Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Long Benton Lane and a Short Brigadoon

Yesterday was our pick-up day for our Benton Lane Wine Club. Linda and I decided many years ago that we would only belong to two wine clubs, so with that in mind we now belong the five. So much for will power.
Benton Lane was our second club and we visit them often. When I have occasion to lead a group on a local winery tour they are often a starting or ending place.
Steve and Carol are strong advocate of tourism and the development of the Oregon wine bussiness.
Steve is involved with another project that I wholeheartedly support, Salud!. He recently joined the board.
The small show I recently had at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art displaying etchings of 17 of the regional Lane County wineries left me with 17 framed and museum ready works of art. What better place for them than in the wineries.
They were very happy with the work and I walked away with more than I had bargained for;)
While there I tasted through some of the wines, including the 2010 Pinot Gris, again rated as one of the top 100 wines in the world. Also tasted was the Pinot Blanc. This wine can be a surprise. If you chill it and serve it cold it looses some of its richness and character but if you let it get to around 65 degrees it unleashes such romantic smells and flourishes of clover honey and melon in the mouth that you will think someone switched wine on you! I paired it last night with some hard cheese and peaches and it held up beautifully!
Then came the Reds. I love the Pinot Noir that come from their vineyards. The place was an old sheep farm so you know the soil has a lot going forit and they continue to use best management practices to keep it that way, so the richness and complexity of the wines is always there.
The first sniff of the 2010 Pinot Noir was filled with cherry, waffle, and sweet strawberry jams. The taste was blueberry, strawberry jam, and a wonderful finish of baked red berry that lingered pleasantly.
Next came the big one; the 2010 First Class. This wine has just been released and is complex, rich, and full of flavor. Beautiful nose and dark fruit, jam, and earth in the mouth. This will only get more interesting as time goes by. If you have the chance you MUST see Steve's racking room for the first class Pinot Noir. The barrels are supported on an upside down skateboardesque shelf that allows you to turn the wines while on the leas instead of opening the barrel and stirring. Pure genius!
I left there and did a quick check up on Brigadoon's new tasting room, under construction .
On the way up I stopped and looked at the grapes to see where they were in veraison.
 I  was pleased to see how much color was showing. I hope the weather holds for a while and we don't get too much rain. Just a few more weeks of sun and we can have an outstanding year!

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