Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Oregon Pinot Camp day 2

I've been out of town since last Saturday so I'm just now getting back to posting.

On day 2 of Pinot camp we began at Torii Mor Vineyards for a tasting seminar on Vintages. . We tasted through 9 different wines all blind in three different sets. We discussed their textures, weight, acidity, alcohol & fruit. One of the panelists, Louisa Ponzi, explained that she goes to great lengths in the vineyard to ensure that the wine is the best they can produce regardless of the vintage. Now she by no means meant manipulation through chemicals or synthetic fertilizers. One thing I had been pleasantly shocked by was the widespread mindset of sustainability in Oregon. Lynn Penner Ash remarked that OPC used to hold a seminar based entirely on sustainability. They did away with that because that mindset permeates throughout everything almost all the winemakers do. It seemed as though every winery was certified in something & truly believed in it.

Like in any marginal climate, Oregon is very much effected by vintage. Viticulture in marginal climates can have it very rough but can obviously produce beautiful wine.

Next we boarded the red bus & barreled down the two lane road back down the mountain & over to Argyle Winery for a seminar on Cool Whites. Of course Oregon is well known for its sublime pinot noirs but this marginal climate is also perfect for riesling, pinot gris, pinot blanc & to some degree chardonnay. I'm not much of a fan of chardonnay for the most part....unless we are talking about Chablis but CMON that's Chablis! Anyway, they served us a lineup of these dynamic varietals from the top producers in Oregon.

The First Flight: Chardonnays
Domaine Drouhin Arthur 07
Bergstrom Old Stones 07
Stoller JV 08
Bethel Heights 07
Belle Pente 07

Flight 2: Pinot gris
King Estate Signature 07
Anne Amie 08
Willakenzie 07
Adelsheim 07
Benton Lane 07
A to Z 08

Flight 3: Fruit Salad
Elk Cove Estate Riesling 07
Lemelson Riesling 07
Montinore Riesling 07
Maysara Pinot Blanc 08
Penner Ash Riesling 07
Amity Pinot Blanc 07

The standouts for me were:

Domaine Drouhin Arthur 2007 had aromas of apple, pear, chalk & lemon curd. It didn't knock me over the head with oak or butterscotch like some sickly sweet CA chard. The palate had notes of cooked granny smith apple, toffee, lemon curd & a nice weighty texture that wasn't too rich & heavy. Lovely.

Bergstrom Old Stones 07 gave me aromas of sandalwood & spice box with a piquant bittersweet quality on the palate & a luscious medium bodied palate.

Penner Ash Riesling 2007 was filled with bright lime zest, mandarin orange & floral aromas with a racy, zesty palate. Nice long finish too! I wanted to keep sipping on it but with another seminar lined up for the day I thought I better lay off.

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