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Articles in category: Wine Reviews
Most people go through predictable phases in their appreciation of wine, starting with sweet wines and eventually progressing to increasingly complex dry wines. For many, the evolution of their wine tastes eventually leads them to Pinot Noir, at least when it comes to red wines.
Pinot Noir is a particularly fussy grape that needs just the right soil and climate conditions to fully express itself in wine. For that reason, it, perhaps more than any other red grape, shows its terroir in the wines it produces. In Burgundy, where the most famous, most expensive and arguably the best Pinot Noir ...(Read Full Article)
Last week I had the pleasure of heading out to the Applegate Valley. This is an area in Southern Oregon just outside of the town of Jacksonville. The drive is very picturesque with many vineyards and wineries along the way.(Read Full Article)
We ended up at Serra Vineyards. It is a beautiful 80-acre property on a hillside with the tasting room sitting at the top. When you pull up to the tasting room you are treated to a beautiful view overlooking the vines with mountains in the background. Even though we were there on a rainy and overcast Oregon day, it was ...
Here in Eugene, Oregon, we’ve got an abundance of small, boutique wineries that have no “walls,” we call them wineries without walls. The winemakers source grapes from their preferred vineyards around Oregon and sometimes Washington and other regions (a few have their own vineyards), and then rent out winery space from other local operations and produce wine that they usually distribute themselves – it’s truly a labor of love.
Recently, it appears that many of these winemakers have had a common epiphany: brick and mortar for increased sales and recognition. Ray Walsh ofCapitello Wines and Mark Nicholl of ...(Read Full Article)
Oregon wine’s dirty secrets: Complex soil types blanket the Willamette Valley, creating varied mediums in which grapes grow to reflect the state’s rich geologic history
The wonderful complex soil in local vineyards, so nurturing to the notoriously finicky pinot noir grape, begins with geology.
It all started around 200 million years ago as the Pacific Plate slid under the North American Plate. Resulting sea bed shards from that activity shaped a marine sedimentary landmass. It’s what we know today as Washington, Western Oregon and the Willamette Valley.
Now, go forward 20 million years to a time when volcanoes shook things up and flowing lava formed layers of basalt.
Then jump ahead again, to 16,000 years ago, when — for a period of 3,000 ...(Read Full Article)
Dick Erath, one of Oregon’s original pioneering vintners, recently sent me a bottle of 2012 Clone 95 Pinot Noir from his Prince Hill Vineyard planting in the Dundee Hills of the Willamette Valley.
Dick moved to Oregon in 1968 from Northern California where he grew up and earned an engineering degree. He had attended courses at University of California at Davis, and one of his classmates was Richard Sommer who would be the first to plant Pinot Noir in Oregon. Dick bought his first vineyard site in the Chehalem Mountains in 1968, and the following year planted four acres ...(Read Full Article)
I have been a fan of Siduri Pinot Noirs for years. Adam and Dianna Lee had a dream that couldn’t (and still can’t) be realized in their native Texas. They wanted to make world-class Pinot Noir. Frankly, so do I but they actually went and did it.
They established their company in 1994, sourcing grapes from some of the best Pinot Noir areas in California. Current production is between regional bottlings, for example, Santa Rita Highlands, and vineyard-specific bottlings like Pisoni Vineyard.
According to their Website: “Each barrel of Siduri Pinot Noir is vinified separately by lot, clone ...(Read Full Article)
When Marc Girardet's Cessna lost power over the summer, he landed it on Interstate 5. Now he has made a wine to celebrate his brush with fate.(Read Full Article)
Is there anyone in Oregon's Willamette Valley more passionate about the potential of Riesling than James Frey, owner and winemaker at Trisaetum (tris-say-tum) Vineyards? He's crazy enough to make up to eleven Rieslings a year. Why? It stems from his passion for single vineyard wines that express a sense of place. If you think Pinot Noir is the top dog when it comes to expressing terroir, Frey counters, "Riesling does as well if not better at taking what's in the soil and putting it in your glass." He also quipped that he's probably "the only person ...(Read Full Article)
I was first introduced to Big Table Farm by Katherine Cole. The story of husband-and-wife Brian Marcy and Clare Carver and their move from California to start a winery and farm in Oregon is one worth revisiting. I felt it was serendipitous to arrive at a recent industry tasting and spy a 2012 Pinot Gris from Oregon's Big Table Farm among the offerings. And while I've had numerous solid examples of Oregon Pinot Gris, I was caught off-guard when I poured out the contents from a brown bottle into a glass to find it had a distinct orange ...(Read Full Article)
Nobody in the New World has hung their hats on Pinot Noir more than Oregon, which began planting the persnickety red grape of Burgundy, France, in the late 1960s.
Today, Oregon has almost 14,000 acres of Pinot Noir planted, primarily in the northern Willamette Valley. It makes up more than 55 percent of the state's wine grapes. By comparison, California has almost 40,000 acres of Pinot Noir, but it makes up only 8 percent of the state's wine grapes.
Pinot Noir is a suave wine that emphasizes elegance over power. Oregon Pinot Noirs in particular are ...(Read Full Article)
In 2004 cult-film ‘Sideways’ thrust American wine, and in particular the Californian wine scene, into the limelight, receiving rave reviews from film critics and engendering respect from the wine industry for raising their profile. Wine lovers enjoyed the film’s portrayal of a giddy passion-filled lifestyle in the Santa Barbara countryside and such was the influence of the film that wineries reported an increase in pinot noir sales and a marked decrease in merlot – the variety much maligned by the lead character.
‘Sideways’ acted as a fantastic promotional tool for American wines and for the wider Californian region. Yet consumers ...(Read Full Article)
Early in my wine drinking career, an unpaid career by the way, I was always one to steer away from Chardonnay. (The rhyme was incidental. ) I never found it to my liking and at the time I probably didn't use terms like "flabby" but as I think back on my uninitiated palate, that's probably why. I had yet to experience the outstanding white wines of Burgundy or the gems being created from Chardonnay right here in our Northwestern backyard. Chardonnay was buttery round and well, flabby .(Read Full Article)
There are only a small number of wineries in Oregon which produce sparkling wine, partially due to the higher costs involved in the process. Maybe the most famous producer of sparkling wine in Oregon is Argyle Winery, and on a previous visit to Portland I got to taste a few of their wines and meet their winemaker, Rollin Soles. Recently, I received a sample of their 2010 Brut Rosé, and it didn't disappoint in the least.(Read Full Article)
In 1987, Argyle Winery was founded by Brian Croser and Rollin Soles, with a primary goal of creating sparkling wine, but they also ...
by Michele Francisco After sipping hundreds of wines over the past year, here is a list of the most memorable wines this writer tasted in 2013. Kudos to the hard-working winemakers, wineries and vineyards who spent longs hours to make these beautiful and delicious wines. It was a true honor to savor the results of your dedication and expertise.(Read Full Article)
Based in Victoria, I’m fortunate to visit Portland and the Willamette a few times annually. In fact, the driving time from Vancouver is about the same to the Willamette as it is to the Okanagan (five hours, not counting the US/CAN border). But to me, these two west coast regions couldn’t be more different; different scale, scope and result.(Read Full Article)
The issue also has most of two pages on tasting notes for new Oregon wine releases, plus another page by Steiman that connects to the cover photo. He makes the case for Oregon's chardonnay ranking alongside the world's "off-the-beaten-path" wine areas.(Read Full Article)
Like so many Oregonian vintners before them, Nick and Sheila Nicholas and their family arrived in the Williamette Valley from California. In 2001, they bought a rundown walnut, filbert and plum orchard in the Chehalem Mountains on the outskirts of Newberg, and established Nicholas Vineyard and Anam Cara Cellars.
The 33-acre Nicholas Estate Vineyard is situated on a southeast-facing slope at an elevation of 350 to 650 feet, benefiting from cool, drying winds through the 99W Highway corridor that keeps mildew and frost pressure at a minimum. Soils are primarily Loess wind-blown ice age sediment with some outcroppings of Jory ...(Read Full Article)
And it could be said that this interest in what can be made or found in Oregon was encouraged by the Oregon wine industry , which brought in its wake a new appreciation for locally sourced, artisan-produced products and raised the bar for the regional ...(Read Full Article)
No area of the New World identifies so closely with Pinot Noir than Oregon, particularly the Willamette Valley.
Since the early 1970s, Oregon has been famous for the red grape of Burgundy, France. David Lett, fondly remembered as Oregon’s “Papa Pinot,” moved to Oregon in 1966 and bought property. His Eyrie Vineyards 1975 South Block Pinot Noir stunned experts in international judgings in 1979 – not unlike the famous Judgment of Paris tasting that catapulted California to fame three years earlier.
The result of Eyrie Vineyards’ success prompted high interest in Oregon Pinot Noir, and within a decade, famed Burgundy ...(Read Full Article)
Last year’s inaugural Best Case Scenario case of wines included twelve gorgeous Pinot Noirs from different wineries throughout Oregon. Each Pinot Noir was sampled and reviewed, including information on each of the wineries, quotes from the winemakers, winemaking philosophies and, of course, the quintessential wine-geek information.
Best Case Scenario is the collaboration of Portland’s PR company,Watershed Communications, and participating wineries around my beautiful home-state of Oregon. A case of wine with a common theme is sent to me twice a year. The theme of the first case of Best Case Scenario wines was, From Blockbuster to ...(Read Full Article)
Southern Oregon wineries fared well in this year's San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Bridgeview Vineyards, outside of Cave Junction, grabbed a double gold — unanimous selection — for its 2011 Blue Moon Sweet Riesling. Pebblestone Cellars' 2012 Ellis Vineyards Viognier was also a double-gold winner. Up the freeway, Umpqua Valley's Abacela Winery picked up double golds for its 2012 Viognier and 2009 Tempranillo Reserve.
Schmidt Family Vineyards, in the Applegate Valley, racked up four golds, seven silvers and one bronze in the competition, held Jan. 7-10 in Sonoma County, Calif.
"Southern Oregon is getting the respect it deserves based on ...(Read Full Article)
It’s time to think about time, right? We stand on the cusp of a new year. Last year is already dust.
January is named after Janus, a Roman god depicted as having two faces, one that looks back, one that looks ahead, a god for entrances and exits, transitions and terminations, god of time itself.
The past year brought interesting developments in wine. The vintage of 2013 will be tricky for many winemakers, but they keep coming to Oregon. As of last week, the OLCC counted 463 active wineries in our state, with more on the horizon, especially in ...(Read Full Article)