Sunday, April 24, 2011

Half a Lucky Day

This morning I drank my diet shake (XYNGULAR), washed my new Subaru Legacy, grabbed a Latte', and drove north through Monroe, Corvallis, and Rickreal to my first stop, Van Duzer Vineyards. I always enjoy the trip out to this winery, past the Basket Slough where birds from all over congregate during migration. Today as I headed east down the long graveled road I passed thousands of geese laying low in the grasses just above the ponds and a red tail Hawk circling above. As I turned up the drive I saw a great blue Heron standing still near the edge of the water, waiting for breakfast.
In the upper drive I stopped to take a shot of their huge oak, perhaps for future use in an etching.
In the tasting room I met with Brianne Bridges, the Marketing and Hospitality Manager and ask her for "One Bottle", and as they have for the last three years, she gave me one of their fine wines, the '08 Estate Pinot Noir. This is a smokey, rich, and earthy smelling wine with a hint of roasted meats and anise, then a deep, full taste of cloves, fruit cake, nutmeg and ceder spices with a long soft finish of  black cherry. I love this one deep red looks. Here is Danielle with the bottle in the tasting room. This is a beautiful winery and is a wonderful place to visit and enjoy an afternoon with friends.
The other wines I tasted were equally as interesting, starting with a'09 Pinot Gris. This is one of the wines on the list at "Proof" restaurant in Washington, DC (see last entry). Fresh baked apple pie and baked pear in the nose with hints of Asian spices and tart green apple dancing around a balanced acid taste followed by a long complex finish. This one has layers and layers of tastes that keep developing and changing as the tasting glass begins to empty.
The next wine was a very interesting combination of clonal varieties from the Dijon Block and the most intriguing part of this one was the addition of a 828 clone that is used in hotter climates such as Sonoma and Naps. This is a very structured and full bodied wines with a noose of 677 and the long finish of the 114. Really interesting and very drinkable now, but in a few years this one will be outstanding.
The hot climate here along with the cool, fogged night, produce some amazing wines but I have always thought that they should plant some Tempranillo and Gamay here also. I am sure that a Syrah would do very well here also.
Just before I left I had a chance to speak with Rebecca Sweet who manages the vineyards. She told me about the different blocks and what was planted, and she predicted bud break on Sunday. I say Monday late afternoon. We will see...She also informed me of her role as singer and washboardist in the Zydeco band, Bon Ton Roulet. I LOVE THEIR MUSIC!!! Listen to Baby Please Don't Go!  I am listening to them as I write this.
As I left I took a shot down the valley across the slough and it's many ponds. What a beautiful day.

Just down the road, going north of highway 99 is Left Coast Cellars. They sit directly on the 45th parallel and take full advantage of the sun with arrays of solar panels. They are one of the few wineries in Oregon competing to become carbon neutral and the have a good start. This is a subject dear to my heart as Linda and I have a 3KW system on my studio installed by Solar Assist and we have been reaping the benefits for a number of years now.

I wandered in to the tasting room where the new restaurant is located but being on my diet, well, next time I will partake fully!
The lovely Devon greeted me and, after giving over a bottle of the '05 Latitude Pinot Noir, allowed me to sample few of the wines. The '05 Latitude 45 is a delicious wine with such a soft and gentle mouth feel and complex back that I had to take many small tastes to glean the flavors.They are laid in like the bits of color in a Seurat painting, hard to see close up, but when you add them all together they create a beautiful picture. This is a must try for lovers of complex Pinot Noir.
This wine got an 87 from Wine Enthusiast back in '08! Now it has reached what may be close to the first peak and is tasting like it is made to be loved.
I left happy, and look forward to coming back soon when I am off my diet and can sample more than just a sip of wine.
Up the road I dropped off paperwork at Cohelo, Domain Drouhin, Stoller, and Sokol Blosser before driving up to Carlton to pick up a gift certificate from Julie at Horse Radish for the auction. This is my frequent stopping place in Carlton because of its fine selection of wines, great food, and they have things I can eat while on my diet, like Willamette Valley Cheese Company's Cheddar and dry aged beef.
I had one last planned stop and a chance to pick up another prized bottle from a friend.
I drove out to 240 then over to Calkins Lane and up to Paul de Lancellotti's place,
de Lancellotti Family Vineyards where he greeted me with a signed and un-numbered bottle of his fantastic '07 Estate Pinot Noir in one hand and freshly opened Coors in the other. As is said, "It takes a lot of beer to make good wine". I got the wine. The beer was well deserved, as he had just replanted 25 vines and was preparing small blocks for young family members so they can work them when the grow older and hopefully get in to the wine making way of life. Though he had been working hard, his ready smile shown through and he seemed about 2 inches taller than when last I saw him, as if a weight had been lifted.
Let me quote some of the things said about this wine:
De Lancellotti Pinot noir 07 - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 92 Points
The 2007 Pinot Noir Estate is medium ruby-colored with an expressive bouquet of smoke, minerals, damp earth, spice box, cherry, and raspberry. Moderately structured on the palate with excellent depth and savory fruit, this lengthy, substantial Pinot will evolve for 2-3 years and drink well from 2011 to 2019. - Jay Miller 

The 2007 de Lancellotti Family Vineyard Pinot Noir has massive and vibrant aromas of red cherry, ripe black raspberry, red cherry candies, licorice and an intense spice component with undertones of cinnamon, vanilla, white pepper and although the fruit expression at this point is super intense, there is a slight hint of mushroom and forest floor in the background – this wine is medium in body yet full throttle in intensity and promise showing off lovely high-toned red fruit and candy flavors in the mouth with mouthwatering acidity. Great spice flavors and fine-grained dusty tannins. 

The 2007 deLancellotti Pinot Noir shows promise that will not only drink well young but will age gracefully for the next 15 years into a stunning wine of great complexity.
This wine is one of the items is the auction that will draw lots of attention from collectors.
Paul and his family are among the dedicated vintners here in Oregon who strive to follow Holistic Demeter Certified Biodynamic practices and the wine tells the tales.

Last stop of the day was one I did not want to leave. Arbor Brook Vineyards is located just back down the road below Bergstom and just before you get to Adelshiem.
They have a cat I love to pet, and though he was absent today, I still got plenty of warm fuzzy feelings.
I was presented with a bottle of their '09 Heritage Cuvee!  I also got to taste the open wines, got to hang around a couple of beautiful women, and got a really good surprise: a taste of the not yet released Vintner's Select '09 Pinot Noir. This is a killer wine and you should get in line NOW for a case of this one.
I tasted the Croft Vineyard '10 Pinot Gris and the 
Guadalupe Vineyards '09 Pinot Gris back to back and liked both, but for very different reasons. The Croft Vineyards are over in the coast range just west of Monmouth and because of their location near the Van Duzer Corridor, have a hot day/ cool night balance most of the more northern vineyards don't get. Ripe fruit with lots of lemon and tropical fruits, flowers, and spice in a clean, un-oaked wine. Very tasty and a great hot weather sipper.
The Guadalupe Vineyards produce a richer grape with more spice and darker notes. The vineyards are in the Dundee Hills AVA and consist of 40-acres owned by Jim Stonebridge and Kathleen Boeve. The soils are silty and sandy marine sedimentary soils instead of the clay Jory soil. Very different than those associated with this AVA.   This version is oaked a bit more than I usually like but it is finished on the lees, is warm and smooth with lots of Oregon pear and vanilla, and all these flavors dance over a velvety smooth mouth feel. Very good wines.
I think I was a little surprised by the '09 Estate 777 Block Pinot Noir. I am used to a big fruity nose and earthy tones from 777 but this one has so much more going for it. All the usual suspects are there but added on top are cola and anise in a long lasting finish. I love this one.
But the ending taste was by far the best. I have a rule that I DO NOT DRINK while tasting. Today I broke it. I could not let this one go.
I will not elaborate on the taste or the glorious nose, or the unusual finish, I will let you come and taste it when it is released. It is worth the trip.
Next trip will be to catch up with all the wineries I have left paperwork at so look for Cubanisimo, and Orchard Heights and all their neighbors.

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