More Red Blends On Long Island

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Long Island wine country is about a hundred miles East of Manhattan. From my neighborhood it’s an easy drive on the Long Island expressway straight East as the crow flies to the end of the highway at exit 73. Make a quick right at the outlet mall and keep driving East until you come across the wineries. The road splits in two, main road (route 25) and sound avenue with wineries lining both roads.

On an overcast Sunday afternoon I took another drive out and sampled red blends.

 

Peconic Cellar Door  2885 Peconic Lane, Peconic

This tasting room shares the same building at the Winemakers Studio, they pour wines from wineries that don’t have their own tasting rooms.

2014 As If Wines “Persistence”. This is the first time I’ve tried wines from this producer, they buy local grapes and vinify at a local crush.

A blend of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon, very dark purple with a purple rim, dark chocolate and sour cherry notes on the nose, tight, bright fruit with crisp acidity and some stemmines on the finish.

 

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Mattebella Vineyards  46005 Main Road, Southhold.

The is a small, mom and pop vineyard operation using sustainable viticultural practices for their Italian heritage influenced wines with a small, cozy tasting room.

2008 “Old World Blend”. A blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. One of the owners was pouring and highly recommended that I try this wine because the wine has aged well and at its peak now. Dark red to black in color with crushed dark fruit and some mint on the nose, chewy dusty fruit and silky tannins, roast nuts and violets on the finish. If I would have tasted this wine blind I would have guessed Chianti.

 

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Lenz Vineyards  38355 Main Road, Peconic

One of the original wineries out east, established in 1978.

2014 Merlot “Estate”. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, Black and thick in color, peppermint and crushed rocks on the nose, tight, plummy fruit with tart, firm acids at the end.  

 

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Roanoke Vineyards Tasting Room, Love Lane, Mattituck.

Long Island’s only membership based vineyard, their tasting room is on Love Lane, a two block long business district with a nice deli across the street and a cheese shop next door.

2015 “Marco Tulio“. About an equal blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, dark red, damp earth and slate on the nose, chewy dark fruit, balance acidity with chocolate notes on the finish.

 

 

Planet Bordeaux NYC

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Planet Bordeaux is a French trade organization that represents the wineries of the Bordeaux AOC and Bordeaux Superieur appellations from the world’s largest fine-wine vineyards. Bordeaux is justifiably famous for its grand cru wines from the famous Chateaux. Those wines are also very expensive but these off the radar regional wines, which are over half the production of the Bordeaux appellation, are more accessible in both price and style.

In February and March the organization held various trade and consumer tastings of its member wineries around New York City. On Sunday evening March 4th, they held a tasting for members of the trade. That tasting was held at O’Cabanon restaurant located at 245 West 29th street in Manhattan.

They poured sparkling wines, whites and several reds, many from the excellent 2015 vintage but from other vintages as well. I wasn’t familiar with many of the producers but there were some nice drinking wines that didn’t break the bank.

Some of what I sampled:

 

2010 Chateau Montlau

2012 Domaine del Ile Margaux

2014 Domaine del Ile Margaux

2012 Chateau La Rose du Pin

2014 M de Monsegur Reserve Cabernet Franc

2013 Chateau Boutinet

2014 Chateau Donjon de Bruignac

2014 Chateau de Seguin Cuvee Carpe Diem

2014 Chateau La France Cuvee Gallus

2015 Chateau Grand Jean

2015 Chateau Lauduc

2015 Chateau Lauduc Grande Cuvee

2015 Chateau Montlau

2015 Chateau de Bel

2015 Chateau Tayet Cuvee Prestige

2016 Chateau Haut Favereau

2016 Ipsum Carmenere

 

Malbec On Long Island

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Malbec is one of the varietals allowed in the Bordeaux blend but not widely grown there today. It is however, the most important grape in Cahors in the south-western part of France and in Argentina where it usually makes for a beefier wine than in Cahors. Out on Long Island production is limited and a few wineries bottle it on its own. I drove out one Sunday afternoon to try some. These cool weather wines had more in common with Cahors than Argentina.

 

Lenz Winery 38355 Main Road, Peconic

Lenz is celebrating its 39th year which makes it ancient on the north fork. They are known for their Merlot but they bottle a Malbec as well.

2014 Malbec: Black with a purple rim, slate and black fruit on the nose, graphite and slate notes on the juicy fruit ending with dusty tannins.

 

Bedell Cellars 36225 Main Road, Cutchogue

Family owned winery with an always crowded tasting room.

2016 Malbec: Dark purple with a purple rim, crushed stone and cooked fruit on the nose with mint notes starting to show as the wine opened in the glass, tight, sour cherry notes on the light finish.

 

Shinn Estate Vineyard 2000 Oregon Road, Mattituck

Established in 2000 and whose motto is “heritage, history & heart”, they recently changed ownership.

2013 Malbec: About 38 cases produced, black in color, sweet berry, mint and dark violets on the nose, dark and concentrated fruit with tart blueberry notes.

 

 

Matter of Taste New York 2017

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Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate presented its Matter of Taste wine event on Sunday, December 3rd. It was the final event of the year of their global tasting series that had similar events held in London, Singapore and Macau. This year’s theme was The Ultimate Cult Cabernets and Champagne and featured over 300 wines rated 90 points or more by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

The event was held at the Conrad hotel located at 102 North End Avenue in lower Manhattan and was a walk-around tasting with a couple of seminars thrown in.

Wines were offered from many of the wine-producing countries of the world but the stars of the afternoon were the Cult Cabernets from California. There were many high-end wines from Washington State as well. As with tastings of this size I had to focus my efforts and that focus was on the California wines. Without a doubt this was one of the best tastings of the year with a copious amount of the best wines from California available for tasting.

Some of what I sampled:

California

2014 B Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Dark purple, green herbs and dark chocolate on the nose with chewy, cocoa and tobacco fruit on the nice balance.

2013 Blackbird Vineyards Paramour Proprietary Red (Napa Valley). Mostly Cabernet Franc, black in color, graphite on the nose, tight with teeth coating tannins at the end.

2014 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon “Ganymede” (Napa Valley). Black, warm cooked fruit on the nose, concentrated and thick with green herbs on the finish, moderate tannins and acids.

2013 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon “Tomahawk” (Napa Valley). Black, crushed black fruit and sage on the nose, concentrated with firm tannins, moderate acidity.

2013  Chimney Rock “Elevage” (Stags Leap District). Bordeaux blend, Black with a sweet perfume of violets and cooked ripe fruit, tight and concentrated black fruit with a good grip on the balanced finish.

2015 Clos du Val Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley). Black, dark chocolate on the nose, chewy, dark chocolate fruit with silky, firm tannins.

2015 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon “Hirondelle Estate” (Napa Valley). Black, green vegetable nose, black fruit, firm finish, nice balance

2014 DuMol Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark purple, green herbs on the nose, concentrated with nice balance.

2011 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mt). Dark red to black, green herbs on the nose, moderate fruit with tobacco notes on the nicely balanced finish.

2012 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mt). Black with green herbs and dark chocolate on the nose, dusty, firm, with cocoa notes on the balanced finish.

2015 Gemstone Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Alluvial Selection” (Napa Valley). Dark purple with tobacco and green herbs on the nose, chewy with moderate tannin and acids.

2013 Hertelendy Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Black in color, cinnamon spice on the nose, tight and concentrated with silky tannins and coffee notes on the nicely balanced finish.

2014 Hertelendy Audère Red Blend (Napa Valley). Black, sweet black cherry on the nose, concentrated and tight with big tannins.

2014 Joseph Phelps “Insignia” (Napa Valley). Black in color, roasted nuts on the nose with tight, silky red fruit with tobacco notes on the firm and balanced finish.

2013 Laurel Glen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” (Sonoma). Black with a perfume of black leather, chewy and chunky with a nice balance.

2014 Larkmead Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon “Solari” (Napa Valley). Black, closed nose of tree bark, concentrated and juicy with a balanced finish.

2013 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon “Lot 1” (Napa Valley). Black, dark chocolate and dark red fruit on the nose, dusty, cocoa and nice silky tannin on the fruit.

2014 Martin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Collector’s Reserve” (Napa Valley). Dark red with graphite and fresh herbs on the nose, dusty slate notes on the concentrated fruit, nice grip.

2015 Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “Animo” (Napa Valley). Dark purple, plum and green herbs on the nose, deep red fruit with a moderate to long finish.

2013 Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “M” (Napa Valley). Single vineyard Cabernet, dark purple to black, graphite and dark chocolate on the nose, firm and balanced on the long finish.

2013 Mauriston Wines Cabernet Sauvignon “Suther” (Sonoma). Dark purple with a perfume of smoky violets, dusty black cherry fruit ending with teeth coating tannins.

2014 Newton Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder). Dark red to black, sweet black fruit on the nose, green herb notes on the concentrated fruit, drops a bit at the end.

2004 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mtn). Black with a perfume of mint, tar and crushed sweet black fruit, juicy, crushed fruit, moderate acidity, tasty.

2004 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder). Black, sweet perfume of plums and toast, dusty concentrated, firm finish.

2014 Quintessa Winery Red Blend (Napa Valley). Bordeaux blend, dark purple, green herbs on the nose, juicy fruit with nice balance and a long finish.

2013 Sbragia Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Monte Rosso” (Napa Valley). Black, camphor, black fruit on the nose, chewy black licorice fruit ending with firm tannins.

2013 Sbragia Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Godspeed Vineyard” (Sonoma). Black, big perfume of mint, tight and concentrated with toast notes on the firm finish.

2013 Sojourn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Vineyard George III” (Napa Valley). Dark red, fresh herbs on the nose, dusty black fruit with a nice finish.

2014 Sojurn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville). Medium red, closed nose of spice with dusty red fruit and a long finish.

2010 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon “MM Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Black with tobacco and red cherry on the nose, chewy tobacco notes on the balanced fruit.

Others

2010 Chateau Phelan-Segur (St-Estephe). Dark red, nice perfume of tar, tight dark fruit with silky tannins on the moderate to long finish.

2008 Ducru Beaucaillou (St-Julien). Dark red, camphor and petroleum on the nose with concentrated dark fruit with a grip of bitter black cherry at the end.

2014 La Croix de Beaucaillou (St-Julien). Medium red with herbs and toast on the nose, bell pepper notes on the moderate fruit and firm tannins.

 

More Rosé On Long Island

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We’re now at the dog days of Summer which in New York City usually means hot sweltering days and muggy nights reminding me of some the lyrics from the 1966 Loving Spoonful song “Summer in the City” about the back of me head getting dirty and gritty.

But not this Summer. It has been unusually mild and comfortable with Spring like temperatures and low humidity. It still is rosé season though and I drove out East to try some more.

 

Winemaker Studio  2885 Peconic Lane, Peconic

The Studio is a 100 year old general store owned by winemaker Anthony Nappa as a cooperative tasting room to showcase and taste his wines as well as the wines of Vineyards that don’t have their own tasting rooms. Since I was there last the deli next door was converted into another tasting room.

2016 Saltbird “Roseate”

This is the first wine I’ve tried from this producer. Made from a Syrah and Cabernet Franc blend, medium pink, crushed strawberry on the nose, light fruit, low acid, a little neutral but easy drinking.

 

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Kontokosta Winery  825 North Road, Greenport

This winery is a fairly new one on the east end wine scene with the North Fork’s “first and only waterfront winery and tasting room”. About as far East as you can get on the north fork of the island near the town of Greenport. It’s a huge if a little sterile, property with views of the Long Island sound.

2016 Rosé

A blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Light copper in color, honeydew on the nose with green herbs on the fruit, low acids.

 

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Laurel Lake Vineyards  3165 Main Road, Laurel

A small vineyard owned by Chilean and American vintners.

2016 “Lake Rosé”

Made from Cabernet Sauvignon. Pale pink in color, cantaloupe on the nose, juicy melon notes on the fruit, moderate acidity.

 

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Paumonok Vineyards  1074 Main Road, Aquebogue

One of the original wineries founded in 1983

2016 Rosé

A Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blend. Rust in color with asparagus notes on the nose with crisp cherry notes on the fruit.

 

 

Golden Gate Wine Cellars NYC Tasting

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Golden Gate Wine Cellars is a San Francisco based wine retail store that specializes in hard to find boutique and cult wineries. This past Saturday they held their 12th anniversary East coast wine tasting in New York City.

The event was held at the New York City Fire Museum at 278 Spring Street in Manhattan. The museum houses “one of the prominent collections of fire related art, artifacts, gear and apparatus from the late 18th century to the present”

The tasting showcased small and off the radar California wineries with the owner/winemaker on hand behind the tables to pour their wines and answer questions.

Some of what I sampled:

 

Argot Vineyards

2014 Chardonnay “Estate” (Sonoma). Medium yellow, tropical fruit on the nose, juicy, cinnamon fruit.

2014 Pinot Noir “Estate” (Sonoma). Dark red, brick rim, crushed black fruit and cooked plum on the nose, silky, chewy fruit, nice grip on the finish.

2013 Syrah (Sonoma). Black, closed nose, silky, dusty and chewy fruit, nice balance.

 

Attune Winery

2015 Chardonnay (Sonoma). Light gold, melon on the nose, toasty oak notes on the fruit.

2014 Pinot Noir “Estate” (Sonoma). Medium red, brick rim, fresh herbs and dark crushed berries on the nose, tight and firm fruit.

 

Coho Winery

2013 Cab Blend “Headwaters” (Napa Valley). Dark red, closed nose of crushed rocks mint and petrol, chunky and chewy with good balance.

2013 Merlot “Michael Black” (Napa Valley). Black, crushed red fruit on the nose, chewy black licorice fruit, firm balance.

2012 Proprietary Red “C2” (Napa Valley). Dark red, smoky bacon notes on the nose, silky and tight.

 

Dumol Winery

2015 Chardonnay (Russian River Valley). Medium gold, toasty kiwi on the nose, juicy tropical fruit, oak notes on the firm fruit, some heat.

2015 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley). Medium red, crushed rock on the nose, chewy red leather, bitter cherry on the finish.

2015 Syrah (Russian River Valley). Black, purple rim, closed nose of slate, dusty slate fruit, juicy nice balance.

 

Y. Rousseau Winery

2013 Merlot “Pepe” Cavedale  Vineyard. Dark red, brown rim, mint and plum on the nose, tight, pruney with firm acids.

2013 Tannat “Alder Springs” (Mendocino). From a 2.9 acre plot, black with crushed blueberry on the nose, chunky, rustic with a firm finish.

 

Purlieu Winery

2014 Chardonnay “Shibumi Knoll” (Russian River Valley). Medium gold, peaches and tropical fruit on the nose, juicy tropical fruit with lime notes on the finish.

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Black, crushed red berry on the nose, juicy, crushed black fruit and rocks with a juicy finish.

 

Young Ridge Winery

2015 Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley). Light yellow, grassy, cantaloupe on the nose with damp earth on the moderate finish.

 

Inherit The Sheep

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (Coombsville). Black with a tight nose of strawberries, concentrated and chewy with good balance.

 

Bohème Carte Blanche

2013 Pinot Noir “Stuller” (Sonoma). Medium to light red, big perfume of crushed strawberry and damp earth with juicy strawberry on the moderate finish.

2013 Proprietary Red Blend (Napa Valley). Dark red to black with crushed fresh herbs on the nose, tight with good balance. 

 

B. Kosuge

2014 Pinot Noir “The Shop” (Carneros). Medium brick with plum notes on the nose, tight berry and smoke on the fruit with good balance.

 

MC4 Vineyards

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” (St. Helena). 126 cases from a one acre plot. Black with barnyard, burnt bacon and turpentine on the nose, concentrated fruit with mouth watering tannins on the finish.

 

Post Parade Winery

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon “Stretch Drive” (Napa Valley). Black, red cherry and black cherry on the nose, juicy red fruit on the finish.

 

Lieu Dit Winery

2015 Sauvignon Blanc (Santa Ynez). Light yellow with honeydew on the nose, tight with citrus notes on the finish.

 

 

 

 

Rosé On Long Island

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With the Summer season around the corner, it’s now time to drink some rosé. Most Long Island wineries produce a rosé which is usually one of their biggest sellers as it’s snapped up by thirsty locals. There are no GSM blends out East since the varietals of Grenache and Mourvedre are not grown as far as I know, and Syrah grown very little, the wines can’t be said to be made in the style of the wines of Provence or Languedoc wines of the South of France, but they do just fine with the grapes the have.

This past Sunday I travelled to the North Fork to try a few.

 

Bedell’s Tap Room at Corey Creek  45470 Route 25, Southold

This is the sister property to Bedell Vineyards, the comfortable tasting room was recently remodeled and opened a couple of weeks ago. They serve all their wines on tap except for one pét-nat Gewürztraminer.

2016 Rosé

An unspecified blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Medium pink with a slight fizz, bubblegum and honeydew melon on the nose and melon notes on the fruit. Moderate to low acids make for an easy drinking wine. The pét-nat was interesting.

 

Croteaux Vineyards  1450 South Harbor Road, Southold

They make rosé and only rosé and say they are the only vineyard in the United States to do so. They have a gorgeous tasting barn and garden in the back for a relaxing tasting.

2016 Rosé Merlot 181 “Sauvage”

One of several rosé they produce, fermented with wild, natural yeast in 100% stainless steel. Pale pink in color with damp earth and melon on the nose, melon on the fruit and the moderate to low acids make for another easy drinking wine.

 

Jamesport Vineyards   1216 Route 25, Jamesport

From one of the original wineries on the North Fork founded in 1981 with the winery and tasting room in a 165 year-old barn.

2015 Rosé “East End”

Made from 100% Syrah, darker in color than the previous two wines, red candy on the nose with chewy, peppery fruit ending with moderate acids.

 

 

Oregon: Eola-Amity Hills AVA

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Driving southward towards the Mid Willamette Valley I spent a couple of days touring wineries in the Eola-Amity AVA (about an hour south of Portland). The AVA is anchored in the Southeast by the state capital of Salem and contains over 33 wineries.

A distinguishing characteristic of this AVA is the Van Duzer Corridor. The corridor is a gap in the Western coastal mountain range of the Willamette valley which lets the cool Pacific Ocean maritime air flow into the AVA. Besides making for many breezy days, the winds help dry out the vineyards which controls mildew and rot. It also drops the nighttime temperatures about 28° F. which helps the grapes to retain acidity.

 

Cristom Vineyards  6905 Spring Valley Rd

Family run winery with the estate wines named after the family matriarchs, Dustin in the tasting room provided an excellent tasting experience the day we visited.

2014 Pinot Noir “Mt Jefferson”: A blend of grapes from each estate, medium purple, barnyard on the nose, silky black fruit with mint notes, a good grip and silky tannins on the finish.

2013 Pinot Noir “Estate”: Combines barrels from all four of their estate Pinot Noir vineyards, Medium red, sour cherry, dark chocolate and menthol on the nose, moderate fruit, dusty tannins and good balance.

2014 Pinot Noir “Eileen Vineyard”: Medium purple, pretty nose of barnyard and dark chocolate, silky pretty fruit of red licorice and dark chocolate, great balance, long finish.

2014 Syrah: Dark red to black with a purple rim, black leather on the nose, big mouthful of roast meat, slate on the dark fruit, great balance.

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Van Duzer Vineyards  11975 Smithfield Rd

2015 Pinot Gris: Medium gold, tropical fruits on the nose, crisp with big lime notes on the finish.

2013 Pinot Noir “Dijon Blocks”: A blend of six Pinot noir clones, medium to light purple, barnyard and menthol notes on the nose, chewy black licorice, tight red cherry fruit.

2012 Pinot Noir “Bieze Vineyards”: Medium purple, sweet red licorice on the nose, red licorice fruit followed by crisp red fruit on the finish.

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Saint Innocent Winery  5657 Zena Rd

Winery had a “sip and savor” wine tasting option where 3 very tasty appetizers are served with wine pairings.

2015 Pinot Noir “Villages Cuvée”: A blend from five vineyards, medium purple, cherry jam on the nose, red cherry fruit, moderate tannins and acids.

2013 Pinot Noir “Zenith Vineyard”: Light brick, perfume of sour fruit, bright red cherry fruit, moderate acids.

2013 Pinot Noir “Freedom Hill”: Medium purple, walnuts on the nose, bright dusty fruit, crisp finish.

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Bethel Heights Vineyards  6060 Bethel Heights Rd

Winery established in 1977, all wines produced from estate owned vineyards.

2014 Chardonnay “Justice Vineyard”: Medium gold, big nose of tropical fruits, pineapple and oak with creamy lemon custard on the fruit and roasted nuts on the firm finish.

2013 Pinot Noir “Justice Vineyard”: Medium to dark brick with stewed plums and crushed black fruit on the nose, tight black cherry fruit followed by firm tannins.

2014 Pinot Noir “Flat Block”: Medium purple, pencil shavings on the nose, juicy plums on the fruit, minerals and red licorice on the finish, balanced.

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Willamette Valley Vineyards  8800 Enchanted Way SE

The vineyard is a few minutes south of the city of Salem, just outside the AVA boundary, huge building on top of a hill with many tasting rooms, a restaurant and nice views.

2013 Pinot Noir “Dundee Hills”: Brick in color, barnyard and sour cherry notes on the nose, black licorice on the fruit, moderate acids and a long finish.

2013 Pinot Noir “Chelahem  Mts”: Brick in color, pretty perfume of tree bark and black licorice, silky fruit with earth notes, chewy red leather and a bright finish.

2015 Pinot Noir “Founders Reserve”: Medium red, plum and menthol on the nose, silky, chewy black cherry and leather fruit, bright acids at the end.

Oregon: Dundee Hills AVA

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The Dundee Hills AVA is about 28 miles southwest of Portland. Some of the first vineyards in Oregon were planted in the iron-rich, volcanic soils of the region and many of the states most famous wineries are located in this AVA. Over 40 wineries are here. Since it is close to Portland, the weekends will be crammed with day-trippers.

 

Domaine Drouhin  6750 NE Breyman Orchard Rd

This winery is probably the most famous vineyard in the state. The Drouhin family purchased land here in 1987 which is at the same latitude of the Burgundy region in France. Kellie, the Hospitality Concierge was a gracious hostess. They are releasing a second label called ” Arthur”.

2015 Chardonnay Estate “Arthur”: Medium yellow with green herbs and oak notes on the nose, white chocolate on the fruit with good structure.

2014 Pinot Noir “Dundee Hills”: Dark purple, crushed dark fruit and green herbs on the nose, concentrated, plum notes with a silky finish.

2013 Pinot Noir “Cuvée Lauréne”: Medium amber with a pretty nose of violets and earth, sweet red leather fruit, firm, long finish.

2008 Pinot Noir: Brick color, barnyard on the nose, tight and tannic.

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Stoller Family Estate  16161 NE McDougall Rd

We had an appointment and they did not disappoint with a private tasting.

2015 Pinot Noir “Reserve”: Medium purple, dried herbs and red fruit on the nose, tight, red silky fruit.

2014 Pinot Noir “Helen’s”: From 2 acres of land, medium purple, roasted meat on the nose, chewy, black licorice fruit, great grip, black olives on the long finish.

2014 Syrah: From one acre of land planted, dark purple, roasted meat and bacon drippings n the nose, deep concentration with silky dark cherry fruit.

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Domaine Serene  6555 Hilltop Ln

2014 Chardonnay “Cote Sud”: Medium gold, mango, tropical fruit on the nose, tight fruit, balanced finish.

2014 Pinot Noir “Yamhill Cuvée”: Medium purple, pretty perfume of black olives, silky red fruit, still young, tannins need to smooth out.

2014 Pinot Noir “Evenstad Reserve”: Medium purple, spicy, Asian spices on the nose, juicy, black licorice and red cherry fruit followed with crisp acids.

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Sokol Blosser Winery  5000 Sokol Blosser Ln

2013 Pinot Noir “Goosepen Bock”: From 2.5 acres, brick color, barnyard on the nose, silky, tarry notes and leather on the fruit, finishes with black pepper notes.

2013 Pinot Noir “Legacy Cuvée”: Brick in color, tart, barnyard nose, juicy, chewy black licorice fruit, firm finish.

2014 Pinot Noir “Bigtree Block”: Light brick, barnyard and red cherry on the nose, red cherry fruit, firm finish, peppery.

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Soter Vineyards  10880 NE Mineral Springs Rd

Ok so technically, this vineyard is just west of the Dundee Hills AVA in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA but close enough. Modernistic tasting room with a big kitchen and 32 acres planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Wine host met us in the parking lot with glasses of rosé in hand.

2015 North Valley Chardonnay: Their non estate Chard, medium gold with green tints, dried white flowers and green herbs on the nose, tight and dry with lime and tropical fruit notes on the finish.

2014 North Valley Origin “Yamhill-Carlton”: Medium purple, light barnyard and red cherry on the nose, silky red fruit, nicely balanced.

2014 Soter Pinot Noir “Mineral Springs Ranch”: Dark purple, closed nose of crushed black fruit with a hint of rosemary, black licorice on the tight fruit with firm, dusty tannins at the end. Still young.

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The Four Graces  9605 NE Foxfarm Rd

2014 Pinot Noir “Willamette”: Medium purple, crushed plums and slate on the nose, silky red cola on the fruit followed with some astringency at the finish.

2014 Pinot Noir “Reserve”: Medium purple, barnyard, crushed black fruit and crushed rock on the nose, with bright red fruit and firm tannins and acids.

2014 Pinot Noir “Lindsay’s Reserve”: Medium purple, green herbs, red licorice on the nose, chunky red fruit with mouth coating tannin at the finish.

2014 Pinot Noir “Foley Family Estate”: Medium purple to brick, barnyard notes on the nose, juicy red licorice fruit, balanced finish, silky tannins.

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Roco Winery  13260 NE Red Hills Rd

This is a small winery on the northern border of Dundee HIlls.

2014 Pinot Noir “Wit’s End”: Light red to brick in color, closed nose with some stinkiness with bright red cherry fruit.

2014 Pinot Noir “Private Stash #12”: Light red, red licorice and leather on the nose, bright cherry fruit, moderate to long finish, firm acids.

2014 Pinot Noir “The Stalker”: Light brick, tree bark and black licorice on the nose, medium to light juicy fruit with good acidity.

2014 Pinot Noir “Fossil Block”: From a single block of vines, medium red, black licorice and smoke on the nose, concentrated, silky, firm with a long finish.

 

 

Oregon: Chehalem Mtns & McMinnville AVAs

 

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On the first week of April I took a road trip to the Willamette Valley in Oregon to meet some colleagues for a week of wine tasting, visiting the various AVA’s. It was  the first time for me visiting the Pacific Northwest. The wine country of Willamette Valley is about 150 miles long with 500+ wineries specializing in Pinot Noir with Pinot Gris as the predominate white grape though Chardonnay is starting to make a comeback. Some producers made some Riesling and Viogner as well and for many wineries I visited, the pet project for many wine makers was producing a cool weather Syrah.

The Willamette Valley became an AVA (American Viticultural Area) in 1983 and was further divided into six sub-AVAs in the early 2000’s.

My first day of the Oregon wine crawl began in the Chehalem Mountains AVA (established in 2006), the appellation has the highest mountains in the Willamette valley and 31 wineries and it’s about a 45 minute drive south of Portland. The McMinnville AVA (established in 2005) is further south with fewer wineries about 10 minutes south of the town of McMinnville.

Wine country around here is beautiful rolling green hills, fresh air and hospitable people, and at this time of year, cool, misty weather. It reminded me of Umbria in Italy except without the hillside, Medieval towns.

 

Coeur de Terre Vineyards (McMinnville21000 SW Eagle Point Rd.

A real Mom & Pop operation started from scratch with passion and hard work by Scott and Lisa Neal. A drive on dirt roads to the hilltop winery, I was lucky to have Lisa Neal on hand to explain the wines that day.

2013 Pinot Noir Oregon: Their restaurant “wine by the glass” wine. Light red with red cherry and barnyard notes on the nose, cherry licorice on the fruit, easy drinking.

2012 Pinot Noir Heritage Reserve: Medium red, menthol on the nose, silky tannins on the red cherry fruit.

2012 Pinot Noir “Tallulah’s Run”: Dark red, toast and crushed black fruit and violets on the nose, concentrated and silky fruit with silky tannins on the firm finish.

2013 Pinot Noir “Abbey’s Block”: Medium red, sweet red fruit and minerals on the nose, concentrated red cherry fruit, good grip and balance.

2012 Pinot Noir “Sarah Jane’s Block”: Medium to dark purple, stinky barnyard on the nose, concentrated and silky fruit ending with firm tannins.

2012 Pinot Noir “Renelle’s Block”: Medium red with a pretty perfume of violets, red flowers and fresh herbs, chunky red fruit with silky tannins and a nice grip the end.

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Bergström Winery (Chehalem Mtns18215 NE Calkins Ln.

A drive into the hills brings you to a minimalist tasting room overlooking the vineyards.

2014 Chardonnay “Sigrid”  Medium gold, toast, lime and petroleum on the nose, the fruit is lighter than the aroma with tropical fruit notes. Very complex nose.

2015 Pinot Noir “Gregory Ranch”:  Medium red with a purple rim, green herbs on the nose, tight silky fresh herbs on the fruit. Good balance and structure.

2015 Pinot Noir “Shea”:  85 acres planted, medium purple with a pretty perfume of crushed red fruit and tea.

2015 Pinot Noir “Silice”:  Light purple, earth, slate and black fruit on the nose, tight green herbs and tannins showing through on the fruit, balanced.

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Rex Hills Vineyard (Chehalem Mtns30835 North Highway 99W.

Winery located just outside the town of Newberg, gateway to the Willamette Valley and a sister property of A-Z Wineworks.

2016 A-Z Rosé: Made from Sangiovese, very light red, ripe strawberry and watermelon on the nose, light strawberry jam on the fruit, nice balance.

2014 Rex Hills Chardonnay:  Light yellow, toast and butterscotch on the nose, tight with oak notes on the finish.

2014 Rex HIlls Pinot Noir “Willamette Valley”: Medium red with bacon grease and black fruit on the nose, tight with pine notes on the fruit, firm finish.

2014 Rex Hills Pinot Noir “Jacob-Hart”: 36 acres of biodynamic vineyards, clear, medium red, roast meat and crushed black fruit on the nose, silky concentration with great balance and a long finish.