Monday, February 21, 2011

Lunch at Sabai Before the Wine Symposium

Today was the first day of the Wine Symposium held annually at the Eugene Hilton so I joined my friend Rebecca for lunch at our newest Thai restaurant, Sabai. A few weeks ago I dropped off a bottle of  '08 Ghost Hill Pinot Noir for them to sample as a favor and it has taken off for them. Rebecca, along with her other joys, makes the wines for Ghost Hill cellars so she was well pleased at the enthusiasm. I got to spend lunch with two intriguing and lovely women, Katie Kamilos and Rebecca , who are here representing Northwest Wines To You and the Trappist Abbey. They were impressed by the restaurant and even though they have a good wine list and an impressive bar, we ended up drinking a beer.
On the way down to the Hilton I dropped off a few bottles of Ghost Hill at the restaurant and my timing was perfect. The table that had just ordered wanted what I had so the waitress grabbed it out of my wine carrier and took to the table before I had had a chance to sit down!
Tonight, after registering, getting the booklet, and schedule I joined the group and  we all headed over to The Electric Station for food and drinks. Big day tomorrow for all the wine folk. I am holding off for the reception Tuesday afternoon
Hult Lobby Reception

Celebrate the successes of the Oregon wine industry and Symposium, sip on local wines from colleagues and enjoy live music from Alan Bakalinsky and his jazz trio.
and the Red tasting Wednesday.

All About Filtration (w/tasting)
See all Enology Sessions
To filter or not to filter is a question winemakers often face. But after making this decision you are still left with the question of what filter is appropriate to use and when? And what about all the “stuff” that gets left behind on the filter? Does it matter? Join us in this session as we discuss why you might filter, which filters to use and when, as well as current knowledge regarding the impact of filtration on wine quality.
Moderator: James Osborne, Oregon State University
Speakers: Ken Fugelsang, Fresno State; Rodger Pachelbel, Gusmer Enterprises

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Eugene's Well Hidden Gem

For those of you who do not frequently visit the Whitaker District, Neighborhood, area, etc. you are missing a diamond in the rough. Whitaker is a last mecca for Eugene's urban hipsters, gentrifiers, and retired hippies. there are a few anarchists thrown in to the mix for good measure but mostly the place is happy, laid back, and down toward Blair, contains a great mix of new stores, galleries, and restaurants.
(click here for map). On third street, on the corner at Adams Street,
Territorial Vineyards and Wine Company sits in an old warehouse with a tasting room, a huge wine storage area, and all the equipment needed to produce some very fine wines.
(click here for map).
In an old 12,000 square foot coffee warehouse they put together a fully functional wine making facility complete with crush pad and climate control.
In their own words:
With relatively small production levels, an efficient floor plan and plenty of room, wine maker John Jarboe is able to closely monitor and intimately 'know' every lot and every barrel from crush through bottling. Pinot Noir lots, for example, are fermented, vinified and aged separately by vineyard, by clone and further by free-run and hardpress. With this high degree of specificity John is able to experiment with a wide range of French oak barrels taking the best from a range of coopers and forests. While this makes for a grueling regimen of tasting and selection at blending time we accept this burden as all part of a day's work. (more)
I stopped by today to give them the photo-etching I made for them and to pick up a bottle of their wonderful '08 Stone's Throw Pinot Noir This wine has a huge amount of nose with black-caps and warm toasted bread followed by blueberry, spice, and black current and cherry.
They are well known in Lane County to be generous and caring about the arts and other non-profit enterprises so please do all you can to make it down on a Friday or Saturday for a taste and some music.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ghost Hill at Sabai

I stopped by Sabai today for a sip after a long drive back from Portland where we saw an "odd" version of Tourandot (more on that later). Tim had a drink for me that he said would relax me, put me in a better mood, and make the rest of my day one of "no worries". "Sabai Sabai" is made with ginger infused simple syrup, fresh ginger shavings, rum, and alime twist. He was right! Not overly sweet and with just a hint of lime over the ginger's warmth, it hit te sot.
Now, about the opera: Winderlea Wine Co. sponsored the Portland Opera's Tourandot and I thank them endlessly for supporting the arts here in Oregon. They have always been generous with their donation to our :"One Bottle" project. That said: WHO MAKES A TENOR SIT DOWN TO SING NESS EN DORMA???
For those not familiar with the story, here is a brief synopsis from The Met.
Here is a review by  James McQuillen for the Oregonian:

Some of the visual touches are brilliant: In Act II, the color-coded ministers Ping, Pang and Pong work at identical red desks under a banner proclaiming "Gli enigmi sono tre, la morte è una" -- "the riddles are three, death is one," referring to the princess' deadly test; at the beginning of the next scene, the banner is torn down to reveal the chorus in a glowing green gallery. Others are less effective, such as the prince's garb, which suggests nothing in particular except "black leather tent." More

It was staged in ( this is pure conjecture on my part) Milan in the late 1930's by someone who watched too many bad Italian dramas. The usual flourish of bright costumes were replaced by the black and white shirts and pants of office workers, the main character had been replaced with her grandmother, and , well I will leave it here and you can go see it for yourself.
We are subscribers so we enjoy most of what they do. This, save for small bits, was the exception.
Back to Sabai. Tim is serving Ghost Hill '08 Pinot Noir , a wine that will stand up to ANY spicy foods you care to bring on. I was surprised at how well it matched with Thai foods but we will be trying a glass this Sunday!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Treat Before Departure

On the way out of Carlton I stopped by The Abbey Wine Warehouse to visit
Rebecca Marie Pittock Shouldis, who is also the winemaker for Ghost Hill, and took her to pick up her car. Rather than waste the better part of an afternoon doing something constructive, we decided to visit, (me for the first time) Todd Hanina's new tasting room, eatery, wine making facility ET AL.
Located on the west side of McMinnville, just outside the city boundary, set back to the left in a brand new build to suite spot, is a very cool wine oasis.
We met Todd and sat down for some serious tasting and after his wifeCaroline Biggio Hamina arrived, some great plates of cheese and meats.
The layout of the place is perfect for wine making, food and wine tasting, and for just relaxing with friends. Comfortable, spacious, and open, with lots of parking (pun intended as you will see when you visit).
The details of the construction and finish are simple and elegant and if he does not start selling his light fixtures soon he is missing a bet! Barrel skeletons? Perhaps not the best descriptor, but close as you see.
The wines were wonderful and his range of product is impressive. Try the '08 Hawks View Pinot Noir and the 2008 Zenith Vineyard Cuvee Lucca. Everything he put up to taste was good to great so take a chance!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

On the Road to Carlton

Carlton, Oregon has become a center for wine and has as many tasting rooms, wineries, and eateries as any small town I have ever been to. Today I plan to visit a few that are open this time of year and take some tasting notes. Seven of Hearts, Luminous Hills, and Alexana have already donated a bottle each but I may just pop in for a taste anyway.
My main targets today will be Carlton Cellars, Ghost Hill, Solena, and a couple of others that I hope are open, like the Carlton Winemakers Studio, Cana's Feast, and Cliff Creek.

First stop, Cana's Feast for a visit with my face-book buddy Jason, winemaker, tasting room dude, and soon to be Australian traveler and wine maker. He served up a tasting of all the wines that were out and one that was not. First in line was a new Pinot Noir. An 08, from the Gran Moraine vineyard due east of Carlton up high with sedimentary soils. This wine shows lots of red fruit in the nose with earthy tones. Dry mouth feel and a hint of chocolate and toast over red berry. Nice $20 Pinot Noir, and it will age well, say 5-7 years.
Watch this space for notes tonight.
Next came one of my old favorites, the '07 Barbera. This wine is all blackberry nose with a hint of blackberry layered over more blackberry. Taste? Guess. Love this one and it is not as simple as I might let on. It is a deep dark wine with layer after layer of infused dark fruit, spice and wood. 
 I then tasted the surprise wine, an '09 Counoise , a blending grape grown primarily in the Rhône valley,
used in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
It was light, low tannin, subtle, and a surprise. 
As we were chatting a couple came in and started their round of tastes. They were from North Carolina and were both retired school teachers from New York.Mel and Moreen Hauser. Very nice to talk opera with them as we are both going to Portland Opera Thursday night to see Turandot. Small world indeed!
They had been driving upp the west coast stopping in various wineries along the way and had come to Carlton for much the same reason had I.
The '07 Sangiovasi was next and was also the wine Cana's feast donated this year. A full bodied, raspberry taste with rich ripe notes of soft black fruits and a long pleasant finish of spice at the back of the tongue.
We tasted the '07 and '06 Syrahs back to back and as neither was even a little spineless, it was quite a match up;,the '06 leather and wood with black raspberry fruit, long soft tones of spice and earth. The '07 was blended with a bit of Viognier to mellow it and give it polish. It was a much more formal Syrah with hibiscus on the nose and a blueberry and plum taste. Lovely wine!
When I left I told the Hausers to make sure they stopped at Alexana for a taste and I headed there for my next adventure. Christie had given me a bottle of the '08 Shea vineyard Pinot Noir on my last trip through but I had no time to taste so today was all about taking time.
The two whites, a '09 Pinot Gris from the Revana vineyard and a  Riesling from  the same vineyard were a nice change from all the big heavy reds I had been sipping. The pinot Gris fills the nose with light dry straw and bright fruits followed by semi-sweet tastes of pear, spiced tea, and green apple. Soft mouth feel with a lingering spice finish. Lovely wine.
The '09 Riesling was a bit of a surprise! I lived in Germany and was used to that diesel or kerosene smell when I first opened a bottle of really fine Riesling. This one has just a hint of that smell followed by burnt sugar, apricot, and gives way to soft peach and white peach. I bought a bottle to take home and hide from myself for a few years.
All these wines are made by Lynn Penner-Ash and show her skill, especially the '08 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir. There is little I can say about this wine that would do it justice, high score from the wine mags, smokey black ripe fruit with chocolate and earth and spiced coffee finish. I could taste this for days and get a new hit every time. Truly an Oregon Pinot Noir!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dueling Divas: Valentines Concert at MarshAnne Landing Winery

Sunday, February 13, 2:30 PM, Oakland Oregon

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with an afternoon of passionate opera arias and love songs. The Divas, sopranos Brooke Cagno and Allison Sanders who perform with the Eugene Opera and the Portland Opera, will bring their amazing talents to the concert stage at MarshAnne Landing.  The solo and duet performances will provide enough romance and excitement to raise your pulse.

The afternoon’s concert will feature selections from La Boheme, Marriage of Figaro, Carmen, The Magic Flute, Tales of Hoffman, as well as selections from Gilbert and Sullivan.  Two amazing duets will showcase the beauty of opera’s finest moments.  Sull’ aria from Marriage of Figaro was the performance of angels featured in the movie Shawshank RedemptionThe second is the hauntingly beautiful Flower Duet from Delibes Lakme.  The lovely interplay of the Diva’s voices will leave everyone wanting more from these beauties.
Seating is limited for this one time performance (only 45) so please call for reservations and directions (541-459-7998).  Admission of $30 includes a wide selection of appetizers.

MarshAnne Landing, 175 Hogan Rd, Oakland OR, 97462, 541-459-7998

Friday, February 4, 2011

Check Out Oregon Wine's Newest Post

Great comparison of the same wineries in '07 and '08!

By Jim Gullo

Tasting conducted on December 22nd, 2010 at the Golden Valley Brewery, McMinnville

Oh, what atrocities we poor, groping-in-the-dark wine writers wreak. What havoc. When the 2007 vintage of Oregon Pinot Noirs was released, the early buzz was not good: Poor '07 was given scarecrow labels like thin, weak and lacking in boldness by the Tin Men of the wine press (if it only had a heart). A year later, '07s little brother got all of the affection and attention from mom and dad when the 2008 vintage was lauded as being one of the best-ever in the state. One wine buff book preemptively gave the whole state 100 points. And as New York Times wine writer Eric Asimov noted in his own recent wine panel on '08 Oregon Pinot Noirs,"... in this instance we must join in the acclaim. Indeed, the 2008 vintage for Oregon pinot noir is terrific." more

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Call to Artists

The David Joyce Gallery, located in the Center for Meeting and Learning at Lane Community College in Eugene, is pleased to announce a Request for Artists' Proposals for the spring term exhibit entitled "Oregon Wine Country".
Because we are featuring artists that have captured the essence of our Oregon wine country, the Gallery wanted to forward you the Request for your information.  Also, you are most welcome to pass on this information to any local artists that you know that have illustrated your winery, landscapes, tasting rooms in any variety of mediums.
Attached is the Request for Proposal - please feel free to forward to any artist or colleague that you think might be interested.  The Gallery will also send you an invitation to the Artists' Reception, which will be held in late May.  Thank you so much for your attention and your efforts to create our great Oregon wines!
Julie Fether
Special Projects Coordinator
Conference and Culinary Services
Lane Community College
4000 E. 30th ave.
Eugene, OR 97405

Celebration of the 2008 Oregon Vintage Dinner

My friend Jerry from Wineopolis sent me this message:
Less than a week to go until the Celebration of the 2008 Oregon Vintage Dinner. Or, as Rick refers to it; "The Vintage of the Century Dinner." It isn't hyperbole if it's true, right? I guess when we have a century of wine growing under our collective belts, that vintage of the century thing will have more zing. Just to refresh your memory, here is Rick's description again:
"OK, sorry for the hype (one of us used to work for wineries...), but we are not alone in being REALLY PLEASED with the 2008 vintage in the Willamette Valley, which is beginning to appear on our shelves now. It was quite probably the greatest vintage yet made for Willamette Valley pinot noir, and the other varietals did darned well also. We're going to devote the next dinner to this vintage, and pair a handful of great new pinots (and several whites) with a great menu prepared by chef Ko. Don't miss!"
Well now, did that re-whet your appetite? Actually, we don't need conjecture, as we have the (latest) final menu available.
Pan fried shrimp with toasted pecans and honey tangerine glaze.
Grilled asparagus with poached egg and pinot noir/bacon vinaigrette.
Ahi tuna au poire with sauteed greens and yukon gold mash.
5 spice beef tips braised in port wine/oyster sauce demi, served with pan fried noodles.
Passion fruit creme puffs.

Monday, 02/07/11 6:30 PM at Cloud 9 : The Vintage of the Century Dinner - $60 per person, all inclusive.

The sign up sheet for both events will be at WINEOPOLIS. All sign-ups require pre payment. Full refunds available up to two weeks in advance of an event, 50% refund until the night of the event if we're notified in advance, sorry, no refunds available without notification or on the day of the event.

And yes, we still have seating available. For now.

Wine Guy
151 NW Monroe
Suite 103
Corvallis, OR 97330