Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wine Tasting - Carlton Wineries

THANKSGIVING WINE TASTING - Carlton, OR (11/28/2008)

Our annual tasting excursion to Oregon wine country via limo service. In attendance: Robert, Dietra, Trish, Lisa, Phil, Jason, Andreas and Trude'.

Lenne Estate Winery

Lenne Estate Winery
Pouring their own Lenne Pinot Noir wines, as well as "friend wines" from ZanZibar Cellars and Owen Roe. All were quite delicious, with the Owen Roe wines being my favorite of the day.
  • 2006 Zanzibar Cellars Chardonnay Playa Sol - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    Nice chardonnay, with beautiful fruit, nice earthiness and acidity. DuBrul vineyard was the source for this wine. (92 pts.)

  • 2007 Owen Roe Riesling DuBrul Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley
    Consistent with prior tasting notes. Floral, sweet, with nice citrus fruit. (87 pts.)

  • 2007 Lenne Estate Pinot Noir Le Nez - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
    Seemed quite young and disjointed. Not very integrated yet...I liked the 2006 much better! Fruit was muted, earth was prominent. Tannins light, but present. Give this one another 6 months to a year in the bottle for it to shine. (86 pts.)

  • 2007 Owen Roe Pinot Noir "The Kilmore" - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
    This one seems very young to me. Fruit from Lenne Estate vineyard, as well as another about 10 miles from Lenne (can't remember the name). nice earth, acidity and light tannins. Fruit is hiding at the moment. Give it 6-12 months to show. (88 pts.)

  • 2007 Lenne Estate Pinot Noir Estate - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
    Much like the Le Nez before this. Muted fruit, but nice earthiness. Give it 6-12 months to integrate. (87 pts.)

  • 2006 Lenne Estate Pinot Noir Estate - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
    Much tastier than the 2007. Fruit has come around and is shining nicely. Earthiness is still there as well, and integration is complete. Tasty wine! (89 pts.)

  • 2006 Lenne Estate Pinot Noir Karen's Pommard Estate - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
    Now THIS is how I like my Pinot Noir! Wow...fruit exploding on the palate, with dark raspberries and earth, with some strawberry and leather as well. Excellent wine! Price is a bit out of my range, but if I had the scratch, would be buying much of this. (92 pts.)

  • 2007 Owen Roe Syrah "Lady Rosa" - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley
    First time I've tasted this Syrah, and frankly, I wasn't impressed. The Ex Umbris, at half the cost, is better in my opinion. While thick and dark, the fruit really didn't shine like I expected it to. Blackberries and earth, chewy and thick. Mild tannins, and a long fruity finish. Nice, but not $45 nice. (90 pts.)

  • 2006 Owen Roe Red Wine Yakima Valley - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley
    As always, this blend is one of my favorites. Just released a couple months ago, this wine is still showing its youth. Needs another 6-9 months before I'd consider opening a bottle, preferrably a year or two. If you have the 2005, drink it now and cellar this one for another year. Excellent integration of raspberry fruit, earth, acidity and tannins. Built to last 10 years, but enjoyable in the short term as well. If you drink it now, prepare to decant for a couple hours at least. (92 pts.)

  • 2006 Owen Roe Cabernet Sauvignon DuBrul Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley
    Wow...delicious! This definitely needs a year to come around. Tight, tannic, and somewhat backward at the moment. Spent much time swirling this in my glass to get it to loosen up, and was rewarded with big blackberry fruit, saddle leather, tobacco, and a floral component. Very happy that I already have two bottles in my cellar, thanks to the Market of Choice on Terwilliger! (95 pts.)

  • 2004 Madrone Mountain Late Bottled Port - USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
    Very interesting port-style wine. The first time I've seen a Bordeaux blend as a dessert wine before: 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Much too sweet for my palate, but that's what this wine is all about. Chunks of sediment in everyone's glass too. Not a wine for me. (80 pts.)

Ken Wright Cellars

Ken Wright Cellars

  • 2007 Ken Wright Pinot Blanc - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Nice sweetness that I wasn't expecting. Pineapple, honeydew melon, with a touch of raisin. (85 pts.)

  • 2007 Ken Wright Chardonnay Celilo Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Gorge
    A delicious chardonnay! Nice acidity, but could use another 6 months in bottle to integrate better. Good granny smith apple and citrus flavors. (90 pts.)

  • 2008 Ken Wright Pinot Noir Canary Hill - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Eola - Amity Hills
    Barrel sample. Green, green, green! Admittedly, this has only been in barrel for about a month. Bitter green pepper flavors prevail. Some fruit in there, but just barely. Harsh tannins as well. Can't see the potential in this wine yet. No rating.

  • 2008 Ken Wright Pinot Noir Savoya - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
    Barrel sample. Another very green, harsh example of just harvested fruit. Lots of olive characteristics in this wine. Tannins are less pronounced than the Canary Hill sample, but fruit is just as hidden. No rating.

  • 2008 Ken Wright Pinot Noir Carter Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Eola - Amity Hills
    Barrel sample. Now THIS wine has potential! Even though it has only been in barrel for a month or so, fruit is already showing nicely, and tannins are prominently appearing on the finish. My favorite of the three barrel samples we tasted by a long shot. Case purchase requirements kept me from buying futures of this wine...No rating.

Tyrus Evan

Tyrus Evan (no winery website available)

  • 2007 Tyrus Evan Chardonnay Del Rio Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Yamhill County
    One of the best examples of Southern Oregon Chardonnay I've tasted to date. A bit over-oaked for my tastes, but really nice pear and canteloupe fruit. (89 pts.)

  • 2005 Tyrus Evan Claret Ciel du Cheval Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain
    Nice blend of Red Mountain fruit. Earthiness, surrounded by outstanding raspberry fruit. Bright acidity keeps the fruit and tannins in check. (91 pts.)

  • 2005 Tyrus Evan Claret Del Rio Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Rogue Valley
    Strawberries, with nice earthiness and minerality. Way different than the Ciel Du Cheval Claret, as this one is 25% each Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec. (90 pts.)

  • 2006 Tyrus Evan Syrah Walla Walla Valley - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Yum! Plummy, with serious chocolate and coffee flavors. Very happy I have a bottle of this in the cellar! (92 pts.)

  • 2006 Tyrus Evan Syrah Del Rio Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Rogue Valley
    Big cherry notes, deep earth flavors and a nice sweet finish. Just released a couple months ago, this wine is rockin! (92 pts.)

Scott Paul Wines

Scott Paul Wines

  • 2006 Philippe Chavy Bourgogne Blanc - France, Burgundy, Bourgogne Blanc
    Highly acidic, but with nice pear and citrus fruit coming through. Very intense flavors, seemingly searing my palate with citric acid. (86 pts.)

  • 2006 Jean-Marc Millot Côte de Nuits Villages - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Nuits Villages
    Cherry fruit, but with an underlying barnyard/poop flavor. Not enjoyable. (77 pts.)

  • 2007 Scott Paul Wines Pinot Noir Cuvée Martha Pirrie - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Cherry fruit again, but not the barnyard of the previous wine. Flavorful, and showing its youth for sure. Give this one another year to really shine. (86 pts.)

  • 2006 Scott Paul Wines Pinot Noir La Paulee - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    One of the only Pinots today that I've been able to taste the oak. It's nice in this wine, giving it structure and strength. Raspberry fruit, with a black cherry component. Leather flavors are also present, making this one of the more interesting Pinots of the day. (89 pts.)

  • 2007 Scott Paul Wines Pinot Noir Audrey - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Wow. This wine is young and green, but with a LOT of promise. Showing some cherry fruit, but overshadowed by the green olive and tannins. This hasn't been released yet, and for good reason. Another year will serve this wine well. I expect it will rock the house eventually... (88 pts.)

Raptor Ridge Winery

Raptor Ridge Winery

  • 2007 Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Black cherry, saddle leather, and a mineral component. Tasty! (87 pts.)

  • 2007 Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir Adolfo's Block - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains
    Much more flavor than the regular Willamette Valley cuvee. Black cherry, tobacco and earth flavors swimming around in the mouth. (88 pts.)

  • 2006 Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir Reserve - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Much bigger than the other two offerings. More fruit--raspberries, leather and dirt, mixed with a nice floral component. The additional year definitely served this wine well, as the two 2007 wines seemed too young to be very enjoyable. (89 pts.)

Carlton Cellars

Carlton Cellars

  • 2007 Carlton Cellars Pinot Noir Roads End - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Weak showing. Not much fruit, and a somewhat bitter green finish. I'm not impressed, even with such a young example. (80 pts.)

  • 2007 Carlton Cellars Pinot Noir Cape Lookout Russell-Grooters Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
    Much better than the 2007 Roads End Pinot. More cherry fruit showing through, with some plum and bittersweet chocolate on the finish. Still quite young however. Give it another 6-12 months before thinking about drinking this one. (85 pts.)

Cana's Feast Winery

Cana's Feast Winery

Gino Cuneo Cellars

Gino Cuneo Cellars

Photos of our crazy group are available on Flickr.

Tasting notes posted from CellarTracker

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wine Tasting - Thanksgiving Dinner

THANKSGIVING DINNER - Jeff McHugh's condo (11/27/2008)

A selection of wines for an unforgettable Thanksgiving Dinner with great friends: Jeff, Mark, Dave, Steve, Jill, Jake, and Amy.

  • 1988 Château Clos des Jacobins - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    Decanted 1 hour, mostly due to cork and sediment issues. Cork was wet halfway through, but no seepage. My first 20 year-old wine. Nose just blows my mind...very complex, with tobacco, red raspberry fruit, pencil lead, and a vegetal component I can't place. Complexity follows to the palate...huge flavor explosion! Earthy, with tobacco leaf, tomatoes (the vegetal component on the nose, I think), raspberries, pencil lead, just delicious! Finish goes on for a good minute, with flavors swimming all over my tongue. Tannins are very soft, and this is drinking very well. I feel that it is probably at the end of it's drinking window, but showing quite well tonight. An outstanding bottle of right bank Bordeaux! (95 pts.)

  • 2003 Mitolo Shiraz Reiver - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
    Decanted 4 hours. Darkest wine I've seen in awhile, and very thick, like blackberry syrup. Coating my decanter, glass, mouth, teeth...Nose is beautiful. This is going to be something special! Aromas of dark blackberry fruit with a touch of vanilla and earth. In the mouth, very thick and coating, with blackberries, blueberries, a bit of vanilla 'oakiness', and tasty earthiness that I love. Not to hot, acidic or tannic, and the fruit, while prominent, isn't exploding like a fruitbomb. This is integration! Finish goes on for a minute or more...Astounding wine that makes me wish I'd bought more. (95 pts.)

  • 2004 Renato Ratti Barolo Marcenasco - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Decanted 1 hour. Steve's wine. Much too young (I see the CT drinking window OPENS in 2013...) even with an hour+ decant. Was just starting to open up towards the end of the bottle. Nice earthiness, old world and very tasty, but the fruit remained hidden behind a wall of tannin. (90 pts.)

  • 2003 Nicolis Angelo e figli Amarone della Valpolicella Classico - Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
    Steve's wine. I typically love Valpolicella wines, Amarone in particular, and this one was somewhat of a disappointment. Could be palate fatigue, as we had tasted many wines prior to this, but the flavors fell somewhat flat for me. I didn't get a chance to poll other tasters, but I got some fruit, and a nice earthiness, but the wine seemed to be missing the signature sweetness that comes from most Amarone I've tried. (88 pts.)

  • 2006 Mollydooker Shiraz Blue Eyed Boy - Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale
    Decanted 4 hours. Very dark purple color, coating the glass. Nose of blueberries. A bit hot. Sweet on the palate, but with an overabundance of alcohol heat. Very mouthcoating, with a long bittersweet finish and light tannins. At $47 at WTSO, a terrible QPR. This drinks like many $20 bottles of Shiraz I've tried. Not impressed. (91 pts.)

  • 2005 Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Decanted 2 hours. Steve's big wine, and big is the correct word. Big price, big bouquet, big fruit...and big oak. The over-oaked taste was what kept this wine from being wine of the night. I usually don't mind some oak in my cabs, but this went a bit too far for me. Even with the oak, serious gobs of concentrated raspberry fruit and earth showing. Tannins were present, but not bothersome, only lightly drying the mouth on the finish. Color was somewhat lighter than I expected for a Cali cab. All in all, a nice showing, but overshadowed (for me at least) by the 20 year-old St. Emilion, and the Mitolo shiraz. (92 pts.)

  • 2007 Torzi Matthews Shiraz "Schist Rock" - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Eden Valley
    Decanted 4 hours. This is the youngest wine of the bunch, and even with a 4 hour decant, is showing it's youth. Very pretty bouquet of strawberries and vanilla. Lots of oak...picking splinters out of my tongue. Needs a year or two to integrate. Big fruit, big oak, big acid, but not too tannic. My least favorite so far. (88 pts.)

  • 2005 Dominio IV Tempranillo Midnight Skies - USA, Oregon
    Decanted 2 hours. Nose of blackberries, smoked meat and earth, following to the palate, and ending in a sweet finish, about 30 seconds, that is full-on blackberries. A bit tannic, but integrating nicely with air. (90 pts.)

  • 2007 Seghesio Family Vineyards Zinfandel Sonoma County - USA, California, Sonoma County
    Steve's wine. I can see why this was included in the Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2008, but #10?? I'll admit I'm not much of a Zin fan, but still...I got a LOT of alcohol heat on this one. Almost like taking a shot of vodka or something. Delicious red fruit, and that Zin "zing" of spiciness. Tasty, but way too hot. Maybe too young? (89 pts.)

  • 2005 Hay Shed Hill Chardonnay Pitchfork - Australia, Western Australia, South West Australia
    Good with turkey and other items at dinner. Nice acidity to cut through some of the bigger food flavors. (87 pts.)

A migrane headache prevented me from enjoying several other wines in our lineup. My sincerest thanks to Jeff for inviting me to dinner, and to Steve for providing many of the tasty wines we enjoyed that evening (the Cakebread Cabernet in particular!).

Tasting notes posted from CellarTracker

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wine Tasting - Willamette Valley Vineyards Library Magnum Party

Willamette Valley Vineyards

LIBRARY WINE MAGNUM PARTY - Willamette Valley Vineyards (11/16/2008)

A special Oregon Wine Guild (the WVV wine club) event, offering magnum-sized bottles from their library for reduced prices. Over 130 magnums of various wines were available for sale, from vintages back into the late 1990's through 2005. Willamette Valley Vineyards also owns Tualatin Estate Vineyards and Griffin Creek Winery in Southern Oregon, and they were represented here as well.

White Wines From Willamette Valley Vineyards, Tualatin Estate Vineyards and Griffin Creek Winery

Poured from 750ml bottle. I missed out on the regular (sweet) WVV Riesling, and magnum tastings of Tualatin Estate chardonnay and Griffin Creek viognier (mainly from lack of interest).

  • 2007 Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling Dry Riesling - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Quite a bit drier than the regular bottling, this had just a touch of sweetness, reminding me more of a Viognier than a Riesling. It was good, but I prefer just a touch more sweetness. Floral, with pineapple and honeydew melon flavors, but they seemed muted somehow, without the sweetness to accompany them. (84 pts.)

New Release Pinot Noirs From Willamette Valley Vineyards

A variety of 2006 single clone pinot noirs from Willamette Valley Vineyards, poured from 750ml bottle.

Red Wines From Griffin Creek Winery

Poured from magnums! I wish there had been more variety to taste...

  • 2000 Griffin Creek Merlot - USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Rogue Valley
    I actually had two tastes of this, and I'm basing my review on the second sample, as my first one was nothing but sediment. Such poor etiquette...I swear, the next time I see someone turn a bottle of 8 year-old red wine completely upside down to pour every last drop into someone's glass, I'm going to smack them. Learn to pour properly! Sorry for the rant...The wine was pleasant, and easy to quaff. Smooth, and decently integrated. Starting to show some of its age, however, with the tasty blackberry fruit dropping off into a very short finish, and the acidity tending to show through a bit too much. (90 pts.)

  • 2001 Griffin Creek Griffin - USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Rogue Valley
    Cool looking bottle/label, very understated. Dark color, extremely nice nose, with berries, violets, and some earth/minerality that all comes together on the palate. This was a joy to drink, and attempts at securing another pour were deflected. Major bummer. I guess at $65 per 750ml bottle (the magnums were "on sale" for $112.50), the winery wanted to control how much they poured pretty closely. A great wine, though a very poor QPR. If this was down in the $40-$50 range (where it should be), I would have jumped on several bottles. When leaving the tasting, I did notice that most of the 131 original magnum bottles available for sale had been sold. The remaining bottles? The Griffin Creek "Griffin" and Viognier. Surprised, I was not. (93 pts.)

The event as a whole was a touch underwhelming. We all expected more tastings of the vintage wine (I'm not buying a magnum of a library wine unless I've tasted it first), and more/better quality food. As it was, the cheese & cracker trays were okay, but we all left there wanting lunch. I guess for $10 (for non-Guild members), what do you expect?

Tasting notes posted from CellarTracker