Sunday, February 26, 2012

Stone's Throw '08 Pinot Noir

One of the wines I was lucky to get at the Eugene Ballet's "Table Dances" event Friday night, from the wall of wine, was a Territorial Vineyards Stone's Throw Pinot Noir, '08.
This is a big wine with bold dark cherry, a bit of oak and lots of layers of soft, dark fruit. The smell drifts up at you with over notes of hay, and sweet berry. We opened it early today and let it open for a while before we had a taste, now many hours later it is tasting quite remarkable and will be a nice companion for my computer, my cats, and me.
Tonight we tried a new, to us, place for dinner, Rabbit Bistro here in Eugene. It is located in a PC Market shopping center, is small and quite, and has a bit of friendly pretence that did not put me off.
My wife is vegetarian and we eat away a lot. I all of our wanderings I have had little trouble finding something for her on the menu, or, if the menu is limited, something off menu to satisfy her. One of the best examples was trip to Scottsdale and a meal at Lon's. They are known for MEAT, MEAT, and more MEAT, yet they went out of their way to make a very complete and perfect meal for both of us. This is the case more often than not, unless you are in some podunk little town where vegetarian means a cheese sandwich, grilled if you are lucky.
Rabbit has no vegetarian items on the menu, and after I was warned that no special meal would be made, they made a very nice little Pot Pie with mushrooms, onions, broccoli, carrots, and potato. She enjoyed the butter lettuce salad also.
I had he hanger steak and the same nice little salad. The meat was well cooked, tasty, and done on a Yorkshire Pudding which was a nice touch.
We each had a glass of '09 Haden Fig Pinot Noir. Erin Nuccio has a great story and is someone to watch in the exciting new crop of Oregon wine makers. They also make a Pinot Noir Blanc that is very good (but not nearly as amazing as Ghost Hill's Pinot Noir Blanc, this is a must drink!) Read about Erin here.
We recomend Rabbit Bistro for a well prepared meal, a glass of good wine, and least I forget, a fine desert ( mine was the Apple Crisp with Guinness Icecream!)
Now back to the last sips of this tasty little wine local!

Friday, February 24, 2012

High Pass Surprize! High Pass '08 Walnut Ridge Pinot Noir

There are many wineries in Oregon whose name comes to the tip of ones tongue such as King, Ken Wright, Domaine whatever, but some of the lesser knows have big things to offer.
Last night I dug in to the cellar for a wine that would be good for our kitchen rack, a wine that Linda could open while I was gone and not feel guilty about not sharing.
I was very surprised to find a bottle of High Pass' Walnut Ridge Vineyard '08 Pinot Noir. I had forgotten gathering this one but as we bought it at auction, I felt compelled to taste.
When I opened it and sat it on the counter I walked in to the living room and sat down for some TV. Moments later I began to smell red berry and chocolate. I got up and went in to the kitchen and poured a glass of this aromatic wine.
As it warmed and opened it began to display a much more complex nose. Heavy notes of dark berry, cooked rhubarb, chai, and chocolate were almost overwhelming!
I sipped a bit, expecting a heavy, hard taste but instead was greeted with a most pleasant and soft fruit forward taste that lingered, with top notes of sweet apple and a perfect balance that left me wanting another sip.
This is one of the most interesting and complex Pinot Noirs I have tasted from the lower Willamette Valley. I would highly recommend this wine to keep for at least 5 more years or drink now with lots of salad and game meats as it will stand against any heavy gamey meats and have room to spare. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cherry Hill Surprise!!!

On the way home tonight I stopped at Grocery Outlet on River Road in Eugene to check out what cool stuff they had hiding in the isles. I found an Australian Olive Oil, some really good salami, and an '07 Cherry Hill Papillon!!! This wine is just sooo good! Dark cherry nose with notes of anise, straw, and must, and a taste of ripe berry, black fruit, and clean acids that pair really well with red meats. I opened a bottle with a roast beast, odvacodo, and onion combo and it held up wonderfully!
And the killer! They are selling it for $4.95!!!
Those bastards who underrated the '07's should burn in heck. But those of us who bought all the '07 we could get our hands on know the truth!
Run, do not walk, to you Grocery Outlet and SCORE!

Oregon Wines in Kegs in Washington

The good folks at Wooldridge Creek  and others are making huge strides in educating bar owners on the value of tap wine. I checked in to the Heathman Lodge up in Vancouver WA. last night and went next door to the club room for a snack before turning in only to find two fine wines ON TAP!
Wooldridge's very good Pinot Noir (I did not think to check the year but from the taste I would guess '08) and Boedecker's Pinot Gris, again I have no year but from the taste I would say '10.
What a joy! The woman serving was very engaging and fully vested in the idea of wine in a keg.
She said men would come up and point to the tap and say "I'll have a beer." and she would have to explain that beer comes in a bottle,  wine comes in a keg.
She went on about how much it saved them in wasted wine, bottle disposal, and how well the argon system keeps the wine perfectly drinkable.
I was so pleased to see this. Here is a link back to a post I did a couple of years ago.
They also have kegged wine at Sfizio in Eugene and many other locations around the Northwest. Ask you favorite restaurant  about their house wine and see if they have figured out how to save money and the environment and still serve excellent wines.