Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Three Days of Wine: Day One, Part One

Thursday I decided to attend the Astoria Wine festival but after looking at who was going to be there, I realized that only two of the wineries had not donated a bottle. So, a nice drive up the valley and a very quiet night at a friend house ste me up for a full day of gathering around Yamhill County.
First stop , after a Starbucks, was Stone Wolf . Stone Wolf is located just off Highway 99 on North Lafayette Ave. If you are looking for wineries in McMinnville, this is your route. I caught Jessica as she was leaving for an errand and she was nice enough to take some time to taste and to visit with Frank. He was glad to see me and head-butted my black sweater, adding a layer of gray cat hair to my left shoulder.
 I tasted the donated wine, '05 Lindsey Cabernet Sauvignon ,an unusually bright and very tasty wine from Del Rio fruit. '05 was a hot year with fire and lots of smoke. A lot of the '05's were big and bold with an almost overwhelming fruit taste with a hint of acrid smoke and big earth. This one has mellowed and is very drinkable now and will get even better in a few years. get a few bottles while you can and visit with Jessica and Frank while you are there.
Jessica told me about the wines and the winery. Her husband Matt is the winemaker and an '08 graduate of the Chemeketa winemaking program. The whole place is very much a family and the wines are usually sold out quickly. They have the highest elevation vineyards in the Willamette Valley at 1100 feet in the coast range outside McMinnville and grow Pinot Noir grapes planted in 1985. The elevation produces small harvests of intense fruit and their wines are usually sold out quickly. I said my thank yous and petted Frank before I left and drove down to Third Street where I waited for R.Stuart @ Co.Wine Bar to open. There are a number of cute shops, galleries, and very nice restaurants located in the Historic Downtown, along with wine shops galore. I stopped in a visited  the co-op galleries next door, Currents Gallery, where they were having a show of art made with recycled items. Worth a stop when you are down there. Nice artwork and very nice artists.
Rebekah greeted me and found my paperwork. She handed over a bottle of the '08 Autograph Pinot Noir, a result of a blend of many grapes from all over the valley, from Courting Hill, Winderlea, Ana, Weber, Temperance Hill, Elkhorn, and Daffodil Hill. This is a wine that needs a little time to pen and when it does, your get fresh grass and minerals with warm spices in the nose, then chocolate and cherry with a smooth mouthfeel. If you go in to the bar any night, you will see the majority of regulars sipping this wine.McMenamins Hotel Oregon is across the street so I went in for a burger sans bun and fries. I have been on a diet (262lb to 244lb as of today) so I have been avoiding starchy foods and the burger was PERFECT! I am getting hungry thinking about it.
Panther Creek Cellars is not far away so I stopped in to pick up a bottle of  '07 Panther Creek Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir.
From their notes:
Ripe and full-bodied, this wine exudes both comfort and sophistication. Indulgent yet refined, starting with its bouquet, with aromas of plum, blackberry, anise, leather and vanilla. Followed by rich, spiced flavors, such as blackberry, black cherry, cocoa, orange peel, black pepper, currant, and earth. As always, the Shea drinks beautifully in its youth, but deserves time to mature in the bottle. 
Keep in mind that these note were made in '08. Now this wine has become even more interesting and vivid!
I think this will be a great addition to the auction as it will be added to all the other Shea Vineyard wines for a truly exciting collection. 
What people are discovering is that the ALL '07 Pinot Noir is coming out of the bottle now as an eligant wine that is being sought after by those in the know. Get them while you can. They have been i the bottle long enough to have developed a truly wonderful structure and all the nuances are showing.
Love this wine! 
 Jim and Molly, a father daughter team, were being helped through the selection of wines by Jackie while I was there. It is always exciting to see people from other places enjoying Oregon wines!
Next stop was one of my favorite places to visit. Of couse for the wines, but mostly to visit with Jennifer, and as luck would have it, I came to visit on her last day in the tasting room after 7 years. She is staying in the wine industry but exploring other areas of sales. I will miss seeing her lovely face and glowing smile.
She gave me a bottle of the Walnut City Wineworks:'07 Pinot Noir Reserve Willamette Valley and a bottle of Bernard Machado: '05 Pinot Noir. 
Both are excellent wines and are almost gone. The tasting room is in an old walnut processing plant on NW Evens and 17th. It is rather nondescript on the outside but it houses some great wines. Worth a stop anytime you are in town.
More to come.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Robert! Jessica from Stone Wolf here. Our winery cat "Frank" told me I must correct his name! Jack is a nice name, but "Frank" is named for Mr. Sinatra, you know, the blue eyes and all? :-) haha! Thanks again for stopping by. I enjoy your yearly visit!

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