Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Close to Home

Today I decided to stay close to home and do a little catch up with the Lane County Wineries.
As I drove out to Territorial Road from Hwy99, past  Fern Ridge Reservoir and the horse ranches, past the Alvadore Market, the open fields of grass, and the old farm houses, I thought of how much things had changed since I was a boy driving my old '51 Vicky around here, picking up farm girls for a swim out at the falls west of Monroe, or a swim in the lake. Man, I am old! Now I feeble along in my fancy Subaru and visit wineries. I guess that is not too bad. Great car, great wines, great people! Yeah, I can live with this.
First stop was at Shadow Mountain. I came in unannounced and handed them the print I had made of their tree and fence. I had to lay down and shoot the photograph to get the effect I wanted, and I think they liked it!
We talked about the blog entry I had made about their amazing '08 Pinot Noir (click here) and about their vineyards. The print, along with the others I am doing of all the wineries in Lane County, will be up at The Jordan Schnitzer Museum for a dinner in August promoting wine and culture.
After our brief visit I took off south down Territorial Road through Elmira and Venita to King Estate. On the way up the long drive I passed the sheep grazing in the vineyards and watched as a hawk made his rounds looking for something small and furry to have for lunch.
  I found the boss, Ed King, at his desk and handed him his print, chatted for a bit about this land use issue some folks are stirring up about his having a full service restaurant at the winery. Here are the details about what Ed is doing to help change Oregon's laws to help us compete with California and Washington as a tourism draw.
I have yet to understand what their problem with it is but I am sure money or ego is somehow involved.
To lend a little support I had the Mesclun Salad with salmon, a glass of Acrobat Pinot Noir, and a Chocolate Marquise.
They lose money on the resturant but it is a draw for wine sales and the food is spectacular. All local and organic.
I tasted some of the wonderful Pinot Gris they are famous for and even got to taste a special one, the '09 Tower Club Limited Edition Pinot Gris from blocks 12 and 15, made from clone 152. Wow! This is one of the best. Lots of flowery fruit and spice with a warm smooth mouthfeel.Josh and Quinten were there running the tasting room and were busy with lots of customers.
I love to see people enjoying great wines in such a classic environment
They will probably really freak out when we put up Territorial Wine Trail signs on the Freeway and start directing the thousands of people that travel through Oregon off the freeway and up to the wineries to spend money and boost the local economy. They seem to be very concerned about the future and about oil, climate, and all the other things effecting us and I applaud them for that. However, the NOW consists of a viable economic platform that supports the local farmers, grape growers, and all the businesses that depend on them.

When I left I made a stop at Silvan Ridge for a taste of the new '09 Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a huge wine made from Del Rio fruit and has all the hot weather characteristics that come with the Rouge Valley Cabs. However, it is some full of hot August blackberry that you can almost close your eyes and feel the heat! This is a great Cab and should last for years but is very drinkable right now.Marisa let me taste a bit of the Ruby Port that they make and it was the perfect lid to put on the tasting.
Up the hill to Sweet Cheeks for a quick hello as I watched them get ready for an event. They do so many things for our community and make a big difference. I always enjoy supporting them in any way I can. That goes for all of our wineries. Each has a roll in boosting the economy and creating jobs for local and regional people.
Here is Lorrie with her usual smile and grace.
On last stop to drop off a print at Noble. No one around so I put the print on the counter with a note and headed for home.

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