Monday, June 27, 2011

Accolades For Gathering Oregon Wines

I was honored to be given a award for my involvemnet in our community. I don't feel like I do any more than anyone else but it was very nice to be appriciated.
Here is the video.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Special Wine Tour with Bob Sogge!

Board a 40 passenger LTD bus for an afternoon of wine tasting and a history tour with famous wine instructor, Bob Sogge. The 5 hour tour starts at 12:00 at the LTD Park and Ride lot at River Road and Belt Line.
We will leave the Park and Ride at 12:00 noon and travel to LaVelle Vineyards for a taste and a walk in the vineyards, then we will travel to Pfeiffer Vineyards where you will taste great wines and learn how to hold a glass!. Then we will finish up at Benton Lane Winery with a tasting and tour.
Call (541) 345-6648 ‎ for information and tickets. Tasting fees are included in the $50 ticket price.
Gain insight in to history of wine in Oregon and Lane County, plus you will learn more about wine than you ever thought possible!
This tour will benefit Oregon Mozart Players
Bob Sogge is a pioneer in the Oregon wine industry, and has taught wine classes for about 35 years mentoring over 700 students including me, twice. Bob has traveled to many of the premium wine growing areas of the world to select wines for import. He is  member of the International Society of Wine Educators. Bob chaired the 2001 annual convention that was held in Eugene, Oregon and presented a conference session, "Oregon from the Inside" in 2005. Bob currently teaches two courses, Wine Appreciation and Wines of the World, and authored the adopted textbook, "Wine: An Introduction to Study," for these classes. Bob is one of the most respected wine teachers in America.
I look forward to seeing you!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Grass Pants and Longsleaved Shirts, Part Two

Sorry it took so long to get back to you, I have been a little busy what with auction, stepping down as President, wishing the sun would come out, and much more, but I am back and after reading my notes, am ready to engage.
When I left the Red Lion in Medford I drove the few blocks to 3rd street and Fir where I caught Linda Donovan working in the lab/office of her huge facility, Pallet Wine Company. The building is on the National Registry and has been converted inside to a major winemaker dream. The main floor was cut out and ramps were put in so fork-lifts can get around and the whole place has been designed with wine making and storage in mind. She is opening the Side Door tasting room in a small building next door.
 A Custom Crush facility for vineyards and winemaker in the Southern Oregon AVAs, Pallet is a perfect urban winery. 
Poured concrete, old growth Fir beams,  stainless steel and lots of barrels create the look and feel of this facility.
This place affords the best mix of access for wineries and customers in an urban setting and will work wonders to help revitalize the central area of Medford, along with 38 Central and all the other up and coming ventures.
Before I left Linda gave a bottle of L.Donavan Wines: '08 Mourvedre  for the auction.
Mourvedre, is a native to Spain, where it is known as Monastrell, and is second only to Grenache  in importance. From the Spanish town of Murviedro, near Valencia, Mourvèdre was brought to Provence in the late Middle Ages where, prior to the phylloxera invasion at the end of the 19th century, it was the dominant varietal. here is what she says about it on her web site:
Grapes sourced at Corner Vineyard, Ashland, Ore. Developed in 2001, this vineyard is near to my heart – because I planted it. After several vintages, I fully understand what the fruit from this site needs in the winery: a little new oak, a natural fermentation and a major dose of patience. Not usually a stand-alone variety – it’s the M in increasingly popular blend GSM, Grenache Syrah Mourvedre – I find the earthy mushroom, savory umami and dried cherry characteristics incredibly appealing. Made in a lighter style with bright, natural acid to complement many contemporary cuisines. Currently available: 130 cases remain as of March 2011.
This wine grape is big and meaty with dark spice and is used in blends to add structure and boldness. Alone it takes on a more subtle and complex character. Lovely wine!
Ashland is a short hop south and I wanted to get down there before the tasting traffic heated up so I stopped for a coffee and settled in for the scenic drive.
I arrived at Wiesingers at about 10:00 and found Robert getting ready for the crowds. He was busy but donated a bottle of their blended red, Petite Pompadour.
This is an elegant Bordeaux-style blend this medium bodied wine is blended in the Bordeaux style using Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec. 
After a trip to  Talent I stopped at Eden Vale for a quick visit and to pick up a bottle of the 
: '07 Midsummer's Cuvee,  and to take some pictures of the oldest pear orchard in Oregon.
I plan on coming down during the winter and getting some shots that I can turn in to etchings for my collection.
The back road to Jacksonville, South Stage Road, passes many vineyards and orchards on the way over and I always enjoy seeing the poppies growing year round in the Quail Run Vineyards.
These are created by artist Cheryl Garcia, who also has works at South Stage Cellars.
I stopped by Quady North in Jacksonville for the first time and was very pleased by what I found. The wines are unusual and surprising. The whites I tasted had a bit more spice and complexity than I am used to in Gris or even Viogniers and the rest were also different.
The style of the winemaker comes through more than one would expect and perhaps because of his background at Bonny Doon and though I have do proof, I think that there may be a genetic component to the wine he creates. His family is famous for their aperitifs, vermouth, and other unique wines. I recommend you stop by for a taste and a visit with the lovely staff.
Next stop was at South Stage again and a visit with Larry, made easier by the fact that there was no band playing and the room was not filled with happy wine drinkers.
He handed over a couple of gems: the South Stage Cellars: '08 Syrah and a bottle of wine made over at Pallet Wine Company, Daniel Joseph: '08 Blend 42, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre .
We chatted about the new releases and about how the climate was shaping up for this year's harvest. I tried to be optimistic but mam oh man, this year is going to be a challenge for the wineries. Good thing there is no such thing as climate change huh?
Off to Rauch and a bonanza of a visit with Valley View Winery where they surprised me with a donation of four bottles from their cellar!
This is the first winery I visited when I moved back from Germany years ago. We had picked up our car in Seattle (with a dent in the engine compartment lid from shipping1) and driven south along the coast. It was so nice out and I had not been in the drivers seat of my little car in two months so we drove to Crescent City then headed inland to Applegate Valley. We saw on a map that there was a winery, ONE winery, located near Ashland, so on our way to see a play we decided to stop and scoff at what meager offerings these wannabees could show us. After all, we had been tasting wines from all the finest wineries in Europe so we were not expecting much.
I was stunned by what we found! We tasted the 1978 Cabernet Sauvignon made buy Guy Ruhland and it was far and away the most flavorful, rich, vibrant Cab I had had. Deep rich layers of berry and plum with hard edges of earth and chocolate. As Ann handed me a bottle a hornet stung me on the wrist and I dropped and broke the bottle! I offered to buy it and she just laughed.
We bought a case and I wish to this day we had bought more and kept a few.
After I had loaded up the car this time, making sure there were no hornets around, I drove back to the north toward my final stop before going home.
Wooldridge Winery. Part three coming soon!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My First Real Wines

I lived in Worms in the late 70's in an apartment located in the PJ Valkenburg vineyards in an area that had fallen from production. We lived on the 7th floor and often had theater and opera parties with lots of people attending. The by product of this was lots of champagne corks popped off the balcony in to the vineyards.
Early one Saturday morning I heard a knock at the door and opened it to find the vineyard master, a man in his late 80's, panting at the door. He had climbed the 7 flights of stairs to avoid riding in the elevator, which it turned out he had been stuck in once years earlier. In his hands was a leather bag filled with corks, the origin of which I soon guessed.
"Herr Gnagie, we can not do this!"
I agreed, apologized, and offered him a chair on the balcony overlooking his vineyards.
With him he carried an interesting bag with four compartments for bottles, slanted down so you could carry the bottles punt first. He sat down and pulled out one of the bottles and ask
if I had glasses.
It was a 1968 Trockenbeerenauslese.
After we tasted it he explained that he often picked a random bottle to taste and see how the wines were holding up.
He would come and visit once a month for the next year and a half and bring a remarkable wine, and always had a back up bottle if it was off.
This was my introduction to wines and I will be forever grateful.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

PASSING THE BATON: The 2011-2012 OMP Conductor Search

OMP Salutes Glen Cortese:  May 5, 2012

With eight outstanding seasons as OMP Artistic Director behind him, Glen Cortese is moving on.  Don't miss this very special evening with our very special Maestro Emeritus, featuring a new commission by Glen!  more...

Glen, you will be missed.

Stepping In

As we progress toward hiring our next Artistic Director, our beloved Artistic Director Emeritus and 
 violist Robert Hurwitz will offer his time, energy and experience to artistic decisions.  
Thank you, Bob!

Three Great Conductors

David Hattner: Oct. 8, 2011

Three-time Aspen Music School Conducting Academy participant, celebrated clarinetist, and finishing his third season with the Portland Youth Philharmonic, David Hattner has been praised for his sense of drama and rapport with his musicians.  Mr. Hattner has chosen a program of Copland, Mozart and Cherubini.  more...

Kelly Kuo: Jan. 7, 2012

The recipient of a 2009 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award for young conductors, Kuo’s recent conducting engagements include his debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.  Mr. Kuo is a successful pianist as well as conductor, who has impressed reviewers with his "considerable verve, and no shortage of idiomatic delicacy."  He has programmed Copland, Mozart and Beethoven. more...

Michael Nowak: Feb. 11, 2012

A seasoned conductor and former Oregon Bach Festival violist, Michael Nowak is in his twenty-sixth season leading the San Luis Obispo Symphony.  Mr. Nowak has many film score credits to his name,  including The Kite Runner.  For his concert with OMP, Mr. Nowak has selected works by Stravinsky and Mozart.  more... 
 photo credit: J.Manuele 

Dean's List...
A Season highlight: three brilliant Mozart Concerti,  each performed by
Dean Kramer!

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