Archive for the 'Oregon Wine' Category

2006 Erath Pinot Noir

Wow. It’s been a busy couple of weeks and the blog’s always the first thing to suffer. 🙂

I picked this bottle up at the local LDB store and popped it open (or unscrewed it, really – it’s got a screw top closure) last weekend. It was really tasty, especially for the money.

It had a nose of cherry cola, a bit of earth and ripe strawberry. The flavours were all about cherry syrup, orange peel, strawberry and cola. Yum. It had a nice round, medium-bodied feel to it and was very light in colour.

If you’re a New World Pinot fan, you’ll like this one. Have it with food or just on the patio.

$32.95 at LDB stores here in BC.

4 stars

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2003 McKinlay Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Special Selection

03222008.jpgOld World… New World – if it’s good I love it. It’s my birthday week and I had the Vincent Girardin Volnay the other night – this wine represents the flip side. They are so different, but have so much in common. Pinot Noir is called the “heart-break grape”, but when it’s done well, it reminds wine-makers why they chase the Pinot dragon.

While 2005 was an overall great vintage in Burgundy, 2003 was a bit more of a challenge in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Some folks made overripe wines from the warm weather of that summer. Not so much with George Angus McKinlay. He seems to have pretty much hit a triple, if not a home run with this wine.

It’s a beautifully balanced 14.3% bottle of Willamette goodness from one of the area’s smallest, yet most beloved wineries (there were only 330 cases made). The colour is a beautiful medium-dark Pinot red… with the nose giving off a bunch of blackberry and cherry syrup with a hint of Coca-Cola and flowers…It sounds like a high-school date, but is so much more fulfilling (OK, maybe compared to my high-school dates). A sip gives up berry and cherry juice, licorice and a bunch of earthy fine tannins on the long juicy finish.

This wine reminds me that I should head down to Portland and the Willamette Valley area sometime this summer. I love this style of Pinot.

$60 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

2002 Mystic Wine Cabernet Sauvignon

02182008.jpgIt’s been a busy week here at Vinifico. We received our press passes to the upcoming Vancouver International Wine Festival, I received a schwack of side work and there was finally some sun in Vancouver, which meant less time inside in front of a computer. There was wine though. Oh yes, there was wine.

This is yet another bottle I picked up at Kitsilano Wine Cellars. I had tried the Pinot from these folks a while back and had liked it… but not loved it though. Well, for a wine I almost left on the shelf, this is quite the find. It actually reminds me a lot of the much more expensive Abeja Cabernet Rachel and I had last year in Walla Walla. This one I do love.

The nose has a beautiful brown sugar edge to the coffee, blackcurrant, blackberry and licorice mix. A juicy sip gives up licorice-edged blackberry, currant and tea leading into a long and sexy finish with firm tannins.

There’s a lot going on in this one. It’s a beautiful wine from the Columbia Valley… Let’s face it, a wine from Napa with this much going on would cost at least $20 more. This is quite a deal. There were only 150 cases made!

$35 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars

1 comment

2006 Montinore Estate Semi-Dry Riesling, Willamette Valley

01152007.jpgThe lovely Miss Julie Morgan brought this wine over to have with our Thai feast n New Year’s Eve… and I’m really glad she did. Anyone who has read through the posts on this site knows I’m a big fan of Willamette Valley wines. One of my highlights of 2007 was going down there with Rachel and touring a bunch of wineries (and tasting rooms).

OK, back to the wine. It pretty much was a perfect match for our Thai food. Its nose was a bunch of orange, lemon-lime and light peach (Julie picked that up). A slurp showed full-on citrus (lemon, lime and grapefruit), stone fruit (there’s that peach again) and some floral notes on the mineral-laced finish.

Although the wine is a “Semi-Dry”, there was no cloying sweetness. It was just tasty and along with the Thai food was a happy taste bud event. It’s a very interesting wine… and one I’m really glad I got a chance to try.

$18.90 at Marquis Wine Cellars here in Vancouver.

4 stars

No comments

Wine – A tale of two Oregon Pinots… 2005 Sineann Pinot Noir & 2005 Cancilla Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

So what do a couple of wine geeks do when their significant others are away? Drink the good stuff of course. The odd bottle or two examined in geekdom is a blissful way to compensate for their respective absences.

So, Sean arrived with a marinated lamb shoulder (garlic, cumin, rosemary and Amelia Olive Oil) and a bottle of Oregon Pinot. My “buy-in” was also an Oregon Pinot. The 2005 Sineann Pinot Noir to be specific.

First up was the Sineann and right from opening it was certainly an interesting start. The top was a regular Stelvin screw cap, however once I removed that there was a glass stopper embossed with the logo. Nice touch.

The wine itself was big muscular Pinot, the deep burgundy in color and 15% booze let us know right from the start that this one meant business. The nose was full of espresso and clove with some nice earth. Within our first couple of sips we agreed that the wine showed loads of blueberry and syrupy cassis. This wine had no problem standing up once we got into the lamb and grilled veg for dinner. The finish was viscous with more dark fruit with a bit of heat and beautiful tannins. A great start to say the least.

The follow up was the 2005 Cancilla Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir that Sean had picked up on his trip. This one was quite a contrast – brick red in the glass, the nose showed red fruit, nettles and some barnyard. The red fruit blossomed the longer it was opened.

As we relaxed after the fine meal, we noticed the gorgeous red currant and strawberry flavors with full rustic layers of earth due to the unfiltered character of the wine. The finish was long and lean with a nice acidity. All in all this was certainly the more complex of the two, but both were a fantastic way to spend a Friday.

Both wines were bought down in Oregon for ~ $30 – 40 USD.

4 stars
(for the Sineann)

4 1/2 stars
(for the Cancilla Cellars)

1 comment

Wine – 2006 R. Stuart & Co. Winery Big Fire Pinot Noir

Sitting watching the waves in Oregon and having a glass of this was nice way to end my vacation. This one was in a word – bright.

Brilliant ruby red in the glass, it had a nose of cola, tart cherry and violets. The couple of healthy sips showed red cherries and plum with a crisp acidity. The finish had more tart berries with some heat. This heat and tannin were softened with a bit of nice mild gouda and some crackers. All in all, a nice way to watch the sunset in the land of pinot.

3 1/2 stars

No comments

Wine – 2004 Owen Roe Cabernet Franc, Slide Mountain Vineyard

09272007.jpg“Succulent.” – Aptly put by Sean when we first tasted this wine. We shared this one recently and have to say we were all wowed by the structure and body of this wine.

Cabernet Franc is produced here in BC with a wide range of styles, usually showing some red fruit and bit of pepper, but generally rather light wine that benefits from a light meat dish.

This is a whole other adventure. This first couple of swirls showed liquorice and beefy black fruit. This was followed up by a massive jammy delight of stewed prune, blackberry, and tobacco in the mouth. This was a monster. The finish went on and on with bitter chocolate, blackberry and some nice spice to top it off.

Easily the most enjoyable 100% Cabernet Franc I’ve ever had.

$38 USD

4 1/2 stars

No comments

Wine – 2004 Andrew Rich Vintner Tabula Rasa Red

09242007.jpgSeeing Sean’s write up on the Andrew Rich Pinot Noir Cuvee B sent me to my notes for this gem that I had on my recent vacation to Oregon. Simply put, Andrew Rich makes fantastic wines.

I had this recommended to me in a little wine and gift shop in Lincoln City and was immediately drawn in by the really cool packaging. The bottle is covered with postcards from Languedoc – certainly unique.

It’s a Rhone style red with Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache and Counoise and all that combines to make this wine a really great value. The nose was rich with black currant, tobacco, and a hint of mint. I just got an old world feel from this wine as it had so many layers. In the mouth there’s loads more currant and some plum and a hint of allspice. The finish has tonnes of soft tannins with some white pepper and more dark fruit and bit of anise for good measure.

Great Stuff!

$20 US

4 stars

No comments

Wine – 2005 Andrew Rich Pinot Noir Cuvée B

09022007.jpgWhen Rachel and I were down in Oregon a few months ago, we had the good fortune to meet Andrew Rich at the Winemakers’ Studio in Carlton – nice guy. So, whenever I see his wines around town, I’m tempted to pick one up to lend my support (and have something tasty).

We grabbed it at the Mark Anthony Wine Shop on Kind Edward last night, brought it home, undid the screw top and gave it a go. The Cuvée B is made up of wines from Willamette vineyards in the Chehalem, Yamhill-Carlton, Dundee Hills, and McMinnville AVAs. After a bit of air, the wine really came to life – its nose had fresh strawberry, cherry, orange peel and a hint of spice. The flavours were all fresh, bright young berries and cherries… showing great balance and a fairly long finish.

This was a really enjoyable bottle of Oregon Pinot. I’d definitely buy it again.

$34 at private wine shops here in Vancouver.

4 stars


2004 Thistle Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley

06092007.jpgI have been meaning to write up this wine for a while. I keep thinking about it and trying to figure out how to get another bottle. Back in April, we tried this wine at the Carlton Tasting Room and it immediately struck me as something different. The previous two days on our trip to Oregon we had tasted some beautiful Pinot Noirs from the Willamette Valley that had impressed me with their subtlety (a big change from the luscious tannin bombs we had been drinking in Walla Walla). The Thistle just doesn’t take itself too seriously: it’s fruity and fun. Just what I needed after the gorgeous but oh-so-serious Pinots at Archery Summit, Domaine Drouhin and Domaine Serene.

The colour is a lively red and perhaps a little more dense than some Pinots around these parts. Its lack of filtering also surprised me with a slightly cloudy appearance. The nose certainly has some oak but this Pinot wears it well. Fresh juicy blackberries bounce around in the glass. We’re talking fruit stand here–very fresh but not jammy. The fruit carries through for a punchy explosion right on the mid-palate. This wine just wants to have fun in your mouth. However, it is not to be taken too lightly: there is enough tanin in this young wine to give it a full finish without the pucker effect. I just wanted more. In fact, after tasting it, I bought a bottle and I just couldn’t wait to rip out the cork to enjoy a whole glass.

Sean kept murmuring something about Zinfandel-like fruit but he does tend to have a one-track mind (note from Sean: seriously, the mid-palate was very Zin-like!). The Thistle helped me expand my ideas about Pinot Noir. Personally, I just like a rebel like this wine who is out for a good time.

$29 USD at Carlton Tasting Room in Carlton.

4 1/2 stars

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