Sunday, July 31, 2011

Learning male driving habits

Learning male driving habits

My dad enjoyed driving as much as I do. On random Sunday mornings, very early, he would say “Let’s go!”.
We usually drove east and he NEVER turned around and seldom stopped. My mother would see something of interest and point it out as dad drove passed, oblivious. We once ended up at the end of a gravel road far above Green Peter Dam’s site, then merely a deep canyon. He sat for a very long time peering ahead trying to figure out a way through, but finally turned and drove straight back home, defeated.
We often went over the Cascades on Highway 20, always stopping at the Mountain House Café for a hamburger and a visit with the cursing Myna bird. He was trained by the log truck drivers and had quite a vocabulary. Peterson’s Rock Garden, Lava Butte, the ice cave, the forest of petrified wood and many other wonders, waited for us on those long Sunday drives.
We visited all the dams on the Columbia, the redwood forest, all the Oregon coast, Oregon Caves, Mount Hood, and as far east as the Malheur county, always returning home very late, but in time for sleep before school the next day.
Today I drive all over the state gathering wine for Oregon Mozart Players’ annual auction, one bottle at a time. I hate to turn around, and seldom stop unless there is a blue sign nearby.

From the Oregon 150 Anniversary site

Friday, July 29, 2011

"The Art of Wine" Prints

 These are all the prints that are in the Art of Wine show at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum through the 28th of August.

A few years ago I embarked on a journey that has been life changing. There was an  opportunity to visit as many Oregon Wineries as possible and to ask for one bottle of wine for Oregon Mozart Players auction and I took it. From over 150 to over 270 bottles the second  year.
During these visits I have learned more about wines and wine making, been afforded the opportunity to take part in all aspects of the industry from planting to harvest to bottling. Along the way I have sat quietly in a vineyard as the sun cam up waiting for bud break, listened to the murmur of activity as the grapes are picked and sorted, and sat down satisfied with a hard day of labor stacking cases, with a glass of freshly bottle Pinot Noir.
Giving something back for all this has become very important for me and a few months ago I came upon the idea of creating photographic etchings to show, sell, or give away to help promote the wineries here in Oregon. I started with Saginaw Vineyards and a picture of their big Birch tree. After turning it in to an etching I became obsessed with getting an image of a tree somehow related to the different wineries here in Lane County. The culmination of this, after a chance conversation with Jill Hartz the Director of the JSMA, was a show of the works printed on wood, a series of wine tastings at the museum, an edition of 30 etchings of 17 wineries, some very happy studio assistants, and a dinner on the 27th of August to celebrate our bounty.
The next project for me is a set of ten etchings of ten Salud! wineries each year for the next 4 years to be auctioned off at the November Salud! Auction.

The program follows below:

Passports are $75 and are your ticket to the exclusive Winemakers dinner at the Museum on August 27th where you will enjoy a pre-event wine tasting and sit with one of our winemakers at their table. You will enjoy a 20% discount at all the participating winery tasting rooms between August 2nd and August 27th. Get your passport stamped and you will qualify for incredible wine gift baskets and more!
Event Dates:
August 2nd – Kick-off wine tasting at the Eugene Cascades and Coast Adventure Center
August 13th – Wineries without walls tasting at the museum (joined by other local favorite wineries)
August 20th – Wineries without walls tasting at the museum (joined by other local favorite wineries)
August 27th – Winemakers Dinner at the Museum.

Price: $75.00

Questions? Call 541-221-8592 or 541-346-3027
The Passport to Culture is supported in part by an award from the Oregon Arts Commission and a Lane County Tourism Special Projects Grant.

In order from the top: Territorial, Benton Lane, Brigadoon, Chateau Lorane, High Pass, Iris Hill,King Estate, LaVelle, Meriwether, Noble, Pfeiffer, Rain Song, Saginaw, Sarver, Shadow Mountain.
All the prints are on acid free white paper that is torn to 8X11 inches and the images are 5X6 inches done with Burnt Sienna Charbonnel etching ink. The edition size is 30 and all are numbered and signed.
The set of 17 prints sells for $25 or individually for $35. Set numbers 1, 7,19, 11, and  29 are already sold.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Carlton for Lunch

Tuesday I took a much needed break from etchings so I  scheduled  a lunch with my good friend Kelley Fox at The Filling Station. Kelley is the winemaker for Scott Paul but her real fame comes from her own wines. She is one of a growing coterie of women winemakers here in Oregon.
Last year we managed to put together a case of Pinot Noir with all the wines made by women here in Oregon and sold it for a good chunk of change at the OMP auction.
I am on a reduced gluten diet and was more than pleased to find the they bake their own breads and make a gluten free loaf made with Bob's Red Mill ingredients. The Ruben was great!
After she went back to work I walked over to Republic of Jam and stocked up on treats. The Strawberry Basil, the Apple Tarragon  Mustard, and the Marionberry Sage all went home with me.
Next door at Horseradish I had a nice glass of the Toluca Lane '09 Pinot Noir. This is an outstanding wine and for $34 it is a steal! I paired it with a chocolate caramel with sea salt from Honest Chocolates next door.

Next stop was a taste over at WildAire Winery and visit with Matt, the owner and winemaker. I settled on a bottle of his '09 Clay Court Vineyard Pinot Noir. This wine is made from grapes grown only in Jory soil and has a soft, lush mouthfeel and a ripe pie cherry, spices, and French Vanilla. Love it!
I drove out to Adelsheim and ArborBrook to look for ideas for the etchings and found a couple of great shots to start from.
I plan on doing ten etchings from ten of the Salud! wineries each year till I have them all. These will go to the Salud! Auction for sale.

Friday, July 22, 2011

General News of Late: Day Trip

Not much to report save a bus trip with the famous Bob Sogge, wine expert and teacher. We took an LTD bus that was donated to Oregon Mozart Players on a 5+ hour tour of Benton Lane, Pfeiffer, and LaVelle wineries.
This was a good chance for novice wine lovers to learn wine from the ground up. Steve, at Benton Lane, took us up in to the vineyards and gave us a detailed explanation of soils, varietals, removing leaves, dropping fruit, and everything else about how to bring in a great crop. He even told about his methods of selecting the best practices from all the different growing methods such as organic, sustainable, bio-dynamic, etc. and putting them to use. His methods seem to work as he just got voted on of Wine and Food magazines top 20 Pinot Noirs of the world. of the world.
We tasted the wines starting with a very good Pinot Gris, then moved to one of  the best Pinot Blanc I have had all year.
His First Class Pinot Noir is exactly that! If you have to sell something to afford a bottle, do it! Absolutely lush and warm and soft in the mouth with all the lovely layers of berry, fig, leather, and earth you can imagine on the nose. The tastes range from raspberry, plum, and figs to leather and spice. It livens up with each sip and if you take the time to let it settle under your tongue, it is like a delightful celibration of fruit and spice that you will want to repeat often.
Next stop on the trip was Pfeiffer Vineyards, home of the famous Blue Dot Pinot Noir.
cont. later

Monday, July 18, 2011

Not at ALL Wine Related but...

Now I want to see some wine six packs with a little edge!

They have a great sense of  humor!
European Plastic  Bags

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Hi everybody,

First things first. Earlier this month, I believe the first Saturday, we tasted an old favorite that had been missing for several months. All due to a combination of vintage change, and a new importer. It is a wine that nationally would be hard to find, being from an eastern portion of France that many, otherwise knowledgeable wine folks, haven't even heard of, the Savoie. Rare or not, the Domaine Labbe 2010 "Abymes" Vin de Savoie sold out by the middle of the afternoon. To keep it simple, if you missed out then, it's back in stock now.

Another wine I just have to mention is the annual appearance of the Pascal Janvier Jasniere. This is a beautiful chenin blanc from the ancestral home of chenin blanc, the central Loire. Only this is from an area around the Loir, a northern tributary of the Loire. You've heard of Vouvray, Montlouis, and Savenierres right? Sure you have. They are Jasniere's more famous neighbors. While fine now, chenin blancs like these really don't start showing there stuff until they have been in the bottle for two or three years. At least. Every year I get a case before it is all gone, because it goes fast. There isn't very much, and apparently many people want it. So it's $21.95 (I consider this a bargain) and limited to three bottles per person until it is gone. And if it isn't gone real soon now, guess what cellar it will end up in. Hehe.

The wines open for tasting Saturday (for free, as usual) are the 2009 Fattoria Laila Verdicchio ($10.25), a pretty floral, citrussy, quintessentially summer white with a slightly mineral edge for great balance with light seafood. The red will feature one of my favorite unknown Italian grapes, gagliopo. That's gah-L'YEE"OHP-poh to you. It's the Ippolito 1845, 2007 Ciro Rosso ($11.95). From way down south in Calabria. That's all I have time for now. If you want more, below is the Pascal Janvier info I cribbed from the Kermit Lynch Web site.

"Pascal Janvier never planned on becoming a vigneron. Though his parents had vineyard land of their own, they did not make their own wine. Instead, he went to school to learn butchery. However, Pascal made a sudden about-face at the age of thirty and decided to study winegrowing in Amboise. His serious and soft-spoken demeanor reflects a man prone to quiet contemplation and great deliberation. His decision was anything but a whim. Starting slowly, he has mastered his craft with a focus and passion that is contributing towards the revival of the small appellation of Jasnières, in the department of the Sarthe in the Val du Loir. The Loir is a tributary of the Loire River, and its viticultural area is the most northerly (and coldest) of the greater Loire region. The once proud appellations of Jasnières and the Coteaux du Loir (the preferred wines of King Henri IV) are now all but extinct, with still less than one hundred and two hundred hectares still under vine. Pascal, with the help of his wife Dominique, is doing his part to remind everyone what Jasnières is capable of."

"The Janviers rent sixty-six different parcels (a total of nine hectares) of land and farm it entirely themselves. Jasnières produces some of the best dry Chenin Blanc (Pineau de la Loire) in the world, and its wines are said to reach their peak ten years after the vintage. The soils of their parcels are comprised of clay, limestone, sand and silex (flint), and are planted primarily to Chenin Blanc."

So, come on down, it will be good to see you.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Sarver Rose' : Four Stars!

We had a bottle of Sarver Vineyards Rose tonight after dinner as we sat out on the deck in the cool evening breeze. This wine is a bit more ruby than most rose'; and has a good substantial mouthfeel.
I was struck by how rich the nose is on this one, Grapefruit, white peach, ripe strawberry, and Kiwi fruit in the nose, and it is one of those wines you just like to smell.

Off subject here: Ken Wright has an event every year in support of Holt International and we have bought tickets to it at the big Portland auction for the last few years, This year Ken was pouring some very nice wines, as usual, and while the music was playing he poured me a glass of his 'o9 Monks Gate. I sat on the end chair during the song and smelled, swirled, and smelled. Glorious! Complex layers of aromas unfolding as the wine opened. I sat there during the entire song and swirled, sniffed, and smiled. When the song was over, Ken walked over and said "You know you can taste it!"

Anyway, back to the Rose'. This is a wine that will stand up to just about any food short of a well spiced roast or some of the hotter foods but I think it is just the perfect Summer sipper. This one gets my vote and four stars!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tasting on the Fourth

Art in the Vineyard, Eugene arts and community celibration, always brings out some great wineries and wines. This year was no exception and though I was not there for tastes this time, I could not help myself.
My friend  Michael Bailey was there representing the wines of a new incarnation of a old winery, or shall we say, an old vineyard site. Marquam Vineyards and Winery was planted in '83 and produced wines that were drinkable. They had a good Riesling back in 2000 as I recall.. Joseph Dobbes, a Doctor, and father of Joe Dobbes Jr. ( a noted winemaker here in Oregon).  sold the property to Phill Kramer and stepped aside, leaving great grapes and lots of work to do.
Kramer set about cleaning, fixing, and repairing and is now producing some really great wines under the name AlexEli
I tasted the '09 Riesling and was impressed by the body and gentleness in the mouth. Citrus but no sting, a little peach? Very nice! Michael is sold on them and I trust his tastes as much or more than most. He always finds special wines and wineries to rep.
 Next visit was with Allen at Methven Family Vineyards where I tasted his '09 Pinot Noir (great!) and chatted about the year in wine. He is hosting, again and for the last time, "Uncorked" wine event with auction and all sorts of goodies. Hard work for a winemaker but he and his wife are engaged in the community and have always been willing to step in.
I wish them luck and wish Linda and I could make time to come up for the event. I saw some really exciting items for auction and some experiences you just can't get anywhere else. I never got to them this year to ask for "One Bottle" but I plan on hitting him up for next year event.
Dave Masciorini is a big man and perhaps because of that, the name of his winery, Namaste' (I bow to you) is a surprise. His is gentle and always ready with a smile, and he knows his wines. Located outside Dallas, Oregon (no, not The Dalles) the vineyards supply all the grapes he uses for his remarkable wines.
Dave tells of one woman, confused by the location, calling from outside Hood River for direction... and I must admit, I once found the street address (306 Court Street) of Bolton cellars located in The Dalles in Dallas and sat in front of the building calling and  asking where they were. (Look it up)
Anyway, back to wine. Dave makes a superb Pinot Noir, actually two. Both are single grape wines and both come from his vineyards. The Abundance Pinot Noir is made with Dijon Clone 115 and has a distinct flavor and character, usually a little toward the delicate, elegant side. Very nice wine and the '09 is just lovely!
The Prosperity Pinot Noir leans to the bold and complex side. This one is made from the 30 year old vines bearing Pommard grapes and is full of dark fruit and hints of chocolate, anise, and finishes with raspberry and just a hint of sweet strawberry. I love this one.
  He also makes a variety of whites that are all worth tasting.
I also stopped by for a quick hello at Noble Estate and said hello to the famous model, Lauren, who works there, undercover as it were.The new free run '09 Pinot Noir is absolutely worth tasting, and buying! Hard to describe but think very light hints of bacon and berry syrup! Dark berry and complex layers over musty, mossy, dark fruit nose. Wonderful!
The whole day was great and I did visit a few more wineries just to say hello but did not have time to do any tasting. I have learned not to get to busy with wines when I am with my wife!