Friday, July 24, 2009

Tasting Notes: Pacific Northwest Wines at JavaMonkey's Thursday Wine Series

I almost got my wish for Pacific Northwest weather last night. A small black cloud blew over Decatur but didn't stick around long enough to do much. Oh, well.

Thanks to all of you who checked in on Twitter to play the drinking game. I tried to make it easy for you.

The wines:

2006 Four Legged White (Columbia Valley, Washington): 100% Riesling
Yes, this one is made in a winery just outside of Walla Walla. I know this because I've been there and have even met the dog on the label. There are a group of wineries located in old hangars near the airport, and half the fun of visiting them is to see how they converted their spaces. This one actually looked like a real tasting room.

The wine itself was billed as "off-dry," but the general consensus is that it's actually way off dry with hints of honeysuckle. The nose was misleading, being mostly mineral and lemon.
Rating: Good, would be good as a component of Kir

2007 Lange Pinot Gris (Willamette Valley, Oregon):
Green apple and pineapple nose, but a good bit of mineral and lime on the palate. It gets kudos because it's a Pinot Gris that Hubby actually liked, although my preference would still be for the Big Fire, which has more fruit.
Rating: Very Good

2006 Novelty Hill Chardonnay (Columbia Valley, Washington):
Chemical cedar nose ("like licking the inside of a cabinet," one taster said). This wine is kind of like a novelty store with all sorts of odd things juxtaposed, and it's hard to tell how well they go together. The oak carries through with a vanilla butterscotch finish. I tried it with brie, a natural pairing for Chard, and found that the cheese actually killed the wine and made it watery. Confused AND wimpy? Would give it a miss.
Rating: Meh

2007 Montinore Estate Reserve Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, Oregon):
Earthy, dark cherry nose. Decent alcohol to balance out the fruit and white pepper. When originally poured, it was a little warm. The fruit really came out after it had been chilled closer to cellar temperature. Gads, I sound like a wine snob! That can't be good, but at least the wine was.
Rating: Very Good

2005 Novelty Hill Merlot (Columbia Valley, Washington): 92% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot
A cedar/blackberry nose was a little bit of a tease because the wine was lighter-bodied than the nose had promised. Lots of smooth fruit, cedar, and butter. I said berry, others said dark plum, but you get the idea.
Rating: Very Good to Excellent

2005 Del Rio Claret (Rogue Valley, Oregon): 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 11% Malbec, and 6% Cabernet Franc
A beautiful reminder that Oregon has more than one wine-growing valley. This blend had a very alcohol-forward nose and palate, but only came in at 13.9%. Still, drinking it was like having a flaky, buttery pastry that had been covered with brandy and set alight. Yeah, I liked it. Besides, how can you not feel all classy and literary when drinking Claret?
Rating: Very Good

So that was the tasting. Hubby and I didn't remember going to any of the wineries except the first one, but we do have a picture of Montinore on our "Wineries of the World" kitchen calendar. Yeah, we're wine geeks.

Jess is always looking for new ideas and themes for tastings. If you have one, please feel free to comment. Or comment otherwise.

No comments: