decadent bouquet of plum, blackberry and tobacco, with layers of dark fruit on the mid palate, ending with an alluring finish that goes on and on and on...
 How can I describe the next, and last acquisition of the day? I was completely taken by a sweet and cheerful woman who said she wanted me to try the wines in her booth made by Vinn Distillery. They were rice wines, but unlike any I have had before, and I have had a few, as for back as Viet Nam in 1969. these were out of this world! She gave me a  red, called Mijiu Fire and the white called Mujiu Ice. The red is made with black rice and spices while the white is made with brown rice. The tastes were unlike anny I have had and I will be interested in visiting their distillery to learn more. and to ask Michelle more about the wine.
Well, I am about typed out for the day so the nest trip will be to Amity and Carlton on Wednesday.

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