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.

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