I spent part of the day cleaning and prepping for the week, and part of the day watching collegiate baseball - congratulations to the Willamette University Bearcats for their sweep of the Whitworth Pirates! Then, true to form, I was on a quest for which wine I would open this evening. I searched through my numerous bottles, despite thinking that I had a wine in mind, and finally made a decision.
In the Fall, Josh and I had made our way to King Estate for lunch. I was a bit naive to think that
the patio would still be open, based on when we went (early October I think), but to no avail. The day was a bit chilly, probably about the same as today, but when going from Summer to Fall, the same temperature can feel very different than when going from Winter to Spring. The sky was also a more consistent overcast sky than today, but I digress. We did some tasting before we sat down to eat and one of the wines that we tried as the 2007 Signature Oregon Pinot Gris. Now I don't recall what we ate, or what wine we had with lunch, but I do know that both Josh and I enjoyed this wine so much that we each left with a bottle.
I stopped by my neighborhood grocery store, on my way home from baseball, in order to pick up a baguette and brie to enjoy with my wine. After having let the Pinot Gris chill for a while, I opened it and sat down to enjoy my evening. I opened the bottle, poured a glass and was reminded what I liked about this wine. The color on it is one that is similar to a white grape - a lightened golden color. When swirled there is a nice coat with even legs around my glass.
The nose, oh the nose here is quite good, yet is a bit deceiving. I find the nose to be more like that of a late harvest wine or dessert wine - a bit on the sweeter side (I definitely welcome anyone else, including Josh, to describe it in their own way). Other ways/things I notice about the nose include a mixture of grapes with a hint of pears/citrus. The Winemaker's Notes describe the aroma of the following: "Ripe peach, sweet grapefruit, orange blossom and tropical fruit."
I describe the palate of this wine as mixed :-) There is a quick tartness that is frequently noticeable with a Pinot Gris. But this one has the citrus flavor that is not overt, and overpowering. There is no real sweetness like the nose would imply, but as the Winemaker's Notes suggest, it is "balanced". There is no one flavor that is too domineering over the others. There no heavy aftertaste or warming feeling on the throat or the palate. It was almost as if once you swallowed it, there was really nothing left to remind you of the wine, except your memories.
I find this Pinot Gris to be a clean and enjoyable wine. What a great way to end the weekend, while preparing for what will be a long and full week! Wishing the best to all of you.
Until next time...
I found a couple of bottles of a 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon from StoneCap, a place I had never heard of. I did some reading of the bottle and some website research and found that this wine actually comes from Goose Ridge Vineyards in Kennewick, Washington, located in the Columbia River Valley. Based on the website, “StoneCap Wines are handcrafted entirely from estate grown grapes from the renowned Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard in Washington State's Columbia Valley. This expansive (1300 acres) and highly regarded vineyard allows the Monson Family to produce stunning quality wines while remaining sensibly priced.”
This particular wine is cork-less. I do recall some conversations being had about a movement about wineries going cork-less. I think part of it can be attributed to situations like Josh described in his post below. More commonly, some wine makers are moving away from corks due to cork “tainting.” An August 22, 2007 Time Magazine article writes about this movement here. I will admit that there is a stigma associated caps verses corks (I am sometimes guilty of falling into that stigma, but I am getting better). I tried to find anything on the StoneCap website about why their wines might be cork less, but to no avail.
I opened this bottle of Cab Sauv and let it sit for over an hour while I did some work in my apartment. Upon pouring this vine for my first glass, I caught the very deep rich cherry red type color that came from the bottle into my stem-less glass. Secondly I was struck by the scent of this wine. I was sitting on my couch and had the wine bottle and glass on my coffee table, at least a foot away and I could start to smell this wine. While not overly strong yet (I have not brought the glass to my nose), I can smell the fruit of this wine. When I bring the glass to my nose, I smell a full wood scent. I can smell the grapes, but not in a fruity way. The nose of this is very full. The swirl and legs on this Cab Sauv are thick and somewhat even.
All of the previous things led me to have quite high hopes for what this wine will taste like. I will admit that Cabernet Sauvignons are really hit or miss with me, so I acknowledge that potential bias. But what I am finding I like about this wine is that I like it because it isn’t an overpowering wine on the palate. It isn’t completely bland, but it isn’t this outstanding wine, although I think it is great because you can really just sit and enjoy it. I don’t feel guilty about drinking this while just munching on some crackers and doing some work. This is a great wine because it just is. The nose, and hue, and way it rests on the palate make this a great just everyday kind of wine. And for me, this proves to be a good way to put a cap on a long week, and laying a stone in the foundation of a week to come.
Until next time…
In late January I was headed to a university recruitment event in Ashland and was a few hours ahead of schedule, so I popped off of I-5 at Medford and headed up the hill following the signs to RoxyAnn Winery. It was a sunny day, which always enhances my wine experience. From the minute I walked into the tasting room I was sold on the pleasant country-like atmosphere. Located in the historic Hillcrest barn, the tasting room is the type of place where you want to bring a picnic, grab a bottle of wine, and spend the afternoon. While I was there they were gearing up for a movie night in the tasting room and I would have loved to stick around if I had the time.
Given that it was a weekday afternoon, I pretty much had the place to myself and the staff went
RoxyAnn, a family-owned winery, produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Tempranillo, Viognier and Syrah off of their estate vineyard. They market a number of additional wines in the tasting room through marketing partnerships, many made in the local area or on the RoxyAnn property. During my visit, I was able to spend a few minutes with the new winemaker -- John Quinones – who was all of 2 weeks on the job at that point. With 20 years in the field and training from UC Davis, John is well braced to take the winery to the next level as they further ramp up production, while continuing the excellence people have come to know. His philosophy is simple, "A winemaker can't craft wines that surpass the quality of the fruit - it's our job to fully develop, preserve, and showcase what comes from the vineyard. With appropriate viticulture practices, desired flavor profiles, balance, and texture can be developed in the vineyard, long before the grapes are brought into the winery."
While John would have loved to spend an hour talking of the technical aspects of the wine and production with me, I’m not primarily a technical kind of guy. What I’m about is the atmosphere, and any winery where the winemaker will come out and chat with customers is my kind of place. I walked away with a couple bottles of Claret (40% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Cabernet Franc) a silver at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, and their limited production Syrah. I haven’t opened either yet, but will certainly report on the wine when I have done so. All in all, a great afternoon. Next time you are in the Rogue Valley and are looking for some big reds, stop by RoxyAnn.