Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wine Tasting - Anam Cara Pinot Noir Vertical


ANAM CARA VERTICAL TASTING - Dietra's House, Portland OR (2/21/2009)

My friends Trish and Dietra joined me in organizing a vertical tasting of the Pinot Noirs from Anam Cara Cellars (Anam Cara is Gaellic for "friend of my soul"). We ended up with at least one bottle of every Pinot Noir the winery has released to date, as well as a Riesling and 2 bottles of Late Harvest Gewurztraminer dessert wine. It was a great event! A very special thanks to Nick and Sheila Nicholas at Anam Cara Cellars for the tasting notes, as well as the very generous donation of a bottle of their delicious 2003 Pinot Noir! And thanks to Timothy Nishimoto at Vino Paradiso for the nifty wine pouring spouts. They worked extremely well. And now the tasting notes, posted from CellarTracker as always.

Anam Cara Vertical
Pre-Vertical Wines

A selection of random wines to quaff as we waited for guests to arrive. The Glass and Riesling were supplied by Trish, and the Lange Pinot by Jim and Allison. Thanks guys!

  • 2007 J.K. Carriere Pinot Noir "Glass" - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Pre-vertical tasting wine. Light, pale pink. Rose of Pinot Noir. Not my favorite wine, but better than previous tastings. Nice acidity, keeping the light strawberry fruit alive. (84 pts.)

  • 2007 Anam Cara Riesling Nicholas Estate - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    Color is a light yellow-gold. Melon and pineapple on the nose, with green apple and citrus on the palate. Nice body, and much drier than many Rieslings I've had. Tasty. (88 pts.)

  • 2006 Lange Pinot Noir Reserve - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Pre-vertical tasting wine, to get us in the groove. Nice fruit, dark color, sweet, leathery nose. Drinking very well right now. Not sure on QPR, but most liked this wine a lot. (89 pts.)


2004 Anam Cara Pinot Noir
  • 2004 Anam Cara Pinot Noir Nicholas Estate - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    Color is a brownish red, quite lighter than I remember. Nose of leather and cherries. On the palate, sweet cherry fruit, lots of leather and tobacco, and a sour cherry finish. No tannic structure to speak of, but nice acidity. Probably nearing the end of its drinking window. (87 pts.)

  • 2004 Anam Cara Pinot Noir Reserve - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    Color is a brick red, not as brownish as the regular 2004 Estate wine. Nose of subdued leather, with cherry and raspberry fruit. More body in the mouth than the Estate, and much smoother as well. This seems to be holding up better. Sweet cherry and raspberry fruit, and a touch of tannins on the finish. (89 pts.)


2005 Anam Cara Pinot Noir
  • 2005 Anam Cara Pinot Noir Nicholas Estate - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    Ruby red color. Nose is tight, not giving me anything at first, then grudgingly throwing me a tiny hint of raspberries. The taste is much better. More fresh and bright than the 2004s, although tighter as well. Fairly complex, with a chocolate raspberry dessert flavor, ending with a bitter, earthy/tobacco finish. I dig the complexity of this one. (90 pts.)

  • 2005 Anam Cara Pinot Noir Reserve - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    Color is identical to the 2005 Estate, ruby red. Nose is the best so far, with a lovely earthy raspberry and cherry aroma. Taste is quite tannic, with some cherry flavors, and a bit of alcohol heat on the finish. This may have been better if we had decanted it. It seemed to calm down as the night wore on, and I revisited it several times. One taster wanted to combine this nose with the flavors of the 2005 Estate to make 'the perfect wine'. (90 pts.)

  • 2005 Anam Cara Pinot Noir Heather's Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    Decanted 1 hour. Color is identical to the 2005 Reserve. The nose has similar aromas, but more sweetness than the Reserve. On the palate, I get fresh raspberries, tobacco, earth and a nice chocolatey finish. (92 pts.)


2006 Anam Cara Pinot Noir
  • 2006 Anam Cara Pinot Noir Nicholas Estate - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    Color is a bit darker ruby than the 2005s. Nose of toasty oak, leather and raspberry, following to the palate. The oak is really evident, and in my opinion, makes the wine very enjoyable. Long finish of sweet cherry fruit wrapped in saddle leather. (93 pts.)

  • 2006 Anam Cara Pinot Noir Heather's Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    Decanted 1 hour. Color is a bright ruby, shimmering in the glass. Nose of black cherry, oak and some pepper(?). In the mouth, this wine is tight and oaky, despite the decanting time. Black cherry flavors rule the roost, with some leather and pepper and a sharply tannic finish. (91 pts.)

  • 2006 Anam Cara Pinot Noir Reserve - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    Decanted 2 hours. Color is a dark maroon, the darkest so far. Nose of coffee or mocha...wow. Some leather there as well. Flavors of spicy black cherry, leather and a nice coffee finish. Some tannins evident, but controlled nicely by the acidity and fruit. Some oak is present as well, but not standing out as much as the 2006 Estate. (93 pts.)

  • 2006 Anam Cara Pinot Noir Mark I - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    Decanted 2 hours. Color is a duplicate of the 2006 Reserve. Nose is huge! Peppery raspberries and earth. Taste is really spicy! Lots of pepper coming through, wrapping around the black cherry and raspberry fruit, and finishing with the zing of tobacco. Astounding wine...may be my Wine of the Night. (94 pts.)


2003 Anam Cara Pinot Noir (A donation from the winery!)
  • 2003 Anam Cara Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    This was a gift from the winery, their first release. Color is the darkest Pinot Noir I've ever seen! Almost looks like a Syrah... Nose is super-sweet and perfumed, very port-like. On the palate, this does NOT taste like Pinot! More like a port, with sweet blackberry fruit, and a lonnnng earthy finish. A great wine to end the red tasting with. Someone said this is a great wine to enjoy with a cigar after a big steak dinner. It was definitely the crowd favorite, but coming in #2 for me. (93 pts.)


Dessert Wine
  • 2007 Anam Cara Gew├╝rztraminer Nicholas Estate Late Harvest - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    Color is an almost clear straw yellow. Sweet citrus and honey on the nose, following to the palate. Baked apples join the party, and the honey finish goes on for days. One of the better, if not the best, dessert wines I've ever tasted. (92 pts.)


View my photos of the event on Flickr.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Storyteller Wine Company Tasting with Maggie Harrison

Storyteller Wine Company

MAGGIE HARRISON WINE TASTING - Storyteller Wine Company, Portland, OR (2/13/2009)

Wine tasting at Storyteller Wine Company featuring wines of Maggie Harrison: Sine Qua Non, Antica Terra and Lillian Winery. Maggie was the assistant winemaker with Manfred Krankel at Sine Qua Non for 8 years before leaving California and coming to Oregon's Willamette Valley to take over as winemaker at Antica Terra. She also has her own private label Syrah called Lillian, featuring fruit from White Hawk Vineyard in Santa Barbara County, CA.


  • 2005 Sine Qua Non The Petition - USA, California
    Amazing white blend!!! Wow, this just smoked me. Sweet pear fruit, with toasted oak. Lots of body and a definite oily characteristic to it. Very interesting, and a joy to drink. (94 pts.)

  • 2007 Antica Terra Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Very pretty nose, with sweet red cherries and some tobacco, following to the palate. Not released yet (3/9/09 release date), this wine is definitely going to be a winner! (91 pts.)

  • 2006 Antica Terra Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    More evolved than the 2007, as it should be. Darker cherry fruit, and much more earth and leather than the tobacco of the 2007. Very tasty! (92 pts.)

  • 2005 Lillian Winery Syrah - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
    Incredible Syrah! Big, with a solid tannic backbone than was only beginning to soften after 2+ hours in the decanter. Lots of complexity here...I don't even know where to start. Dark berry, chocolate, smoked meat, pepper, and earth...there is so much to this wine that I can't even begin to grasp it all with the small taste I received. Winemaker Maggie Harrison (ex-assistant winemaker to Sine Qua Non wizard Manfred Krankel) was in attendance, but swamped by other tasters... (94 pts.)