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Articles in category: Wine Reviews
When it comes to a bottle of wine, an oyster’s demands are fairly simple. It should be cold, crisp and clean. Anything more is likely to create a clash of some kind. That’s just the way it goes with briny shellfish.
That point was made yet again at the 20th annual Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition, sponsored by Washington state oyster grower Taylor Shellfish. Judging panels from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle spent afternoons sipping wines and slurping oysters and puzzling out which combinations worked best. The Los Angeles conclave was held at Water Grill downtown ...(Read Full Article)
Each Friday we highlight a wine from the Northwest that we think is a real "find. " By find we might mean that it's a steal, as all of these wines we'll feature weekly are at or under $20. We might also mean "Hey, you really need to go find this", and it might be a wine that we feel not enough people know about. In any case, with the weekend pending, we're hoping to help you "find" a wine to kickoff the weekend right.(Read Full Article)
Spring has arrived in the Willamette Valley. Along with the usual rain, blue sky one day, grey sky the next, enhanced by massive diurnal swings in temperature from day to night – everything is pretty normal around here this time of year. Except one thing: I usually fill my glass with Pinot Noir up until the day I dust off my flip flops, but this spring, I just can’t seem to keep my hands off of Oregon’s Chardonnays.
Those who know me well, know I have always been a fan and advocate of the Willamette Valley ...(Read Full Article)
Oregon has become a tour de force on the global pinot noir scene. The state’s wine went from being an experiment in the mid-1960s to a viable product in the 1990s. Today, wine is a major industry in Oregon, and as pinot noir accounts for about two-thirds of the sales, it is largely responsible for putting our neighbor to the north on the winery map.
Many of the best early pioneers, such as Ponzi and Bethel Heights, continue to make great wines. However, the new kids on the block are making pinot noirs that have grabbed me of late ...(Read Full Article)
At Kramer Vineyards in Gaston, Oregon, young second-generation wine maker Kim Kramer is just beginning to get her bearings on the family's small estate. Her first vintage flying solo as the winemaker was 2010. At only twenty acres, it's not that Kim is in danger of getting lost, but the diversity of the family's site can certainly make it challenging as she tries to get a handle on what's happening in the vineyard. "We have a hilly site, with vines of different ages, clones, root stock, etc. This results in a surprising level of variability ...(Read Full Article)
Christopher Mazepink’s wanderlust brought him to Oregon and Archery Summit winery.(Read Full Article)
Mazepink grew up in Delaware and studied anthropology at Hardwick College in Oneonta, N.Y. Via its study abroad programs, he spent semesters at the University of the West Indies in Kingston Jamaica and University of Cape Town in South Africa, and did research in Guatemala. After earning his degree, he visited the enology schools of the University of California at Davis and Oregon State University in Corvallis. At the latter, he noted the adjacent river offered salmon fly fishing, and nearby snow- covered mountains had skiing. Guess ...
The days are long gone when West Coast producers planted pinot noir all over the place, hoping they would hit upon the proper soil and climate either by chance or force of will. Time and effort and dedication have winnowed the acknowledged handful of great pinot noir areas to — naming some personal favorites — Santa Lucia Highlands, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast and Anderson Valley in California and the tiny appellations of Oregon’s Willamette Valley as not just suitable but frequently superb ground for the notoriously shy and difficult grape. Today, I offer six recently tasted pinot noirs from Willamette ...(Read Full Article)
One thing I learned this past weekend is that Oregon Chardonnay is definitely not your mother’s Chardonnay… that is of course, unless your mother drinks super clean, vibrant, Chardonnays with remarkable acidity and a very promising future.
Over the weekend winemakers, press, and Chardonnay lovers gathered at the gorgeous Stoller Family Estate for the third annual Oregon Chardonnay Symposium.
More than a hundred guests packed into the crowded tent set up just outside the tasting room, with dozens standing in the back of the sold out event.
Moderated by one of my favorite northwest wine writers, Cole Danehower, the ...(Read Full Article)
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 ...