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Block One Cabernet Sauvignon 03
Unexpected and Delicious!

Best Buy April 2005
Under $20 Pinot noir

St Innocent
Willamette Valley PN 03 $18/$16.20

NW Wine Releases

April 2005

Wines from Sineann, Owen Roe, and St Innocent lead the list of New Releases this month. Some of the NW's best and most limited Big Reds have been released this month.

O'Reilly's Pinot noir 04 and St Innocent Pinot noir 03, both under $20, are our most popular good value Pinots, both released this month. It's hard to find a Pinot noir under $20 with lots of flavor -- and these two wines exceed expectations.

Sineann's Red Wines

Cabernet Sauvignon
Block One 03

This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, from Block One of Champoux Vineyard, the oldest producing grape vines in Washington State, and a vineyard whose old vines usuallu only produce enough grapes to make a wine every two or three years. Quilceda's Reserve Cab is made from fruit from this Block

Every winemaker in Oregon and Washington and parts beyond want fruit from this block of Champoux, and it is a mark of Peter Rosback's winemaking skills that the owner of the Champoux Vineyard has chosen to set aside part of the Block for Peter each year.

Last year, we told customers that the 03 vintage was too small to produce a wine. We were wrong., Peter decided that the very high quality of the wine made bottling the tiny amount produced worthwhile. Thanks Peter, for letting us have a bit of the 2003 vintage's Block One to sell to customers!

The Famed Block One of Champoux Vineyard

The Sineann Block One Cab 03 vintage is another collectable Cabernet Sauvignon for cellaring up to 12 years. Place this wine next to you Betz Pere de Famille 02, your Owen Roe Dubrul Cab 03, and your Andrew Will Sorella 02 in a special section of your cellar called "World Class Cabernet".

Cabernet Sauvignon McDuffee 03 $38/$34.20

This wine is made from fruit from a vineyard across the road from the Lewis Vineyard, right near the firebreak of 2002's forest fire in the Gorge, the wine is intense. Flavors are dominated by big toasty espresso bean, dense black cherry fruit flavors, hints of smoke from that forest fire, and a long long finish.

The winemaker, Peter Rosback, says: "Every year we're more impressed with the fruit we get off Terry McDuffee's vineyard. Tiny black berries, bursting with flavor, from a vineyard that is cropped at less than two tons per acre. The wine is dark, intensely flavorful, with leather and tar components and a long finish."

Sineann has also released two other Big Reds this month: a rich and succulent Hillside Merlot 03 $30/$27 and a Cabernet Rosa Mystica Block 03 $30/$27.

Some Sineann and Medici Wines

Sineann's White Wines

Sineann's three 2004 Gewurztraminers rank among Peter's best wines for the 2004 vintage.

Sineann Gewurztraminer Resonance 04 $18.00/$16.20

Sineann Gewurztraminer Oak Ridge 04 $18.00/$16.20

Sineann Gewurztraminer Celilo 04 $18.00/$16.20

Sineann has produced three distinctly different and lovely Gewurztraminers from the 2004 vintage. Peter says:

"Three of the most exciting wines we made in 2004! The Resonance has great intensity and its customary rich, mouthcoating quality. It is the driest of the trio. The Celilo has markedly higher acid to balance a sweeter wine, characterized by stone fruits and an interesting minerality. The Oak Ridge steers a course between the other two, having some of Resonance's rich mouthfeel and some of Celilo's stone fruit and acidity."

All three wines were made in very limited quantities.

Sineann's Riesling Medici Vineyard 04 $18/$16.20 is a delight for white wine lovers. Peter says:

"Again one of the best wines we made in 2004. A pretty strong statement when one considers the extremely high quality of the wines we have sitting in barrel in the winery at this time. It has beautiful floral aromatics; rich, complex flavors that evolve on the palate; lively acidity to lighten the flavors. The vines are almost 30 years old, are cropped and tended like Pinot Noir and were left to hang late into October of 2003, long enough for nearly half of the clusters to be botrytis-affected."

Peter consistently produces white wines that are some of Oregon's best, along with Harry Pedersen-Nedry's Chehalem offerings, Mark Vlosak's St Innocent Pinot gris and Chardonnay, and Jay Christopher's Holloran, J Christopher, and Stafford Rieslings.

O'Reilly and St Innocent Pinot noirs- Under $20 Bargains

It's hard to find an under $20 Pinot noir that rocks. One with great flavors, scent, and a nice balanced finish. Throw in some nice spice and fruit, and maybe a bit of complexity, and I am in bliss. Both the O'Reilly Pinot noir 04 $16/$14.40 and the St Innocent Pinot noir Willamette Valley 03 $18/$16.20 rock.

Know that the St Innocent Pinot noir Willamette Valley 03 is only distributed in Oregon. Mark Vlosak is such a generous fellow, his prices have always been extremely reasonable, and he offers this value priced Pinot noir to Oregon consumers each year. There's not much of it, so grab it soon.

What can I say about the O'Reilly Pinot noir 04 $16/$14.40 that you do not already know? Maybe that there is half as much this year as last. David says the wine is better than the 03, a darker color, more soft and mouth coating, as he put more single vineyard juice into the blend this year, inclduing fruit from the Casablanca Vineyard. Made in the rich, over-the-top Owen Roe style.

Other Pinot noir Bargains for April

Matt Kinne's McKinlay Pinot noir Willamette Valley 03 $17/$15.30 is one of Megan's favorite value Pinots. Megan heads Avalon's Customer Service and is an avid wine enthusiast. She tastes dozens of wines every week and talks to all the customers -- she hears about all the best bargains. The MicKinlay 03 is a blend of mostly 02 with some 03 Pinot noir, generous, rounded, medium-big- full of red and black berry flavors. Matt is known for his reasonable prices and high quality Pinot noirs.

Right up there with the McKinlay in our local customers' Top Ten Best Values list is the Brooks Pinot noir 03 $20/$18. Sam Tannahill, reknowned former winemaker at Archery Summit, current winemaker at Shea Wine Cellars, and owner/co-winemaker with with Cheryl Francis at their own Francis/Tannahill Winery, completed this wine after Jimi's tragic death last year. It has pleasant red cherry and berry fruit and warm spice flavors. The wine is balanced, with no harsh edges, just rounded flavors with a nice finish.

The Brandborg Benchlands Pinot noir 02 $20/$18 continues to sell repeatedly to customers who have quickly adapted it as their personal "House Wine". It's made from warmer, Southern Oregon fruit from the Umpqua Valley, and shows a plush, lush quality that is quite appealing. The wine has very pretty floral rose aromas with raspberry, cherry and warm honeyed oak. Strawberry and Queen Ann cherries dominate the flavors with a nice round mouth feel. It has moderate weight with a long lingering caramel finish. This new winery is quickly gaining a statewide reputation for some of the best Pinots made in Southern Oregon.

Other under $20 Pinot noirs that we think are really good deals include:

Territorial Pinot noir 02 $19/$17.09
Wine Press Northwest named Territorial its "Oregon Winery to Watch" in their current issue. Couldn't happen to nicer people.

Iris Hill Pinot noir 02 $20/$18 is still available, although we are nearing the end of the vintage.

Finally, while not quite under $20, we have to mention a local favorite, Roots 2003 Pinot noir $22/19.80. When Chris came to pour this wine at our Saturday tasting, he sold every bottle, and the customers keep coming back for more. Chris owns a tiny 6 acre estate vineyard, and the wine from this new vineyard is quite quite good. The wine is made from young vines, and is showing a lot of depth and nice flavors. Most of the fruit came from the upper block of his vineyard, a block comprised of Pinot noir clones 113, 115, and 777. The wine was aged in 30% new Francois Freres oak (Allier and Nevar), 40% year old Francois Freres and Gillet oak, 10% neutral oak, and 20% Hungarian oak. Avalon heartily recommends this wine as a great value.


Someone had a good time!
Beaux Frere's glass recycling after
Thanksgiving weekend open house, 2004.

Beaux Freres 2003 Pinot noirs

Beaux Freres made only three 2003 vintage wines. A smaller harvest resulted in too little wine to create some of the vineyard select wines that Mike has made in past vintages. The good news is, the small harvest may not have produced as much fruit, but the fruit that was harvested was of a very high quality. The resulting wines are sophisticated, concentrated, and elegant, perhaps not as immediately approachable as the 2002's, but rewarding in their depth and in the maturity of wine making.

All three wines offer a harmonious complexity of flavors and tremendous beauty and age ability. They are worthy follow ups to the 2002's, with intriguing layers of flavors demonstrating the skills of a winemaker who knows his vineyard and his winery and makes the very best use of both.

Beaux Freres Pinot noir
The Beaux Freres Vineyard 03

Price: $75.00 ---
with 15% pre-order discount $63.75
save $135 per case

Avalon tasting notes- Tasted twice with similar notes-
This is classic Beaux Freres, the standard bearer of the winery's reputation and the wine to collect and cellar every year. Dark garnet/plum color, classic Pinot nose with fresh earth, chocolate, plum, and saddle leather scents, and an intriguing hint of rose petals under the surface. Flavors are rich, expansive sweet plum, blackberry, black raspberry, black cherry, cola, spice, white pepper, with hints of licorice and spice. The finish goes on and on, seductively restating and elaborating on the flavors initially perceived. Acid-tannin balance is just about perfect, there's tremendous potential for even more by cellaring 3-8 years. Tasted side by side with the 2002 Estate (Wine Spectator 95 points) I'd have to say this wine is at least its equal. -jy
order here: http://www.northwest-wine.com/beauxfreres.html

Beaux Freres Pinot noir Upper Terrace 03
Price: $75.00 --- with 15% pre-order discount $63.75 save $135 per case

"Upper Terrace" is a vineyard purchased by Beaux Freres several years ago. It is just above the original Estate block. Scents of black cherry, spice, and saddle leather lead to hugely concentrated flavors of sweet plum, cherry, chocolate, and spice, lots of depth and complexity while sustaining a fresh, lush quality. The flavors of plummy chocolate continue in the long finish, with a hint of white pepper rising from fine grained tannins. The complexity, balance and sophistication of this wine makes it a world class Pinot noir and a candidate for cellaring for 5-8 years. Remarkably good in the face of a difficult vintage, this 2003 wine sets a high standard for others to match. -jy
order here: http://www.northwest-wine.com/beauxfreres.html

Beaux Freres Belles Soeurs Pinot noir 03
Price: $45.00 -- with 15% pre-order discount $38.25 save $81 per case

Belles Soeurs comes into its own with this juicy, lush offering made from fruit not grown at the Beaux Freres Estate.
Dark color, intense and succulent aromas of black raspberry, blackberry, clean earth,hints of rose petal. Flavors of sweet plum, blackberry, black raspberry,cherry, and earthy spice, a bit fruit forward, but balanced with a surprisingly fresh, crisp finish with nicely balanced tannins. No problem at Beaux Freres with the tempermental 2003 vintage, there's not a trace of heat, just a long, spicy finish with white pepper, pie spices, and continued echoes of juicy black plum and berry. Delicious, complex, sophisticated, and promising even more with a bit of cellaring.-jy
order here: http://www.northwest-wine.com/beauxfreres.html

From left: Peter Rosback (Sineann & Medici),
David O'Reilly (Owen Roe, O'Reilly),
Bill Owen, Co-owner, Owen Roe

Owen Roe 2003 Dubrul Wines Released

Dubrul Vineyard is located high on an outcropping of the Rattlesnake Hills in the Northwest Yakima Valley in central Washington. The poor soil, wind, extreme heat during the day and cold at night stress the vines, reducing the crop but concentrating flavors. The cold nights keep acidity high (key for successful cellaring) while the hot days make for lush, multilayered flavors.

The 2003 Owen Roe Dubrul Cabernet Sauvignon 03 $68/61.20 has all of the intensity of the 2002, with a tad more structure. The dark, ruby-colored wine is full bodied, with deep flavors of berry, black stone fruit, and toasted espresso bean. Add a hint of smoke, warm spices, and just a whiff of desert herbs, and a long, long finish. While impressive and lush now, its well balanced acidity will support up to 10 years of cellaring.

The 2003 Owen Roe Dubrul Merlot 03 $48/$43.20 shows both lush fruit flavors and marvelous acidity, a harbinger of age-worthiness. Super intense, this is a powerful Merlot with a spicy, intense perfume. Flavors of blackberry, cocoa, toasted espresso bean, and cherries of all types intermingle in the mouth. Lively acidity keeps the wine refreshingly balanced and interesting.

The Owen Roe Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon 03 $42/$37.80 is new from Owen Roe this year. David O'Reilly is very excited about this blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, and 9% Cab Franc sourced from Walla Walla's Seven Hills Vineyard Block 17. Block 17 fruit is also purchased by Quilceda Creek, Pepper Bridge Winery, and Leonetti, and is considered one of the best sources of fruit in Walla Walla. The wine shows flavors of blackberry, cedar, and ripe, intense aromas. While quite appealing now, it will benefit from up to ten years of cool cellaring.

Van Duzer Rosé -
First of the Summer Wines

It can't be that much longer till warm weather when the dry Rosés start appearing. Jim Kalacek, winemaker at Van Duzer, makes one of the best, and for the first time, there's enough that we can sell it, not just hide away the couple of bottles he used to sell me for my own consumption.

Van Duzer Rosé 04 $16/$14.40
Dry rosé excels as a summer wine. There'sa something about hot weather and a chilled bottle of a good, fresh, dry "pinkie" that makes the day special. The Van Duzer 2004 is a dry rose of Pinot noir, with 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. HE only made 100 cases or so. I'm ordering mine now -- it won't be around for long.


About Jean Yates

Jean Yates is owner of Avalon Wine, and has worked to promote Oregon and Washington wine for over 19 years through her wine shop, web site, and articles.

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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