Destiny Dudley, Tasting Room & Wine Club Manager at Cana's Feast, who is putting together an auction on the 28th for wine to water at Alu. met me so I could give her two of my etchings for the event. We met up with Chris Czarneck , Chef at Joel Palmer House, for a few tastes but I told them to go on without me as I was taking my time, visiting, and begging.
Next stop was a booth that is selling wine guides that have coupons and maps in them . It is called the "Wine Country Guidebook" and looks like Cindy Anderson, the author, put a lot of time in to it. She gave us one for the auction and I plan on pairing it with a couple of tasting room certificates. That should make a nice weekend for someone. I will also use it to track down some of the wineries I have yet to ask this year. Good tool.
John Olson was the first face I recognized and he sampled me a really good blend he came up. Excellent mouthfeel and finish, nose from the Merlot and back from the Cab franc. Really like this one. The Umpqua Valley is such a great area for a day of tasting and I recommend a tour before the crowds hit! Mathew and Jean Driscoll of Wildaire cellars, gave me a bottle of the '08 Timothy Pinot Noir($20). Nose of plum compote, soft, not jammy, with a slight hint of figs, rose petal, and vanilla. On the palate , pie cherry, island spice, coco, and currents. Bright clean mid palate and a long spicy finish. Good for now but will drink really well in about 3-5 years. They make some really fine wines and are a winery to watch.
Zerba. I am getting old. There are no polite ways to say how stupid I feel sometimes at the things I do, or as it were, forget to do, like pick up the bottle Zerba so kindly offered, that I took a picture of, and that I left sitting, bagged, on their counter. Now I have to drive all the way to Milton Freewater! I tasted the Wild Z, the wine they tried so hard to give me, and found it big and bold with lots of jammy notes and a really mellow finish. Can't wait to taste it again...in Eastern Oregon.
(I talked to them today and they said I could pick up one in Portland!)
Capitello, who gave us a bottle of his Pewter Labeled Pinot Noir early in the week and he said the event had gone well and he was up from last year in sales. Good sign! Here he is looking heroic, as well he should. I heard more comments from other wineries about his wine than of anyone else. winemaker extraordinaire!
I had a bite to eat and then found a charming young lady looking a bit tired and ready to go home. Jo Spencer was giving tastes of the Mia Sonatina wines and I was amazed that I had never tasted them. The '08 Pinot Gris has a caramel, baked apple nose, rich mouthfeel, and citrus on the tip of the tongue and soft white fruit on the mid palate. Long finish of spice and pear.
The '07 Merlot had a hint of rubber that gave way to dark cherry and chocolate, then tasted chocolate, plum jam, hints of leather and earth. Long complex finish. Four stars!
Next came the '07 Cab. Slight smoke with chocolate and dark cherry with hints of licorice, complex and soft on the mid palate. It has a hard back taste that quickly mellow to a fine long finish. Great tannins and acids. 5-7 years.
The one they gave us is the '07 Crescendo blend. Much boysenberry, coco, soft mouthfeel, sweet notes that counter the darkness of the chocolate and big fruit. Four stars!
Last year, Dave Mascioriniear of Nameste Vineyards gave me the '07 Peace and so this year I ask for the '08 Peace ($12). Linda and I bought the case of mixed whites that contained the '07 and we loved it.
From their site:Peace is our unique blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Gewürztraminer fermented to a semi-sweet style done exclusively in stainless-steel tanks. The 2008 Peace has ravishing peach scents coupled with floral overtones to tickle the nose with a rich aromatic style. Blending the acidity and sweetness of our Chardonnay with the spice and floral notes of our Gewürztraminer has created a beautifully balanced wine with rich fruit tastes. For those looking for a wine of great character and versatility, this is your wine.
Over to Troon and a visit with the woman who runs the northern outpost in Carlton, Joni, who surprised me buy saving me a trip down to the Applegate valley by handing me the '06 Old Vine Meritage ($39)Stunning color, dark chocolate, black cherry, hints of sandlewood, all emerge from the glass over time with each swirl. Gold Medal - Dallas Morning News Wine Competition She is so sweet!
On to my last stop(s). I found out that both Zenas and Sejourne are owed by the same family so I got to catch two wines in one ask.Robyn Howard (left) gave me one from each winery, a '07 Cab Franc($26) from Zenas: Rich deep plum color, wild plum jam and current with coco on the nose, mellow soft mouthfeel that intensifies and moves to a blackberry and spice back. Lovely wine!
The Pinot Noir($25) that she gave me from Sejourne, ' is one of many '08 wines I have taasted, and though they are to new to assess what they will be like in a few yeears, it is a fair bet that most will be a good solid hit. They have hints of the "big" of the '06 and some of the complexity of the '07 while retaining their own style. This one is a hit. Dry coco and coffee with sweet fruit on the nose with black berry, spice, pepper on the tongue and a return of the coco. Finishes semi sweet, dry and pleasant. Long after.
Just before I left I sat down for a 20% off plate of Mexican food and struck up a conversation with a young couple who looked like they needed to rest for a while. This event is demanding of the people in the booths but for those who spend time and effort to see it all, it is also draining. They were there looking for wineries to carry some of her company's products and I ask Mimi if I could take a look. They had a cool aerator/decanter that I am sure will attract some interest, but the really cool item that caught my eye was a fold up cooler with holes for the bottle neck. You can fill it with ice and carry around your wine while it chills. I want one if any of the wineries buy some.
On the way out I stopped and said hi to Jennifer who was running the booth for Walnut City Wineworks. They are always so nice and the wines are outstanding.
I made good time heading back to Eugne and had fun screwing with my Google navigator on the way by taking roads she had not sugested. I know these things have electronicly generated voices, but she was begining to sound genuinly peeved!
Until next time.