Friday, March 4, 2011

BRRRRRRR!

They say Pinot Noir should be served at room temperature, but not when the room is 27 degrees.
This year, Friday night at the Newport Wine and Seafood Festival was so cold that none of the wines tasted, save a couple of desert wines and a Riesling or two were open to anyone's taste buds.
None the less, I was able to pick up a few bottle from the wineries there and get promises from a few more.

I left Eugene around 11:00 and drove north to Corvallis with a stop at Belle Vallee, where I was lucky enough to catch Jeff working in the office. He let me taste the wine he presented for the auction, a fine '07 Reserve Pinot Noir. The '07's were bad mouthed and did not sell well. Now it has come in to its own and is tasting out beautifully. This one is no exception, with a smooth mouthfeel, lots of berry and plum in the nose, and a subtle mineral, blueberry and red berry taste. Acid and tannin balanced for a long life.
Driving over to Newport was an adventure. There were  9 wrecks on the way including everything from small time spin-outs to an upside down SUV.
My first stop was of course at Flying Dutchman, THE farthest west winery in America! They bring in grapes and make the wine on the coast and they do it very well. Deb let me taste some of their wines and entertained me for an hour until Richard got back. They were gracious enough to hand over a bottle of  '07 Cab Franc and a bottle of their '09 White Riesling. I went away with a smile and two bottles of great wine. When I got to Newport I checked in to the Shilo, the most overpriced hotel on the coast, for the night. Ratty room with scuffed furniture, worn rug, and a saggy bed, basic down market slum kitsch. One redeeming moment came when the sun went down and I got to see it set on the beautiful Pacific while sitting in my warm room sipping a glass of eh wine from somewhere in California.
I gathered up my basket and paperwork and drove over to find a parking place. As I walked to the tent I began to realize how cold cold could be when mixed with sea air. In the tent, in 27 degree temps, stood many brave souls trying to open their Pinot Noirs by (1) Holding the bottle under their coats,(2) wrapping the bottle in an electric blanket, or (3) putting the bottle down their pants.
I will not go in to further detail but suffice it to say the nose on some was a bit odd...
Here are an array of pictures from the adventure with the list of wineries donating. I felt so bad for them all and hope they did better on Saturday and Sunday.
Palotai Wines' John and his wife gave us a bottle of Bull's Blood, a hearty red he makes a little different each year but it is always good.




Holly and Jim from A Blooming Hill Vineyard gave a bottle of their '09 Pinot Gris. This was hard to taste due to the cold but I got pear and apple with nice floral undertones. Keep in mind that it was FREEZING!







Jonathan and Bonnie, owners of  J. Scott Cellars, handed over a bottle of his exiting Petite Syrah. I have tasted this one before and found it rich and full bodied with lots of great flavors.







Elliott Johns was bundled up but still smiling as he presented a bottle of Emerson Vineyards' Avelina '09 Pinot Noir









Ray Walsh of Capitello Wines surprised me with a bottle of his famous pewter labeled
 '08 Succesion Cuvee Pinot Noir.








 My all time favorite fruit wine maker, David Hamilton, gave us a bottle of his brand new Pomegranate wine. He makes all his wines from fruit and adds no other product. It really is worth trying!







Molly Roby, owner with her husband Darrel. of Ribera Vineyards, gave us a bottle of their '07 Stormy Mountain Vineyard Pinot Noir. Like most of the '07 Pinot Noirs, this one is age-able to about ten years. I know it can be hard to keep your hands off good wine but Linda and I have quite a few bottles in our small collection that are now up to 14 years old and exciting to open, so this one is a keeper.
Anthony Dell Cellars owners, Doug and Joy, also gave a bottle of their tasty Sunset Ridge '08 Pinot Noir but the picture I got of them did not turn out. I think by this point tremors had set in and all the photos were blurred.
Next year we can only hope for better weather and better sales!












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