Moving to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, I fully expected to be surrounded by heavenly coffee, fantastic food, killer microbrews, and world-class Pinot noir. Lots of Pinot noir. What I did not expect was to discover a thriving scene of locally produced spirits and liqueurs. A recent trip to Portland’s Distillery Row with some friends opened my eyes to a whole new world of hard drinking.
Lots of red fruit, overripe strawberry and black cherry, with some sage, fennel and wax, on the nose. The palate matches the nose, plus a bit of allspice. It also has a certain savoriness, a silky umami, that makes the overall impression far more than the sum of the individual flavors.
Blend of Viognier 35%, Marsanne 30%, Roussanne 35% grapes. This wine is made at the certified biodynamic Cowhorn winery with natural yeasts and no malolactic fermentation. Light golden color with great clarity. Apple and pear flavors with some delicious honeysuckle on the nose. Refreshing acids make it a solid choice for roast chicken.
Great example of domestic syrah made at the certified biodynamic Cowhown winery. That means no synthetic chemicals were used in grape-growing and native yeasts were used in the cellar. Big, dark boysenberry and blackberry fruit flavors, which are nicely balanced by an earthy finish. Good acids and 13.5% alcohol make it a good food wine. Personally, I would love to see them ease up on the new oak (it is a blend of old and new oak barrels at the moment). But honestly, most people would find this wine to be a big crowd-pleaser.
Blood red, more than ruby but not quite garnet. Slightly hazy rim. Clear, deep in color but not black - I can see text through the wine, but not clearly. Tears are pronounced and stained. Clean, developing, medium intensity aromas. Lots of stuff going on here - chocolate, vanilla, black cherry (dark chocolate, black cherry brownies), strawberry, chocolate covered cherries, plum, dried fruit, dried floral, black fruit preserves, jammy, fruit steeped in brandy, almost like a rich Port. Towards the top of the glass the aromas are much more perfumed and include violet, cinnamon stick, and that graham cracker crust on the Good Humor strawberry cheesecake ice cream bars! Dry with medium acidity (that doesn't linger), full bodied, medium plus alcohol (15.6 abv!), soft tannins. Full flavors with jammy fruit, cedar, leather, black cherry, tart on front end, dried cranberry, and strawberry. Extremely fruit forward, luscious, and smooth. For the full review and others visit oe•no•phile.
This wine, the only white produced, is very zippy and has lots of refreshing acidity in addition to loads of citrus and tropical fruit characteristics. Presumably much of the warmth this wine shows is from the warmer Rogue Valley appellation in southern Oregon. Definitely a good food wine
R. Stuart and Company generously contributed our first large-format bottle from Oregon, a 3.0L bottle of their "Autograph" Pinot Noir, retail value $140.00.
Chehalem, of Willamette Valley, Oregon, generously contributed a six-bottle case of their 2005 Ridgecrest Best Barrel Pinot Noir (Retail Value: $450). Each bottle is individually numbered, and they are already boxed and ready for the winner. These Best Barrel bottlings are never sold commercially, making this a very special and unique opportunity.