Monday, January 20, 2014

Know Your Oregon Wines: Chenin blanc

Chenin blanc:  Chenin blanc is arguably the most versatile of all wine grape varieties. Crisp, dry table wines, light sparkling wines, long-lived, unctuous, nectar-like dessert wines, and even brandy are all produced in various areas of the wine world, all from Chenin blanc. This French varietal from Anjou and the Loire has two distinct characteristics: a high natural acidity and susceptibility to botrytis. Even in hot climates and with high yields, its high acidity delivers balanced , but neural varietals, which are commonly used in blends for everyday, mass-market wines.
Some of the best Chenin Blanc in Oregon is grown in the  Rogue Valley by Ledger David Cellars. The tasting room is in Central Point ans is a must stop destination for a number of reasons; Rogue Creamery is on one side and Lillie Belle Farms Chocolates is on the other!
I like this wine for Summer on the deck and often add a lime twist just to make the purists crazy.

Know Your Oregon Grapes: Baco Noir

Baco Noir is a French-American hybrid is a hybrid red wine grape variety produced from a cross of Vitis vinifera var. Folle blanche, a French wine grape, and an unknown variety of Vitis riparia indigenous to North America.
Baco Noir’s origins go back to 1894 when French grape breeder François Baco crossed Folle Blanche with an unknown member of the New World’s Vitis Riparia family. The intention was to create phylloxera-resistant vines that retained their French character. At one time Baco Noir was grown in Burgundy and the Loire, but it was gradually ushered out of the Old World and has since become one of North America’s more successful hybrids.

Not highly regarded among most Oregon wine makers I have spoken to but Girardet Winery in the Umpqua Valley has been pretty consistently good at producing a tasty deep red and rich wine. It stands up to duck and gamey meats but it also is one of my favorite for pairing with dishes made with wild rice.

In cool climates it has a light to medium body, good acidity. Baco Noir is a grower-friendly alternative to Pinot Noir. It does not express the distinctive foxy aromas and flavors of other Vitis Riparia varieties known as River Bank Grape or Frost Grape, but instead shows rich fruit tones, typified by blueberry and plum. In hotter climates such as the Umpqua Valley the wine is richer and more intense.
Another winery that makes a solid Baco Noir is Chateau Lorane, where Linda and I were married. 100 people went through a LOT of Baco Noir
Here is a good story about Baco written by Matt Kramer for the Oregonian:
As some readers have noticed, this column now appears every other week. But the wines --and wine values --keep coming. So let's dive into the deals with no further ado.
Baco Noir "Southern Oregon" 2007, Girardet Wine Cellars: For decades one of Oregon's consistently best red wines has not been its vaunted pinot noir, but rather, the unsung French hybrid called baco noir. Never heard of baco noir? You're in good company, as most folks haven't, either --wine geeks included.
The short story is that in the 1880s the American root louse called phylloxera devastated all of Europe's vineyards. The native European grape vine, Vitis vinifera, had no inborn resistance to this sap-sucking louse --which slowly killed the vines. American grapevines, however, did have an inborn resistance.
Growers everywhere in Europe, nowhere more so than in France, were desperate to find or create vines that could resist phylloxera. For decades, starting in the 1880s, researchers experimented with crossing varieties of Vitis vinifera with various American grape varieties. One of these researchers was Francois Baco (1865-1947), a son of winegrowers who lived in the town of Belus, near the famous Armagnac zone in southwest France.
Although Baco's day job was a schoolteacher, his passion was grapevines. For decades he laboriously tried numerous crossings of Vitis vinifera varieties with American species. In 1902, Baco released just such a hybrid, a red grape originally called Baco 1 that today is known as baco noir. It was a cross between a local white grape known as folle blanche (the grape used for the brandies made in the Cognac and Armagnac districts) and an unknown American red variety.
Eventually, the French decided to spurn these hybrids, preferring instead to simply graft American rootstocks onto their own European varieties. But baco noir made such a tasty red wine, and was so unusually resistant to very cold winter weather, that Baco's creation now is planted in the Midwest and the East (where cold winters are a problem) as well as in the Canadian province of Ontario.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Know Your Oregon Grapes: Dolcetto

Dolcetto: A well known grape variety widely grown in Italy's Piedmont region. While the name translates to 'little sweet one', it is nearly always dry wine. Dolcetto is usually made into fast maturing, fruity and robust dark red wine with faintly bitter flavor. It tends to have a dark, rich color with a fruity nose - usually blackberry and blueberry. Sweet rust red wine that needs lots of time before release. Most wineries hold them back for 2 to 3 years before letting them be sold.
Among the Vineyards that grow Dolcetto are Delfino, Ponzi , Remy, Stag Hollow, Zerba, and Abacela.
I am still researching who else grows this grape here in Oregon.
Thanks to Oregon for the great source.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Know Your Oregon Grapes: Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer: It has grayish-pink grapes that produce wine with a golden gleam and an unmistakable bouquet of roses and lychee. This low-yielding and demanding varietal is only really convincing when harvested very ripe. The best examples come from Alsace, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and northern Italy, but it can also be found in the USA, New Zealand and other places.
Here in Oregon they are grown in these AVAs:              
One of my all time favorites is made in Elkton by Terry Bradborg. This consistently is  a fine representation of this grapes possibilities.
It was the most highly rated in a NYT tasting that you can read here.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Know Your Oregon Grapes: Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc: The 'little', hardier brother of Cabernet Sauvignon, this grape also comes from France's Bordeaux region. It can withstand much cooler temperatures and is sometimes planted as an 'insurance policy' against Cab Sauv losses. This varietal is often very dry and austere, with a unique and complex bouquet. O There are some very fine examples of pure Cabernet Franc from France's Saumur region as well as Southern Oregon. Typically somewhat spicy in aroma and often reminiscent of plums and especially violets, Cabernet franc is more often used as a secondary or tertiary element in varietally-blended red wines, instead of as a stand-alone varietal bottling.

Some Oregon vineyards that grow this wine: Devitt Winery
and  Spangler Vineyards and there are MANY more in the Umpqua, Elkton, and Southern Oregon AVAs. As a stand alone, one of the best I have had among the best is the  RoxyAnn '09 .

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Know Your Oregon Grapes; Barbera

Barbera: Usually produces an intense red wine with deep color, low tannins and high acid. Century-old vines still exist in many regional vineyards and allow production of long-aging, robust red wines with intense fruit and enhanced tannic content. The light, young versions offer a very intense aroma of fresh red and black berries. The better Barberas are often aged in oak and make complex, age-worthy wines. The most important growing region is Piedmont (Italy) with the most famous examples being Barbera d'Asti, Barbera de Monferrato (sparkling) and Barbera d'Alba.
The only vineyard I know that grows this grape is Marchesi Vineyards.
Achille, Barbera Estate '11 Columbia Valley: Marchesi Vineyards Cases Produced: 138 / Alcohol: 13.5% / pH: 3.25
 From our vineyards! First planted in 2004, we have a cheerful, fresh, and fruity red wine with clean fruit and balanced acidity. Part of the grapes where set to dry cane mats for maximum extraction before the long aging process in Hungarian oak. A delicious food wine to complement a variety of dishes.

Know Your Oregon Wines: Semillon

Semillon: Semillon has an affinity for botrytis (noble rot) and is responsible for the great sweet wines of Bordeaux. It can age very well, developing aromas of honey, candied fruits and chocolates, while often retaining a fresh citrus note. While Semillon's 'headquarters' are in France, it is also known to develop a real distinctive character in Australia's Hunter Valley.
In Oregon, Arcane Cellars produces a very small amount each year and it is sold out almost at once: Produced from our own estate vines at Wheatland Vineyard, this Semillon is a dry, full bodied wine exhibiting aromas of citrus and honeysuckle and flavors of pear, apricot and peach. Unlike a typical warmer climate Semillon, this wine has crisp minerality and a
wonderfully clean and smooth finish that refreshes on hot summer afternoons.

Farther south, Agate Ridge grows it and makes a blend with Sauvignon Blanc: 
This lush blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc is driven by the unique terroir at our estate vineyard in the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon. Intense floral aromatics join citrus, cut green grass and finish with ripe date nuttiness. Created in a traditional European style, its medium-bodied and luxuriant texture exhibit a creaminess that is deftly balanced by mouthwatering acidity. A brilliant wine to drink with everything from goat cheese appetizers to firm fish like halibut or roast chicken.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Small Fast Paintings

'Red Trees" 10x10 ten minute left handed oil
'Fauvistries" 1ox10 ten minute left handed oil

Know Your Oregon Wines:Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

Montepulciano d'Abruzzo: A type of wine grape as well as a type of red wine made from these same grapes in the Abruzzo region of east-central Italy. Up to 10% Sangiovese is permitted to be added to the blend. It is typically a fruity, dry wine with soft tannins, and as such is often consumed young. If aged by the winery for more than two years, the wine may be labelled "Riserva."

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Know your Oregon Grapes: Mouvèdre

 Mourvèdre is known by various names: in Spain as Monastrell (or occasionally Morastell or Morrastel), in the Americas and Australia as Mataro (or occasionally Esparte), and in France sometimes as Balzac. Its taste varies greatly according to area, but often has a wild, gamey or earthy flavor, with soft fruit flavors of blackberry. Probably Mourvèdre's finest region is Bandol on the Mediterranean coast of Provence where it dominates the region, producing wines reminiscent of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It is particularly successful in the Jumilla region of Spain where it is used as a varietal, or in blends with Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo or Merlot.
Some noted wineries that use Mouvedre are Seven of Hearts Wine and Linda Donavon Wines 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Know Your Oregon Grapes: Nebbiolo

Nebbiolo: Takes its name from the fog that often blankets the hills in Italy's Laghe area where this grape thrives. The grape is used to make wines such as Barolo, and Barbaresco. These deeply colored wines can be massively tannic in youth with intriguing scents of tar and roses. As they age, the wines take on a characteristic brick-orange hue at the rim of the glass and mature to reveal complex aromas and flavors (fruits, flowers and a bit of spices) quite unique and thrilling. These wines often take years to become approachable as they require age to tame the tannins from the grapes. As part of a global trend begun in the 1990s, younger producers have sought to make their wines more approachable in their youth. These are grown in the Gorge and students at Umpqua Community College planted 400 vines in 2009 and I plan on visiting to see how they are doing.

Know Your Oregon Wines: Sangiovese

Sangiovese: Sangiovese is a red wine grape variety originating in Italy. It is most famous as the main component of the Chianti blend in Tuscany, but winemakers outside Italy are starting to experiment with it. Young sangiovese has fresh fruity flavors of strawberry and a little spiciness, but it readily takes on oaky, even tarry, flavors when aged in barrels. Abacela *Grows these grapes in Oregon as does Fiasco Winery in the Applegate Valley AVA along with a few more. Also they are grown in the Columbia Gorge and in The Walla Walla Valley AVA in the North Eastern corner of Oregon.
Thanks to Oregon Wine Merchants 

*I stand corrected: Abacela no longer grows Sangiovese.

Know Your Oregon Wines: Syrah

Syrah: This superb varietal from the northern Rhône has found success throughout the world. It delivers full-bodied, hefty wines that have excellent tannins and complex aromas including violets, black cherries, wild herbs, liquorice, humus and various spices. It also grows well in Australia and South Africa where it is usually called Shiraz. In our part of the world, excellent Syrahs are grown and made in Washington State and Southern Oregon's Rogue and Umpqua Valleys. Cool climate Syrah is grown in the Eola-Amity AVA also.
From Oregon Wine Press:
Tasting Notes By Jennifer Cossey
2010 Adelsheim Vineyard Calkins Lane Vineyard, Syrah, Chehalem Mountains-Willamette Valley ($45)
Dark red color with aromas of black cherry, blackberry, fig and fresh blueberry. Additional floral notes add to the hints of cocoa, cinnamon stick, black tea and sweet pipe tobacco. Rich flavors, bright acids and long finish.
2010 Brittan Vineyards Syrah, McMinnville-Willamette Valley ($40)Subtle yet elegant aromas of plum, raspberry, blackberry and black cherry integrate with slight oak notes of cedar and vanilla as well as herbal and floral characters. This acid-driven wine, while it is a pleasure to drink now, has years ahead of it and will continue to refine. 
2008 Biggio Hamina XIV, Deux Vert Vineyard, Syrah, Yamhill-Carlton ($25)Dried cranberries and cherries, blood orange zest, dried rose petals, clover honey, thyme, red chili and peppercorn integrate to characterize this wine. Co-fermented with 14 percent Viognier, it is elegant and approachable with pleasing persistence and softening tannins. 
2009 Dobbes Family Estate Sundown Vineyard, Syrah, Rogue Valley ($50)Dark purple in color, with baking spices upfront on the nose followed by cedar, vanilla, fig, wild plum, graphite and rose petal. Rich on the palate with a good balance of acidity and weight.
2010 Dobbes Family Estate Grand Assemblage Syrah, Rogue Valley ($28)Fig, black cherries, raspberry, plum and blackberry notes with a touch of forest floor, vanilla, coffee, cedar and violets with more plum characteristics on the palate and lingering notes of cola and dried herbs.  
2011 Del Rio Vineyards Syrah, Estate Grown, Rogue Valley, OR ($35)Characterized by notes of blueberry, blackberry, dark plum, black pepper, cocoa powder, and savory spice with a rich, round and full finish balanced with food-friendly acids and tannic structure lending itself to longevity in the bottle. 
2009 Abacela Syrah, Umpqua Valley ($21)Pretty nose with floral hints, black cherry, black plum, blackberry pie, nutmeg and coffee bean. Medium-bodied, easy drinking wine with high acid and a sense of richness in the finish. A great food wine.
2009 Abacela South Face Block Reserve Syrah, Umpqua Valley ($50)Dark in color with floral notes and hints of forest floor, plum skin, black and red cherry, black pepper, dried lavender and cocoa bean. It is rich and serious on the palate with some young tannin and bright acids. 
2009 Folin Vineyard Syrah, Rogue Valley ($30)Spicy upfront with notes of chocolate shavings, blackberry, dried black cherry, raspberry, leather, black peppercorn and baking spices with great texture and a long finish.
Thanks to Oregon Wine Merchants

Know Your Oregon Grapes: Tempranillo

Tempranillo: This grape is native to Spain where it is widely grown. Tempranillo is often referred to as Spain's noble grape[2] and is the main grape in Rioja wines. Tempranillo wines can be consumed young, but are considered at their best when aged, especially in oak barrels. They are lightly coloured and age well in both American and French oak. Tempranillo's aromas and flavors usually combine the elements of berries, plum, tobacco, vanilla, leather and herb.
Abacela, among others, grows these grapes. 
Thanks to Oregon Wine Merchants

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Know Your Oregon Wine Grapes: Zinfandel

Zinfandel: Zinfandel, also known as Primitivo in Itlay, is a red-skinned wine grape. Commonly referred to as Zin, it is used to produce a popular California wine, known for its intense fruitiness, lush texture, and high alcohol content. Typically, Zinfandel tastes of white pepper with bramble and fresh or fermented red berries. The producers of Zinfandel made a shift from the 1990s into the new millennium with the production style for their dry reds. Although high in alcohol, the wines have thrown off their hot abrasive flavors and the wines have evolved with gentle tannins, and are stated to be rich and tasty from ripe fruit flavors brought out by newer fermentation techniques. This new style of Zinfandel created age worthy Zinfandels of remarkable complexity and finesse, although always with great vigor and power.

J.Scott Opens New Tasting Room Near Large Body of Water!

Announces the opening of a second tasting room located in the beautiful coastal village of Yachats!

Yachats Tasting Bar
504 Hwy. 101
Yachats, Oregon
Yachats Hours:  Fridays & Saturdays, 1-5 pm

Enjoy the full lineup of award winning J. Scott Cellars' wines,
 and please feel free to bring your own food for snacking.  
As a reminder, the Eugene Tasting Room is open
 Fridays from 5-9 pm and Saturdays from 1-5 pm!


Enjoy two for one wine tasting with this coupon!


Enjoy the two for one wine tasting offer at our Yachats or Eugene location.

Club members already receiving complimentary tastings will enjoy one glass per member at one-half price!

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Wine Events Not to be Missed!

Newport has a myriad of reasons you should visit and spend some time in awe of our amazing coastline, but one BIG reason to visit in February is The Newport Seafood and Wine Festival. 
There are adventures for everyone from the all out wine snob to the beginner who has yet to discern the difference between Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc.
Always a great time but KNOW your preferences as to crowd type: Friday evening is a bit wild with lots of first timers and broken glasses, Saturday during the day is VERY busy and you will met people from all over the USA, Saturday night is a little older but still loud and crowded. Sunday, my favorite, has calmed and the real wine tasting happens, plus there is time ti chat a bit with some of the best wine people on the planet.
Book your hotel room NOW and if you have open table, book a table at Zach's. If not, there are a lot of really tasty spots to store up some energy for the fest.

 This one is not to be missed! A chance to taste what ELSE Oregon has to offer besides Pinot 
(noir, Gris, blanc, noir blanc)
Some great wines are poured here that we really need to celebrate and encourage.
         A truly exciting and educational event not to be missed!
The World of Wine event in Jacksonville takes place in August. I must admit, between the heat and often, the forest fires, Southern Oregon is NOT my favorite place in the heat of Summer. That being said, brave the heat and smoke and go taste the wines. There are so many varietals in Southern Oregon and so  may amazing wineries that coax the very best from the grapes. You will taste wines here you may not even know grow in Oregon.
 Click here to see a current list of wine grapes grown in Oregon and and see if you can guess where they are grown.
Example : Dolceta, Umpqua and Southern Oregon AVAS

Have a great year and look for more wine events in your state!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Learn Why Glasses Make a Difference


riedel-glass-seminar-pinot-noir (1)Please join us next weekend to sip our classic Oregon wines from some of the world's highest quality, most elegant stemware and learn what a difference a glass can make. This guided tasting by Ellie Martin, Founding Shareholder and Tasting Room fixture for 10 years, will be a fun and educational experience. I have included the details below. 

We look forward to seeing you!
Mauri Osborne

Mauri Osborne
Tasting Room Manager 

Riedel Glassware Seminars
Saturday and Sunday, January 18th and 19th

Sessions at 1pm and 3 pm
Seating is limited to 24 guests per session. Please allow for up to an hour for the tasting. 
Cost: $20 per person, $15 for Wine Club Members and includes wine tasting and educational seminar.
Purchase 6 bottles and receive a complimentary 3 piece set of Riedel stemware. 
RSVP is required, please call 503-588-9463 to make reservations. 


Sunday, January 5, 2014

MarshAnne Landing’s Winter Spring Concert Series

MarshAnne Landing’s
Winter Spring Concert Series

Saturday Feb 8th, 7 PM:  Chamber Music Amici-$30
CMA’s fourth performance at MarshAnne Landing will feature works by Piazzola, Smetana, and Strong.  The CMA ensemble will include violist Holland Phillips, cellist Steve Pologe, pianist Victor Steinhart, violinist Sharon Shuman, and guest violinist Leslie Straka.

Sunday Feb 16th, 3 PM:  Valentines Concert-“Dueling Divas”-$30
The impressive voices of sopranos Brooke Cagno and Laura Decher Wayte will come together for a warm, exiting afternoon of love and passion featuring works from opera to Broadway.   Your hearts will be warmed when the Duel ends in a draw and everyone goes home a winner!

Sunday March 16th, 3 PM:  Asculta!-$30
Asculta!, the Willamette Valley's great new woodwind quintet consists of Bobby Chastain on bassoon, Daniel Cathey on clarinet, Meghan Naxer on flute, Scott King on French horn and Clara Terrell on oboe.  Their program includes a fantastic arrangement of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Paquido D’Rivera Aires Topicales, and Alex Wilder’s 3rd Quintet.

Tuesday, May 20th, 7:00 PM:  Chamber Music Amici-$30
CMA returns for a musical extravaganza in one of their finest programs ever.  Seven musicians will share the stage (in smaller ensembles) to perform
Baldassare’sPicolo Trumpet Concerto in F (trumpet, harpsichord, and strings),
Persichetti’s Hollow Men for trumpet and string with Guy Few reading TS Eliots poem,
Dvorak’s Bagatelles for two violins, cello and harmonium,
Saint Seans Septet for trumpet, piano and strings. 

The CMA ensemble will include principals Pilar Bradshaw and Sharon Schuman on violin and Holland Phillips on viola, with guest artists Canadian trumpeter Guy Few (principal with Oregon Bach Festival), Julia Brown on harpsichord & harmonium, and Alexandre Dossin on piano.

Other upcoming concerts:

Saturday July 19th, 7:30 PM:  Tom Bergeron Brasil Band-$25
The incredible sax player/professor Tom Bergeron will be joined with vocals, keyboard, percussion, bass and guitarist Don Latarski.

Saturday, September 6th, 7:30 PM:  Colin Ross in Concert!-$25
Blues, jazz, boogie woogie  and outrageous jamming is brought to you all by one amazing entertainer-Colin Ross.  Virtuousic free style piano, rollicking blues, greasy delta slide, and wry lyrics makes this evening a great fun evening of Americana.

Eugene Opera:  Summer dates to be decided

Reservations are required for all performances due to limited seating (541-459-7998).  Admission for all concerts includes abundant appetizers and a great time!

MarshAnne Landing is located at 175 Hogan Road, Oakland OR, just 3 miles off I-5 exit 142.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Eugene Opera NAILS it!

La Traviata, performed last night by the Eugene Opera, was with out a doubt the Best Opera performance ever staged in Eugene. There have been some really good shows, as was last years Dead Man Walking, but this one tops them all. Save for a tiny bit of timing in the second act it was spotless. The power of the human voice was more than evident in all the leads. If you have a chance to see it on Friday or Sunday PLEASE do yourself a favor and go. If you are an opera virgin this would be the one with which to have your first love affair!