Fantastic news: 2013 COSY struck gold

A few weeks ago I told you about the 2013 Cockburn Ranch Syrah a few of us made at College Cellars 2013 (here).  This very wine was awarded Gold at the Great Northwest Wine Competition taking place in Hood River, Oregon from Tuesday through Thursday of this week.  Naturally, we are in great company with many of the wines I have written about also entered and winning awards.  Had to share such fabulous news, apparently we weren’t the only ones to really like the wine.  But that means we will have to share.  It will be released early next month and can be ordered from College Cellars webpage if you are interested in trying it.

Cheers!

2013 Cockburn Ranch Syrah from College Cellars of Walla Walla - Gold Medal winner!

2013 Cockburn Ranch Syrah from College Cellars of Walla Walla – Gold Medal winner!

Tagged , , ,

More bottling scheduled

Several local vineyards and a few further north have been posting pictures of bud break already; a couple of weeks earlier than usual.  Hoping we don’t see any more frosty nights now.  Our early November cold spell caused some bud loss in the valley, but nothing like the 2014 vintage in the Northeast.

It is the middle of Spring Break week, I’m attempting to balance the desire to just relax with the need to complete some tasks in the house/garden and not one but two more bottling days are scheduled. When I chose to work with more than one winery, which can make for a very busy crush, I wasn’t thinking ahead to how much bottling that would mean.  Next Monday and then again two weeks later I am slated to help with bottling for Lagana Cellars with a few barrels of wine for Mustard Seed Cellars and Locati Cellars respectively.  Spending the day bottling the efforts of all of our labor from the last couple of harvests (reds are from 2013 and whites 2014) will be fun and we will all go home knowing it is ready to drink; satisfying.

Cheers!

Tagged , , ,

Treveri Cellars, Yakima, WA

Approaching Treveri Cellars you see the patio on the left.  More patio space is coming due to demand!

Approaching Treveri Cellars you see the patio on the left. More patio space is coming due to demand!

I wrote about Treveri Cellars before Christmas this last December (here), but hadn’t had the pleasure of visiting the tasting room south of Yakima in Wapato until recently.  It was a lovely, warmish day and everyone seemed to have the same need to get outside and do something to celebrate Spring’s imminent arrival; the patio was full of people when we rode up, inside there were no tables available and it was difficult to find a space at the bar to taste.

Juergen Grieb, making wine in Washington State since 1982, is owner and winemaker of Treveri Cellars in Yakima, WA.

Juergen Grieb, making wine in Washington State since 1982, is owner and winemaker of Treveri Cellars in Yakima, WA.

We found a place at the far end of the bar from the doorway, a great place to people watch and stay out-of-the-way while we shared our tasting.  A family owned sparkling wine house, Treveri Cellar has been open since November 2010 (2008 first vintage originally downtown Yakima, now in its own facility).  Juergen Grieb and his son Christian are the wine making team.  Juergen learned wine making from two of Germany’s top wine makers, Herr Breiling and Christoph Tyrell before completing a second apprenticeship at Duhr Sektkellerei where he followed his passion for sparkling wines to learn the traditional ‘Méthode Champenoise’.  In 1982 he made his way to Washington State to make wine for German based company Langguth Winery, at the time a state-of-the-art winemaking facility large enough to compete with St. Michelle’s Woodinville facility.  It was a short-lived endeavor and Herr Grieb moved on to other winemaking positions in Washington.  {In researching I discovered a funny parallel to my life that I wasn’t aware of: this illustrious winemaker was in Ellensburg

The production side of Treveri Cellars with storage inside the buildings.

The production side of Treveri Cellars with storage inside the buildings.

during the same years I was the first time around (1986-1990), when I moved to Yakima he was back in Yakima at another winery.  I moved away, to the west side of the state shortly after that though.} Juergen’s son Christian is his assistant wine maker; he is supplementing his father’s teaching with UC Davis enology classes.

As a family owned sparkling house Treveri Cellars produces a cross-section of Washington grapes as sparklers from Extra Brut to Sec (extra dry to sweet).  Some of these wines have been featured at State Department dinners 2011, 2013 and on James Beard menus 2012, 2013 and , great achievements for a very young winery.  It is distributed around the country and is available on-line.

Trevari Cellars Sparkling Syrah Brut, had to show you the lovely dense color.

Treveri Cellars Sparkling Syrah Brut, had to show you the lovely dense color.

The sparkling wines:

  • Extra-Brut Chardonnay – initially bread dough giving way to citrus and melon finishing with a lovely creamy fizz: 2.5 g/L RS
  • Brut Chardonnay – fresh apple tarts with much finer bubbles 12 g/L RS
  • Rose’-Sec – a blend of Chardonnay and Syrah grapes, it is  fairly sweet at the front end, with fresh bread and apples with a bright fizz: 22 g/L RS
  • Riesling-Demi-Sec – light floral notes rise from the glass, tropical and temperate fruit salad fill your mouth as the bubbles tickle the roof of your mouth and the lovely Riesling acid puckers your cheeks in a very well-balanced finish: 34 g/L RS
  • Gewuerztraminer-Demi-Sec – pears and pink grapefruit aromas followed by honeyed nectarines and a lychee finish: 35 g/L RS
  • Sparkling Syrah-Brut – the deep ruby red wine offset by the cotton candy pink head is truly eye-catching and non-traditional with black cherry and raspberry flavors as intense as the corresponding colors: 13 g/L RS
  • Germanic Blend-Sec is a ‘Bubble Club’ limited release, of Riesling, Mueller-Thurgau and Gewürztraminer combining the spice of Dianthus and lily flowers on the nose and a melange of fruity sweetness in the mouth: 23 g/L RS

From a one-thousand case first vintage in 2008 made in 8,000 square feet to 20,000 cases in 2014 in this space there has been a staggering amount of growth for Treveri Cellars.  They are bursting at the seems within the three buildings they presently have, their patio is in high demand causing a patio expansion this season to keep up with it.

Having witnessed my first ‘sabering’ in December I had to ask about Juergen’s sabering experience.  He shook his head and explained that they use environmentally friendly glass and sabering left him holding the base of the bottle the last time he did.  A waste of good wine; not recommended.

Cheers!

Tagged ,

Full Sail Brewery, Hood River, OR

Full Sail Brewing Co., Hood River, OR has views of the Columbia right outside the Pub.

Full Sail Brewing Co., Hood River, OR has views of the Columbia right outside the Pub.

Lunch was a necessity by the time we got done wine tasting as we had skipped having breakfast and just nibbled on the nuts and snacks we brought with us as we left Newberg earlier in the day.  Full Sail Brewery was our choice; I was really in the mood for fish and chips with some cold brews.

Sunday afternoon in mid-February we didn’t think we would have too much of a wait for a two-top, so we were really surprised when they told us a minimum 20 minute wait.  Hungry as I was we decided to accept the conditions; 10 minutes later we were seated and placing our order.  The place was overflowing with customers and the wait staff were hoofing it.  Our poor server was hit in the face by a glass before it fell and shattered (all of this happened behind a wall behind the bar) making everyone in the place pause for a few seconds after the noise of the glass as she was getting our flight together.  She was ok, thankfully, and she did a terrific job keeping up with everything for us.

IMG_2340

  The ‘Classic’ Taster Tray and the ‘Seasonal’ Tray were our flights of choice.  It was everything from the lightest lager to the most complex, intense ‘Wassail’ winter ale.  It took a little bit of coordinating to make sure we tasted everything light before moving onto the more expressive and fuller bodied beers.  ‘Session’ label, which is very widely distributed, was well represented on both trays.  If you haven’t tried them, grab some for a gathering and compare them to your favorites – I would love to know what you think.

Our Session label beers were:

Session Premium (red label) traditional pilsner, just as it should be 5.1% ABV 18 IBU

IMG_2341Session  Black (darker steel-blue label) is a bit on the sour side if that is your preference, still good 5.4% ABV 22 IBU

Session IPA (orange label) is 5.1% ABV 47 IBU with a hoppy bite in the Northwest style, especially for a Session beer

Session Export (lighter steel-blue label) is my favorite, smooth, rich and mild 5.8% ABV 28 IBU

Session Fest (dark green label) is a Czech-style red lager is a fruity, semi-dark lager; I think I will revisit this one in the summer if it is around 6.2% ABV 26 IBU

There are also the two current ‘Brewer’s Share’ on the seasonal tray.  A portion of each of these beer sales goes to a local charity:

  • Powder Stash Pale Ale is a traditional grapefruit-hop pale ale, would be fabulous on a hot summer day after working in the garden for a few hours 5% ABV 50 IBU Charity of choice is Hood River Crag Rats (mountain search and rescue)
  • Mathias’s Main Ingredient Oatmeal Stout is a rich, full-bodied dark beer, it tasted a bit burnt to me, but it could have been the temperature it was served at and it was definitely too much beer for my fish and chips benefiting the Sandy, Oregon VFW Post 4273 (we drove through Sandy on our way to Hood River that morning) 5.58% ABV 51 IBU
Outside tanks give you an idea of the production volume of Full Sail Brewing.

Outside tanks give you an idea of the production volume of Full Sail Brewing.

Full Sail classics and one seasonal remained in our tasting:

  • Cascade Pilsner is a nice mildly spicy, grapefruit pilsner 6% ABV 60 IBU
  • Amber is a classic amber ale, especially since it was an original 1989 craft beer bottled, distributed and beloved with gently malts and floral hops 6% ABV 31 IBU
  • IPA, when you know Full Sail’s clientele through the year is primarily skiers, snowboarders, kite boarders, wind surfers, and rock climbers you can almost taste the crisp, citrus rind puckering IPA after playing as hard as you can in the playground that is Hood River 6% ABV 60% IBU
  • Double Bock, the only ‘seasonal’ Full Sail in our flights, was probably my favorite of the day 7.0% ABV 34 IBU as a rich, smooth, full-bodied caramel and chocolate malt beverage – very easy to drink and it went very well with my fish and chips!

We have a full complement of Full Sail and Session bottled beers in Walla Walla, but it was fun to experience the Pub.  Another day, when we aren’t rushing off to someplace exciting we will take the tour of the brewery that is offered most weekend afternoons.  Knowing we needed to get home, do laundry and get back into our ordinary lives we didn’t even consider it.  My partner in wine was due to fly to the midwest very early the next morning and I had more than enough school work to do that was put on hold to enjoy this lovely little get-away.

Cheers!

Tagged , ,

College Cellars bottling day

This is Winter Quarter Finals week!  My seventeen credits felt much like the twenty-four from last winter, but it is so close to being wrapped up now.

We have had lovely spring weather for the last couple of weeks; not the morning when we were wrapping up our Enology Practicum by bottling of our white and Rose’ wines, it was chilly and wet.  The bottling truck was backed up on the crush pad and nearly set-up when we began gathering at 8:00 AM.  Nine wines to bottle, right around one thousand cases.  There were a few slow moments with my phone handy to take pictures.  Despite running out of glass and labels we kept things moving and had a great day.

Cheers!

Bottles and Stelvins (screwcaps) mean bottling day at College Cellars!

Bottles and Stelvins (screw caps) mean bottling day at College Cellars!

 

Nine different wines, lots of change-overs, for the day's run.

Nine different wines, lots of change-overs, for the day’s run.

Enter the bottles...

Enter the bottles…

The wine; filling the bottles.

The wine; filling the bottles.

A drop of nitrogen for an awesome way to keep oxygen out the bottle.

A drop of nitrogen for an awesome way to keep oxygen out the bottle.

Stelvin caps; much easier to put on than the foil caps on corks.

Stelvin caps; much easier to put on than the foil caps on corks.

The caps tightened to the glass with a nifty spinner apparatus.

The caps tightened to the glass with a nifty spinner apparatus.

Twirled through the labeler for both front and back dashing labels.

Twirled through the labeler for both front and back dashing labels.

Palleted cases of wine replace the empty glass of the morning.

Palleted cases of wine replace the empty glass of the morning.

Yummy BBQ & the fixings for lunch between runs.

Yummy BBQ & the fixings for lunch between runs.

The aftermath: a series of empty tanks and several yards of hose to clean up.

The aftermath: a series of empty tanks and several yards of hose to clean up.

 

Tagged , ,

Viento Wines, Hood River, Oregon

Viento Wines tasting room off of I-84 on the westside of Hood River, OR.

Viento Wines tasting room off of I-84 on the westside of Hood River, OR was Pete’s uncle’s design.

Veinto Wines, ‘viento’ meaning wind in Spanish, was established in 1986 with the first fruit from the Columbia Gorge Vineyard that was planted on family owned ground in 1981.  Rich Cushman, owner and winemaker, has participated in some capacity with many of western Oregon’s wineries since returning from Germany in 1981 after spending harvest there.  UC Davis educated, Germany interned, and Oregon cultivated, Rich is very happy to have a beautiful new tasting room, owned June 30, 2014, just outside of Hood River, where he was raised, for his own Winery.  This is a tasting room with some barrel storage space and offices in the loft all with fabulous windows overlooking the vineyard wooded property to the south.  Production is at The Gorge White House, where Viento previously shared tasting room space with some of Hood River’s other wineries.

Viento Wines winemakers, owner Rich Cushman (rt) and son Peter Cushman.

Viento Wines winemakers, owner Rich Cushman (rt) and son Peter Cushman.

The town of Hood River is known as the windsurfing capital of the world: wind, lots of it most of the year; thus, the name of the winery.  The Riesling vines were planted and hand watered for the first few years to get them established before dry farming.  It was five years after planting, fifth leaf if you will, when the first vintage of wine was made for the Viento label.  The vineyard is tucked into a meadow on the south side of the Columbia River, along the Gorge, with higher basalt ridges on the norther, Washington side of the river.  Rich’s son Joe is the vineyard manager these days while his other son Peter has followed hard on Dad’s heels making wine.

The oldest Riesling vines in the Gorge, planted in 1981 in the1.17 acre Columbia Gorge Vineyard on the family farm. A few more rows were added in 2008 for a total of 1.5 acres of Riesling.

The oldest Riesling vines in the Gorge, planted in 1981 in the1.17 acre Columbia Gorge Vineyard on the family farm. A few more rows were added in 2008 for a total of 1.5 acres of Riesling.

I sensed a bit of friendly competition between them and a tremendous amount of pride in the wines they make; well deserved as it is all great.

We were seated at the bar with some visitors from the Olympia, Washington area, next to some very scrumptious looking chocolate truffles to share our wine tastes.  Some of the grapes are Washington State sourced, some Oregon with the Riesling being the only estate grown grapes.  Apparently Peter and his wife, Sarah, made the truffles for Valentines Day!  Such talent!

Viento Wines Riesling, 9.2% ABV, and enough residual sugar to balance the acid for a lovely wine.

Viento Wines Riesling, 9.2% ABV, and enough residual sugar to balance the acid for a lovely wine.

The wines:

  • 2011 Gruner Veltliner from Underwood Mountain Vineyard in Washington is a fine balance of fruit and acidity with citrus and pepper dominating the nose and leading the palate, following through with a lovely minerality and a wonderful puckering finish.
  • 2012 Savvy from Alegre Vineyard is a New Zealand style Sauvignon Blanc with passion fruit, guava and a hint of citrus on the nose, be lying the 14.1% ABV heat and wonderfully acidic finish.
  • 2011 Retro Riesling from the old vine Estate Columbia Gorge Vineyard right outside the windows of the tasting room.  A 9.2% balance of sweet and sour on the palate is preceded by green apples, citrus and white flowers on the nose.
  • 2011 Dolcetto from the Alegre Vineyard is a nice, smooth, berry-rich and herb red that my partner in wine said reminded him instantly of the table wines he had in Rome… some day I too shall be able to say that!  It is 11.7% ABV making it a great summer-time sipper with dinner or on its own.
  • 2011 Barbera from Gunkel Vineyard, again Washington-side of the Columbia River, is earth and raspberry with a crisp, modest finish.
  • 2012 Pinot Noir from Annala Vineyard is 100% Pommard clone grown in the Hood River AVA not far from Viento Wines is light bodied, earth, black cherry and pepper with mild tannins and great acidity.  Certainly a different site than the Willamette Valley Pinot’s we have been seeking this last year and equal in quality as Rich has lots of experience with the Pinot Noir’s during his well established career in Oregon.

Peter is responsible for the Savvy and Barbera wines; he was pouring for us that day and shared lots of family stories.  He and his father consult or make wine for other local wineries, looking like they compete with themselves at times.  But, typical of the Pacific Northwest wine industry, everyone is very helpful, super generous and kind.  It was a really great visit and we look forward to stopping in as we travel through in the future.

Tagged , , , ,

Cathedral Ridge Winery, Hood River, OR

Multnoma Falls, on the Oregon side of the Columbia River.

Multnoma Falls, on the Oregon side of the Columbia River.

Deciding how to make the most of the last day of our mini-adventure we chose to leave Newberg and drive to Hood River with the intention of stopping at a couple wineries there; because we usually just travel through on our way to the Willamette Valley without making IT a destination of its own.  On our way we were able to enjoy the Multnoma Falls as they flowed rapidly toward the Columbia River on the other side of the highway.  It is mid-winter, imagine this come springtime with the snow melt!

Cathedral Ridge Winery, a quaint German-style house has the tasting room, member's club room and barrel space. Hood River, OR

Cathedral Ridge Winery, a quaint German-style house has the tasting room, member’s club room and barrel space. Hood River, OR

Our first stop, Cathedral Ridge Winery, would open in five minutes; we made good time from Newberg.  This quaint, middle-European style structure was built by the original owner of what, in 2003, became Cathedral Ridge Winery, as he focused on German style Riesling & Pinot Gris wines made from the adjacent vineyards.  There are now 24 wines, red, white, rose, and, of course, more library wines produced by Michael Sebastiani of Sonoma.  We weren’t familiar with any of the wines when we went in.  Customers are asked to choose six wines from the list, some of which aren’t open on the bar, so another selection

Cathedral Ridge Winery in Hood River, OR is an award winning winery.

Cathedral Ridge Winery in Hood River, OR is an award-winning winery.

needs to be made.  We were hard pressed to make our choices without some background, but choose we did.  I know about the unopened bottles because we managed to choose two unopened bottles out of our six; go figure.  Lorri and Monica were very helpful, answering as many questions as they could.

The wines:

  • 2012 Pinot Gris, an off-dry, stainless steel fermented wine with lovely citrus and mineral qualities.
  • NV Halbtrocken, is just what it says, half-dry, but it is a blend of red and Riesling wines.  The website says it is a ‘bold, heavy’ red, but doesn’t disclose the varietal involved.  Not a style of wine I am used to but is probably quite popular with sweeter wine drinkers.
  • 2012 Riesling, 1.5% RS with apple, peach and a pleasant citrus finish.
  • 2012 Tempranillo, spice,  raspberry fruit leather and cocoa with a fresh tobacco finish.
  • 2013 Barbera Reserve, so young, that it is already bottled and released made me curious.  It is a full, smooth wine with flavors of ripe dark fruit, spice and vanilla and a subtle finish.  Really quite nice, so much less acidic than I expected.
  • 2011 Syrah Reserve, rich in black currant and Marion berry with hints of anise, the licorice nicely supporting the fruit flavors, finishing smooth with a little bit of black pepper.
  • 2011 Zinfandel Reserve, our ‘bonus pour’ is an off-dry, fruit filled wine, it is smooth with undertones of vanilla and baking spices.
Cathedral Ridge Vineyard, Hood River, OR.

Cathedral Ridge Vineyard, Hood River, OR.

 

Cathedral Ridge Winery, production facility, Hood River, OR.

Cathedral Ridge Winery, production facility, Hood River, OR.

Cheers!

 

Tagged ,

J&J Vintners new production and tasting room facilities

Indulge me please, I am really excited to share the news that J&J Vintners is now located in the Walla Walla incubator facilities at the Airport location northeast of town.  For the last two harvest seasons I have helped make wine at the same facility they were making their wine at.  We had a couple of classes together as they finished their last few credits and I completed my first year.  Last year I spent quite a bit of time in their small estate vineyard working through my viticultural practicum hours.  The vineyard itself is Jeremy and Jody’s real-life experience planning and executing irrigation and vineyard planting during their first year in the WWCC EV program in 2008.

They recently moved into one of the Port of Walla Walla Wine Incubators; with a six-year contract for the space they hit the ground running with lots of wine to sell and an established presence in Walla Walla.  We went to the Grand Opening, which was very well attended.  You can order the wines online from their site, give them a try!

Cheers!

J&J Vintners co-owner Jeremy, pouring his wines in the barrel room of the new production facility at the WW Incubators.

J&J Vintners co-owner Jeremy, pouring his wines in the barrel room of the new production facility at the WW Incubators.

J&J Vintners co-owner Jody, pouring his wine behind the bar he created from old barrels - such talent! Go, Jody!

J&J Vintners co-owner Jody, pouring his wine behind the bar he created from old barrels – such talent!
Go, Jody!

J&J Vintner's 2012 Estate Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon come from the small vineyard I did much of my practicum work in Spring of 2014.

J&J Vintner’s 2012 Estate Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon come from the small vineyard I did much of my practicum work in Spring of 2014.

With the change in J&J winemaking facilities behind them, Jeremy & Erin are now focusing on wedding plans!  Congratulations you two!

With the change in J&J winemaking facilities behind them, Jeremy & Erin are now focusing on wedding plans! Congratulations you two!

Tagged ,

Chehalem Wines, Newberg, OR

Chehalem Wines in Newberg, OR.

Chehalem Wines in Newberg, OR.

Feeling fortunate that Chehalem Wines didn’t close at 5 PM, we went into the tasting room for the day’s last official tasting.  We had experienced a 12 Chardonnay of theirs the night before and really wanted to visit.  It was busy due to the holiday, but thinning as closing time approached.  The stations with each wine being poured had food pairings with them and still-cheerful people pouring – already a good experience.

2013 Corral Creek Riesling kick started our tasting at Chehalem Wines in Newberg, OR.

2013 Corral Creek Riesling kick started our tasting at Chehalem Wines in Newberg, OR.

The wines:

  • 2013 Corral Creek Riesling, from within the Chehalem AVA, is a delightful lemon-bar with just enough residual sugar (0.06) to balance the wine’s acid encouraging the citrus flavor and feel.    This was a new release wine and we are happy we had a taste.
  • 2012 Ridgecrest Pinot Gris, from Ribbon Ridge, is an Alsatian style Pinot Gris, light, fruit forward and crisply finished.
  • 2012 Ian’s Reserve Chardonnay, sourced from Stoller Vineyards (wrote about them here), is citrus and apple with lots of baking spices and crusty bread with a fantastic mouthfeel and finish.
  • 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir from Ridgecrest Vineyard on Ribbon Ridge was paired with wild mushroom soup - awesome!

    2012 Reserve Pinot Noir from Ridgecrest Vineyard on Ribbon Ridge was paired with wild mushroom soup – awesome!

    2013 Three Vineyard Pinot Noir, another new release, is a dark chocolate covered cherries and black tea on the nose with some bright, tart fruit on the palate.

  • 2013 Ridgecrest Gamay Noir, their last new release for the day, presented a bold, rich mixed berry salad with a Chinese five-spice and pepper and a hint of earthiness.
  • 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir from Ridgecrest Vineyard, is their reserve for a reason.  Big, ripe dark fruit, tobacco and vanilla give way to a lingering, chocolate finish.

We had high expectations of this winery and they were met well; very happy we made it here.

Cheers!

Fused glass panels light up in the Chehalem Wines tasting room in Newberg, OR.

Fused glass panels light up in the Chehalem Wines tasting room in Newberg, OR.

Tagged ,

Argyle Winery, Dundee, Oregon

Argyle Winery, Dundee, Oregon known for their widely distributed sparkling wines.

Argyle Winery, Dundee, Oregon known for their widely distributed sparkling wines.

We have, on many occasions, had a sparkling wine from one of Oregon’s most well-known wineries, Argyle Winery.  We were happy to have the opportunity to visit the tasting room in Dundee, Oregon while we were there this last visit.  Of course, that is what was poured for us first – and although that flight was great, we had come into the tasting room to try wines we hadn’t been able to find locally.  For as much wine as we produce in Washington, we don’t get much good wine from other regions; Europe, New York and the Eastern US, then the California region all get their first choice before Seattle and the west side of Washington State get much to choose from.  By the time the smaller places on the east side of Washington, where Walla Walla is, get to see wine distributor wine books we seem to get much less quality and certainly less variety.  So, we had high expectations going to the source.

Argyle Winery 2012 Spirithouse Pinot Noir, so named for the ghost of Lena E. Imus that is said to haunt the tasting room house in Dundee, Oregon.

Argyle Winery 2012 Spirithouse Pinot Noir, so named for the ghost of Lena E. Imus that is said to haunt the tasting room house in Dundee, Oregon.

We were in Pinot Noir country, yes, Chardonnay country too, but we decided to stick with red this trip.  The warm, some Oregonians have said it was the ideal, year of 2012 was on the bar with four Pinot Noir tastings.  Always looking for the story behind we discovered the current production facility was originally a Filbert (hazel nut) drying facility in its first life.  The tasting room is in an old house, likely predating 1900, that was, for a time, the City Hall of Dundee.  Argyle has been around since the late 1980’s, I believe at this site; they are building a larger, modern production facility with a new tasting room on adjacent property but there are no known plans to sell off any of the current buildings; they will be given new uses.  The old house has a history of paranormal activity, lights mysteriously going off or on, puffs of air and a smell of perfume, harmless antics in all, that are attributed to a young woman who took her own life when the father of her unborn child told her he was going to leave her.  The story is on Argyle’s website or you can expand the photo at the right to read it.  Again, there were lots of people, and the sun was setting and the light outside poor by the time we exited the tasting room or I might have risked crossing Hwy 99’s traffic to take a picture of the house.

It may help to know the vineyards a little as they each have specific attributes that make the wines what they are.

  • Knudsen Vineyard is 120 acres in the Dundee Hills AVA with some vines planted 1972 and 1974 in volcanic soils, ‘Red Jory soils’, between 630′ and 1000′.
  • Lonestar Vineyard is 160 acres planted in 1996 in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA on both volcanic and sedimentary soils between 200′ – 400′ which makes it the lowest and warmest vineyard site Argyle pulls from.
  • Spirit Hill Vineyard is 180 acres also in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA on volcanic soils at 700′- 800′ elevations.  This site is a cool site within the Van Duzer corridor, meaning the marine winds bring cool moist air further into the valley due to gaps in the hills between the ocean and the valley: fog.
  • Holstein Vineyards are the personal vineyards of Argyle’s viticulturist and one of Argyle’s founders, Allen Holstein, close by in the Dundee Hills AVA planted around 1980.
Argyle Winery 2012 Nuthouse Pinot Noir, named for the previous function, as a Filbert drying facility, of the Argyle production facility.

Argyle Winery 2012 Nuthouse Pinot Noir, named for the previous function, as a Filbert drying facility, of the Argyle production facility.

Our Pinot Noir tasting went like this:

  • 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir from the Knudsen, Lonestar and Spirit Hill Vineyards, clones 115, 667, 777, and Pommard, is alight bodied fruit forward red plum, pie cherry and pomegranate  with undertones of vanilla and toast after being barrel aged for 16 months (30% new oak) with a bright acidic finish with 13.5% ABV.
  • 2012 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir from Knudsen and Holstein Vineyards (Holstein is the viticulturist’s own vineyard) spent 16 months in barrel, same percentage of new oak as the Reserve.  This is a deeper, spicier Pinot with black currant and cedar on the nose and black cherry through the palate.
  • 2012 Nuthouse Pinot Noir from the Lonestar Vineyard, exudes rose petals and chocolate covered black cherry on the nose with licorice and cherry on the palate in a smooth, silky finish with a hint of acid.
  • 2012 Spirithouse Pinot Noir, after Ms. Imus’s spirit, is from the Knudsen Vineyard and spent 22 months in oak.  A blend of baking spice and lavender with less fruit aromas this is a young, tight wine ending with a pucker of acidity that should age nicely.

Argyle is Salmon-Safe and LIVE certified in all of the vineyards and works to be conscientious in all levels of the winery from production through shipping.

Cheers!

Tagged , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 346 other followers

%d bloggers like this: