Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tasting Notes: Oregon and Washington wines at JavaMonkey

Talk about timing! Hubby and I are working on our plans for our upcoming trip to the Pacific-Northwest, and Jess decided to taste Oregon and Washington wines as part of her Thursday Wine Series! I know we just took a trip to California, but I have a conference in Seattle the second week of June, so we decided to make a trip of it since Hubby has relatives in Portland, I have friends there, and yes, we really like the area and the wines. Plus, I can count my plane tickets as a business expense. We'll have to work hard to empty out Bertha before we go -- oh, the sacrifices we make!

The evening began with the 2008 Snoqualmie Naked Gewurtztraminer (Columbia Valley, Washington), which had a lovely apple blossom and honey nose. The wine itself followed with a chewy, almost syrupy texture over a mineral backbone. I would call it interesting and have it as an aperitif.
Rating: Good/Very Good

The second wine, the 2007 Chehalem Willamette Valley Pinot Gris (Willamette Valley, Oregon) was grapefruit on the nose. Another interesting texture that felt a bit fizzy, but still carried some of the bitterness of the grapefruit to the beginning of the finish with some of the citrus on the end. I rated it "Meh," but Hubby, who typically does not like Pinot Gris, deemed it "not bad," so I have to give it some credit there.
Rating: Meh to Not Bad

Another wine from Chehalem, the 2007 INOX Chardonnay, followed. This time, a mixed citrus nose preceded a somewhat acidic wine that had a little cream and steel to it.
Rating: Okay

Yay, reds! Yes another Chehalem, this one the 3 Vineyard Pinot Noir, was a typical Pinot with a lot of cherry and some earth.
Rating: Good

Another repetition, this one from Naked. I can't help but wonder, if they made Muscadine wines, would they label them Nekkid? The 2007 Snoqualmie Naked Merlot was black currant at the front, pepper in the middle, and butter on the finish.
Rating: Good

The closer for the night, the 2005 Orphelin (Columbia Valley, Washington), was a nice Rhone blend with 56% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre, 10% Cinsault, 8% Grenache, 4% Cab Sauv, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Touriga, and 1% each of Pinot Noir and Viognier. I'm picturing them tossing in individual grapes by the time they got to the end of that blend. All that made it a little raisiny, but it had good dark fruit.
Rating: Very Good

This tasting brought up a pet peeve. It drives me nuts when the distributors push one or two wineries so heavily, especially if I'm not a big fan, as I wasn't of the Chehalem wines. However, my sources tell me that the distributor kept her limited Oregon selection a secret until the day before the tasting, when it was too late for Jess to find other options. That said, it's nice to know which wineries to avoid.

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