Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Feelin Lucky?!

I just stumbled upon this video made by the team at Sokol Blosser winery in Dundee. I am a huge fan of SB for countless reasons. Yummy wine? Check. Sustainable practices? Check. Great tasting room ambiance? Check.

I actually think I was at the winery the day part of this video was made. As I was cruising down the driveway back to 99 I saw Alison and Kitri in the vines-camera in hand.

Check it!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Done Right

Oregon Bounty, a long-running program from Travel Oregon produced a very cool campaign to create buzz around the food and drink scene that has become so vital to Oregon tourism. This summer they advertised a chance to win a Cuisinternship, in which winners would have the opportunity to shadow one of several different epicurean adventures, including a chance to participate in wine country harvest at Penner-Ash (not a bad place to learn a thing or two about making wine). How cool? And how cute is that Gabe Rucker?!

Check out some of the video submissions. Has me salivating....
Oregon Bounty Videos


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Eye Candy

While exploring the new and impressive Hawks View Cellars in Sherwood a few weeks ago, my girl Jolie Goodson captured some beautiful photos. (apparently very easy when you are Jolie, Check out a few of my favorites.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My kind of tasting experience

Today I was lucky enough to have 3 willing partners in crime for another wine country adventure. Allyson, Jackie and Jolie met at our house and we were out the door before noon. First stop, Montinore Estate in Forest Grove . We were impressed at first sight as this Estate sits up on a gorgeous piece of property and the aesthetic of the tasting room was really elegant and inviting. I think we hit the jackpot in terms of service. We were the only ones there and had Amy, the tasting room gal's undivided attention. She was throwing out facts about the winery and the surrounding area faster than I could write! Luckily, I found the video option on my camera, so I will attach a clip of Amy explaining the organic and biodynamic methods the winery practices. We tasted some nice wines and were shocked by the affordability of the bottle prices. Amy explained the owner prides himself on producing top quality, sustainable wine at a price point that doesn't break the bank. The most expensive wine on the flight was $35-which can often be the STARTING price of a Pinot in Oregon. Most wines at Montinore are less than $20. I was stoked with the Forest Grove Cellars (the 2nd label at Montinore) Merlot from 2007. I know many may be shocked that while tasting wine in Oregon, one ends up with Merlot in her bag. I, along with most of America was turned off from even considering Merlot (Sideways?), but after a week of tasting wines in Southern Oregon and Sonoma, I realized I really enjoy Merlot. So there you have it!

Amy mentioned that Argyle is now producing a sparkling Pinot Noir. This had our interest piqued, big time. It is like 2 rights making a super right. I was familiar with the concept from my days in Australia, where sparking Shiraz, served chilled was all the rage. I find my nearest and dearest to be vast in many ways, but one common thread seems to be a serious passion for bubbles. We immediately rethought our daily schedule and decided to make our way to Carlton for a bite and then cruise down to Dundee to taste this elixir for ourselves.

We made our way to the cute town of Carlton where several fabulous wineries and tasting rooms reside. We popped into the Horse Radish where we shared plates of cheese, olives, tuna and chicken salads and split 2 glasses of Patricia Green Pinot. Yummy!!! Our server suggested we head out the back door on our way out and peek Raptor Ridge's tasting room. By the time we were heading out, we realized we couldn't do it all and sticking close by was probably a better option than Argyle, which would have us in major traffic on the way home. Needless to say, Argyle is at the top of my list for the next trip.

We tasted several Pinots at RR and the highlight for me was a bone dry Pinot Rose. But I just couldn't bring myself to buy a bottle, as I am trying very hard let summer go, and having Rose readily available is not part of this strategy-sadly. RR's tasting room is shared space with the winery facility and apparently we just missed the fruit being delivered for fall harvest. That would have been a treat!

By the time we left Carlton it was after 4. Amazing how the day can fly! Although we only hit 2 tasting rooms, it was a long and leisurely day and I am fairly certain I can speak for my group in saying we gained some insider knowledge in the world of Oregon wine. The nuggets you glean from actually being in the "field" so to speak, cannot be found anywhere else.

On to the next!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Amity Vineyards, who else?

It looks like Amity Vineyards is touting a sulfite-free Pinot, the Eco-Pinot Noir. I have known Amity to pride itself on organic methods-but it looks to be one of the few (Cooper Mountain used to market a sulfite-free wine) available. From what I understand, it is impossible for a wine to be "sulfite-free" as sulfites are found in all grapes undergoing fermentation. But I'm not in this for a science degree, although I do believe we will begin to see more and more "no sulfites added" wine popping up in Oregon. Something to definitely be making note of.

Gearing up for tomorrow! It looks as though I may just have more than 1 co-pilot. Get ready for some fun wine tales.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NSA Wine...not so bad

I will post more on this tomorrow, but tonight was my 4th(?), time drinking a red wine free of added sulfites and I was again, more than happy with what was in my glass. It was not from Oregon, but CA. I am in the process of researching which wineries in Oregon are practicing sulfite-free methods. Stay tuned...

Vintage Year Ahead

These long hot summerish fall days might make it tough for the kiddies to go back to school, but they make for a promising year in the world of Oregon wine...check out the post on KGW's website. Those with futures should be happy!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Well, I BOUGHT it in Oregon

Lord, am I already veering off track? Regardless, I just have to document how excited I am on my first experience with "wine finds" from Cork wine shop here in Portland. In doing all of my due diligence, I have signed up for every wine email newsletter, e-blast, direct mail piece, you name it from wineries and wine businesses all over the state. Cork sent me an email about a great deal on a limited supply of Boroli Nebbiolo D'Alba for just $21 a bottle. Many consider Nebbiolo the poor man's Barolo, and for that price I would have bought cases if I was fully employed...partially employed maybe. I emailed the store requesting 4 bottles and was told the last 2 bottles have my name on them. I fetched the wine tonight at the Alberta location and talked for a bit with Pat, one of the managers. I must say, this store has a serious selection of small production wines from all over the world. About 15% of the wine inventory is from Oregon.

Speaking of Oregon, it looks like Friday will be another field trip down south. As it stands now, I will hit Maysara Winery, The Eyrie Vineyards and Panther Creek. Harvest is lurking, so who knows what I will witness?! Also, it looks like Meghan booked a job with Nike for the week, so my passenger seat is empty. Any takers?!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Round One

Day One and I hit the ground running-new camera in hand (thank you Herve!) I picked up Meghan (an eager co-pilot) at 11:15 and we were off. The hit list: Dobbes Family Estate, Domaine Drouhin & Stoller Vineyards. I have done a fair bit of research on each and was excited to check them out. We could not have asked for a better day. The sun was shining and it was warm, I think the Audi's temp gauge read 88 degrees.

Right off 99W in Dundee sits Dobbes Family Estate, our first stop. I was more familiar with the Wines by Joe label-which is hard to miss in any given wine store. We opted for a full tasting which included the 2007 Wine by Joe Pinot Noir as well as 4 of the Dobbes Family Estate wines. These wines did not disappoint and both Meghan and I left with a bottle of the 2007 Grand Assemblage Cuvee Pinot Noir. Yummy!

Next stop was Domaine Drouhin. The drive alone is intoxicating and once again reaffirms how amazing and picturesque our wine country is. Meghan was in heaven, as any newbie to the area would be. DD is a gorgeous winery and we landed a key spot in the tasting room. Before we knew it, Meghan had joined the wine club and we were talking about future trips to the winery for "club only" events. (Hot air balloon breakfast anyone?!)

Just down the road is Stoller Winery. I have read a lot about Stoller and I am impressed by how sustainable it is in its practices, not to mention its numerous wine accolades. We sat outside and enjoyed the lush surroundings and ended up purchasing a bottle of the delicious JV 2007 Estate Pinot Noir.

Come 4:00 we were hungry! I had been dying to check out the highly hyped Allison Hotel in Newberg and now was the perfect excuse to swing by and enjoy a snack. We pulled up, bypassed the "hybrid and electric car" only parking spots and made our way through the hotel to the terrace. We nibbled on a yummy plate of meat, cheese and fried mushrooms and sipped on a Brick House Pinot. The Allison is a grand endeavour to say the least and I was really glad we were able to end the day here.

It was a glorious excursion and a perfect way to catch up with a friend, do some research and reinforce how EASY it is to escape the daily grind and enjoy a day in Oregon Wine Country.

P.S. the photo is of Meghan at Domaine Drouhin. Cute indeed.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Are you with me??????

I admit to being mildly obsessed with the vast world of blogging. I followed Julie Powell's blog on back in 2002, when salon was one of very few places to find a "blog". Now Julie Powell is a millionaire with a bestselling book and a movie staring Meryl Streep. My ambitions are much more modest, rest assured.

Through many a circumstance, which I am sure to elaborate on as this progresses, I am in a position (if only temporarily), to do as I please. And as of now, I please wine. Meaning at any given moment, chances are I am thinking about, talking about or drinking wine. More specifically, Oregon wine. My goal as it stands now, is to establish a meaningful marketing program that will incentivize my contemporary set (more on this later) to explore the impressive wine country that just so happens to rest in our own backyard. DOWNpour is a 360 marketing concept that encourages patronage to Oregon wine country year round.

I will put this out there now because it is important. I am in no way an established wine critic. I have no credentials in the world of wine. Sans for the fact that I have done my fair share of tasting in Oregon, Washington, California, New York and France. I am like most urban 30- somethings who list wine as one of life's constant joys, if not necessities. This is not about featuring Wine Spectator's top picks-there is enough of that being done and it is not my interest. DOWNpour is about highlighting the experience that comes with drinking local wine.

Welcome to my journey. It is here that I will document tasting wines from a shortlist of Oregon wineries that I hope to work with. I see this as the perfect way to learn even more about their wine while simultaneously creating a connection between DOWNpour and my soon-to-be partners.

Get thirsty!