Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Nice Afternoon in Carlton Area

This morning, after weighing in at 253.8lb, I loaded up my collected wines (no, this is not it, this is the wine display at Red Hills Market, mine is bigger) and drove north to the Abbey to drop them off for storage at Northwest Wines to You. Got kind of a late start as I stopped for an oil change, then got as far as Gateway Adventure Center and had to have them come out a find out why the check oil light was on. 45 minutes shot. When I got to Lafayette and the Abbey, Rebecca and Katie were ready for lunch so we tried out the new spot in Dundee,  Red Hills Market. Very well done building just off 99 to the left going north at the Dundee Bistro (also one of my favorites). They have a very nice Oregon wine wall and an assortment of yummy take away,I had two salmon salads trying to get to about 500 cal. and they both had the quiche and we were all smiling! I heard one of the best lines from anyone in a while come from Chelsey, who was at the register taking orders. She had read the notes for the quiche wrong and thought CH stood for chicken, not cheese so she said "Sorry, I had a Blond Moment" which was perfect as she is a stunning (and obviously clever) blond. She was also amazingly polite given the crowd of people trying to get lunch.
Great food, great service, and really good iced tea. they also have a nice selection of Smith Tea and they both stocked up. I understand their Bloody Mary is to die for, and they sell the mix.
Back to the Abbey and then to Lemelson Vineyards where I met Laura Arce, who is in charge of direct sales. She heard me out and tasted me though the wines they had out for tasting.
The whites were outstanding! I really love the Chardonnay.  The reds were all very different and the most complex and subtle was the one from the Meyer block. Hard to put my finger on what it was about the tastes but it had such interesting herbal and dry fruit. I have always enjoyed their wines and their commitment to the environment. They have always been organic growers and have a firm belief that introduced chemicals have a negative effect on terroir. This commitment shows in their wines. I also like the fact that they have committed, as have my wife and Ito solar energy.
She chose a bottle of Thea's Selection Pinot Noir, very good!
As the auction grows I am seeing more of the wineries beginning to give their best so I will see what they are willing to give next year.
Carton was calling so I parked on Main Street and walked across to Barking Frog Winery, introduced myself and started begging. I had great time talking to Cindy about the different reds they produce. They have a good selection of reds from Tepernillo to Pinot Noir and we taste quite a few of them. She decided to give me the tasty and complex  '09 Tempranillo from Washington Grapes. Of all the wines I tasted here, my favorites were the '08 Sangiovese, and the '06 Syrah. Man are these good. The Syrah was a special treat because they had an '07 to it to. The '07 was developing in bottle and was complex and fruity with very nice mouthfeel but the '06 just stood out as keeper. Juicy, complex fruit and leather, and spice, finished with cassis and spice for a long smooth finish.
The '08 Sangiovese was very different than  some I have had of late. It was very bright with strawberry and citrus on the nose followed by crisp dark berry and cherry. The mouthfeel was also a pleasant surprise. While a lot of the Sangioveses have an almost acid and  harsh feel on the pallet, this one was just perfectly balanced.
I am in a real quandary because I do like to sip, taste, and swallow and I have learned just a little bit goes a long way, but due to this diet I am on  I have to spit.
I always get a kick out of being in a winery with novice tasters and spitting into the bucket and watching them. Most people have been around wine tastings, seen a bit about it on TV, or seen Sideways or Bottle Shock or some other wine movie so they are used to noisy, spitting wine nuts. But some are not, and the looks they give just crack me up. I am always very polite and nice and explain why I am wasting such great wine, sometimes more to myself than to them.
Next door I pulled a stunt that I have never done before: ask the same people for wine in the smae year, and got it! Now I have to take it back! WildAire was busy and Matt was pouring when I came in. I had a strange feeling I had picked up a bottle at SIP! but my little mind. Well, we forget things, yes?
So I ask again and he gave me a bottle of their marvelous Clay Court Pinot Noir. Oh well, I can now have another excuse to visit.
On over to a place where my diet almost went to hell in a jam bottle! Republic of Jam is a little store that you HAVE TO VISIT! That is an order! (The former drill Sargent in me is coming out...) Lynette was there with her partner Amy Wilder and as promised in a short conversation a few weeks ago at Horse Radish, she figured out something to donate to the auction  in June: A year subscription to their "Jam of the Month Club"! Her June shipment is around the 15th so it will be perfect.
She let me have the sampler starting with a cremosa made with spiced cherry syrup, a small square of angle food cake (small) with strawberry/ balsamic reduction and infused whipped cream, a Marion Berry pie made from berry, goat cheese, and filo dough about 3/4 of an inch wide, and a meatball with hot fennel and orange chutney. I made it out without gaining any weight but it was a close call.
Around the corner is Troon, Cliff Creek Cellars, and a couple of others who will open soon. I went in to Cliff Creek and as they did last year, they presented a lovely bottle of their Claret. This one is the '05  Claret is
48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Cabernet Franc and 15% Merlot and has a wonderful feel to it. I am a big fan of blends and this one rocks! I visited with Jo Jo while her daughters dog vied for my attention. Cute is an understatement.
Before I left town I stopped to see Joni at Troon and see the new promotion Carlton is doing. I think this is a terrific idea! they have umbrellas at each winery for people to use while wandering around town
very clever!

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