Sunday, December 13, 2009

Technorati Blog Claim

I hate these "claim your blog" BS requirements...here you go, Technorati: DZKUWDPGAN5U

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Mr. Mike's Odd Tasting: 1995 Bordeaux From The Vault

Once again, Mr. Mike at John's Marketplace pulled some outstanding wines from his personal cellar for us to try for a $10 tasting fee. There was a white Cotes du Rhone poured first, that I completely forgot the name of (it was rather nasty anyway), so it is not listed.

  • - 1995 Château Lalande - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Decanted 1 hour. Still at cellar temperature, requiring much swirling with my hands cupping the bowl of the glass to warm it up. Quite thin, not much nose either. Perhaps a bit of mushroom and strawberry. Flavors were muted, with strawberries and dirt. Nice acidity, but the flavor just isn't there for me. (85 pts.)

  • - 1995 Château de Clairefont - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
    Decanted 1 hour. Still at cellar temp. Much more fragrant and fruity on the nose, and more robust flavors as well. Bright raspberry fruit, pencil shavings and earth hitting the palate. (91 pts.)

  • - 1995 Château Gloria - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Decanted 1 hour. Still at cellar temp, but warming...Nice nose, sort of a blueberry with gravel sort of thing. Fruit is a bit thin, showing strawberries and a cedar wood flavor. Much more drinkable than the Château Lalande, but doesn't approach the Clairefont or Mouton. (88 pts.)

  • - 1995 Château Mouton Rothschild - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Decanted 90 min. A tad cold, but warmer than the others, requiring less 'cupping' to get it to a decent temp. Visually, quite dark purple. Smelling of roasted meat and blueberries. Flavors are big blackberry and blueberry fruit, earth, and a tad of smokiness. This is good stuff, although I doubt I'd pay $300+ for this. My first First Growth Bordeaux! (92 pts.)

As always, tasting notes are posted from CellarTracker.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Mr. Mike's Odd Tasting: Super Scoring Aussie Wines

Mr. Mike at John's Marketplace pulled some more great bottles out of his cellar tonight. What a treat! I think the lowest scoring red was 98 points. The white was a last-minute addition, and not on the original list.

  • 2004 Torbreck Sémillon Woodcutter's White - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
    Very interesting Aussie Sémillon...aged just enough too. A hazelnut/pinenut component that really gets my attention. This tastes more like a Chardonnay...white Burgundy actually, especially after it started warming up in my glass. Fun wine! (87 pts.)

  • 2001 Torbreck Run Rig - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
    No decant, and it really needed one. Dark purple with a very floral nose. In the mouth, just a tad bitter, coming around slowly as it swirled in the glass. Blueberry fruit really stands out in this one for me, with some serious black pepper and a long sweet finish with surprisingly firm tannins. This could go another 10 years easy. (95 pts.)

  • 2002 Glaetzer Shiraz Amon-Ra Barossa Valley - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
    Decanted 1 hour. Probably my wine of the night. From a great vintage, this wine had softened enough to really showcase more than just the huge fruit, oak and tannins. There was some complexity there that was starting to emerge, with lots of black pepper showing as well. Blackberry fruit, and a nice sweet finish. Showing very well at this stage. (95 pts.)

  • 2003 Glaetzer Shiraz Amon-Ra Barossa Valley - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
    Decanted 1 hour. This wine was missing something. It certainly wasn't oak and it definitely wasn't tannins...the fruit was there too, but not as sweet and lush as the 2002. Almost harsh, actually. This just needs a decade of cellar time...way too young. The tannic finish curls my toes, and not in a good way. This should be amazing in 10 years. (90 pts.)

  • 2005 Glaetzer Shiraz Amon-Ra Barossa Valley - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
    Decanted 1 hour, and needed about 23 more. A MASSIVE wine, just over the top in all categories. Aroma was mouthwatering with black fruit and pepper, and in the mouth, that fruit slaps you upside the head. But the real killer is the tannic vice that locks down on your mouth and throat once you swallow the wine. Once my vision cleared, about 2 minutes later, I could still taste the huge fruit in this wine...an amazing finish of sweet fruit. This was sheer infanticide and I wouldn't even dream of opening a bottle of this in the next decade. This is a wine for your grandchildren. (93 pts.)
As always, tasting notes posted from CellarTracker.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mr. Mike's Odd Tasting: Old California Cabernet and Blends

Mr. Mike at John's Marketplace sent out an email less than 24 hours prior to this event. $10 got you a taste of each wine, until they were gone, with some absolute blockbusters in the lineup...How on earth could I say no?!?

  • 1989 Kenwood Cabernet Sauvignon Artist Series - USA, California, Sonoma County
    A bit of funk on the nose at first. This wine was most certainly NOT over the hill and dead! Although starting to brick at the edges, this is drinking quite nicely for a 20 year-old cab. Dark fruits, some barnyard/earthiness, and cedar. Very smooth, with just a hint of tannins on the finish (still!). (90 pts.)

  • 1984 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Bottled - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    As noted by a previous taster below, this had a bit of musty funk at first. Several other tasters thought it corked. The mustiness blew off, and by the time I revisited this wine an hour later, it was gone completely. I'm again amazed by how young this 25 year-old wine seems. Great fruit, just starting to go into the browner side of maroon. Blackberry, currants and some barnyard funk. So tasty...surprisingly grippy tannins as well, even on my second tasting at the end of the event. What a thrill to drink. (94 pts.)

  • 1996 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Old Vine Reserve - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Amazingly still quite young. Big black fruits and nice earthiness. Quite complex, with some minty flavors. Firm tannins on the finish...this has a long life ahead of it. (93 pts.)

  • 1993 Opus One - USA, California, Napa Valley
    This was like aged Bordeaux, with the cedar/pencil aspects. Very light in color, with lots of gravelly earth flavors. Raspberry fruit, maybe some currant or cranberry? Definitely the most complex wine in the lineup, so far, but the flavors don't grab me like some of the others did. (91 pts.)

  • 1994 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Bella Oaks - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    Surprisingly bold and firm, with chewy tannins and some "Rutherford Dust" characteristics. Blackberry fruit is smooth and lush, with additional flavors of earth and olives. The CT drinking window is way off...this has another 4-5 years in it. (92 pts.)

  • 2000 Justin Vineyard Isosceles - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    Having tasted a number of 2000 vintage Napa wines, including the 2000 Harlan "The Maiden" and 2000 Opus One, I was surprised to see such a flavorful wine from that vintage. It appears that Paso Robles wasn't affected by whatever weather killed the Napa harvest in 2000. This wine was the fruitiest of the bunch, with raspberry and spice, and nice tannins that were integrated perfectly. Although lacking the complexity I normally associate with Isosceles, this wine is by no means lacking flavor. (93 pts.)

  • 2005 Gundlach Bundschu Cabernet Sauvignon Rhinefarm Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
    My least favorite of the tasting, probably just because it is so damn young! Quite tannic, this tasted much more like a Cab Franc or Malbec than Cab Sauv. Blueberry was the dominant fruit for me, with some very nice dirt. Not earthiness, this was DIRT. I could almost see the pebbles and earthworms as I sipped this. While it was tasty, most of the finer nuances were hidden behind the tannins. I'd recommend holding this one another 3-5 years, unless you like your Cabs young. (89 pts.)

Thanks to Mr. Mike for pulling most of these bottles from his private cellar and sharing them with us. I was surprised to see that not many showed up for this event, including none of my wine-loving friends. I just have to say that you all missed out on a wonderful tasting, with some really interesting and delicious wines!

As always, tasting notes are posted from CellarTracker.

Friday, November 27, 2009

2009 Thanksgiving Dinner

THANKSGIVING DINNER - Dietra's House, Portland OR (11/26/2009)

Event photos on Flickr.

Thanksgiving dinner at Dietra's, with Dietra, Dave, Steve & Kirsty, Jason, Phil, Woody, Liz & Scott, and LeRae (+1), Chris and her daughter left before dinner, and Trish & Ian, Brian & Emy, and Didi & his sister showed up after dinner for board games. Dinner was roast turkey, stuffing, butternut squash gratin, mashed sweet potatoes, Crescent rolls, butternut squash salad, dumplings, cranberry, and a number of other things I'm either forgetting or didn't get a chance to eat. Several tasty appetizers and desserts were also present, including the ubiquitous pumpkin pie, the remains of which I took home with me (pumpkin pie for breakfast...yum!).

Before Dinner Wines

  • - 2002 Leonetti Cellar Reserve Walla Walla Valley - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    While I have had some so-so wines from Leonetti this year, the Walla Walla Reserve has been a consistent hit. Even from the tough, overly hot 2002 vintage, this wine is drinking at absolute peak right now. Everything is integrated perfectly, and the fruit is lush and mouth-coating. Big blackberry and vanilla flavors. So delicious...No decant on this one, just a pop-n-pour before Thanksgiving dinner. It was an instant hit with all present, and was the first bottle to be finished. At $90/bottle, not a very good QPR, but for a special occasion wine it worked nicely. Sad it was my last, but glad I was able to share it with friends. (93 pts.)

  • - 2002 Hazyblur Shiraz Barossa Valley - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
    Pop & Pour. This wine was a joy to drink. Like pouring ink into your glass, it was black-purple in color, and very thick. Heavy pepper to go with the huge blackberry fruit, and perhaps some smoked meat and earth. Very tasty, and a crowd pleaser all around. Apparently, I can't lose with 2002 vintage wines from South Australia! (93 pts.)

  • - 2005 Cakebread Cellars Syrah - USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros
    Pop & pour. This wine should have been decanted. Even after several hours of being open, the wine was closed and unforgiving. Tannic finish, and the fruit was lurking in there somewhere under the leather and tar, but not overly apparent. I detected some raspberry and maybe a hint of cherry, but the fruit was quite sour and disappointing. Needs time or a serious decant at this point. (86 pts.)

  • - 2005 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Decanted 6 hours. First sip right out of the bottle was like getting hit in the face with a hammer. The aroma of red and black fruits was intoxicating, but the huge slathering of fruit flavors, followed by the wall of tannins was almost too much. Even after 6 hours in the decanter, and several more with the bottle open on the counter, it was still very, very young. The WE drinking window on the is 2011+, and I'd have to say AT LEAST 2011. Maybe 2015...but I digress. Back to the wine: Lots of huge cassis, blackberry and cola (or is it mocha?) flavors. This wine is just immense, and oh-so tasty. I love the purity of the fruit, but elegant this wine is not. Too 'in your face' with the fruit and tannins. Speaking of the tannins, they are still fairly harsh on the finish, even after 8 hours. Yikes. Put this one away for another 3 to 5, and you will be rewarded. (94 pts.)

  • - 2005 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    Steve's wine, no decant. Very elegant Cab...great dark fruits, tobacco & earth. A bit tannic at first, it started in integrate after about 3 hours, and ended up being one of my favorites of the night. I would like to revisit this wine in about 3 or 4 years. (92 pts.)

  • - 2005 Grgich Hills Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Steve's wine, no decant. This one wasn't as enjoyable as the 2005 Groth or 2005 BV Georges de Latour. Seemed somewhat closed in comparison. Cherry fruit with lots of earthiness and cedar wood. Enjoyable, but not as much as I had expected. (89 pts.)

  • - 2003 Fireblock Grenache Old Vine - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Clare Valley
    Phil's wine, no decant. This one was an anomaly. People either loved it (LeRae) or were very disappointed (Phil). I fell somewhere in between. It was nice and fruit, as expected from an Aussie Grenache, certainly not over the top. Muted and restrained, it started drinking much better toward the end of the night. Not sure if this is because the air time improved the wine, or our level of intoxication and palate fatigue rendered us unable to tell the difference (or care, for that matter...) (85 pts.)

Wines with Dinner
  • - 2001 Monte Antico Toscana IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
    From magnum, popped & poured. This actually was quite popular at dinner, as it paired decently with all of the different foods, including the turkey. Smooth and simple, the flavors of cherry and earth, as well as the wine's softness, just worked with everything. Sad when a Cakebread Syrah is outscored by a $10 Tuscan table wine. (87 pts.)

  • - 2006 Cameron Pinot Noir Arley's Leap - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Pop & pour. This is the wine I brought as a pairing to the turkey, and it did so quite well, even overshadowing the bird somewhat. Quite big and fruity for a Pinot, 2006 vintage non-withstanding. Deep garnet in color, with a beautiful raspberry and saddle leather nose. Flavors of cherry, leather and a nice earthiness, finishing with a bit of sweetness that was surprising. This wine is so well-integrated, it was enjoyable to drink. I ended up kidnapping the bottle over to our table and spent more time enjoying the wine than eating my dinner. Nice work, John Paul. (91 pts.)

  • - 2003 Anam Cara Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    Very dark and thick, almost like a port. Huge blackberry and raspberry fruit, with just a touch of earthiness under the raisiny port-like sweetness. Enjoyed by all. (90 pts.)

Unfortunately, there were many more wines present (18 bottles in all!) that I either didn't get to taste, or forgot my notes. Wines at Thanksgiving
HUGE thanks to Dietra for hosting the event, AND doing most of the cooking. The turkey, stuffing and butternut squash gratin were all amazing, as always! Our foray into into the world of board games ended in hilarity, and fun was had by all. Sorry about the camera Steve...or rather the contents of the camera.

As always, tasting notes posted from CellarTracker

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Willamette Valley Wine Tasting

Some friends and I attended a couple of wine events down in the Carlton area, and decided to hit up several other wineries in the general area as well. Although we visited the tasting room at Adelsheim Vineyards, I didn't purchase a tasting, and only had sips of the other's wine, so I didn't include them in this post.

Cana's Feast Winery
Cana's Feast Winery
Wine Club pickup party, with delicious winery chef-prepared food pairings (noted below in the tasting notes).
  • 2006 Cana's Feast Winery Bricco - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    Paired with roasted eggplant salad with blackened tomato vinaigrette. Seems rather primal at this point, but was our first wine of the day. A blend of 89% Sangiovese, 7.5% Syrah and 3.5% Barbera, from Ciel du Cheval, Seven Hills, and Coyote Canyon vineyards. Very plummy, with a bit of earthiness also. Acidity was a bit too bright, and felt like it was burning my mouth. Tannins were smooth, and fruit was front and center. (85 pts.)

  • 2007 Cana's Feast Winery Barbera - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    Paired with roasted chicken thighs stuffed with proscuitto di parma, porcini mushrooms and grana padano. Spicy red fruit, nice acidic zing, and well-integrated tannins make for a nice-drinking wine. Fruit sourced from Ciel du Cheval and Coyote Canyon vineyards. (88 pts.)

  • 2006 Cana's Feast Winery Pinot Noir Reserve - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Paired with chanterelle and morbier bread custard with speck. Very tasty and drinking well with some air. Cherry pie, tobacco and leather. Just a perfect Oregon Pinot. Fruit sourced from Elton Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. (90 pts.)

  • 2007 Cana's Feast Winery Sangiovese Grosso - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    Paired with Ribollita (a bean soup with olive oil and homemade croutons). This was just bottled, according to the winemaker. Lots of black cherry and strawberry flavors, with lots of acid and some drying tannins. Fruit is from the first certified VCR6 clone (used primarily in Brunello wines) planting in the US. Will be interesting to see how this develops with age. Still showing its infancy now. (89 pts.)

  • 2006 Cana's Feast Winery Bricco Two Rivers Reserve - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain
    Paired with braised boneless beef short ribs with red wine and bitter chocolate. What a difference 6+ months makes! This wine is really starting to drink nicely. The overabundant oak I got from a prior tasting was much better integrated, and the sweet (mostly) red mountain fruit was singing. Nice blackberries, cassis and vanilla. Drinking well now, but use even another 6-12 months of bottle age. (92 pts.)

Owen Roe Winery

Owen Roe Winery
This was the Autumn Open House/Release event, hosted at the AgriVino Event Center on Abbey Road Farm outside of Carlton.
  • 2008 O'Reilly's Pinot Gris - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Very peachy fruit...bright acidity, but just not a wine I can get into. Maybe I'm just not a fan of Pinot Gris? (83 pts.)

  • 2008 O'Reilly's Chardonnay - USA, Oregon
    Nice pear fruit in this light straw-colored Chardonnay. Zing of acidity is nice. The wine is quite refreshing on this 85 degree day. (86 pts.)

  • 2008 Owen Roe Pinot Noir "The Kilmore" - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
    I just LOVE the 2008 vintage Oregon Pinot noirs! I was (am) not a fan of the lighter, more burgundian 2007's. Just my tastes...I'm not a big fan of Burgundy either. This wine is everything 2007 wasn't. Big, fruity, dark, and mouthcoating. Lots of cherry fruit, and a wee bit of tannic bite. May need a year to settle down. (88 pts.)

  • 2008 Owen Roe Pinot Noir Dundee Hills - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    Much lighter than the other 2008's, and more like a Burgundy. Some spicy cherry fruit, with a nice layer of saddle leather. (87 pts.)

  • 2008 Owen Roe Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    A tiny 4-barrel lot (70 cases) of Pinot noir sourced from Anna's Vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains AVA, comes this very dark, spicy wine. Very tasty, and maybe tied for my favorite Owen Roe Pinot at this tasting. Sweet cherry fruit, lots of spices and acidity. (89 pts.)

  • 2007 Owen Roe Pinot Noir Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley
    The California Pinot noir this year. Definitely not my favorite...higher acidity than is comfortable, with some cherry fruit wrapped around some lightly drying tannins. (85 pts.)

  • 2008 Owen Roe Pinot Noir "Sharecropper's" - USA, Oregon
    Probably my favorite Pinot at the tasting. It just seemed more evolved than the others. Strawberry fruit, a touch of leather and earth. Much deeper in flavor and color than the previous vintage. (89 pts.)

  • 2008 Owen Roe Abbot's Table - USA, Oregon/Washington
    This wine typically needs 6+ months in the bottle to start coming around (unless it is the 2007, which never really did). After a wonderful 2006 vintage (heavy on the Zinfandel) of this wine, I loaded up with 6 bottles of the Sangiovese-based 2007 (untasted) and got burned. And it still isn't anywhere near the delicious 2006. So when the Zin-heavy 2008 was released, I was quite happy! But, learning from my 2007 mistake, I only picked up 4 bottles this time. I'm kind of glad I did, because I wasn't too impressed with the wine. Admittedly, it is still quite young, but the wine seemed rather flat and unexciting. I was hoping for the deep fruit of the 2006, but it fell short. Some sweet blue and black fruit was present, but the finish was quite bitter. I'm hoping this wine comes around by 2010. (87 pts.)

  • 2008 Owen Roe Sinister Hand - USA, Oregon, Columbia Valley
    I typically love the Sinister Hand Rhone blend (62% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 3% Mourvedre), and 2008 is no different. Showing it's youth, definitely, but going to be a great wine for sure. Black fruits, pepper, and nice mouthfeel. Can't wait to pick some up for a vertical... (90 pts.)

  • 2007 Owen Roe Syrah Ex Umbris - USA, Oregon/Washington, Columbia Valley
    Probably my wine of the tasting. Everything just works with this wine. Blackberry, pepper, some blueberry, smoke, all wrapped up with nice tannins and acidity. Drinking well now. (92 pts.)

  • 2008 Owen Roe Syrah "Lady Rosa" - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley
    Not sure where the time went...I hadn't even had a chance to pickup any of the 2007 and the 2008 is already here. How time flies...This wine is quite young, but shows much promise. Peppery blackberry and cassis, with bacon fat and smoked meat. Makes me wonder if there is some Viognier in this. I like it, but it needs a year or so to come together. (89 pts.)

  • 2007 Owen Roe Red Wine Yakima Valley - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley
    24% Merlot, 43% Cabernet Franc, and 33% Cabernet Sauvignon from Yakima Valley. Very young and tight...lots of drying tannins and bright acidity. The fruit is there too, in the form of gobs of earthy blackberries, but this wine is needing time to come together. Very disjointed right now. Hopefully we will see some progress in 6-12 months. I personally would hold this one until 2011. (91 pts.)

Adelsheim Vineyards

Adelsheim Vineyards
No tasting notes taken. I will say, however, that their winery is beautiful (and with the huge solar panel array, quite 'green', I'm sure), and the wines were very tasty. While I wasn't a huge fan of their 2007's (and most 2007's in general), their 2006 was a knockout. I can't wait to try their 2008's!

ArborBrook Vineyards

ArborBrook Vineyards
After leaving Adelsheim Vineyards, we decided to continue up the road and do a random drop-in tasting at ArborBrook.
  • 2008 ArborBrook Vineyards Pinot Gris Croft - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
    Definitely not my style of wine. Seems lacking...bright fruit and acidity, but missing depth in the midpalate. (82 pts.)

  • 2008 ArborBrook Vineyards Pinot Gris Ana Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    This is more like it. Oak barrel-fermented, boosting up the midpalate nicely. (86 pts.)

  • 2007 ArborBrook Vineyards Pinot Noir Heritage Cuvée - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Rather thin and acidic. A touch of that signature leather, and light strawberry and cherry flavors. Missing something... (87 pts.)

  • 2007 ArborBrook Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate 777 Block - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    Now we're getting somewhere! Nice cherry and currant fruit, with a good deal of leather and tobacco. Lighter than the 2005 I enjoyed previously. (88 pts.)

  • 2007 ArborBrook Vineyards Pinot Noir Vintner's Select Arbor Brook Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Yamhill County
    Definitely from the best barrels of the year, with some additional aging. Big sour cherry fruit, with saddle leather funk. I like it! A bit darker and more mouthcoating than the other Pinots also. Looking forward to their 2008's! (89 pts.)

  • 2007 ArborBrook Vineyards Sémillon "Sydney" - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain
    Wow, this was somewhat of a surprise! Late harvest, like November or something...from Klipsun Vineyard. Somewhat oily, and quite mouthcoating. I wouldn't be able to handle more than a 1/2 glass of this in one sitting. Just way too sweet for my palate, but what a wine! (88 pts.)


Tasting notes posted from my event on CellarTracker.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Italy in the Valley Wine Tasting Event

First annual event celebrating Italian varietals that are grown and/or vinified in Oregon, held on the patio and lawn of Cana's Feast Winery in Carlton, OR. We couldn't have asked for a better day, or place, to have this event. Also included were panino sandwiches, either porchetta and ricotta, or panino with roasted garden tomatoes, goat cheese an arugula, and served with either heirloom tomato salad with basil oil, aged balsamic and shaved parmesan or shaved zucchini with lemon basil leaves, and toasted pine nuts We also had the chance to ogle a Lamborghini Gallardo and two Ferrari F455's. All for $10!

Apolloni Vineyards
Apolloni Vineyards
Poured by Alfredo Apolloni
  • 2007 Apolloni Pinot Grigio - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
    Pale golden in color. Nose of melon, following to the palate. Sharp acidity, but light flavor. (85 pts.)

  • 2007 Apolloni Soleggio Conti di Val Seriana - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    Nice deep maroon color. Nose is wonderfully exotic, with red and black fruit, tobacco and spices. Some sour cherry on the palate, along with cigar box, and some fairly hefty tannins at this point. Several years in a cellar will do this wine well. (91 pts.)


Barking Frog Winery
Barking Frog Winery
Poured by Ron & Cindy Helbig
  • 2007 Barking Frog Sangiovese - USA, Oregon/Washington, Yakima Valley
    Lighter red in color. Subtle perfume of cherry. Light in flavor, with cherry and a floral component. Light acid. (86 pts.)

Cana's Feast Winery

Cana's Feast Winery
Poured by Patrick Taylor & Dan Duryee
  • 2006 Cana's Feast Winery Sangiovese Bricco - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Deep red color. Raspberries and some earthy/smoky flavors. Quite enjoyable. (89 pts.)

  • 2006 Cana's Feast Winery Nebbiolo - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain
    Rust colored, which surprised me. Looks like a lighter aged cabernet. Very floral perfume, with cherry and tobacco on the palate, and drying tannins on the finish. Prepare to pucker... (89 pts.)

Duck Pond Cellars

Duck Pond Cellars
Poured by Cindy Olson
  • 2007 Duck Pond Pinot Gris - USA, Oregon
    Barely anything there...some melon and pear, but I can't get any enjoyment out of this. Ick. (77 pts.)

  • 2005 Duck Pond Sangiovese - USA, Oregon
    Light nose, can't really smell much. Bitter, sour cherry flavor. Has some age on it, compared to the others here, but you can't tell at all, unless it is just past peak. (82 pts.)

Hip Chicks Do Wine

Hip Chicks Do Wine
Poured by Laurie Lewis, Renee Neely & Callie Snyder
  • N.V. Hip Chicks do Wine Sangiovese - USA, Washington
    A blend of 2006-2007 fruit from Yakima Valley in Washington. Super dark in color. Stewed, sweet prune aromas, almost like a port or madiera. Bittersweet in the mouth, and unlike any Sangiovese I've ever had. And not in a good way. Very bitter finish. (80 pts.)

Marchesi Vineyards

Marchesi Vineyards
Poured by Franco Marchesi & Anya Cristina
  • 2008 Marchesi Dolcetto - USA, Oregon, Columbia Valley
    Light in color. Nose of strawberries, following to the palate. Slight sweetness on the finish. (85 pts.)

  • 2007 Marchesi Barbera - USA, Oregon, Columbia Valley
    Deep red in color, almost like an Oregon Pinot from a good year. Cherry nose. Sour cherry on the palate, but very stewed fruit. (83 pts.)

Mystic Wines

Mystic Wines
Poured by Rick Mafit
  • 2006 Mystic Wines Barbera - USA, Oregon, Columbia Valley
    Nice deep maroon. Sweet plums, with impressive structure. Somewhat mouthcoating and lush. (87 pts.)

Natalie's Estate Winery

Natalie's Estate Winery
Poured by Cassandra Teegarden
  • 2008 Natalie's Estate Winery Sangiovese - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    Barrel sample. Dark, dark red, nearing black in color. Quite young tasting, with a crush of tannins, but big cherry and plum fruit, with tobacco. This may be a blockbuster in a few years. Showing very well from barrel. (89 pts.)

Ponzi Vineyards

Ponzi Vineyards
Poured by Scott VanDyke
  • 2008 Ponzi Vineyards Arneis - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Very pale straw color. Very aromatic and floral nose. Pears/green apples, slightly sweet, but with a dry, acidic finish. (85 pts.)

  • 2006 Ponzi Vineyards Dolcetto - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Medium red color. Earthy strawberries, with a touch of tobacco. Finishes rather sour and primary. (86 pts.)

Remy Wines

Remy Wines
Poured by Remy Drabkin
  • 2006 Remy Wines Lagrein - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    VERY interesting red! A traditional Italian varietal, only recently introduced to Oregon. A fairly tannic wine, with mulberry, cherry and some smokiness on the palate. This will rock in about 5 years! (90 pts.)

Terra Vina Wines

Terra Vina Wines
Poured by Karl & Carol Dinger
  • 2007 Terra Vina Sangiovese - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    Medium red color. Cherry and pepper on the nose. Spicy and sweet, like cherry candy, in the mouth. I like the peppery aspect. (87 pts.)

Three Angels Wine

Three Angels Wine
Poured by Ed Fus
  • 2007 Three Angels Primitivo Coyote Canyon Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Lush red color, typical of a Zinfandel. Quite structured, especially compared to the Sangiovese and Barbera's we've been trying thusfar. Sweet cherries, with some earthiness or tobacco in there. (84 pts.)

  • 2008 Three Angels Primitivo Coyote Canyon Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Barrel sample. Showing well for being a barrel sample...but also showing a lot of tannins at this stage. Smoked meat/bacon (!) and sour cherries. (85 pts.)

Viento Wines

Viento Wines
Poured by Rich Cushman
As always, my tasting notes are posted from CellarTracker.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Taste of Two Rooks

Corvidae Rook Columbia Valley Corvidae Rook Oregon
Seeing as how Corvidae Wine Co., the new Owen Roe value label, made two different versions of their 2007 "Rook" red blend, I thought I'd get a bottle of each and taste them head-to-head. First, a little information about each wine, and then the tasting notes.

The Oregon blend was from 100% Southern Oregon fruit: 77% Cabernet Sauvignon from Ironbird Vineyard in the Applegate Valley AVA (also providing all of the fruit for the Owen Roe Ironbird Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon), as well as 15% Syrah and 8% Merlot from undisclosed vineyards in the Rogue Valley AVA. The resulting wine is 13.0% alcohol, and was bottled at Owen Roe's St. Paul, OR winery.

The Washington blend is 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Syrah and 28% Merlot, sourced from undisclosed vineyards in the Columbia Valley AVA (check out the Owen Roe Vineyards List to see the potential vineyards used), and bottled at Owen Roe's new Sunnyside, WA winery. Alcohol is at 14.3%, reflecting the higher brix of their Washington-sourced fruit. And now my tasting notes:
  • 2007 Corvidae Wine Co. Rook Cabernet - Merlot - Syrah - USA, Oregon
    Color is a dark maroon with a bit of purple, just slightly lighter than the Washington wine. Nice fruity nose of blackberries with just a touch of plums and earth. Quite smooth in the mouth, although lacking a bit on the mid-palate...Seems somewhat thin there. Tastes of black fruit and some bittersweet chocolate, with Asian spices, following to a medium length finish. A very tasty blend, but seems like it needs something on the mid-palate. (90 pts.)

  • 2007 Corvidae Wine Co. Rook Cabernet - Merlot - Syrah - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    Color is darker than the Oregon wine, with more purple tones added to the maroon. On the nose, this wine is more sweet smelling, but needs some swirling to bring about the aromas. A touch of black pepper in there also. On the palate, this is much more full-bodied than the Oregon blend, with big blackberry fruit and black pepper notes. Mid-palate is nicely rounded and not as thin as the Oregon blend. The wine ends with a long finish of berry and dark chocolate. Much more sweetness in the fruit also. I definitely like the Washington blend more, although I think both wines will improve with 6-12 months of additional bottle age, but not much more than that. (92 pts.)

Tasting notes posted from CellarTracker

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Zupan's Wine Tasting Event

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

STAG'S LEAP WINE CELLARS - Zupan's Burnside Market Wine Cellar, Portland, OR (7/21/2009)

Held in the basement wine cellar of Zupan's Burnside Market grocery store in Portland, and presented by a representative of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. Too many people were invited, which made it extremely uncomfortable temperature-wise (they had to turn off the wine cellar cooler so we could hear the speaker), and the fact that most of the appetizer/food pairing course was snarfed up by attendees eating their dinner at this tasting. Show some class people! The wines:
  • 2007 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Sauvignon Blanc - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Melon, pineapple and a touch of citrus. Very crisp with nice acidity. Refreshingly dry. A blend of 69% Sauvignon Blanc, 26% Sauvignon Musque, and 5% Semillon, aged 5.5 months in 4-5x used French oak. (85 pts.)

  • 2007 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Chardonnay Karia - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Flavors of pears and apples, with a bit of oak. Not buttery at all. Quite crisp and acidic, with only 35% malolactic fermentation allowed. I prefer my Chardonnay a bit more buttery and smooth. 100% Chardonnay aged 8.5 months in 23% new French oak. (84 pts.)

  • 2006 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Merlot - USA, California, Napa Valley
    While the nose shows red licorice and raspberry notes, the palate is all bitter cranberries, with just a touch of raspberry. A total let-down from the beautiful nose. 92% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 14 months in 52% new French oak. (83 pts.)

  • 2006 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Artemis - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Nice nose of blackberry with some vanilla/oak as well. In the mouth, lots of blackberry fruit, but with a somewhat bitter, short finish, and lots of harsh, drying tannins. 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, aged 18 months in 33% new French oak. (87 pts.)

  • 2005 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Fay - USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
    Spicy nose of oak and cassis, with a touch of eucalyptus. Flavors of cassis, berry and green pepper. Light tannins, and a somewhat-bitter green finish. Much softer than the 06 Artemis (89 pts.)

  • 2005 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon S.L.V. - USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
    My Wine of the Night (since we were denied the Cask 23). Lots of creamy oak and vanilla, a leather play with some black pepper (or other spiciness) also. Very structured and powerful, but with the tannins starting to resolve nicely. This had been open much longer than the other wines (it was poured last), which may explain the lack of drying tannins. QPR is in the negative, as there are so many wines out there that surpass this, at half the price. Yes, it is good, but it is not $120 good. (91 pts.)

Even though the invite email and website stated we would get to taste the Cask 23 Cabernet, we were denied that privilege tonight. A major Disappointment, as Cask 23 was the only reason I bought a ticket in the first place. As usual, the tasting notes posted from Cellartracker.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I Walk The Vine

One of my good friends abandoned her good-paying corporate radio station job to jump into an entrepreneurial endeavor dealing with wine and wineries, called I Walk The Vine. She provides great wine-related t-shirts and such to wine shops and wineries everywhere. This weekend marks her first year "walking the vine", and she threw a party to celebrate that accomplishment. In an economy that is literally tanking more each day, she has been able to remain positive and march forward into the unknown. Yes, the economy is in the toilet. I know this first-hand, being laid off from my own Internet Marketing job back in March. Things SUCK right now. But she's still out there, making sales, getting people excited about Walking The Vine, and wearing the t-shirts. I have one myself, and my girlfriend has several. Great shirts. Last forever, great graphics, and, yes, they are wine related, which I love. So, yeah, I'm biased a bit. But you need one. Oh, yes, I think you do. At least check them out!

Anyway, back to my original thought process...there was an I Walk The Vine 1 Year Anniversary party tonight. Wine pairings with various cheeses, meats and nuts, along with many attendee-supplied wines as well. I personally brought a 2000 Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta "Sugarille" Brunello di Montalcino and a 2004 Cana's Feast Winery Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Nebbiolo. There were so many other great wines, including a 2006 Archery Summit Premier Cuvee Pinot Noir and a 2007 Patricia Green Pinot Noir. Just an amazing selection of great wines, and great friends to share them with. I couldn't ask for a better group to hang out with and drink wine with. And congratulations to Liz for her first year of business with I Walk The Vine!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Weekend Wine Tasting

Friends and I made yet another Memorial Weekend trip to wine country, this time starting in the Chehalem Mountains AVA, before ending in the quaint town of Carlton. We branched out and visited some new wineries this time around, with mostly positive results, and skipped our two favorite stand-by's (Cana's Feast and Lenne).

Bergström Winery

Bergström Wines
Our first stop of the day, done on a whim after seeing the Bergström sign on the side of the Highway 240. Great location, high on the hill (Bald Peak?), with a great view. The barn with the Bergström logo on it is pretty cool too. Barrel samples of several 2008 Pinots was a bonus!
  • 2007 Bergström Riesling Dr Bergstrom - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Honeydew melon, not too sweet, but uninteresting to me. (85 pts.)

  • 2008 Bergström Gewürztraminer - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Spicy, typical Gewurtz style, with bright fruit and zippy acidity. (86 pts.)

  • 2007 Bergström Pinot Noir Cumberland Reserve - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    A touch of barnyard on the nose, with nice leather and cherry flavors. A bit thin, as I'm coming to see as a common trait for the 2007 vintage of Oregon Pinot Noir. (87 pts.)

  • 2007 Bergström Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Wow, this one is zipped up tight. Lots of tannins masking the fruit. Again, thinner than I prefer, but well-made. I see a good number of barrels around the cellar that are labeled "2007 Shea - Extended Aging", and I think that is a good thing...this wine deserves more time. (88 pts.)

  • 2007 Bergström Pinot Noir Bergström - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills
    Nose of cherry fruit, with some nice saddle leather notes. Tastiest of the 3 at this table (Cumberland Reserve, Shea Vineyard, and Bergström Vineyard), but still not up to the level of the 2005's and 2006's. The 2008's are going to be incredible! (89 pts.)

  • 2008 Bergström Pinot Noir Temperance Hill - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Barrel sample. Some barnyard funk on the nose, but nicely structured. Ample tannins, with great fruit and leather flavors. Should be outstanding a year or two after release. (90 pts.)

  • 2008 Bergström Pinot Noir Hyland Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Barrel sample. Very, very dark red in color. Coats the glass too...very Syrah-like. Great nose of dark fruit, with just a touch of leather, both following to the palate. Nice structure, though not as overly tannic as the Temperance Hill. Finish goes on for a bit, especially when paired with some cheese. My favorite thusfar. (91 pts.)

Shea Wine Cellars

Shea Wine Cellars
Another random stop. What a HUGE vineyard! I've always wondered how they can sell grapes to so many other wineries AND make their own wines. Now I know. Amazing place. More 2008 barrel samples.
  • 2007 Shea Wine Cellars Chardonnay Shea Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Very aromatic, citrus and pears abound. Flavors of pear with some zesty lemon-lime and just a hint of buttery oak. Nice. (87 pts.)

  • 2007 Shea Wine Cellars Pinot Noir Estate Shea Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
    I didn't get much from this wine...nose had some floral aspects, but not a lot of fruit and just a touch of leather/earth. In the mouth, iinitially a bit of bright fruit, and then the zing of acidity and some leather, but overall not very interesting. (84 pts.)

  • 2008 Shea Wine Cellars Pinot Noir Block 22 Shea Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Barrel sample. They called this one "Last Hurrah", as they replanted Block 22 of the vineyard this spring, and the old own-rooted Pommard clone vines are gone. A 5 barrel cuvee. Nice nose, with raspberry fruit, and something a bit more bitter. Very feminine in structure, although with some interesting tannic bite on the finish. Shows promise if it comes together. (87 pts.)

  • 2008 Shea Wine Cellars Pinot Noir Block 31 Shea Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Barrel sample. A blend of 70% Pommard and 30% Wadenswil clones from Block 31 of the vineyard. Notes of cherry and leather, some zip, but not as smooth as the Block 22. A bit more structure than the 22 also. (85 pts.)

  • 2008 Shea Wine Cellars Pinot Noir Block 7 Shea Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Barrel sample. 100% Wadenswil clone from Block 7 of the vineyard. Some earthy funk going on, which I like, but quite bitter in the mouth, which I don't. Interesting to taste, but I wouldn't be able to enjoy an entire glass. (85 pts.)

  • 2008 Shea Wine Cellars Pinot Noir Block 5 Shea Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Barrel sample. From 100% Dijon 777 clone from Block 5 of the vineyard. My favorite Pinot at Shea today. Great dark fruit aromas and flavors, with some nice leather also. Oaky, but nicely so, and doesn't taste overdone. Great structure with smooth tannins, and just a touch of earthy funk. Very nice. (88 pts.)

  • 2008 Shea Wine Cellars Pinot Noir Homer Shea Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Lots of structure with this one. Spices, some cherry fruit, but everything is really hiding behind the tannins. Hard to drink, it is so drying, and I finally gave up and dumped it. Could be a blockbuster 5-6 years down the road, but currently way to tiring to consume. (86 pts.)

Ken Wright Cellars

Ken Wright Cellars
The first time Ken Wright has been open on Memorial weekend in 10 years. We were able to to retaste several of the 2008 Pinots from barrel that we had previously tasted back over Thanksgiving weekend. Interesting to see their development over the past 6 months. They also had a couple of killer library wines open.
  • 2007 Ken Wright Pinot Blanc - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Better than the last time I tried this, but still not a fan of white Pinot wines. Good structure and acidity, with some sour citrus fruit. A couple sips is all I was able to take. (86 pts.)

  • 2007 Ken Wright Chardonnay Celilo Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Gorge
    Just a great Chardonnay. Intense pear and citrus fruit, with nice acidity and buttery oak. Not overoaked in the typical CA style, and just a delight to sip. (90 pts.)

  • 2008 Ken Wright Pinot Noir Abbott Claim Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Barrel sample. I initially thought we were to be tasting the same vineyard barrel samples as we did over Thanksgiving 2008, to see the wine's evolution, but I think we pulled Abbott Claim instead of Canary Hill this time. Great dark berry fruit, earth and leather, nice structure and light tannins. Well made. Will enjoy this after it is in bottle for a year or two. (88 pts.)

  • 2008 Ken Wright Pinot Noir Savoya - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
    Barrel sample. Much more a complete wine compared to last time, when the wine had just been barreled. Nowhere near as green and primal, the fruit is emerging nicely and presenting nice cherry and leather flavors. Tannins are slightly drying in the finish. 2008 is going to be great year for OR Pinot lovers! (87 pts.)

  • 2008 Ken Wright Pinot Noir Carter Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Eola - Amity Hills
    Barrel sample. My favorite of our barrel samples at Ken Wright (again). Tasty cherry and cranberry fruit, leather and earth, even a touch of something floral. This will be one to watch for on release. (89 pts.)

  • 2006 Ken Wright Pinot Noir Elton - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    From library bottles. I really wanted to love this wine, since it is from the nice 2006 vintage, but it was rather dull. All the components were there, but it seemed like they were all subdued somewhat. Cherries, leather, some tannins (slight). Well-made, just not that exciting, especially after the barrel samples. (87 pts.)

  • 1995 Ken Wright Pinot Noir Carter Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Eola - Amity Hills
    From library magnum. (Note: I couldn't remember the vineyard designation for this wine...I THINK it was Carter Vineyard). This was an amazing wine...I had no idea Pinot Noir could age this well. Slightly Madeira-ized and porty, but so delicious. Very sweet fruit, a touch of raisin also, but nice leather on the finish. Thanks to Ken and Asa for pulling this out of the library! (92 pts.)

Tyrus Evan

Tyrus Evan (no website)
The usual tasting flight from Tyrus Evan. Probably only need to hit here once a year, as the wine selection doesn't change very often. Great wines, as always though.
  • 2007 Tyrus Evan Viognier Del Rio Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Yamhill County
    Light straw color, great aromatics and flavors of tropical fruits and citrus. (86 pts.)

  • 2007 Tyrus Evan Chardonnay Del Rio Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Yamhill County
    Much tastier than the Viognier, to my palate. Melon, pear with a touch of citrus. Nice acidity and a great finish. Not as much oak as I remember from before. (88 pts.)

  • 2005 Tyrus Evan Claret Del Rio Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Rogue Valley
    Didn't like the Del Rio Claret as much this time around. Seemed like the fruit was off, and somewhat bitter. (88 pts.)

  • 2005 Tyrus Evan Claret Ciel du Cheval Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain
    I've always loved this Claret, and have bought several bottles. Great raspberry fruit and earthiness, with that lovely Red Mountain nose. (91 pts.)

  • 2006 Tyrus Evan Syrah Del Rio Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Rogue Valley
    Very earthy and big on the palate, with cherry and blackberry fruit, and a long mocha finish. (91 pts.)

  • 2006 Tyrus Evan Syrah Walla Walla Valley - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Not getting the plum I noted before, but more blackberry liqueur, coffee and dark chocolate. This wine is my WOTF for sure. (91 pts.)

Troon Vineyard

Troon Vineyard
First time visiting the new Troon tasting room in Carlton. Nice place, next door to Ken Wright Cellars. Nice wines also. My first time sampling most of them.
  • 2008 Troon Vineyard Druid's Fluid - USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
    New white table wine for this winery. Can't remember the blend, and not listed on their website, but it was slightly sweet, making me think it was some Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc in the blend. Nice summer sipper. (86 pts.)

  • 2007 Troon Vineyard Druid's Fluid - USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
    Nice fruity red blend. No idea on the varietals, but smooth and tasty, if somewhat boring. Raspberry fruit, some earth and a bit of tartness on the finish. (87 pts.)

  • 2005 Troon Vineyard Old Vine Meritage - USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
    My favorite Troon wine today. Great structure, with just enough tannins to make you smack your lips after a sip. Blackberry fruit, nice earthiness, and a long finish of bittersweet dark chocolate and mocha. Bought 2 bottles. (91 pts.)

  • 2004 Troon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
    Nice fruit, decent tannic structure, a bit of cola and chocolate on the finish. Tasty, but I liked the Meritage better. (88 pts.)

  • 2007 Troon Vineyard Insomnia Port Reserve - USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
    Typical port...not my style of wine, so just a sip-n-spit for me. Seemed well-made, just not for me. (85 pts.)

Zenas Wines

Zenas Wines
Another winery we should only hit once or twice a year. I like their wines, but they only make a few, and they don't change much. We did get free tastings and stemware, thanks to Twitter & Facebook. Follow @zenaswines on Twitter and mention it at the tasting room!
  • 2005 Zenas Riesling Montinore Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Sweet citrus and pineapple fruit. Nice acidity, surprised they were still pouring the 2005 vintage, when everyone else is 2007 or 2008... (86 pts.)

  • 2006 Zenas Cabernet Franc Del Rio Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Rogue Valley
    This time around, this wine seemed rather thin and unbalanced. Blueberries, pepper and some spiciness, but somewhat lacking in the midpalate. A touch nutty on the finish, which I found odd. (88 pts.)

  • 2007 Zenas Merlot Del Rio Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Rogue Valley
    Strawberry fruit, with a nice slug of oak in there to put some hair on your chest. Very woody on the finish also, along with some dark chocolate. (89 pts.)

  • 2006 Zenas Meritage Del Rio Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Rogue Valley
    My favorite Zenas wine, over and over. Great blackberry fruit, some green pepper/olive flavors, chocolate and coffee. This wine is an Oregon Bordeaux. Yummy. (91 pts.)

Cliff Creek Cellars

Cliff Creek Cellars
Our last stop before hitting The Horse Radish, and my palate was pretty shot. I don't remember most of what we tasted, and didn't take any notes. The ladies pouring for us were very generous, and we were able to taste a number of the wines they had out back for the big 4-winery event.

We finished the day at The Horse Radish Cheese & Wine Bar, for some food and hydration prior to heading home. Once home, it was to McMenamins Fulton Pub down the street for the usual post-wine tasting burger and cajun tots! What a way to end the day! Photos of the day are posted on Flickr.

Tasting notes are posted from CellarTracker.