A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 645: Tasting Oregon

booklet: taste OREGON | a journey of discovery | OREGON WINE | The Distillery District, TUE APR 11 2017 | The Fermenting Cellar

Monday, April 10th: Wrote my 680 NEWS wine reviews for the next four weeks’ broadcasts, as I’m leaving for London next week for six days to chair the Canadian panel at the Decanter World Wine Awards. In the evening, over to Doug Towers’s house for a winerytohome.com tasting. David Lawrason came straight from the airport for it.

Tuesday, April 11th: A Taste Oregon event down at the Distillery District with an outdoor salmon bake (reminiscent of the annual International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville).

large pieces of salmon held in wooden presses angled towards open fires on a brick pavement by a brick building, and a chef standing by them
Salmon bake at Archeo

In the Archeo Restaurant over 50 wines were set out on the bar for tasting. I concentrated on the Pinot Noirs. My top scoring wines were:

  • Maison Roy Petite Incline Pinot Noir 2013 (92)
  • Maison Roy Incline 2014 (92)
  • Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Big Tree Block Pinot Noir 2013 (92)
  • Solena Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2014 (90)
  • Bergstrom Winery Cumberland Reserve Pinot Noir 2015 (90)
  • Mouton Oregogne Pinot Noir 2013 (90)
  • Trisaetum Winery Coast Range Estate Pinot Noir 2014

Maison Roy Petite Incline Pinot Noir 2013, Maison Roy Incline 2014
Two terrific Oregon Pinots

Also enjoyed a red blend from Seven Bridges Winery Prima Nata 2013 (Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot – 90). Then into the main tasting in the Fermenting Cellar for more Pinots. Top scoring wines here were:

  • Domaine Drouhin Roserock Drouhin Oregon Zépherine Pinot Noir 2014 (94)
  • Adelsheim Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2013 (91)
  • Roserock Drouhin Oregon Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir 2014 (91)
  • Domaine Drouhin Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 2014 (90)
  • Roco Winery Chehalem Mountains Private Stash Pinot Noir 2014 (91)
  • Roco Yamhill-Carlton Marsh Estate Pinot Noir 2014 (91)
  • Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Estate Pinot Noir 2014 (92)
  • Sokol Blosser Evolution Pinot Noir 2015 (91)

Altogether I tasted 45 Pinots. Overall I found that there is a new restraint in Oregon Pinots, very few over-extracted wines – much more delicate and elegant.

Then headed up to La Marquette for an Austrian tasting. Concentrated on Grüner Veltliner, My top scoring wines were:

  • Schloss Gobelsberg Ried Lamm 2015 (91)
  • Weingut Markus Huber Grüner Veltliner Reserve Alte Setzen 2014 (90)
  • Salomon Reid Alte Grüner Veltliner 2015 (90)

Finally, on to a Seder dinner at the Park Plaza with my family.

Wednesday, April 12th: Recorded my 680 NEWS reviews, then spent the day inputting notes on last Friday’s Vintages tasting before getting down to tasting the following wines:

  • Maison Aix Rosé 2016 (Aix-en-Provence – $22.95): very pale pink in the current Provence style; minerally, cranberry nose; medium-bodied, crisply dry, light and fresh on the palate with cranberry and rhubarb flavours. (89)
  • Henry of Pelham Riesling Estate 2016 (Short Hills Bench, Niagara – $17.95): colour with a lime tint; minerally, honeyed citrus nose; light to medium-bodied, off-dry, pale straw with well-balanced honey and grapefruit flavours. (89)
  • Cloudline Pinot Noir 2014 (Oregon – $28.95): light ruby colour; earthy, cherry nose; light to medium-bodied, dry, cherry flavour with a firm finish. (87.5)

Thursday, April 13th: Wrote an article for County Grapevine magazine, entitled “Pinot Noir, A Love Affair.” Had a meeting at the Arts & Letters Club with Piers Hemmingsen, who wrote The Beatles in Canada. He wanted to learn how I introduced Paul McCartney to Jane Asher in April 1963.

In the evening Deborah and I were invited to a dinner at Lena to celebrate Malbec World Day.

Consulate General of Argentina, Toronto | Wines of Argentina | Chipas Y pan / olives, pickles | Jamón / Ibérico aged 24 months | Ontario Garlic Shrimp / lemon, sliced garlic, white wine |~| Lamb Shoulder Bondiola / guajillo pepper, charred cabbage, root vegetables, potato gnocchi | Lala's Bravas Potatoes / pil pil, milk mayo | String Beans / green papper tomato sauce |~| Cheese Platter / assorted cheeses | Alfajores / shortbread, dulce de letche, coconut (packaged to go) | Freshly Brewed Coffee or Tea
Malbec menu

The wines:

  • Susana Balbo Crios Torrontes 2016 (Cafayete – $13.95): aromatic, honeysuckle and orange nose, dry and delicious. (89)
  • Mascota Vineyards Opi Chardonnay 2016 (Lujan de Cuyo, Valle de Uco, Mendoza – $10.95): medium-bodied, light on the palate; minerally, apple and lemon flavours, clean finish. (88.5)
  • Trapiche Finca Las Palmas Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2016 (Mendoza – $16.95): pale straw colour; white peach, apple and citrus flavours. (88)

Then into the Malbecs:

stick-on label saying MALBEC WORLD DAY by WINES OF ARGENTINA

  • Don David Reserve Malbec (Valle de Calchaqui (El Esteco) – $15.95): deep ruby-purple colour; savoury-herbal blackberry nose; dry, somewhat austere. (87)
  • Bodega Piedra Negra Malbec Reserva 2015 (Mendoza – $17; plus 20% Cot): dense purple-ruby colour; spicy plum and blackberry nose; medium to full-bodied, ripe and fruity with a floral note and a firm tannic finish. (89.5)
  • Don Paola Estate Malbec 2015 (Valle de Uco – $17.15): deep purple-ruby colour; spicy, floral blackberry nose with well-integrated oak; a well-balanced wine with well-extracted plum and blackberry flavours. (90)
  • Luigi Bosca D.O.C. Malbec 2014 (Luján de Cuyo – $29.95): deep ruby colour; pencil lead, blackberry, herbal nose; full-bodied, creamy blackcurrant flavour. (90)
  • Catena Alta Malbec 2013 (Mendoza – $49.95): deep purple-ruby; spicy, oaky, blackberry; full-bodied, creamy, sweet black fruit flavours. (89.5)

a young guy with curly hair and a beard, wearing a sweater over a button-up, holding an empty wine glass, in a dining room
Thibault Lepoutre, general manager, Bodega Piedra Negra

Then two Malbec blends:

  • Finca Agostino Shiraz Malbec 2014 (Valle de Uco – $19.60): dense purple colour; spicy, black fruits on the nose with vanilla note; full-bodied, dry, richly extracted blackcurrant with lively acidity and a floral note. (91)
  • Salentein Numina Gran Corte 2013 (Valle de Uco – $39: 62% Malbec, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot): deep ruby colour; spicy blackberry and tobacco nose with a touch of licorice; medium to full-bodied, dry, red and blackcurrant flavours. (92)

Salentein Numina Gran Corte 2013

Friday, April 14th: Spent much of the day writing my novel and have reached the final chapter. Could finish it next week with luck.


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