Saturday, December 21, 2013

Painters Welcome

Coos Art Museum (OR), Call for Western States Artists: Expressions West 2014

CAM-logoCoos Art Museum (OR), Call for Western States Artists: Expressions West 2014
Deadline: February 1st, 2014 (postmarked)
Eligibility: Painters residing in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming are invited to provide up to three submissions in one or more of four media: oil, acrylic, pastel, or watercolor.  Any and all themes of expression define the parameters of acceptable entries. Previous winners of cash awards from Expressions West 2012 and Expressions West 2013 are eligible to enter, but will not be eligible to win a cash award.
General Rules: Each artist can provide a total of up to three (3) submissions. There is a non-refundable fee of $20 for the first submission plus $10 for the second submission plus $10 for the third submission. Artworks submitted must have been created within the last 2 years (2012-2014) with a framed size limitation of 48 inches by 96 inches and a weight limitation of 40 pounds. Download the Entry Form (pdf).
Juror: Robert Canaga
Cash Awards: 1st: $1000, 2nd: $750, 3rd: $250, 4 honorable mention ribbons
(Unlike past competitions, Expressions West 2014 will offer cash awards – not – purchase prizes)
For more detailed information and submission guidelines: http://www.coosart.org/call-to-artists-expressions-west-2014/

Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Zealand in Eugene

There is a movement afoot to FINALLY acknowledge the wine industry in Lane County! The Territorial Wine Trail, new tasting rooms, more coverage in the media, and now, 3 new wine bars in Eugene and one in Springfield!
Some people I talked to recently were worried that having tasting rooms in the city would discourage people from driving out to the wineries but I doubt that. I conversely think it will get people who would not have gone out to the wineries to taste and discover and perhaps venture out to sample other wines.
I wrote before about Route 5, the tasting room and wine shop at 5th Street Market, so today I will visit Capitello Wines at 540 Charnelton Street in Eugene (as apposed to 907 W 3rd Ave, where Eugene Magazine moved them to in the latest issue;) Great article by the way!
The face of Eugene is changing so rapidly that unless you drive around town and pay LOTS of attention you will miss what is happening. 
When I found that Ray and Jennifer had taken the leap and opened a BIG tasting room I got there as fast as I could.
I was greeted by Jennifer as she ran around getting things placed and putting out the Christmas decorations. She has such great energy paired with a deep knowledge of wines and it is such fun to see her eyes light up when she pours you a taste.
I am looking forward to relaxing and doing some real tasting next week but today I had one treat: The White Flight.  First came the Marlborough region Cab Sauvignon that spoke clearly of place. Bright, lime, crisp fruit, kiwi, and spice on the nose with a wonderful mouth-feel and finish. One of my favorites!
Next on the list was the Croft Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. I was blown away by the deep grapefruit, melon, lush white fruit of this wine. I could not stop tasting it! My freind Shannon Curren, who is opening the tasting room for Pyrenees Winery down town, described it as "rolling around on a fresh cut lawn with half a grapefruit"You simply MUST try this wine even if you are a Red Head! The last was the Walnut Ridge Sauv that is sourced near Junction City and has classical passion fruit and lemon zest with a smooth finish. Very good.
This weekend on Saturday from 4:00 there will be a ticketed event that will include the Urban Wine Circuit and visit all the wineries in town plus you will get to taste the guest wines from the region! 
You MUST taste the 2010 New Zealand Oinot Noir. I am not going to spoil the surprise, just stick your nose in and go for the ride!
Be sure to visit The Oregon Wine Lab on your visit.

 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Keeler Eastate Vineyards

Drinking the Chardonnay I traded a painting for today. Keeler 2011 Estate Vineyard Chardonnay. Eola Hills AVA. Hints of melon and warm honey on the nose, nice body with lush mouth-feel. Tart with just a hint of citrus and a little honey that slides over the sides of the tongue leading to a smooth finish. Tiny bit of oak for smoothness.Really a fine wine. You can feel the energy from the vines in this one. Bio-dynamic Chardonnay at it's best.
Get it while you can. http://www.keelerestatevineyard.com/EstateWines.html
Willamette Valley 18x24 oil and wax on gold leafed linen mounted on panel.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Trip to Portland to Visit America

As of late I have been shut away in the studio painting for my show in April-July next year so wine has been less important to me. However, I did make a trip north last weekend to visit the Great American Wine event along with the Northwest Wine and Food event.
What a blast! 
The first wines I tasted were from Virginia and I was pleased by what I tasted. There are seven AVAs and a good variety of grapes, such as the usual Viognier, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay along with Petit Verdot, Petit Manseng, and Norton*.
They have been making wine there since 1607 so they have some depth of knowledge. My favorite was the Barboursville Vineyards 2012 Viognier Reserve.  Aged on the lees contact and kept from  oxygen in stainless steel, it shows concentrated aromas of tropical fruits and white pear. Very different than the west coast Viogniers but great non the less.
Next stop was Maryland where Briana Berg was pouring some equally tasty wines.  Of note was a Cab Franc that blew me away. Boordy Vineyards Cab Franc Reserve 2010 was by far the best wine I tasted from any of the east coast wineries. Deep black cherry with top notes of wood and dry herbs. My guess is some whole cluster in there. Outstanding wine. Next was late harvest Vidal Blanc by Big Cork Vineyards. I am not familiar with this grape and was pleased by the aroma of peach and honey, and the taste, though sweet, was not overwhelming. Bright notes and a wonderful aftertaste. Very good wine!
I also tasted a some REALLY bad wines that I will not go in to here but most of them were made with grapes starting with N.
 The Great American Wine festival participants are mostly listed below. Thanks to the Great American Wine Festival. I had a great time tasting.
COLORADO WINE
Boulder Creek: 2011 Cabernet Franc
Canyon Wind Cellars: 2012 Anemoi Apeilotes
Carlson Vineyards: 2012 Cougar Run Dry Gewürztraminer
Colorado West: 2012 Elks Gewürztraminer
Ruby Trust Cellars: 2011 Gunslinger

COLUMBIA GORGE WINEGROWERS ASSOCIATION
Cathedral Ridge Winery: 2010 Cabernet Reserve
Cathedral Ridge Winery: 2012 Riesling
Jacob Williams Winery: 2012 Chardonnay
Jacob Williams Winery: 2009 Syrah
Memaloose Winery: 2011 Cabernet Franc
Memaloose Winery: 2012 Trevitt’s White

IDAHO WINE COMMISSION
Cinder Wines: 2012 Dry Viognier
Clearwater Canyon Cellars: 2009 Renaissance Red
Koenig Vineyards: 2010 Syrah
Ste. Chapelle: Soft Huckleberry

Livermore Valley Wine Country
Concannon Vineyard: 2010 Conservancy, Cabernet Sauvignon
Garre Vineyard & Winery: 2009 Primitivo
John Evan Cellars: 2010 The Paracelcian, Cabernet Sauvignon
Las Positas Vineyards: 2009 Casa de Vinas, Cabernet Sauvignon
Little Valley Winery: 2010 Tempranillo
Longevity Wines: 2012 Livermore Valley, Chardonnay
McGrail Vineyards & Winery: 2010 McGrail Reserve,Cabernet Sauvignon
Murrieta’s Well: 2012 The Whip, White Blend
Nottingham Cellars: 2011 Casa de Vinas, Petite Sirah
Retzlaff Estate Winery: 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon
Tamas Estates: 2010 Double Decker Red (blend)
Wente Family Estates: 2012 Morning Fog, Chardonnay

 MARYLAND WINE
Basignani: 2007 Lorenzino Reserve, Cab Sauvignon, Cab Franc
Big Cork Vineyards: 2012 Chardonnay
Big Cork Vineyards: 2012 Late Harvest Vidal
Boordy Vineyards: 2012 Dry Rose, Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauvignon, Syrah & Petit Verdot
Boordy Vineyards: 2010 Cabernet Franc, Reserve, Eastern grown Cabernet Franc
Crow Vineyard and Winery: 2012 Barbera Rose, Barbera, Vidal
Elk Run: 2011 Syrah
Knob Hall Winery: 2012 Willow, Traminette, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Vidal Blanc
Knob Hall Winery: 2011 White Oak, Chardonnay, Traminette, Vidal
Old Westminster Winery: 2012 Chardonnay
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard: 2010 EVOE!, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cab Sauvignon
2011 Columbia Valley Viognier

MISSOURI WINES
Hermanhoff Winery: 2010 Vidal
Les Bourgeois Winery: 2011 Premium Claret
Montelle Winery: 2012 Chambourcin
Montelle Winery: 2012 Dry Vignoles
St. James Winery: 2009 Norton
St. James Winery: 2012 State Park Seyval Blanc
Stone Hill Winery: 2012 Chardonel
Stone Hill Winery: 2011 Chambourcin

OKLAHOMA GRAPE GROWERS & WINEMAKERS ASSOCIATION
Chapel Creek Winery: 2012 Oklahoma Tempranillo
Chapel Creek Winery: 2011 Oklahoma Norton
Coquelicot Vineyard: 2010 Estate Sangiovese

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY VINTNERS’ ASSOCIATION
Dragonette Cellars: 2012 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon
Dierberg/Star Lane: 2011 Dierberg Chardonnay
Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard: 2012 Fess Parker Santa Barbara County Chardonnay
Foxen Winery: 2012 Pinot Noir
Hitching Post: 2008 Hitching Post Pinot Noir Perfect Set Sta. Rita Hills
Lafond Winery: 2011 Pinot Noir AVA Sta. Rita Hills
Lucas & Lewellen: 2008 Cabernet Franc
Refugio Ranch Vineyards: 2010 Barbareno, Santa Ynez Valley – Syrah / Petite Sirah
Santa Barbara Winery: 2012 Chardonnay AVA SB County

SOUTHERN OREGON WINERY ASSOCIATION
Agate Ridge Vineyard Ledger-David Cellars
Cliff Creek Cellars Plaisance Ranch
Deer Creek Winery RoxyAnn Winery
Del Rio Vineyards & Winery Serra Vineyard
Devitt Winery TesoAria Vineyard & Winery
EdenVale Winery Trium Vineyard & Winery
Kriselle Cellars

VIRGINA WINE
Barboursville Vineyards: 2012 Viognier Reserve
Rappahannock Cellars: 2010 Meritage
Rappahannock Cellars: 2012 Viognier
Tarara Winery: 2012 Nevaeh Red

THE WINE ROAD NORTHERN SONOMA COUNTY
Alexander Valley Vineyards: – 2009 CYRUS
Alexander Valley Vineyards: 2010 Sin Zin
Silver Oak Cellars: 2009 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Stonestreet Winery: 2011 Gravel Bench Chardonnay and Broken Road Chardonnay
Trione Vineyards and Winery: 2012 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Trione Vineyards and Winery: 2010 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Twomey Cellars: 2011 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Monday, November 4, 2013

Travel Lane County Photo Contest Winners

  Every year Travel Lane County holds a photo contest with images from all over the county, from the coast to the Cascade mountain range. Here are a few and you can visit them all here.Contest Winners

Coastline Florence by Gregory Burns, Third Place   
3rd Place: "Coastline Florence" by Gregory Burns

Jaqua Dawn by David Putzier, First Place
 1st Place:"Jaqua Dawn" by David Putzier

Now you HAVE to come to Oregon and visit Lane County to see all this and more in person, and while you are here, sample some of our fine wines, great beers, and delicious foods!







 
 

 
Salt Creek Falls in Winter by Lisel Hilson, Third Place 
3rd Place:"Salt Creek Falls in Winter" by Lisel Hilson   





                  

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tasting Xylem Wines 2012 Rose'

I have in front of me a bottle of 2012 Rose, made by my friend Jason D. Brumley  and his partner Forrest Schaad. I met Jason during my wine gathering in 2008 when I showed up at Cana's Feast to beg one bottle and we have stayed in touch ever since.
The Barrel-Aged Rosé is made from a conglomeration of warm climate grapes from eastern Washington. The look is almost like a DrueskallI: orange like the sunset! I smell ripe Kiwi, gooseberry, and lime zest. The taste is soft fruit with melon and citrus stacked atop a great mouth-feel. Long finish of honey and melon.

Lovely wine! Made in a  basement! I recommend it as a companion to fresh salads, fruit, and spiced meats.  Xylem Wines. Here is what they say:



Xylem Wines is a fully functioning, residence-based winery located in McMinnville, Oregon - in the heart of Oregon's wine country. It is the result of two friends sharing a passion for viticulture and winemaking. 



Forrest Schaad began planting Vitis vinifera (wine grape) vines in 2007 on his family's farm on Rex Hill in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. The farm was established by Forrest's grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Schaad, in 1951 and was originally planted with Italian prunes, cherries, a variety of berries, and English walnuts. Doug 'Fish' Schaad, Ben's son, was the first to plant vinifera vines on the property in the mid 1980's.



In 2009, Jason Brumley started assisting Forrest with the planting of vines on the farm. They honed their viticulture and winemaking skills and expanded their knowledge by working professionally in Oregon's wine industry, making home wine, engaging in formal studies, and working continuously on their project at the farm. By Spring 2012, Forrest and Jason had planted over 5,000 vines and some were mature enough to produce fruit for the upcoming 2012 Autumn harvest. 



They had the fruit, but not the capital with which to build a conventional winemaking facility or even enough to lease space at an already established winery. They concluded that the next logical and feasible step to attaining their dream was to build a licensed and bonded winery in the basement of the house that Jason shares with his wife, Cokie Anderson. Summer 2012 saw the basement renovated and approved for commercial production.



2012 will be the inaugural vintage of Xylem Wines, with release to the public in Summer 2013. 
You can contact Jason via Facebook and ask for a bottle of ANY of the fine wines. 
These guys know what they are doing!








Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Meal fit for Royalty

Best meal of the month tonight. Soubise nailed it! Our friend Rebecca Marie Pittock Shouldis wine savant for Ghost Hill Cellars among others, joined  my wife Linda Lawrence (my Princess) and me for a long relaxing dinner and we were treated wonderfully. We brought a bottle of '12 Gypsy Dancer Pinot Noir the Rebecca now makes and they brought out the new Zalto hand blown glasses and the Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir glasses so we could taste the difference. Remarkable how much the glass shape changed the wine. The Burgundy glass was made to open and reduce the acid in a long aged wine so it ended up bringing more fruit forward, which was fine, but the finish was not as good as in the Oregon glass. They brought out a foie gras plate with quince and mushrooms for us to taste against the wines it it was just the perfect pairing. We had a fall vegetable salad with perfectly done beets, carrots, beans and more with a buttermilk dressing. I chose the pork shank paired with chorizo sausage and shrimp. Unbelievable!
Linda is a vegetarian and was pleased with the variety of the foods available to her. She had a Gnocchi that she seemed intent of finishing with a huge smile. Rebecca went for my second choice, the smoked steak.
They make everything on site so fresh and elegant is the rule. We finished with a small sample of Johan Cellars'  Drueskall Pinot Gris, an orange wine made by prolonged skin contact. We imagined sliced apricots on warmed goat cheese with this. Last was a wonderful Port, deep and red and thick with flavor.
Truly one of the finest meals I have had of late.

We felt welcomed and embraced and will soon return. Look for the Gypsy Dancer and perhaps the Ghost Hill Pinot Noir Blanc when next you visit!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Youngberg Hill's Last Winemaker Dinner of 2013!

Wine It Up!
 
Last Winemaker Dinner of 2013!
November 2nd
 
Time to give thanks for a wonderful year.  2013 has been a beautiful growing season and we are blessed to share it with you.  Join us for a our last winemaker dinner of the year.
 
For menu information click here
Reservation needed at 503.472.2727 or email Wine@YoungbergHill.com
6pm Reception, 6:30p Dinner
$65/person
 
Harvest Review
 
Click here to take a look at our harvest photos on Facebook.  "Like" us to follow along.
 
Wine Club Pre-Release
November 23rd
 
We are excited to releasing our 2011 Natasha, Jordan, and Cuvée wines.  Wine Club pre-release and pick up. Wine pairing with chocolates from Smitten Artisan Truffles. 10 to 4.  Please email us at Wine@YoungbergHill.com in advance to have your wines ready to take home with you.
 
 
Blog Fun!
Have you read our blog lately?  
Youngberg Hill- Oregon Wine Country www.youngberghill.com

Monday, October 21, 2013

Travel Lane County Launches Oakridge/Westfir GeoTour Edition



Travel Lane County Launches Third Edition of Eugene, Cascades & Coast GeoTour

-Kickoff event set for
Saturday, Oct. 26 in Oakridge-


Eugene, Ore. -
 
Adventure seekers will have yet another Eugene, Cascades & Coast GeoTour edition to explore. The Oakridge/Westfir Edition kicks off on Saturday, Oct. 26 in the Cascades region.
The new leg will lead geocachers to 36 sites along Highway 58, between Pleasant Hill and Willamette Pass, guiding treasure hunters to the area’s state parks, lakes, trails, waterfalls, hot springs and other attractions.
The success of the first two editions prompted Travel Lane County to expand its GeoTour, which has already attracted more than 2,000 participants since its initial launch last fall. The McKenzie River Edition got under way in October 2012, followed by the  Florence Edition in March 2013. Travel Lane County is already looking to launch a fourth edition next Spring.
Like the previous editions, the Oakridge/Westfir tour will challenge people to find at least 24 hidden sites to earn a locally-crafted, trackable geocoin—a coveted prize in the geocaching world.
The public and press are invited to join Travel Lane County and geocaching experts from www.geocaching.com at the official launch. The event is free and open to experienced and first-time geocachers, who can learn how to get started. Attendees can pick up the new Oakridge/Westfir edition passport and view the new geocoin.

EVENT DETAILS
     When:     Saturday, October 26, 2013                      9 to 11 a.m.

     Where:    Brewers Union Local 180 (family-friendly)
                     48329 E 1st St. Oakridge

     Contact: Travel Lane County
                     (541) 484-5307

Geocachers can use GPS units or smart-phone devices to follow coordinates to lead them to the hidden caches, usually comprised of small water-proof containers. Each cache the usual trinkets and treasures, along with a log book and password, which cachers record in their passport.
Following the kickoff event, the passport will also be accessible online. For more information, contact Travel Lane County at (541) 484-5307 or visit www.EugeneCascadesCoast.org/Geocaching.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Support SALUD!

This organization is vital to Oregon's wine industry and should be supported by all those who enjoy our wines.

¡Salud!’s mission is simple and straightforward. We work to provide access to healthcare services for Oregon‘s seasonal vineyard workers and their families.
¡Salud! is a unique collaboration between Oregon winemakers and healthcare professionals to provide access to healthcare services for Oregon’s seasonal vineyard workers and their families.
¡Salud! was created by a group of Oregon winery owners and Tuality Healthcare physicians to address the hurdles faced by seasonal workers who cannot meet their basic health needs with only a few months’ income to stretch over a full year. The vast majority of field workers move from one crop to another. Their temporary status with each employer makes them ineligible for health coverage. Without insurance, these men and women and their families often do not seek professional healthcare until their problems become acute. Their knowledge of basic health education is limited and they are overwhelmed by the maze of complex and confusing resources available in the medical system. The mission of ¡Salud! is to bridge this gap.
Workers and Clinic Staff
The relationship between vintners and physicians, united in their mission to benefit this essential workforce, is unique to Oregon. No other state in the country has such an effective and far-reaching program to support the seasonal worker population. Since 1991, the program has been supported by ¡Salud! The Oregon Pinot Noir Auction and other generous contributions. Held each November, the auction focuses on sought-after Pinot Noirs created by Oregon’s top wineries exclusively for the cause. In other ways, winery staff also assist ¡Salud! medical professionals in accessing and educating the workers and their families. This progressive approach by the Oregon wine industry enables ¡Salud! to reach workers onsite – often with mobile screening clinics held in the vineyards – as well as to identify those workers who are truly seasonal.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

New Joint in Town (Eugene)

There is a nice surprise awaiting at the top of the main stairs at 5th Street Public Market. Route 5 NW Wine Bar. It inhabits the old LaVelle Tasting Room and boy is it nice! They have taken all the walls out of the main area and surrounded us with great wines! The list of wines does not include only Oregon wines but they have a pretty good start. The wines on tap are a great way to travel through Oregon and they even have some foreign wines from south of and north of the border. Kirsten, the reining wine Queen's tastes are spot on so I trust what she is bringing aboard, and she is backed up by Phillip from Marche'.




I chatted a bit with Trent, who recently moved from Washington and is cutting his teeth on Oregon's fare. He recommended an '07 Stoney Mountain  Pinot Noir that was rich with dark fruit and earth, a bit of straw on the nose with prunes and currents. VERY nice wine. They offer a splash, a glass, or a flask! They also offer a great menu with their own flare prepared at Marche' . Roasted hazelnuts with rosemary and spices, smoked chilli popcorn, they will even surprise you with a mixed meat and cheese board for $20 to share as you taste through a few AVAs. They have a full menu of snacks to keep you happy.
One of the coolest design ideas they use is wine bottles drilled and placed to create a window. Very beautiful, and now I know what do do with all those old bottles!
There are a lot of wines I am looking forward to tasting here, and they have a lot of my personal favorites like Cowhorn, Winter's Hill, and Bergstrom just to name a few. Today I had the Deviled eggs and chicken liver-apple brandy mousse with toasts. I am very happy;)
Stop by and give them a try and tell them you saw it here!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Don't miss out on this once in a lifetime adventure. Only 9 spots left!

ANNOUNCING AN EVENT IN COOPERATION WITH THE OREGON TRUFFLE FESTIVAL
 
Begin your Oregon Truffle Festival experience early with the
Wine & Dine & Truffling Time Tour
in Oregon’s beautiful wine country
January 22 – 26, 2014
 
Daniel Winkler, director of Mushroaming LLC, a travel agency specializing in
fungal travel worldwide, will be your guide. He describes the tour below:
 
The Wine & Dine & Truffling Time Tour starts on Wednesday evening. We will meet in our hotel in downtown Portland (Hilton or Lucia). During a nice dinner in a downtown restaurant (details to be announced) we will get to know each other. Thursday morning we will leave Portland and search out a Douglas fir forest close to the picturesque Oregon wine country, where our first outdoor fungal adventure will take place. We will be hunting for the famous and delicious Oregon white truffle (Tuber gibbosum) with a trained truffle dog and an expert truffle hunter.
After the truffle hunt,we’ll visit local wineries and a farm specializing in olive oil production. We will be received with wines and olive oils to taste and appetizers to compliment the experience. The afternoon will conclude with an educational visit to Newberg’s new Wine Center in Dayton. Next destination will be The Inn at Red Hills in Dundee, six miles from Dayton. We will check in and get ready for dinner.
Thursday evening we’ll delight
in a multi-course truffle and mushroom meal at the famous Joel Palmer House located in Dayton. Joel Palmer House is on the National and Oregon Historic register and dates back to 1857; Chef Christopher Czarnecki took over the restaurant in 2008, which was founded by his great-grand father. Already his grand father focused on "fine dining with wine and wild mushrooms". Not surprisingly Joel Palmer House is regarded as one of America's leading restaurants, when it comes to mycophagy, or better the art of preparing culinary wild mushrooms. The wines for the dinner are provided by Seufert Winery.
 
After an early Friday breakfast, we will board our mini-van to drive to a forest habitat suited for hunting the fruity Oregon black truffle (Leucangium carthusianum). Once again we will be assisted by a trained truffle dog and an expert truffle hunter. After the Black truffle hunt we will continue our drive to Eugene (the distance from Dayton to Eugene is 85 mi). We expect to arrive at the Eugene Hilton approximately at 12:30 pm to check into our rooms. Many of the events of the Truffle Festival will conveniently take place in the Eugene Hilton.
Tickets for this extended package are ONLY available from
Daniel Winkler at www.mushroaming.com

Don't miss out on this once in a lifetime adventure. Only 9 spots left!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Visit With Nature

There is something magical about walking through land that is unsullied by pesticides, Monsanto, and all the un-natural concoctions made by man to "tame" nature. It feels light, tingly, clean, and exciting. There is a good article by Brien Cantwell about Oregon's Bio-dynamic "Voodoo Vintners" here.
Recently I was fortunate to visit Keeler Estate Vineyard. Tucked in to the hills of the Eolla Amity AVA just outside of Amity, Oregon it is, like many wineries these days, bio-dynamic, but instead of becoming bio-dynamic, they started that way from day one.
I was warmly greeted by Gabriel and Craig Keeler along with my friend Jennifer Kadell, who works with them to promote their wines. The 200 acre farm has, along with the vineyards, table grapes, fruit trees, gardens, and now, its own mushroom farm!




The soils are Steiwer, Chehulpum, and shallow sedimentary soils over a base of deep ocean floor. (see photo) The range of elevation is from 220 to 500 feet with the higher vineyards being the newer recently planted.
The grapes grown are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and a small amount of Riesling. They also have introduced a newer varietal of Pinot Noir, 943, with a very masculine profile, deep and rich with currents and dark berry. It has been a cause for some excitement in France and California and a few vineyards in Oregon, such as Adelsheim, have had some pleasing results with it.
We tasted the wines in the tasting room and were treated to some delicious snacks prepared by Nicci Stokes. Her restaurant is Cafe Uncorked on Highway 18, McMinnville. 

The wines they make from Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes planted in '08 are superb in the hands of Darcy Pendergrass, the winemaker
The whites very in style from the '11 Pinot Gris' crisp, refreshing minerality and white peach then a '11 Reserve Pinot Gris with more tropical notes and a wonderful mouth-feel and last (so far) a quite surprising '11 Chardonnay that has the softness of melon yet retains a powerful mineral note, leaving a very pleasant and long lasting finish. The soil play into this wine very deeply. (NPI)
Now on to my favorite, the Pinot Noir. This is also an '11 and is done in 55% neutral oak and 45% new oak that give it a nice rich mouth feel. It has room to grow and all the signs are there that  in about 5 rears this will be a real beauty! Spicy and full of red fruit, nice acid balance and a long complex finish. Keep this one down for a few years and you will be rewarded!
 After a lull in the rain we walked down through the beautiful gardens and past the ponds to the Pinot Noir block where we sampled fruit from both top and bottom of the vine.  The Keelers employ a unique trellising system developed by Scott Henry, that trains the vines to grow in a lower and upper row. I must say I could discern the slightest shift in flavor profile, the top most being lighter. Craig showed us the problem of having bee hives at the end of the rows: Bee holes in a few of the grapes that can encourage Botrytis. The juice is removed and they collapse, inviting mold. Small issue but next year he is moving them further away. We rode around the back side of the vineyards past the compost pile stretching the length of the vineyard where straw and manure plus all the plant debris from the property is added to replenish the soils with what has been removed by the plants.

I smelled coffee grounds and  rich clean soil like when I was a child on the farm after tilling. Worms were hard at work as Craig explained the tubes that allowed for out-gassing and less worry about turning the piles of compost.
Heading up the hill we past some recent excavations where they were creating Insectariums: ponds, along with flowered and grassy areas meant to encourage native insects and encourage the control of invasive and harmful insects.

As we started up the hill we could see the vineyard workers hand hoeing the rows between the newer plantings and to the left, in the lip of the forested area, we saw the mushroom farm. They have inoculated oak logs with various edibles and  had just harvested. There were a few Oyster Mushrooms left.
We got to the top of the hill as the storm sat lurking on the horizon. We stood on the deck and admired the furniture Craig had made for visitors, painted in what Gabriel called Easter Egg.
When we were done watching the storm and were ready for another round of tasting and stuffed mushrooms, we took off down the hill and toured the newly excavated areas up close where Crag had built an earth dam with small culverts for circulation and drainage. We then went to the barn where we saw a most remarkable innovation! The teas that are made for the soils must be stirred a defines number of times in each direction to activate. This is at worst tedious and at best meditative, but
when you are farming a huge area and managing other ventures one must innovate. Behold an automatic stirring device that frees up man power and still does the job. Lots of controversy around having it done by machine but my feeling is, it was invented and built by mind and hand with a deep love for the land and respect for the practices so it should fit in to Rodolph's original ideas.


One last note: The dog is worth the visit just to see an animal that is in a constant state of pure joy! He ran in front of the vehicles waiting for a ball, a stick, anything! Here he is waiting patiently for us to get going.
The family is so nice and the feel of the land so vibrant that it is hard to leave. Gabriel and Craig's son Nick also has a bit of an arm in the wine industry, he owns Nicholas Keeler International and supply's barrels all over the world as well as making his own wines!
 I hated to leave and would much rather have stayed the rest of the day.

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