Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cheese, wine, and perfect Fall day

There is a cheese maker located on the way from Salem to Carlton that I have passed hundreds of times, and though I have had cheeses from there that are carried at Market Of Choice, I knew little about the operation. The Willamette Valley Cheese Company started in 2002 though the family dairy has been in operation since 1962. The cheese is all made on site and the cows are hormone free.

Happy cows make great cheese. I pulled in and opened my door to the smell of dairy, but not the overwhelming acrid smell that hits you up around Tillamook sometimes. In the tasting room all I could smell was cheese, and lots of it. I went through a full tasting with Zach and was really impressed by the variety and range of tastes, from smooth soft Havarti to spiced coffee Cheddar! Amazing! I came out with a raw milk Cheddar, Boerenkaas raw milk Gouda, and aged Havarti.
After the tasting I headed to Carlton for lunch with winemaker extraordinaire, Rebecca Pittock Shouldis and wine grower, Gabriel Keeler at Barrel 47. Much to my surprise they were not open so we found the Carlton Coffee Company across the street a couple of doors down from Republic of Jam (more on them later).
We were treated to some wonderful panini and I had a bowl of one of the best down home potato soups I have had in years. We discussed wine sales and harvest and then walked to Republic of Jam where Gabie picked up jars of grape jam made with her own table grapes. I bought a few treats and she gave me a jar of the jam.
Leaving Carlton I made my way to Bergstrom Wines to drop off a couple of prints I did a few years ago. I found them while teaching my print class and though Josh might like them. I missed him but got to taste through all the incredible wines they had out.
 The first was the Silice Pinot Noir from the vineyard just up the hill. The wine used to be named de Lanciloti and is grown in a silt and sandstone soil farmed biodynamically and has a deep rich mineral presence that underlies the complex fruit and floral qualities of the wine. Hold till '18 and beyond though you may drink it now, the complexity will only get more interesting so I would put some aside.
 Next was the Bergstrom Vineyards Pinot Noir and I must say, this one has my heart. Dark and stormy in the glass with an eruption of black pepper, jerky, chocolate and big black fruit in the nose leading to a surprisingly soft rose petal and sweet fruits in the mouth. I loved this one and after it lays down for a couple of years I think it will be one of the best '12s to come out of Oregon.
Dick Shea grows some of the finest grapes in Oregon on his site and the wineries lucky enough to get his fruit do wonderful things with it. This wine is no exception! This is one of the few '13s I have had the pleasure to taste so far and from what I glean from it, 13' will be great for some and difficult for others. This wine was carefully made from a variety of grapes and is so well balanced and elegant it is truly a beautiful wine. It will only get better and more charming as it lays quietly in your cellar.
No visit to this winery is complete without a taste of the Sigred Chardonnay. This wine makes you smile. A perfect balance of acid and complex fruits with hints of oak and lime pie, nutty and floral, bright and exuberant, this one is just a joy. This wine will drink now and for the nest 20 years so savor it. Next, A trip to ArborBrook Vineyards.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Join J. Scott Cellars "Crush in the Country" Party


"Crush in the Country" Party
Join us to celebrate wine crush at the beautiful Blue Rooster Inn Event Barn  located just outside Eugene (click here here for driving directions).  

Enjoy a delightful array of hors d'oeuvres from 3-4:30 pm followed with soup and accompaniments from Soup Nation (to be featured Nov. 11th on Guy Fieri's Food Network Show!)........Music from the popular Brendan Curran & The Honey Brown Band......Surprises......
and, of course, your favorite J. Scott Cellars wine! 

 Relax by the fire pit or stroll about this lovely farm site venue (the barn was built in 1898 and is considered a historical landmark) while you enjoy a fabulous fall afternoon in the beautiful Oregon countryside.

"Please dress warmly - it's October - it's Oregon -  and the barn where we will be sipping wine, listening to music and enjoying dinner is not heated!"
October 25, 2014
From 3-7  pm
Blue Rooster Inn Barn
82782 Territorial Rd.
Eugene, OR  97405

Limited Seating

$10 p.p. wine club member plus one guest
Guest tickets are available at $45 p.p.

Tickets can be charged to your card on file by calling Vicki Piva
 (541-232-4225) to reserve your space, or emailing  Confirmation of reservation will be emailed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


MarshAnne Landing’s
Thanksgiving concert
David Gustafson-Tenor Extraordinaire
Violinist Yvonne Hsueh and pianist John Jantzi
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Internationally recognized for his robust, expressive voice, tenor David Gustafson made his San Francisco Opera debut in 2010 as Sentinelle in Cyrano Di Bergerac starring Placido Domingo.  Lead roles in La Boheme, Aida, and Tosca show David’s impressive skills as an operatic star.   The performance includes some of opera’s most passionate offerings as well as solo violin pieces by Yvonne Hsueh.  Come share this amazing evening and join everyone with Bravo!  Bravo!
Due to limited seating, advance reservations only.  541-459-7998.  Admission $30 includes abundant appetizers.  175 Hogan Rd, Oakland OR, 97462

Monday, October 13, 2014

Got any Barrels?

This year will go down in the history books as the year when we ran out of things to put wine in. My friends at Ghost Hill harvested one Saturday expecting 4 tons and brought in 6 and the nest week brought in 9 instead of the 7 they thought was coming. The grapes were perfect and sorting basically involved pick out the occasional leaf.
It seems that is the story for most of Oregon though I have yet to check in with the growers in the south.
There is some worry about acid levels but that is easily fixable. The only losers this year were the birds.
Down here in the southern Willamette Valley picking was going on all weekend and King Estate will finish today. The grapes look healthy and I think this will be a wonderful year for wines.
The barrel situation will be interesting. New barrels, used barrels, American and French oak, steel vats, anything that will hold and age wine will be put to use. The use of barrels these last few years has increased due to the distillery industry and the breweries coming on strong.
 The glut of product may not effect the price of great wines but I bet we will see some really good wines selling for great price