Northwest Wine

Northwest Wine

  • Arterbery MareshArterberry Maresh
  • Oregonian on Avalon WineEvening Land Blue Label Pinot noir 2012e
  • Love & Squalor WinesNumbskull Red Wine

Northwest Big Red wines
Oregon wine under $30

For 26 years we have discovered, reviewed, and sold Northwest wine from Oregon and Washington. Our business grew up with the Northwest wine industry. We taste dozens of wines each week, find the rising stars, and offer them to you. We provide knowledgeable advice and superb customer service. Call us today!

Oregon Chardonnay

Oregon Wine:
Oregon Chardonnay Symposium
A Signature Style for Oregon Chardonnay?

Bringing well deserved attention to Oregon Chardonnay, the second annual Oregon Chardonnay Symposium was held on May 4th in the heart of the Dundee Hills AVA. Participants tasted with eight Oregon winemakers while wine writer Katherine Cole moderated. The discussion centered around the question of an "Oregon style" and explored the eight signature styles of each winery's Chardonnays.

Read More...

Chapter 24 Vineyards

Oregon Wine:
Evesham Wood & Haden Fig
The Artistry of New Classics: Erin Nuccio

Erin Nuccio arrives for our interview wearing a knitted beanie and a shy smile. He is polite but reserved; not necessarily what one expects from the owner of two major Oregon labels and a classic vineyard. Yet appearances can be deceiving because that is exactly what he is. Erin owns Evesham Wood winery and its Le Puits Sec Vineyard, and is the creator and brilliant mind behind his very own label of Haden Fig.

Most Oregon wine fans know that Erin purchased Evesham Wood and Le Puits Sec from its founder Russ Raney back in 2010. Erin had worked with Russ for several years before agreeing to buy and allow the Raney's to retire from wine making. But very little has been said about Erin himself.

Read More...

Archery Summit winemaker Chris Mazepink

Oregon Wine:
Archery Summit New Winemaker
Chris Mazepink

Coming Full Circle

Chris Mazepink is the new Head Winemaker and General Manager at Archery Summit, bringing founder Gary Andrus's legacy full circle. Gary trained Sam Tannahill, who trained Chris. Now Chris is Archery's winemaker. And Chris's winemaking style incorporates parts of Gary's winemaking methods and philosophy in his.

Read More...

Maresh Vineyard's Jim Maresh and daughter MarthaJim Maresh Senior: Old Roots Run Deep

Meeting Jim Maresh is like meeting a slice of Oregon history. He is a force to be reckoned with, one of the pioneers of the Oregon wine industry since planting his first grapevines in 1970. Along the way, he profoundly influenced the direction of Oregon's future, helping protect Oregon farm laws by pushing through legislation and agricultural zoning protections on both county and state levels.

Read More...

 

 

Chapter 24 Vineyards

Oregon Wine:
Chapter 24 Vineyards
New Project for Mark Tarlov

Mark Tarlov is back with a vengeance! The master mind behind high flying Oregon winery Evening Land Vineyards has a new project, Chapter 24 Vineyards. Last summer he hired the talented young winemaker Mikey Etzel and his 2012 vintage Oregon wines are now in barrel.

If I might speculate about the future -

Read More...

Red Willow Vineyard owner Mike Sauer

Washington Wine:
Red Willow Vineyard

Red Willow Vineyard, owned and farmed by Mike Sauer and the Stephenson family, is located in the western Yakima Valley of Washington State. Its famous "1973 Block" contains some of the oldest vines in the state. Over twenty wineries make wine from Red Willow fruit including Owen Roe, Betz, Gramercy Cellars, Mark Ryan Winery, Fausse Piste, and Efeste. The original "1973" block still produces grapes in some years and is the source for Owen Roe's 1973 Block Cabernet Sauvignon.

Read More...

Owen Roe Ex Umbris Syrah

Wine Review:
Owen Roe Ex Umbris Syrah 2011

"From shadows and symbols goes the truth"

Inspired by the motto "Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem" (From shadows and symbols goes the truth). Owen Roe owner and winemaker David O'Reilly was moved to create Ex Umbris Syrah by the stark contrast between the forest fire-blackened land in the Yakima Valley and the verdant grapevines full of fruit located literally at the edge of the wildfire.

Read More...

Jim maresh punching down, fall 2012

Arterberry Maresh: Grounded and Driven

Jim Maresh, third generation of wine growers at his family's Maresh Vineyard, at busy with his grapes, pressing down massive container after massive container when I arrive to speak with him one early November morning. His grandfather is Jim Maresh Senior, who planted this fifth oldest vineyard in Oregon in 1970. We talked as he worked - calling over the roar of a power washer spraying off the patio where pressed grapes were moving on through the process of being put into their barrels... Read More...

Oregon Wine Review:
Belle Pente Estate Reserve
Pinot noir Vertical: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

Belle Pente Pinot noir

Belle Pente's Estate Reserve Pinot noirs are the "best of the best" from Belle Pente's Estate vineyard, showcasing the purest, most attractive attributes that can be coaxed from their "beautiful slope" each year. They are the epitome of their winegrowing efforts, and their release - 2-1/2 years after harvest - marks the "official" end of that vintage for the winery. However, it is really just the beginning, since the lifespan of the Estate Reserves (under ideal storage conditions) should be measured in decades rather than years.

Read More...

Beaux Freres les Cousins Pinot noir 2011

Oregon Wine Review:
Beaux Freres Les Cousins Pinot noir 2011

Beaux Freres is one of the first places I think of when Oregon wine comes up in the conversation. Meeting Mike Etzel in 1993 was a touchstone, a marker in time. Watching his development as a winemaker and grapegrower has educated and inspired me.

So an under $30 Beaux Freres Pinot noir is exciting. With the intense levels of care and attention Mike brings to his three wines, where does his new Les Cousins fit into his lineup of beautifully crafted Pinot noirs?

Read More...

Roast Goose

What to Do When Your Goose Is Cooked:
Recipe and Oregon Wine Pairings

Why is it the goose, that once golden bird, is so sadly out of culinary fashion, largely disappearing from the American dinner table? The truth is that many factors are at play. By the early 20th century, turkeys were being mass produced, chickens were a staple and Americans had developed a taste for the mild flavor of white meat.

Goose, on the other hand, produces no white meat at all, only a rich (some say strong) dark meat. Geese are sometimes even referred to as the steak of birds. Once the meal of choice of the Egyptians and all but ubiquitous during the middle ages, goose is now a rarity.. More...

Jared Etzel

New Oregon Vineyard and Winery
in Prime Dundee Wine Country

Jared Etzel is the new General Manager and winemaker for an as yet unnamed vineyard and winery on The North Willamette Valley's Wine Industry's "Gold Coast," Worden Hill Road. The project is funded by a group of Canadian investors. Robert Roy, who is also an investor in Beaux Freres, and Robert's son are among the group. More...

Oregon Wine And Turducken: The Name Says it All

Turducken: A turkey stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken. Full of blork.

Turducken and Oregon wineYou may remember a few weeks ago when we wrote on these pages about pairing champagne with biscuits and gravy. It seems that article may have opened a Pandora's Box of sorts - since then we've been challenged almost constantly to up the wine pairing ante. So, in the spirit of rising to meet the challenge, we will propose a pairing for a dish so odd, so wrong, so...delicious, that it is going to take some serious brilliance - and humility - to find the right wine.

The dish we're talking about is turducken, that animal-in-animal curiosity of modern culinary exploration. This is a dish that has Americans divided. More...

When Small is Big and Sweet is Dry - Oregon and Washington wine

When Small is Big and Sweet is Dry
Oregon Winemaker Remy's Lagrein and Trust Cellars Riesling

If you spend even a little time chatting with someone who is really into wine, it's likely that you'll hear them talk about the excitement of finding a wine that defies expectations. As with any hobby, serious wine drinkers and collectors often chase the unexpected. In wine, it is often paradoxes of flavor and texture that provide the most illuminating experiences.

One of the most enjoyable surprises for me - and one that I relish in exposing customers to - is that of a "light" wine that comes through with big flavors. How can a wine be delicate and bold at the same time, you ask? More...

What Wine to take to a dinner party?

Lignification, Maceration,
and Malolactic Fermentation, Oh My!

I feel like Dorothy in Oz-Land when I start thinking about all of the terminology that my Oregon winemaker friends use about their vineyards. This weekend, head spinning, I sorted out a few terms with the experts.

Try these on for size, like Dorothy's ruby slippers. If they don't take you home, at least drop them into the conversation next time you talk wine. They'll impress your friends.... More...

Wine Police IV:
Taking Oregon and Washington Wine to a Dinner Party

What Wine to take to a dinner party?

It's 4:00 on December 18th and dinner at Craig and Shirley's begins in an hour. They've been uncharacteristically hush about what they're serving. They've also tasked you with bringing enough wine for nine people. This is a combination of factors frightening enough to make the bravest cringe.

But, thankfully, you have the wine police on your side with our multitude wisdoms and guidance. Think of it this way, you're Bilbo Baggins and we're Samwise Gamgee. We're at your side and at your service, through your epic journey to bring the ring to safety!... More...

Oregon Wine Police III:
Chocolate and Dry Red Wine-
We Say "Yuck"

After our last post about whether chocolate is actually IN wine, we follow up with our taste test of wine AND chocolate. Hint: YUCK.

Among the heinous acts perpetrated by humans, pairing dry red wine with chocolate doesn't even rank. But, in the context of the tiny crimes that wine drinkers commit daily - like pouring Sprite into their Pinot Gris or chilling their Riesling to arctic temperatures - this is an issue that warrants our speaking up. We won't be occupying or camping out; just saying our piece about man's inhumanity to wine. Then we'll be moving on... More...

Oregon wine and Chocolate

Letter to Avalon:
"Does wine really have
chocolate in it?"

Hello. My name is Marc. I have a question. While reading the review for The Owen Roe 1973 Block Red Willow Cabernet Sauvignon, the writer says, "Rich components of dark chocolate, anise, vanilla, and sarsaparilla come together in a uniquely elegant and refined texture" as well as many other flavors he and other reviewers mention. Is the writer saying these "components" are ingredients... More...

Three Oregon Pinots
Wine Loving Ghouls and Goblins
Drink Oregon Pinot noir

Claudi Broadley, Broadley VineyardsThis year I suggest you follow the lead of Oregon's wacky orange and black Ghouls and Goblins who celebrate the season with the many wineries who release special single vineyard offerings. There is nothing more scary than a good bottle of local Pinot Noir, folks, and this is a list of three of the scariest ghostly goblins' favorite recent releases from Evesham Wood le Puits Sec, Et Fille Heredity, and More...

Oregon Wine:
Broadley Speaking: A Review of
Broadley's 2011 Willamette Valley Pinot noir

We're approaching the season when our Northwest wine critics of all type stop their mindless promotion of rich wines, and dutifully yet briefly, write about how well Oregon's lighter wines pair with the cuisine of autumn. For me, this ranks right up there with the disservice we do to sparkling wines by only serving them on holidays and anniversaries. Lighter bodied Oregon wines pair with a wide range of food, and though delicious, their pairing should not be limited simply to turkey, stuffing and cranberry relish. More...

Oregon Winemaking OUR Way

It is more than a quaint fact that we in Oregon operate outside of what is the norm in many parts of the wine world. Considering the mostly market-driven nature of making wine in a place like California, a look at Oregon turns up something that looks a lot more organic, if you will. There are certainly examples of moneyed out-of-state folks setting up shop to join in what they think is the glamor of winery life. But these few examples (maybe six or seven?) of lifestyle-driven wine brands are anomalies in Oregon.

If you do a little research into our history, you'll find an independence ingrained in the kind of people that built this place: rugged individualists that forged their own path, from the pioneer days onward. Our wine industry is to this today informed by an overall disregard for traditional rules, specifically those that dictate how a product is brought to market. More...

Oregon biscuits and gravy

Oregon Wine Police Part II:
Champagne with Biscuits and Gravy

Most people still believe that pairing food and wine is sacred territory upon which only board certified sommeliers and tenured chefs should tread. This led me to think about pushing the boundaries a bit further and to try a pairing that is both crazy-sounding and obvious at the same time: Champagne or an Oregon sparkling wine - with Biscuits and Gravy.

I prefer a Blanc de Noir (all Pinot Noir) in this case, given the overt richness of the food. An excellent choice for this recipe is the J. Albin Blanc De Noir Sparkling Wine 2007.
Recipes and more info...

Oregon pomegranate

When the Right Oregon Wine is the Light Wine

We're approaching the season when our Northwest wine critics of all type stop their mindless promotion of rich wines, and dutifully yet briefly, write about how well Oregon's lighter wines pair with the cuisine of autumn. For me, this ranks right up there with the disservice we do to sparkling wines by only serving them on holidays and anniversaries. Lighter bodied Oregon wines pair with a wide range of food, and though delicious, their pairing should not be limited simply to turkey, stuffing and cranberry relish. More...

The Oregon Wine Police
and Food Pairings

I have some serious beef with the 'chicken, fish or pasta' approach to wine pairing. Wine industry folk who work the retail side have a duty to give these recommendations serious thought before doling them out. It might come as a surprise to some of them, but the 'goes well with fish' shelf tag really isn't that helpful. Most wine goes well with fish if the preparation is appropriate. More...

Pinot noir grape leaf

Speculators Say - Buy 2012 Oregon

With so much money resting upon both the quantity and quality of each year's grape harvest in Oregon, the din of speculators can be heard as early as March in some years. Keep in mind that this is before bud break and long before the first grapes have appeared on any vines. The truth is that there is very little accuracy in this kind of early guesswork, as tempting as it may be to opine. More...

Oregon Pinot noir
Walter Scott La Combe Verte

When you combine one of Oregon's most respected wine salesmen with one of our best Sommeliers, you have the makings of a breakout winery. Ken Pahlow and Erica Landon are those two people, and now that they've settled into their own winery, their breakout time is now. Their breakout moment is their new release, La Combe Verte Pinot noir 2011. More...

Stephen Tanzer's
Top Scoring Oregon Wines

Tanzer's Wine ReviewsOnce a year, Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (a respected wine newsletter ala Wine Advocate) publishes a review of Oregon wine. The 2012 edition came out last week and Josh Raynolds had lots of positive things to say about the vintage. We've been saying for months that the 2010 Pinots are great. We're glad that another respected wine critic agrees. More...

deep sea diver wine cellar

New Wine Industry Idea:
Wine Cellaring Underseas ?!?

I'm being a bit tongue in cheek, but yes, really. They're doing it in France, surely Oregon can do it too. In Decanter magazine today, they describe a new wine cellaring business located 1000 meters underwater, about 70 miles off the coast. And another winery, in Italy, is making wine underseas. With our beautiful Oregon coast, we can offer vacationers something beyond whale watching, scuba diving, and fishing - a visit to their wine cellar. More...

Oregon's Chehalem Mountains AVA:
Wineries To Watch

The Chehalem Mountains AVA includes some of Oregon's best known: namesakes Chehalem, Adelsheim, Archery Summit, Ponzi, and Rex Hill. But among them are some of our favorite small wineries - lesser known, some are new, all are fascinating and the wines have something original to say. Wineries we've found and recommend. More...

News From Oregon's Owen Roe Winery

My conversation with Oregon's Owen Roe owner and winemaker David O"Reilly began with his vivid description of wild horses running near the 1973 Block of Washington's Red Willow Vineyard in Yakima, Washington.

Oregon's Evening Land Vineyards
French Winery Purchase

Evening Land Vineyards, whose consulting winemaker is the star white Burgundy maker Dominique Lafon, purchased French winery Chateau de Bligny in Bligny-les-Beaune last month. Lafon's involvement in Evening Land has expanded to include consulting and winemaking managment for their French efforts. The new French facility will act as a European distribution facility for the Oregon based winery. Evening Land makes several wines in France that are sold in the US and abroad, sharing space with consulting winemaker Dominique Lafon's (Domaine des Comtes Lafon) second label facility, Domaine Dominique Lafon.

Lumos Pinot Gris 2011
One of San Francisco Chronicle's Top Ten Wines for July 4th

The SF Chron says: "Before Organic was cool…Dai Crisp was making great wines in Oregon. Enjoy its floral aromas and creamy soft palate."

Oregon Winemakers Rick Mafit and Chris Mazepink on Wine Barrels

Winemakers choose their winemaking tools carefully: fermenters, sorting tables, yeast, etc. - and nothing elicits more time and thought than the choice of barrels. Two Oregon winemakers who take particular interest in their barrels are Mystic Wines' Rick...

Changes at Grochau Cellars

Oregon winery Grochau Cellars is moving from the Portland winery he shared with Boedecker Winery to McMinnville. In downtown "Mac" he will share space with Marcus Goodfellow's Matello and Love and Squalor wineries.

Musical Chairs at Portland's Urban Wineries

PDX Urban Wineries, the Guild Collective, SE Wine Collective, Portland Wine Project - the Portland urban wine scene is growing, and the wineries are moving around like musical chairs.

Julia Child

Oregon wine lovers are dedicated foodies, and they follow the latest culinary controversies. In her latest Wine Tale, Avalon Wine Senior Editor Christina Kelly takes on the kerfuffle of decadence versus diet.

What Would Julia Child Think?

A Wine Tale
By Christina Kelly, Avalon Wine Senior Editor

There's a firestorm going on among chefs and foodies after the revelation that Chef and TV star Paula Deen, the Southern belle of heavy cream, butter and a frying pan, disclosed that she has diabetes.

It made me wonder, what Julia Child would say? People forget that food critics and modern-day nutritionists often questioned or scolded Julia's use of ingredients like butter and cream in many of her recipes. In a 1990 interview with the New York Times, Julia responded to the critics by saying, "Everybody is overreacting. If fear of food continues, it will be the death of gastronomy in the United States. Fortunately, the French don't suffer from the same hysteria we do. We should enjoy food and have fun. It is one of the simplest and nicest pleasures in life.".
Read More...

 

 

Deer hunting and Oregon wine

Minnesota Deer Hunting
and Oregon Wine

"Panther Creek - How 'bout One of Those?"

Robin Lillehei goes to Minnesota and gets her inner deer hunter on.
Read More...




Volman Vineyards- three generations Laura Volkman Vineyards
Three Generations of Strong Women

By Christina Kelly, Avalon Wine Senior Editor

Laura Volkman grew up in poverty on a farm in Claremore, Oklahoma, where growing crops was a matter of survival, food was canned in jars and women were the backbone of keeping the house and family together during harsh economic times. There was nothing in Volkman's future that said one day she would be making beautiful Pinot Noir in her own small winery in Oregon's Willamette Valley.
Read More...

Eyrie Vineyards South Block Pinot noir tasting

Historical Tasting of Oregon Wine

29 Vintages of Eyrie Vineyards' South Block Pinot noir

November, 2011
By Jean Yates

In the summer of 2011, the owners of Eyrie VIneyards conducted an unforgettable tasting of 29 vintages of their famed South Block Pinot noir. The Lett family opened dozens of cases of their best wines for a guest list of 100 people. Never to be repeated, the tasting was a once in a lifetime experience.

Read More...

Paul Champoux, owner of Champoux Vineyard

Champoux Vineyard's
Paul Champoux

Recovers With Grit, Determination and Small Steps
Author: Christina Kelly
Co-Author Jean Yates

A tiny mosquito
altered Paul Champoux's life.
West Nile virus toppled his 6-foot-plus frame, shut down his muscles and nerves, and nearly stopped his heart. When the virus left him paralyzed, it initially threatened production of one of the finest vineyards in North America.... Read More...

Eyrie Vineyards 2009 Pinot noir

Eyrie Vineyards:
The "Eyrie Style" Continues to Set the Mark

By Rusty Gaffney, Prince of Pinot
PinotFile.com

 

 

Oregon Wine Logo

We ROCK!
Impact of Oregon Wine Industry
on State Economy
Nearly Doubles in Five Years

July 14, 2011
By Christina Kelly, Avalon Senior Editor

Oregon Wine Board's Consultant Steve Burns

Oregon Wine Board's Big Plans

New Strategy and Search for a New Executive Director
An Interview with Interim Executive Director Steve Burn

July 14, 2011
By Christina Kelly, Avalon Senior Editor

Lullaby Winery's Virginie Bourgue

Lullaby Winery Virginie Bourgue:
A Lullaby from a Globe-Trotting Winemaker

By Christina Kelly, Avalon Senior Editor

Virginie Bourgue is a winemaker's winemaker. With great passion, she creates wines with a delicate touch and subtle nuance - a glass with seamless heft and flavors that spark conversations.

 

Oregon Chardonnay

Oregon Wine:
Oregon Chardonnay Symposium
A Signature Style for Oregon Chardonnay?

Bringing well deserved attention to Oregon Chardonnay, the second annual Oregon Chardonnay Symposium was held on May 4th in the heart of the Dundee Hills AVA. Participants tasted with eight Oregon winemakers while wine writer Katherine Cole moderated. The discussion centered around the question of an "Oregon style" and explored the eight signature styles of each winery's Chardonnays.

Read More...

Chapter 24 Vineyards

Oregon Wine:
Evesham Wood & Haden Fig
The Artistry of New Classics: Erin Nuccio

Erin Nuccio arrives for our interview wearing a knitted beanie and a shy smile. He is polite but reserved; not necessarily what one expects from the owner of two major Oregon labels and a classic vineyard. Yet appearances can be deceiving because that is exactly what he is. Erin owns Evesham Wood winery and its Le Puits Sec Vineyard, and is the creator and brilliant mind behind his very own label of Haden Fig.

Most Oregon wine fans know that Erin purchased Evesham Wood and Le Puits Sec from its founder Russ Raney back in 2010. Erin had worked with Russ for several years before agreeing to buy and allow the Raney's to retire from wine making. But very little has been said about Erin himself.

Read More...

Archery Summit winemaker Chris Mazepink

Oregon Wine:
Archery Summit New Winemaker
Chris Mazepink

Coming Full Circle

Chris Mazepink is the new Head Winemaker and General Manager at Archery Summit, bringing founder Gary Andrus's legacy full circle. Gary trained Sam Tannahill, who trained Chris. Now Chris is Archery's winemaker. And Chris's winemaking style incorporates parts of Gary's winemaking methods and philosophy in his.

Read More...

Maresh Vineyard's Jim Maresh and daughter MarthaJim Maresh Senior: Old Roots Run Deep

Meeting Jim Maresh is like meeting a slice of Oregon history. He is a force to be reckoned with, one of the pioneers of the Oregon wine industry since planting his first grapevines in 1970. Along the way, he profoundly influenced the direction of Oregon's future, helping protect Oregon farm laws by pushing through legislation and agricultural zoning protections on both county and state levels.

Read More...

 

 

Chapter 24 Vineyards

Oregon Wine:
Chapter 24 Vineyards
New Project for Mark Tarlov

Mark Tarlov is back with a vengeance! The master mind behind high flying Oregon winery Evening Land Vineyards has a new project, Chapter 24 Vineyards. Last summer he hired the talented young winemaker Mikey Etzel and his 2012 vintage Oregon wines are now in barrel.

If I might speculate about the future -

Read More...

Red Willow Vineyard owner Mike Sauer

Washington Wine:
Red Willow Vineyard

Red Willow Vineyard, owned and farmed by Mike Sauer and the Stephenson family, is located in the western Yakima Valley of Washington State. Its famous "1973 Block" contains some of the oldest vines in the state. Over twenty wineries make wine from Red Willow fruit including Owen Roe, Betz, Gramercy Cellars, Mark Ryan Winery, Fausse Piste, and Efeste. The original "1973" block still produces grapes in some years and is the source for Owen Roe's 1973 Block Cabernet Sauvignon.

Read More...

Owen Roe Ex Umbris Syrah

Wine Review:
Owen Roe Ex Umbris Syrah 2011

"From shadows and symbols goes the truth"

Inspired by the motto "Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem" (From shadows and symbols goes the truth). Owen Roe owner and winemaker David O'Reilly was moved to create Ex Umbris Syrah by the stark contrast between the forest fire-blackened land in the Yakima Valley and the verdant grapevines full of fruit located literally at the edge of the wildfire.

Read More...

Jim maresh punching down, fall 2012

Arterberry Maresh: Grounded and Driven

Jim Maresh, third generation of wine growers at his family's Maresh Vineyard, at busy with his grapes, pressing down massive container after massive container when I arrive to speak with him one early November morning. His grandfather is Jim Maresh Senior, who planted this fifth oldest vineyard in Oregon in 1970. We talked as he worked - calling over the roar of a power washer spraying off the patio where pressed grapes were moving on through the process of being put into their barrels... Read More...

Oregon Wine Review:
Belle Pente Estate Reserve
Pinot noir Vertical: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

Belle Pente Pinot noir

Belle Pente's Estate Reserve Pinot noirs are the "best of the best" from Belle Pente's Estate vineyard, showcasing the purest, most attractive attributes that can be coaxed from their "beautiful slope" each year. They are the epitome of their winegrowing efforts, and their release - 2-1/2 years after harvest - marks the "official" end of that vintage for the winery. However, it is really just the beginning, since the lifespan of the Estate Reserves (under ideal storage conditions) should be measured in decades rather than years.

Read More...

Beaux Freres les Cousins Pinot noir 2011

Oregon Wine Review:
Beaux Freres Les Cousins Pinot noir 2011

Beaux Freres is one of the first places I think of when Oregon wine comes up in the conversation. Meeting Mike Etzel in 1993 was a touchstone, a marker in time. Watching his development as a winemaker and grapegrower has educated and inspired me.

So an under $30 Beaux Freres Pinot noir is exciting. With the intense levels of care and attention Mike brings to his three wines, where does his new Les Cousins fit into his lineup of beautifully crafted Pinot noirs?

Read More...

Roast Goose

What to Do When Your Goose Is Cooked:
Recipe and Oregon Wine Pairings

Why is it the goose, that once golden bird, is so sadly out of culinary fashion, largely disappearing from the American dinner table? The truth is that many factors are at play. By the early 20th century, turkeys were being mass produced, chickens were a staple and Americans had developed a taste for the mild flavor of white meat.

Goose, on the other hand, produces no white meat at all, only a rich (some say strong) dark meat. Geese are sometimes even referred to as the steak of birds. Once the meal of choice of the Egyptians and all but ubiquitous during the middle ages, goose is now a rarity.. More...

Jared Etzel

New Oregon Vineyard and Winery
in Prime Dundee Wine Country

Jared Etzel is the new General Manager and winemaker for an as yet unnamed vineyard and winery on The North Willamette Valley's Wine Industry's "Gold Coast," Worden Hill Road. The project is funded by a group of Canadian investors. Robert Roy, who is also an investor in Beaux Freres, and Robert's son are among the group. More...

Oregon Wine And Turducken: The Name Says it All

Turducken: A turkey stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken. Full of blork.

Turducken and Oregon wineYou may remember a few weeks ago when we wrote on these pages about pairing champagne with biscuits and gravy. It seems that article may have opened a Pandora's Box of sorts - since then we've been challenged almost constantly to up the wine pairing ante. So, in the spirit of rising to meet the challenge, we will propose a pairing for a dish so odd, so wrong, so...delicious, that it is going to take some serious brilliance - and humility - to find the right wine.

The dish we're talking about is turducken, that animal-in-animal curiosity of modern culinary exploration. This is a dish that has Americans divided. More...

When Small is Big and Sweet is Dry - Oregon and Washington wine

When Small is Big and Sweet is Dry
Oregon Winemaker Remy's Lagrein and Trust Cellars Riesling

If you spend even a little time chatting with someone who is really into wine, it's likely that you'll hear them talk about the excitement of finding a wine that defies expectations. As with any hobby, serious wine drinkers and collectors often chase the unexpected. In wine, it is often paradoxes of flavor and texture that provide the most illuminating experiences.

One of the most enjoyable surprises for me - and one that I relish in exposing customers to - is that of a "light" wine that comes through with big flavors. How can a wine be delicate and bold at the same time, you ask? More...

What Wine to take to a dinner party?

Lignification, Maceration,
and Malolactic Fermentation, Oh My!

I feel like Dorothy in Oz-Land when I start thinking about all of the terminology that my Oregon winemaker friends use about their vineyards. This weekend, head spinning, I sorted out a few terms with the experts.

Try these on for size, like Dorothy's ruby slippers. If they don't take you home, at least drop them into the conversation next time you talk wine. They'll impress your friends.... More...

Wine Police IV:
Taking Oregon and Washington Wine to a Dinner Party

What Wine to take to a dinner party?

It's 4:00 on December 18th and dinner at Craig and Shirley's begins in an hour. They've been uncharacteristically hush about what they're serving. They've also tasked you with bringing enough wine for nine people. This is a combination of factors frightening enough to make the bravest cringe.

But, thankfully, you have the wine police on your side with our multitude wisdoms and guidance. Think of it this way, you're Bilbo Baggins and we're Samwise Gamgee. We're at your side and at your service, through your epic journey to bring the ring to safety!... More...

Oregon Wine Police III:
Chocolate and Dry Red Wine-
We Say "Yuck"

After our last post about whether chocolate is actually IN wine, we follow up with our taste test of wine AND chocolate. Hint: YUCK.

Among the heinous acts perpetrated by humans, pairing dry red wine with chocolate doesn't even rank. But, in the context of the tiny crimes that wine drinkers commit daily - like pouring Sprite into their Pinot Gris or chilling their Riesling to arctic temperatures - this is an issue that warrants our speaking up. We won't be occupying or camping out; just saying our piece about man's inhumanity to wine. Then we'll be moving on... More...

Oregon wine and Chocolate

Letter to Avalon:
"Does wine really have
chocolate in it?"

Hello. My name is Marc. I have a question. While reading the review for The Owen Roe 1973 Block Red Willow Cabernet Sauvignon, the writer says, "Rich components of dark chocolate, anise, vanilla, and sarsaparilla come together in a uniquely elegant and refined texture" as well as many other flavors he and other reviewers mention. Is the writer saying these "components" are ingredients... More...

Three Oregon Pinots
Wine Loving Ghouls and Goblins
Drink Oregon Pinot noir

Claudi Broadley, Broadley VineyardsThis year I suggest you follow the lead of Oregon's wacky orange and black Ghouls and Goblins who celebrate the season with the many wineries who release special single vineyard offerings. There is nothing more scary than a good bottle of local Pinot Noir, folks, and this is a list of three of the scariest ghostly goblins' favorite recent releases from Evesham Wood le Puits Sec, Et Fille Heredity, and More...

Oregon Wine:
Broadley Speaking: A Review of
Broadley's 2011 Willamette Valley Pinot noir

We're approaching the season when our Northwest wine critics of all type stop their mindless promotion of rich wines, and dutifully yet briefly, write about how well Oregon's lighter wines pair with the cuisine of autumn. For me, this ranks right up there with the disservice we do to sparkling wines by only serving them on holidays and anniversaries. Lighter bodied Oregon wines pair with a wide range of food, and though delicious, their pairing should not be limited simply to turkey, stuffing and cranberry relish. More...

Oregon Winemaking OUR Way

It is more than a quaint fact that we in Oregon operate outside of what is the norm in many parts of the wine world. Considering the mostly market-driven nature of making wine in a place like California, a look at Oregon turns up something that looks a lot more organic, if you will. There are certainly examples of moneyed out-of-state folks setting up shop to join in what they think is the glamor of winery life. But these few examples (maybe six or seven?) of lifestyle-driven wine brands are anomalies in Oregon.

If you do a little research into our history, you'll find an independence ingrained in the kind of people that built this place: rugged individualists that forged their own path, from the pioneer days onward. Our wine industry is to this today informed by an overall disregard for traditional rules, specifically those that dictate how a product is brought to market. More...

Oregon biscuits and gravy

Oregon Wine Police Part II:
Champagne with Biscuits and Gravy

Most people still believe that pairing food and wine is sacred territory upon which only board certified sommeliers and tenured chefs should tread. This led me to think about pushing the boundaries a bit further and to try a pairing that is both crazy-sounding and obvious at the same time: Champagne or an Oregon sparkling wine - with Biscuits and Gravy.

I prefer a Blanc de Noir (all Pinot Noir) in this case, given the overt richness of the food. An excellent choice for this recipe is the J. Albin Blanc De Noir Sparkling Wine 2007.
Recipes and more info...

Oregon pomegranate

When the Right Oregon Wine is the Light Wine

We're approaching the season when our Northwest wine critics of all type stop their mindless promotion of rich wines, and dutifully yet briefly, write about how well Oregon's lighter wines pair with the cuisine of autumn. For me, this ranks right up there with the disservice we do to sparkling wines by only serving them on holidays and anniversaries. Lighter bodied Oregon wines pair with a wide range of food, and though delicious, their pairing should not be limited simply to turkey, stuffing and cranberry relish. More...

The Oregon Wine Police
and Food Pairings

I have some serious beef with the 'chicken, fish or pasta' approach to wine pairing. Wine industry folk who work the retail side have a duty to give these recommendations serious thought before doling them out. It might come as a surprise to some of them, but the 'goes well with fish' shelf tag really isn't that helpful. Most wine goes well with fish if the preparation is appropriate. More...

Pinot noir grape leaf

Speculators Say - Buy 2012 Oregon

With so much money resting upon both the quantity and quality of each year's grape harvest in Oregon, the din of speculators can be heard as early as March in some years. Keep in mind that this is before bud break and long before the first grapes have appeared on any vines. The truth is that there is very little accuracy in this kind of early guesswork, as tempting as it may be to opine. More...

Oregon Pinot noir
Walter Scott La Combe Verte

When you combine one of Oregon's most respected wine salesmen with one of our best Sommeliers, you have the makings of a breakout winery. Ken Pahlow and Erica Landon are those two people, and now that they've settled into their own winery, their breakout time is now. Their breakout moment is their new release, La Combe Verte Pinot noir 2011. More...

Stephen Tanzer's
Top Scoring Oregon Wines

Tanzer's Wine ReviewsOnce a year, Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (a respected wine newsletter ala Wine Advocate) publishes a review of Oregon wine. The 2012 edition came out last week and Josh Raynolds had lots of positive things to say about the vintage. We've been saying for months that the 2010 Pinots are great. We're glad that another respected wine critic agrees. More...

deep sea diver wine cellar

New Wine Industry Idea:
Wine Cellaring Underseas ?!?

I'm being a bit tongue in cheek, but yes, really. They're doing it in France, surely Oregon can do it too. In Decanter magazine today, they describe a new wine cellaring business located 1000 meters underwater, about 70 miles off the coast. And another winery, in Italy, is making wine underseas. With our beautiful Oregon coast, we can offer vacationers something beyond whale watching, scuba diving, and fishing - a visit to their wine cellar. More...

Oregon's Chehalem Mountains AVA:
Wineries To Watch

The Chehalem Mountains AVA includes some of Oregon's best known: namesakes Chehalem, Adelsheim, Archery Summit, Ponzi, and Rex Hill. But among them are some of our favorite small wineries - lesser known, some are new, all are fascinating and the wines have something original to say. Wineries we've found and recommend. More...

News From Oregon's Owen Roe Winery

My conversation with Oregon's Owen Roe owner and winemaker David O"Reilly began with his vivid description of wild horses running near the 1973 Block of Washington's Red Willow Vineyard in Yakima, Washington.

Oregon's Evening Land Vineyards
French Winery Purchase

Evening Land Vineyards, whose consulting winemaker is the star white Burgundy maker Dominique Lafon, purchased French winery Chateau de Bligny in Bligny-les-Beaune last month. Lafon's involvement in Evening Land has expanded to include consulting and winemaking managment for their French efforts. The new French facility will act as a European distribution facility for the Oregon based winery. Evening Land makes several wines in France that are sold in the US and abroad, sharing space with consulting winemaker Dominique Lafon's (Domaine des Comtes Lafon) second label facility, Domaine Dominique Lafon.

Lumos Pinot Gris 2011
One of San Francisco Chronicle's Top Ten Wines for July 4th

The SF Chron says: "Before Organic was cool…Dai Crisp was making great wines in Oregon. Enjoy its floral aromas and creamy soft palate."

Oregon Winemakers Rick Mafit and Chris Mazepink on Wine Barrels

Winemakers choose their winemaking tools carefully: fermenters, sorting tables, yeast, etc. - and nothing elicits more time and thought than the choice of barrels. Two Oregon winemakers who take particular interest in their barrels are Mystic Wines' Rick...

Changes at Grochau Cellars

Oregon winery Grochau Cellars is moving from the Portland winery he shared with Boedecker Winery to McMinnville. In downtown "Mac" he will share space with Marcus Goodfellow's Matello and Love and Squalor wineries.

Musical Chairs at Portland's Urban Wineries

PDX Urban Wineries, the Guild Collective, SE Wine Collective, Portland Wine Project - the Portland urban wine scene is growing, and the wineries are moving around like musical chairs.

Julia Child

Oregon wine lovers are dedicated foodies, and they follow the latest culinary controversies. In her latest Wine Tale, Avalon Wine Senior Editor Christina Kelly takes on the kerfuffle of decadence versus diet.

What Would Julia Child Think?

A Wine Tale
By Christina Kelly, Avalon Wine Senior Editor

There's a firestorm going on among chefs and foodies after the revelation that Chef and TV star Paula Deen, the Southern belle of heavy cream, butter and a frying pan, disclosed that she has diabetes.

It made me wonder, what Julia Child would say? People forget that food critics and modern-day nutritionists often questioned or scolded Julia's use of ingredients like butter and cream in many of her recipes. In a 1990 interview with the New York Times, Julia responded to the critics by saying, "Everybody is overreacting. If fear of food continues, it will be the death of gastronomy in the United States. Fortunately, the French don't suffer from the same hysteria we do. We should enjoy food and have fun. It is one of the simplest and nicest pleasures in life.".
Read More...

 

 

Deer hunting and Oregon wine

Minnesota Deer Hunting
and Oregon Wine

"Panther Creek - How 'bout One of Those?"

Robin Lillehei goes to Minnesota and gets her inner deer hunter on.
Read More...




Volman Vineyards- three generations Laura Volkman Vineyards
Three Generations of Strong Women

By Christina Kelly, Avalon Wine Senior Editor

Laura Volkman grew up in poverty on a farm in Claremore, Oklahoma, where growing crops was a matter of survival, food was canned in jars and women were the backbone of keeping the house and family together during harsh economic times. There was nothing in Volkman's future that said one day she would be making beautiful Pinot Noir in her own small winery in Oregon's Willamette Valley.
Read More...

Eyrie Vineyards South Block Pinot noir tasting

Historical Tasting of Oregon Wine

29 Vintages of Eyrie Vineyards' South Block Pinot noir

November, 2011
By Jean Yates

In the summer of 2011, the owners of Eyrie VIneyards conducted an unforgettable tasting of 29 vintages of their famed South Block Pinot noir. The Lett family opened dozens of cases of their best wines for a guest list of 100 people. Never to be repeated, the tasting was a once in a lifetime experience.

Read More...

Paul Champoux, owner of Champoux Vineyard

Champoux Vineyard's
Paul Champoux

Recovers With Grit, Determination and Small Steps
Author: Christina Kelly
Co-Author Jean Yates

A tiny mosquito
altered Paul Champoux's life.
West Nile virus toppled his 6-foot-plus frame, shut down his muscles and nerves, and nearly stopped his heart. When the virus left him paralyzed, it initially threatened production of one of the finest vineyards in North America.... Read More...

Eyrie Vineyards 2009 Pinot noir

Eyrie Vineyards:
The "Eyrie Style" Continues to Set the Mark

By Rusty Gaffney, Prince of Pinot
PinotFile.com

 

 

Oregon Wine Logo

We ROCK!
Impact of Oregon Wine Industry
on State Economy
Nearly Doubles in Five Years

July 14, 2011
By Christina Kelly, Avalon Senior Editor

Oregon Wine Board's Consultant Steve Burns

Oregon Wine Board's Big Plans

New Strategy and Search for a New Executive Director
An Interview with Interim Executive Director Steve Burn

July 14, 2011
By Christina Kelly, Avalon Senior Editor

Lullaby Winery's Virginie Bourgue

Lullaby Winery Virginie Bourgue:
A Lullaby from a Globe-Trotting Winemaker

By Christina Kelly, Avalon Senior Editor

Virginie Bourgue is a winemaker's winemaker. With great passion, she creates wines with a delicate touch and subtle nuance - a glass with seamless heft and flavors that spark conversations.

 

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