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The Feliz Wine Pairings of Cinco de Mayo

Date: Wed, May 5, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

I know it is tough to give up the Corona or Margarita when it comes to beverage pairings with your Mexican dishes, but give these wine recommendations a try:

A snappy medium-bodied Sauvignon Blanc with noticeable acidity will refresh your palate whether you like your guacamole mild or spicy. The herbal flavors compliment jalapeño chiles or lime well. My recommendation: Spangler 2008 Sauvignon Blanc (on special for $17 right now).

But, acidity doesn't just have to come from white wine. A Tempranillo or Pinot Noir is high in acid as well and also brings earthy flavors that combine well with red chile sauces. My recommendations: Abacela 2007 Tempranillo Cuvée($20) and Misty Oaks 2006 Stuckagain Heights Pinot Noir ($26).

Soft, juicy Zinfandels with massive fruit flavors can be sensational with heavier Mexican dishes. My recommendation: Troon Vineyard 2008 Kubli Bench Zinfandel.

Syrah, with deep berry flavors, can cushion robust seasonings. My recommendation: Folin Cellars 2007 Estate Syrah($30).

Avoid oaked Chardonnay.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

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Join Us this Summer for Wine & Rafting!

Date: Wed, May 5, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

As promised, here are the details of our Rogue River Rafting and Wine Tour! We have teamed up with Rogue River Outfitters to create a rafting and wine trip of a lifetime.

The trip will take place July 10-12th where we will float the beautiful Rogue River and enjoy fabulous meals paired with the best wines of Southern Oregon. Chris and I have been brainstorming creative food and wine pairings for the last three nights and we can't wait to share them with the group. Maybe I will leak a few of our picks soon :) Ohh... and one of the nights we will be stay at the exclusive Paradise Ranch... which I am also really looking forward too.

Limited seats are available, so book now!

We hope to see you on the river,

Chris & Christine
(pictured at the scenic Rainie Falls trail along the Rogue River)


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Southern Oregon Wineries Win 24.8% of Oregon Wine Awards

Date: Tue, May 4, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

NOT BAD! Especially since Southern Oregon wineries only represent less than 12% of all Oregon wineries. Great showing!

On March 20th and 21st Waverley Country Club in Portland, Oregon played host to the second annual Oregon Wine Awards featuring a prominent panel of respected wine professionals, buyers, writers and sommeliers who tasted and evaluated hundreds of Oregon wines in a single-blind format (meaning grape variety or wine style is known, but not the price nor producer) and awarded the top wines with Gold, Silver and Bronze Grand Awards of Excellence.

Double Gold ~ Best of The Best
Gold ~ Consensus Best in Class
Silver ~ Consensus 2nd Best in Class
Bronze ~ Consensus 3rd Best in Class
OUTSTANDING ~ Outstanding Wine Award


"THE WHITES"

Chardonnay
DOUBLE GOLD 2008 Emerson Vineyards Chardonnay, Willamette Valley
DOUBLE GOLD 2007 King Estate Signature Chardonnay, Oregon
DOUBLE GOLD 2006 Pheasant Valley Winery Chardonnay, Columbia Gorge
GOLD 2008 Luminous Hills “Seven of Hearts Chardonnay,” Yamhill-Carlton
GOLD 2008 Pudding River Wine Cellars Chardonnay, Willamette Valley
GOLD 2007 Rex Hill Chardonnay, Willamette Valley
SILVER 2008 Pudding River Wine “Stainless Steel Fermented,” Willamette Valley
SILVER 2007 Stoller “SV Chardonnay,” Dundee Hills


Dessert Styles
DOUBLE GOLD 2008 Capitello Wines “Dolcino – Gewürztraminer Glacier,” Oregon
DOUBLE GOLD 2007 King Estate Winery “Pinot GrisVin de Glace,” Oregon
GOLD 2008 Troon Vineyard “Insomnia Port,” Applegate Valley
OUTSTANDING 2008 Anam Cara Cellars Gewürztraminer Ice Wine, Chehalem Mountains


Riesling
GOLD 2008 Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling, Willamette Valley
SILVER 2008 Henry Estate “Select Harvest White Riesling,” Umpqua
BRONZE 2008 Holloran Vineyard Wines “Le Pavillon Vineyard Riesling,” Willamette Valley
Sparkling
GOLD NV Capitello Wines “Brut,” Oregon
GOLD 2009 Cuckoo’s Nest Cellars “Fizzé ~ Early Muscat,” Oregon
GOLD Willamette Valley Vineyards “Tualatin Estate Muscat,” Willamette Valley
White Bordeaux Styles
OUTSTANDING 2009 Capitello Wines “Walnut Ridge Sauvignon Blanc,” Willamette Valley
OUTSTANDING 2009 Spangler Sauvignon Blanc, Southern Oregon

White Varietals
GOLD 2007 Anne Amie “Prisimé ~ Pinot Blanc,” Willamette Valley
SILVER 2008 Anne Amie Vineyards “Cuvée Müller-Thurgau,” Willamette Valley
SILVER 2008 Henry Estate Müller-Thurgau, Umpqua Valley
SILVER 2008 Julianna Vineyards Chenin Blanc, Umpqua Valley
OUTSTANDING 2009 Lumos Wine Co. “Temperance Hill Gewürztraminer,” Willamette Valley

White Proprietary Blends
SILVER 2008 Cuckoo’s Nest Cellars “Aromatique,” Oregon
SILVER 2009 Troon Vineyard “Druids Fluid,” Oregon
OUTSTANDING 2008 Anne Amie “Cuvée A Amrita,” Willamette Valley

Viognier
SILVER 2008 J. Scott Cellars Viognier, Rogue Valley
SILVER 2008 Pudding River Wine Viognier, Willamette Valley
BRONZE 2007 Daisy Creek Vineyard Viognier, Rogue Valley
BRONZE 2008 Domino IV “A Gate Swung Open Viognier,” Oregon
OUTSTANDING 2009 Illahe Vineyards Viognier, Willamette Valley
OUTSTANDING 2008 Silvan Ridge Winery Viognier, Rogue Valley

Pinot Gris
DOUBLE GOLD 2008 A to Z Wineworks “A to Z Pinot Gris,” Oregon
DOUBLE GOLD 2008 Cuckoo’s Nest Cellars Pinot Gris, Oregon
GOLD 2008 Anne Amie Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley
GOLD 2008 King Estate Winery “Acrobat Pinot Gris,” Oregon
GOLD 2008 King Estate “Signature Pinot Gris,” Oregon
GOLD 2009 Lumos Wine Company “Rudolfo Pinot Gris,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2009 Lumos Wine Company “Temperance Hill Pinot Gris,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2008 Misty Oaks “Julios Hill Pinot Gris,” Umpqua
GOLD 2009 Van Duzer Vineyards “Estate Pinot Gris,” Willamette Valley
SILVER 2009 Capitello Wines Pinot Gris,” Willamette Valley
SILVER 2008 Coeur de Terre Vineyard Pinot Gris,” Willamette Valley
SILVER 2008 Duck Pond Cellars Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley
SILVER 2008 Erath Winery Pinot Gris, Oregon
SILVER 2008 King Estate Winery “Domaine Pinot Gris,” Oregon
SILVER 2008 Soléna Estate Pinot Gris, Oregon
BRONZE 2008 Kathken Pinot Gris, Eola-Amity Hills
BRONZE 2008 Melrose Vineyards Pinot Gris, Umpqua
BRONZE 2008 Methven Family Vineyards Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley

Rosé Styles
OUTSTANDING 2008 A to Z Wineworks “A to Z Rosé,” Oregon


"THE REDS"

Cabernet Sauvignon
DOUBLE GOLD 2007 J. Scott Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Rogue Valley
DOUBLE GOLD 2006 Troon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Applegate Valley
GOLD 2007 Don Carlo Vineyard “Don Carlo Cabernet Sauvignon,” Walla Walla Valley
SILVER 2006 Flying Dutchman Cabernet Sauvignon, Umpqua Valley
SILVER 2007 Flying Dutchman Cabernet Sauvignon, Rogue Valley
SILVER 2007 Griffin Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Rogue Valley
SILVER 2007 Spangler Cabernet Sauvignon, Southern Oregon
SILVER 2006 Troon Vineyards “Kubli Cabernet Sauvignon,” Applegate Valley
BRONZE 2007 Silvan Ridge Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Rogue Valley

Syrah
DOUBLE GOLD 2006 Dominio IV “Purple Flower – Syrah,” Columbia Gorge
DOUBLE GOLD 2006 Spangler Syrah, Southern Oregon
GOLD 2007 Griffin Creek Syrah, Rogue Valley
GOLD 2007 Henry Estate Syrah, Umpqua Valley
GOLD 2006 Pheasant Valley Winery Syrah, Columbia Valley
GOLD 2006 Quady North 4-2-A Syrah, Rogue Valley
SILVER 2007 Delfino Vineyards Syrah, Umpqua Valley
BRONZE 2007 Quady North “Sam’s Valley Vineyard Syrah,” Rogue Valley
BRONZE 2008 Reustle Prayer Rock Syrah, Umpqua Valley

Merlot
GOLD 2007 Griffin Creek Merlot, Rogue Valley
GOLD 2007 Watermill Winery Merlot, Walla Walla Valley
SILVER 2007 Don Carlo Vineyard Merlot,” Walla Walla Valley
SILVER 2007 Henry Estate “Estate Merlot,” Umpqua Valley
SILVER 2006 Melrose Vineyards “Estate Grown Merlot,” Umpqua Valley
BRONZE 2007 Arcane Cellars “Seven Hills Merlot,” Walla Walla Valley

Red Bordeaux Styles
DOUBLE GOLD 2004 Eden Vale “Heritage Red,” Rogue Valley
GOLD 2007 Misty Oaks Vineyard “Gobbler’s Knob,” Umpqua Valley
SILVER 2005 Trium “Grower’s Cuvée,” Rogue Valley
SILVER 2005 Troon Vineyard “Old Vine Meritage,” Applegate Valley

Red Proprietary Blends ~ $20.00 & Under
DOUBLE GOLD 2007 A to Z Wineworks “Night & Day,” Oregon
GOLD 2007 A to Z Wineworks “Chemin de Terre,” Oregon
GOLD 2007 Henry Estate “Henry V,” Umpqua
SILVER 2006 Melrose Vineyards “Equinox Red Blend,” Umpqua Valley

Red Varietals ~ $20.01 - $35.00
DOUBLE GOLD 2007 Quady North Cabernet Franc, Applegate Valley
DOUBLE GOLD 2008 Reustle Prayer Rock “Tempranillo Reserve,” Umpqua Valley
DOUBLE GOLD 2008 Troon Vineyard “Zinfandel Reserve,” Applegate Valley
GOLD 2005 Domino IV “Midnight Skies Tempranillo,” Columbia Gorge
GOLD 2008 Spangler Cabernet Franc, Southern Oregon
GOLD 2008 Troon Vineyard “Kubli Zinfandel,” Applegate Valley
GOLD 2007 Watermill Winery Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley
SILVER 2005 Domino IV “Midnight Skies Tempranillo,” Columbia Gorge
SILVER 2008 Piluso Vineyard & Winery Marechal Foch, Willamette Valley
SILVER 2008 Reustle Prayer Rock Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley
SILVER 2007 Spangler Petite Sirah, Southern Oregon
OUTSTANDING 2007 Pheasant Valley Winery Zinfandel, Columbia Gorge
OUTSTANDING 2008 Stangeland Tempranillo, Eola-Amity Hills
OUTSTANDING 2007 Watermill Winery “Estate Malbec,” Walla Walla Valley

Pinot Noir ~ $20.00 & Under
DOUBLE GOLD 2008 Duck Pond Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
GOLD 2008 Coeur de Terre Vineyard “Oregon Pinot Noir,” McMinnville
GOLD 2006 Eugene Wine Cellars “B2 Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2008 Illahe Vineyards “Illahe Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2008 King Estate “Acrobat Pinot Noir,” Oregon
SILVER 2008 Amity Vineyards Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
SILVER 2008 A to Z Wineworks “A to Z Pinot Noir,” Oregon
SILVER 2008 Carlton Cellars “Seven Devils Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
SILVER 2007 Christopher Bridge Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
SILVER 2008 Erath Winery Pinot Noir, Oregon
SILVER 2008 Henry Estate Pinot Noir, Oregon
SILVER 2006 King Estate Winery “next: Pinot Noir,” Oregon
SILVER 2007 Melrose “Vintage Select Pinot Noir,” Umpqua Valley
SILVER 2008 Spindrift Cellars Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
SILVER 2008 Van Duzer Vineyards “Vintner’s Cuvée Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
BRONZE 2008 Stangeland Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
OUTSTANDING 2008 A Blooming Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir,” Chehalem Mountains
OUTSTANDING 2007 Hanson Vineyards Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
OUTSTANDING 2005 Pheasant Valley Winery Pinot Noir, Columbia Gorge

Pinot Noir ~ $20.01 - $35.00
DOUBLE GOLD 2007 Amalie Robert Estate “Vintage Debut Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
DOUBLE GOLD 2006 Henry Estate “Barrel Select Pinot Noir,” Umpqua Valley
DOUBLE GOLD 2008 Luminous Hills “Crawford Beck Vineyard Pinot Noir,” Eola-Amity Hills
DOUBLE GOLD 2008 Luminous Hills “Seven of Hearts Pinot Noir,” Eola-Amity Hills
DOUBLE GOLD 2007 Piluso Vineyard & Winery Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
GOLD 2007 Anne Amie Vineyards “Cuvée A Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2007 Artisanal Wine Cellars “Jubilee Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2008 Benton-Lane Winery “Estate Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2008 Capitello Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
GOLD 2007 Methven Family Vineyards “Estate Cuvée,” Eola-Amity Hills
GOLD 2006 Pudding River Wine Cellars Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
GOLD 2008 Piluso Vineyard & Winery Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
GOLD 2007 Rex Hill Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
GOLD 2008 Soléne Estate “Grand Cuvée,” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
SILVER 2008 ArborBrook Vineyards “Heritage Cuvée Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
SILVER 2008 King Estate Winery “Signature Pinot Noir,” Oregon
SILVER 2008 Reustle Prayer Rock Pinot Noir, Umpqua Valley
SILVER 2007 Stoller “JV Pinot Noir,” Dundee Hills
SILVER 2006 Tyee Wine Cellars “Estate Barrel Select Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
BRONZE 2007 Barking Frog “Bailey Pinot Noir,” Chehalem Mountains
BRONZE 2008 Et Fille Wines Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
BRONZE 2007 Et Fille Wines “Nicholas Pinot Noir,” Chehalem Mountains
BRONZE 2008 Luminous Hills “LUX Estate Grown Pinot Noir,” Yamhill-Carlton
OUTSTANDING 2008 Amity Vineyards “Crannell Vineyard Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
OUTSTANDING 2007 Anne Amie Vineyards Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
OUTSTANDING 2007 Artisanal Wine Cellars “Adams Vyd. Pinot Noir,” Chehalem Mountains
OUTSTANDING 2008 Barking Frog “Chapman Road Cuvée Pinot Noir,” Chehalem Mountains
OUTSTANDING 2008 Carlton Cellars “Cape Lookout Pinot Noir,” Yamhill-Carlton
OUTSTANDING 2008 Coeur de Terre “Estate Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley/McMinnville
OUTSTANDING 2006 Eugene Wine Cellars “B2 Pinot Noir Select,” Willamette Valley
OUTSTANDING 2008 Luminous Hills Pinot Noir,” Yamhill-Carlton
OUTSTANDING 2008 Luminous Hills “Seven of Hearts Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
OUTSTANDING 2008 Vercingetorix Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley

Pinot Noir ~ $35.01 & Over
DOUBLE GOLD 2007 Amalie Robert Estate “Amalie’s Cuvée Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
DOUBLE GOLD 2007 Amalie Robert Estate “Estate Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
DOUBLE GOLD 2008 Archery Summit “Renegade Ridge Estate,” Dundee Hills
DOUBLE GOLD 2007 Retour Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
DOUBLE GOLD 2006 Stangeland “Estate Pinot Noir,” Eola-Amity Hills
DOUBLE GOLD 2006 Stangeland “Winemaker Reserve Pinot Noir,” Eola-Amity Hills
DOUBLE GOLD 2008 Torii Mor “Dundee Hills Select Pinot Noir,” Dundee Hills
GOLD 2008 Archery Summit “Arcus Estate Pinot Noir,” Dundee Hills
GOLD 2008 Archery Summit “Premier Cuvée Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2008 Benton-Lane “First-Class Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2007 Bishop Creek Cellars “Whole Cluster Pinot Noir,” Yamhill-Carlton
GOLD 2008 Bishop Creek “Valois Reserve Pinot Noir,” Yamhill-Carlton
GOLD 2007 Carlton Hill “Estate Reserve Pinot Noir,” Yamhill-Carlton
GOLD 2007 Erath Winery “Battle Creek Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2007 Erath “Leland Vineyard Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2008 Et Fille “Kalita Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2004 Henry Estate “Winemaker’s Reserve Pinot Noir,” Yamhill-Carlton
GOLD 2008 Quailhurst “Alexis Reserve Pinot Noir,” Chehalem Mountains
GOLD 2006 Rizzo Winery “Rizzo Reserve Pinot Noir,” Eola-Amity Hills
GOLD 2006 Stoller Vineyards “SV Pinot Noir,” Dundee Hills
GOLD 2007 Stoller Vineyards “SV Pinot Noir,” Dundee Hills
GOLD 2007 Methven Family Vineyards “Reserve Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2007 Willamette Valley Vineyards “Elton Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2007 Willamette Valley Vineyards “Tualatin Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2006 Stoller Vineyards “Cathy’s Reserve Pinot Noir,” Dundee Hills
GOLD 2007 Utopia “Utopia Vineyard Pinot Noir,” Ribbon-Ridge
GOLD 2007 Willamette Valley Vineyards “Hannah Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
GOLD 2007 Willamette Valley Vineyards “Signature Cuvée Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
SILVER 2008 ArborBrook Vineyards “Estate 777 Block Pinot Noir,” Chehalem Mountains
SILVER 2006 Carlton Hill “Estate Pinot Noir,” Yamhill-Carlton
SILVER 2008 Carlton Cellars “Roads End,” Willamette Valley
SILVER 2008 Et Fille Wines “Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir,” Dundee Hills
BRONZE 2008 Blakeslee Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains
BRONZE 2008 Reustle Prayer Rock “Reserve Pinot Noir,” Umpqua Valley
BRONZE 2006 Rex Hill Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
OUTSTANDING 2007 Le Cadeau “Diversité Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
OUTSTANDING 2007 Le Cadeau “Equinoxe Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
OUTSTANDING 2007 Le Cadeau “Rocheux Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
OUTSTANDING 2007 Van Duzer Vineyards “Dijon Blocks Pinot Noir,” Willamette Valley
OUTSTANDING 2007 Vidon Vineyard “3 Clones Pinot Noir,” Chehalem Mountains
OUTSTANDING 2008 Z’IVO Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
OUTSTANDING 2006 Z’IVO Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hill

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Cowhorn Tours with Pink Martini

Date: Mon, May 3, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

Wine Spectator reports that Cowhorn Winery went on tour with Pink Martini! Who knew? Cowhorn certainly didn't until the article was published!

Here are the experts:

Pink Martini’s Timothy Nishimoto takes COWHORN Viognier on tour

Timothy Nishimoto, 45, has dueling careers: one as the owner of a successful wine bar in Portland, Ore., the other as a member of
Pink Martini, a jazz and Latin fusion band. Nishimoto began working in restaurants at the age of 15. After graduating from California State University at Long Beach in 1990, he moved to Portland, where he worked for various local restaurants, including the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence-winning Papa Haydn. In 1999, he joined one of the local Wild Oats natural food stores as the wine department manager and spent six years honing his skills as a wine taster and developing a deep passion for working with wine.

During this period, he also performed part-time with Portland-based Pink Martini for nearly a decade, eventually joining the band full-time in 2003. In 2005, looking for greater flexibility in his schedule as his commitments to music increased, he jumped on the chance to buy one of the city’s first wine bars, located in the Pearl District. Now called
Vino Paradiso Wine Bar & Bistro, it offers a smart 220-bottle selection and has earned Wine Spectator' s Award of Excellence since 2007. Nishimoto spoke with Wine Spectator about how he splits his time between wine and music, what he drinks on the road and what he looks forward to when he comes back home.



Wine Spectator: Do you take wine with you when you are on tour?
Tim Nishimoto: I always do. I don't ever take a wine on tour that I can get wherever I'll be. Lemelson Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Thea's Selection 2006 and Cowhorn Viognier Applegate Valley 2007 were my two choices this [past tour]. Balance is a huge thing for me, and [the Lemelson] strikes a great balance of just enough of those mushroom, barnyard and smoky notes, blended with typical '06 ripe fruit, and a beautiful, elegant mouthfeel. Cowhorn is in southern Oregon, in the Rogue Valley, where the climate is totally different than in the North Willamette Valley. It's often desertlike and arid. Cowhorn makes my favorite whites—all biodynamically grown grapes—from down there, and this Viognier is just delicious. Rich, round with honeysuckle and delicate quince flavors, and a surprising acidity.

Spend your evening with Pink Martini on Friday, June 25th when they perform at The Britt Festival! Get your tickets here.

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The New Wine Nook

Date: Sun, May 2, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

Chris and I's Saturday project was to "de-ghettofy" our wine collection. I was getting tired of tripping on cases of wine in the morning when my eyes weren't open enough to avoid a nice Syrah. Our original plan was to buy a standard metal rack (nothing too expensive or too permanent for our nomadic lifestyle), but they all seemed so sterile (our bottles deserved more). We came across these simple pine wine racks at Cost Plus World Market and figured a little "do-it-yourself" wouldn't hurt.


We chose a Mediterranean Olive colored stain from Lowes.


BEFORE (sickening, huh?)


AFTER (Ahh... Much Better!)


We might need a third rack soon...

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Mission: Pass Certified Court of Masters Sommelier Exam

Date: Thu, Apr 29, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

I really might have gone motivationally insane with this one, but I have signed up to take my Certified Court of Masters Sommelier Exam this July in Portland! What does this mean? I have two and a half months to read and memorize thousands of pages of wine history, varietals, winemaking practices, food and wine pairings, and international and domestic wine law! I also get to practice my deductive tasting methods and wine service over and over, because I will be tested on those as well.

Here is my initial reading list:

The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil
The Oxford Companion to Wineby Jancis Robinson
Sales and Service for the Wine Professionalby Brian K. Julyan
Wine Spectator
Wine Enthusiast
... and every study guide and set of flashcards I can get my hands on!

I am really looking forward to this intense process! I am very timid announcing this to the blogosphere, because what if I fail? Well, its all in the name of learning and I can always retake the exam! In addition, this blog will be a great tool for me to share my knowledge with you. Thanks for all the continued support!

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Abacela Completes the Carbon Neutral Challenge!

Date: Tue, Apr 27, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

Abacela Winery is 1 of 14 wineries to successfully complete the Carbon Neutral Challenge set forth by the Oregon Environmental Council and the Oregon Wine Board!


The Carbon Neutral Challenge Initiative is intended to provide tools to enable wineries and vineyards to reach the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and then incorporating carbon offsets to reach the goal of carbon neutrality. The first step is to calculate the greenhouse gas (carbon/CO2) footprint for the winery and/or vineyard operation using a tool based on The Climate Registry's requirements. Once the operation's
carbon footprint is established, it is easier to identify the source of the major emissions and develop a plan to reduce these emissions.

The second step is to implement a plan to reduce carbon emissions in the winery operations by making cost-effective
investments and operational changes. One step that some wineries have already taken is installing solar panels on site. Other forms of renewable energy are wind, geothermal and hydro electric generating projects. Conversion to ethanol (E85)
or to biodiesel (B99 or B50) fuel can also reduce emissions.

All Participating wineries and vineyards are expected to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint via a combination of energy efficiency investments and on site generation of renewable energy.

Here is a list of all the wineries that completed the carbon neutral program for 2009:

  • Abacela
  • Adelsheim Vineyard
  • A to Z Wineworks/Rex Hill
  • Chehalem
  • Cooper Mountain Vineyards
  • King Estate Winery
  • Left Coast Cellars
  • Lemelson Vineyards
  • Mahonia Vineyards
  • Sokol Blosser Winery
  • Soter Vineyards
  • Stoller Vineyards
  • Willamette Valley Vineyards
  • Winderlea Wine Company

By completing the first year of the initiative, these wine industry leaders are demonstrating the important role businesses play in reducing Carbon emissions and providing leadership within the wine industry and beyond.

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I passed!!

Date: Tue, Apr 27, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

Yesterday I passed my Court of Master Sommelier Introduction Exam! It was an incredible learning experience for me and I am really motivated to continue with the certifications. Although I soaked up a ton of information, my biggest takeaway was how much I have left to learn!

Here are my new friends from the course that also passed:


I am now starting to studying for my Certified Sommelier exam. This exam will require written, service, and deductive tasting portions. Feel free to send me samples to practice my blind tasting skills :)

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More Wine Knowledge Please!

Date: Fri, Apr 23, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

Wish me luck! I'm packing and heading up to Seattle this weekend to take my first Court of Master Sommelier course and exam. I'll be spending two full days learning about methods of viticulture, vinification and local customs for major wine regions, production methods, wine service, harmony of food and wine, and tasting skills. At the end of the two day course, I'll talk a comprehensive exam, which is required to pass in order to continue onto the Advanced Course and Exam.

I'm very excited to formalize and enhance my wine knowledge and share it with you! Look out Larry Stone :)

About the Court of Master Sommeliers: Established in 1977 to promote excellence in hotel and restaurant beverage service. Though its members worldwide come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, they share a proven mastery of the art, science, and history that informs a sommelier's work.

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Del Rio Vineyards Gets an "A"

Date: Thu, Apr 22, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

Just like with good grades in elementary school, this "good grade" is going on the refrigerator (or at least my blog wall). Del Rio Vineyards' 2007 Syrah just earned a 91 point score by Wine Spectator- not an easy feat!

Congratulations to the winemaking staff at Del Rio Vineyards. I, along with the rest of the Southern Oregon wine community, appreciate the high quality wines you are making to help build the region's reputation.

Tasting Notes: 100% Syrah. The nose of the Syrah is a mixture of black current, bay leaf and thyme. Aged 50% in new oak, the smokey mouth gives way to an intense spicy black pepper finish.

Vintage Notes: 2007- Benefitting from a late harvest, the grapes experienced much cooler temperatures, lower alcohol levels, structured acidity and ideal flavor development. 2007 was indeed an excellent vintage.

Food Pairing: Pair with beef, lamb, and game or blackened meaty fish such as salmon or tuna. Cheese such as cheddar, goat, aged gouda, gruyere, and camembert also compliment nicely. Enjoy it now or cellar for up to five years.

You can taste this wine for yourself at Del Rio Vineyards Tasting Room in Gold Hill 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. daily or purchase online. The 2007 Syrah retails for $35, but Rio Club members save 20%.

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Celebrate Earth Day with Oregon Certified Sustainable Wine!

Date: Thu, Apr 22, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

Something has changed. There are new consumers out there. New connoisseurs. People who are no longer content just to drink great-tasting wines. They want to know how the wines were made. They want to be assured that the grower and winemaker treated the land and the process respectfully.

That's where Oregon Certified Sustainable Wine (OCSW) comes in.

The OCSW logo guarantees that the wine in that bottle was made using responsible agriculture and responsible winemaking practices; and that the wine was certified by an independent third party. To meet the agricultural requirements 97% of fruit must be certified by LIVE (Low Input Viticulture Enology), USDA Organic, Demeter Biodynamic or Food Alliance and also be Salmon Safe. To meet the winery requirements the facility had to be certified by one of the previous programs.

Currently, 18 Oregon wineries, including one Southern Oregon winery- Wooldridge Creek- have wines with OCSW certification, totaling 1.75 million bottles. Wineries include: Adelsheim Vineyard, Amity Vineyards, Anne Amie Vineyards, Argyle Winery, Bethel Heights Vineyard, Chehalem, Cristom Vineyards, Dobbes Family Estate, Montinore Estate, Panther Creek Cellars, Ponzi Vineyards, Rex Hill Vineyards, Sokol Blosser Winery, Soter Vineyards, Stoller Vineyards, WillaKenzie Estate, Willamette Valley Vineyards and Wooldridge Creek Winery.

OCSW wines are now entering the market - available to consumers both directly through the winery and also with select wines in distribution channels nationwide. I certainly hope more Southern Oregon wineries follow the lead making sustainability a movement not a buzz word.

*Citation: OCSW

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Action Required to Save Southern Oregon Wineries' Freedom!

Date: Tue, Apr 20, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

Interested in the survival of Southern Oregon wineries, choice of consumers, or freedom of commerce? READ ON!

From the words of Josh Wade of DrinkNectar.com:

Now is a call to action for all wine drinkers, wineries, and lovers of small business. If you’re reading these sentences, I compel you to continue to read and to take action. Failure to do so could mean the end of buying wine directly from the winery you love AND the failure of the small business winery as we know it.

Recent posts from Wine Spectator and Tom Wark’s Fermentation shed light on a potentially devastating bill (HR 5034) introduced to congress that will further solidify the distribution control of alcohol among the powerful distributors and handcuff already struggling small business wineries. The language of HR5034 is aimed at prohibiting public challenge of existing state laws. Citing litigation costs and leaning on fear mongering WSWA (Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America) CEO Craig Wolf is deceptively seeking to increase control of already antitrust laws that date back to prohibition.

Follow the money. With lawsuits filed in more than 25 states and success of Granholm vs. Heald, wholesalers are starting to feel the pinch in their fat wallets. Armed with deep pockets and political muscle the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) drafted the bill aimed at stopping the progress of direct shipping.

Tom Wark says, “The only way many wineries can survive or thrive inside today’s ineffective alcohol distribution system is through direct shipment of wine to consumers. The only way consumers can access most of the wines that have resulted from the explosion of artisan wineries across the country is via direct shipment of wine. If H.R. 5034 passes, it will mean the end of the direct shipment of wine in numerous states.”

The fact that a bill has made it this far is troubling, however if Schoolhouse Rock taught us anything, a bill must be debated in committee, passed and voted in the house, then debated in the Senate and then voted and passed there, before becoming a law to be signed by the President.

In a recent article on Vin65, Vintank CEO Paul Mabray talked about the balance between direct to trade and direct to consumer sales. “Pro-direct doesn’t mean anti-distribution,” says Paul. “Direct to consumer is over demonized by wholesalers. Remember that most consumers buy wine and consume it within 3 hours of purchase.” Direct sales don’t support that type of consumerism. Paul goes on to explain, “Direct to consumer builds awareness and customer loyalty as well. Wineries that have combined direct and traditional distribution are stronger as brands and the wholesaler pull is better than those without direct to consumer in the market.”

What does HR5034 mean to you? If it passes, the whole game will change. Small wineries will suffer under the loss of direct shipping and lower profit margins. Consumers will have less access to wine they enjoy. Some consumers will be unable to get out of state wine. The only way brands will be able to sell wine to consumers is through wholesaler distribution channels. This is the definition of anti-commerce and monopoly. Even more sinister is the wording in the bill that removes the ability to challenge the law, thus removing your voice.

A CALL TO ACTION:

*Contact your representative and tell them to vote NO on HR5034. (Use one of the many articles in this piece for reference materials).

*Re-post this or any of the referenced articles on twitter using the hashtag #HR5034

*Join the Facebook community STOPHR5034, post it to your page and share it with your friends.

*Share this information with other wineries, wine associations, and wine lovers

The future of the wine business depends on our action.

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Notice a Pattern Here?

Date: Mon, Apr 19, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

Notice a pattern here?

Southern Oregon Showings in the 2010 Astoria Wine Competition:

Best of Show
Spangler Vineyards, Umpqua Valley, 2007 Petite Syrah

Gold
Girardet Wine Cellars, Umpqua Valley, 2008 Baco Noir
Melrose Vineyards, Umpqua Valley, 2007 Pinot Noir

Silver
Girardet Wine Cellars, Umpqua Valley, 2008 Chardonnay
Palotai Vineyard, Umpqua Valley, 2008 Riesling

Bronze
Girardet Wine Cellars, Umpqua Valley, 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon
Misty Oaks, Umpqua Valley, 2008 Pinot Gris
Palotai Winery, Umpqua Valley, 2007 Syrah

UMPQUA VALLEY AVA REPRESENTS!


Dying to try these award winning wines? Or do you want a reason to head to the coast this weekend? You actually probably don't need a reason, but here is one anyway- The Astoria Seafood & Wine Festival! Until I started writing this blog I had NO idea there were so many seafood & wine festivals in Oregon (no complaint here)!

Enjoy a great spread of Northwest cuisine, myriad arts and crafts, a selection of Oregon and Washington's finest wineries, a beer garden, and musical entertainment at this years festival located at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds.

Festival Hours/Admission:
Friday: 4-9 p.m. $8
Saturday: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. $10
Sunday: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. $5

Southern Oregon wineries pouring:
Cliff Creek Cellars
Crater Lake Cellars
Girardet Wine Cellars
Henry Estate Winery
Hillcrest Vineyard
Melrose Vineyards
Misty Oak Vineyard
Palotai Winery
Pyrenees Cellar
Spangler Vineyards

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Lets Row with Rogue River Outfitters!

Date: Thu, Apr 15, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

It's official! Chris and I are teaming up with Rogue River Outfitters to create a Rogue River Rafting Wine Tour! More details to come...

We will be sharing a diverse mix of wines, stories of wineries and winemakers of Southern Oregon, all while experiencing the Rogue River. Believe me, you do not want to miss this trip!


Lets Row!

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