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!

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