Young when tasted in Janaury 2005, this wine shows such good balance, it cries for 4-8 years of cellaring. This would be an excellent wine to cellar and try every year starting in 2007 for many rewarding experiences. -jy
The Frances Tannahill Gewurztraminer "Dragonfly" 03 $22.50/$20.25 has me enthralled. Alsacian style whites really intrigue me- the subtle, aromatic nose, with hints of flowers and exotic fruits, and the fresh fruit hit, often finishing clean and almost austere, with mineral and spring water in the finish. Well, that's what's going on in Sam and Cheryl's Gewutztraminer.
There are huge aromatics of lychee, rose, acacia blossoms, perfume, lavender, and spice with a palate that mimics the nose and continues with a balance of viscosity, purity, weightless, and power. The hint of sweetness carries the wine into a long finish that lingers on and on. It is just so delicious to sip, sitting in the garden on a hot afternoon, listening to the bees buzz and the wind move through the trees.
Rick Mafit came to town this week and now everyone's taking his Zinfandel home. His Mystic ZInfandel 02 SALE $17.95/$16.16 was $24, and the price makes this a real deal. Rick's wines have a real cult following in Corvallis. He's not widely distributed, and rarely sends wines to be reviewed, so he's stayed below the radar of the national wine press. And frankly, his customers are just fine with that. The wines are big, lush, and really well priced -- hard to find these days.
Rick has made wine in Oregon for about 25 years now, and many of the small vineyards that have become famous over the years were first brought to our attention by Rick. His Zinfandel is made from Old Vine fruit from the prestigious Hillside Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge. Sineann, Owen Roe, and Natalies Estate are among the wineries making Zins from this vineyard.
The Mystic Zinfandel 02 has an inky black color, with a floral and sweet fruit scent, sweet, slurpable black cherry, black plum, cherry, and currant flavors, well integratd, slightly spicy tannins, and a warm spicy finish with more fruit fruit fruit, yet the wine is not simple. It's right up there with $40 Zins from California. It's everything that makes Zin addicting. The rain has kept the barbequing away, but as soon as the weather warms up, this is a juicy, slurpable big red to have with burgers or steak on the grill. And it's not bad with barbequed chicken, either.
Also on sale and also quite delish is Rick's Mystic Pinot noir 02 $20.95/$18.86. Mystic did not release a Pinot noir until 2002, as Rick did not find the right vineyard to buy from.
"Dai Crisp, vineyard manager, winemaker, and old friend, resurrected the old Temperance Hill Vineyard and I asked for fruit- a year later, he had an opening and I got some great grapes" says Rick.
This Pinot is big, spicy, and fruit forward, with hints of toast and smoke wafting through a medium to full bodied wine with lots of black berry and currant flavors. Ready to drink, bold, everything's balanced and integrated, and it has Rick's signature hints of smoke and herbs, all tied up into a richly delicious package.
The Pinot noir grapes Mystic used for this wine come from a section of Temperance Hill Vineyard near blocks purchased by Elk Cove and Ponzi. While Temperance Hill suffers from an image problem, Dai has so improved the vineyard that the wines coming out of it are causing a bit of a stir in the winery community. It's just a matter of time until Temperance Hill takes its place with vineyards like Shea and Seven Springs as a source of the best fruit. Until then, this wine is priced right and delicious, made in a somewhat rich, California style, but with good balanced acidity and ageability. Rick is quite expert at the use of barrel flavors to enhance wine, and his use of Segiuin Morel barrels for this Pinot noir shows in the lovely vanilla spice and soft finegrained tannins.
Wine Spectator Rates More 2003 Oregon Pinot noirs
Van Duzer's Pinot noir Estate 03 $24.95 received 91 points from Wine Spectator and is our top story of the new ratings. The winery says: "The 2003 Estate Pinot Noir is the most complex and enticing wine made to date under the estate label. Black cherry, blackberry and currant, with floral aromas of violet and hibiscus, make up the 'body' of the nose. Each sniff brings something new....red cherry and rose petal, later on fresh turned earth, mint lavendar and cinnamon graham. The flavors in the mouth are savory, with lots of ripe fruit essence of blackberry, black cherry, lingonberry and black currant."
Wine Spectator says: "Lithe, seductive and lingering, with lovely blueberry, cherry and currant flavors that point right through the long finish, shaded with hints of nutmeg and a floral note. Drink now through 2013." —H.S.
We say- Jim Kalacek slaved over those Estate vineyards for years, bringing them around to the beautiful condition they are in today. Good for him, it's time for some recognition, and making wine from just an Estate vineyard is dang hard. It's a bit like walking a tightrope- if you fall off, if the vineyard's fruit does not turn out well, there's no safety net of purchased fruit from other vineyards. And the winery has kept the price reasonable.
Almost gone and just delightful is the Van Duzer Pinot noir Rose 04 $15.99/$14.40. It's just wonderful for summer- flavors of tart pie cherries, summer herbs, caraway, and fresh strawberry on the finish. Have this wine chilled on a hot summer day with barbequed chicken and a big salad, and you'll think you've gone to heaven. Jim only made about 50 cases, so you'll have to buy it in anticipation of those hot summer aftenoons.
Also recently rated by Wine Spectator are the following wines:
Cherry Hill Pinot noir Estate 03 $27.95/$25.16 Wine Spectator 91 points: "Relatively firm, with lively, emphatic raspberry and plum flavors that sail through the finish, lingering seamlessly. Best from 2007 through 2013." H.S. We say: Light scent of cherry and a hint of oak. The flavors are spicy blackberry, raspberry, and a bit of bing cherry- there's a distinct Burgundian sweetness to the wine, maybe partially from the choice of oak for aging? Finish is moderately long and classic, with well integrated, fine grained tannins artfully balancing lingering sweet fruit notes. -jy
Belle Pente Pinot noir Belle Pente VIneyard 02 $32.99/$29.69 Wine Spectator rating 91 points: "Lithe in texture, explosive in flavor, bursting with blackberry, plum, and currant, sending off sparks of pepper, violet and cinnamon as it all cruises through a sleek finish. Drink now through 2012." H.S.
Belle Pente Pinot noir Murto 02 $29.95/$26.95 Wine Spectator rating 88 points: "Light, smooth and polished, with a pleasant cinnamon edge to the raspberry and cherry flavors, finishing with grace. Drink now through 2010." (HS)
There's a new Wine Spectator coming out with the Van Duzer rating at the end of May, and I bet there'll be more reviews for us to cover in the next edition of this newsletter.
Lynn Penner-Ash's Dusky Goose Pinot noir Goldschmidt Vineyard 03
Lynn Penner-Ash has worked with the Goldschmidt/Dundee Hills Vineyard for over 15 years and makes a single vineyard Pinot from its fruit under both the Penner-Ash label and the Dusky Goose label. Dusky Goose is the label for the vineyard owners, and Lynn really pulls out all the stops with the 2003 vintage of this vineyard's Estate wine.
Wine Spectator has not yet reviewed the Dusky Goose 03 but has rated the Penner-Ash Goldchmidt 92 points, and has this to say about it: " Polished, generous, and silky, radiating blueberry, plum, and vanilla spice flavors, all lingering on the refined finish. Delicious now, but the distinct flavors should melt with age. Drink now through 2015." H.S.
The Dusky Goose Pinot Noir Goldschmidt Vineyard 2003 $47/$42.30 is a bigger, denser wine than the Penner-Ash. While big, the wine is precisely balanced and light on its feet. A unique dried cherry quality that showed through the previous vintage is there again, along with all the ripe red pear, red cherry, black tea, and rich, sweet fruit flavors. There's a bit more structure to the 2003, the tannins are a bit more pronounced, but integrate well with t he intense sweet fruit.
Bergstrom Magnums Still Available
Although some of the Bergström 2003 Pinot noirs have sold out, we are pleased to be able to offer a number of their wines in larger formats this month. The two exceptional purchases of the Bergström wines are the magnums of the Wine Spectator 95 point Arcus Pinot noir 03 and the Bergström Pinot noir Cumberland 03, both highly rated award winners that stand out in a vintage of some excellent wines. You can read all about the Bergstrom wines and order HERE.
IV Real White Wine Blend
Made by Harry Pedersen Nedry of Chehalem, The IV Real White Wine Blend $17.95/$16.16 is a blend of the four primary white grape varieties of Oregon. It is 60% Riesling, 20% Pinot Blanc, 10% Pinot Gris, and 10% Chardonnay.Yje winemaker decided to tank ferment each lot and suspend malolactic fermentation so as to protect the fresh, almost searing acidity in the wine. He also left a little residual sugar in one of the Riesling lots to give a boost of fruity sweetness upon first taste. You will love this blend of the “IV” Oregon white varieties. It will be a perfect summer quaffer and the screw cap bottle will make a perfect wine to take to the beach, even if you forget your wine opener.
About Jean Yates
Jean previously worked in the computer industry and does most of the work on the Avalon website. She is a passionate photographer and many of the images on this site are hers
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