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Monday, December 12, 2011

The Geek Note, last of 2011

The Geek Note 12-13-2011

Welcome to the holiday season! The time has come for some retrospective looks at 2011. This year has been busy for the Oregon Wine Geeks. We got out there and met many of the winemakers, vintners and tasting room hosts. We tasted a lot of wine, decided we liked a lot of it, drank it, wrote about it, and suggested it to friends, readers, restaurant owners, other wine critics and winemakers. This installment of the “The Geek Note” will include some stats on the number of wines we reviewed this year as compared to what we tasted. About a 20% margin between what we tasted versus wine we decided to write tasting notes on. We'll talk a little bit about criteria for reviews, and give a glimpse at some negative reviews that were written. We'll round out the article with what the best Oregon Wine Geeks rated wines for Southern Oregon were this year.

We're going to show you a little more costing data that we have gleaned from our database that as of now has over 1000 Southern Oregon wines past and present. We are also going to talk about the Oregon Wine Geek Philosophy as a reminder of how we work and what we try to accomplish. Let's start with the picture below; every year I do a collage of that years labels and pictures from the prior year, here's the 2011 version:

The 2011 Label Collage

So look closely and we'll play a game, there are 2 Items not from Oregon, and 4 from the Willamette Valley. Can you spot them? The rest are all from Southern Oregon, Good Luck.

This Geek Note's Agenda

Statistics and information on Oregon Wine Geeks wine consumption in 2011.
Where are the bad reviews? , Here's a sample and why we don't publish them.
How much should I be paying for that bottle of Southern Oregon white wine?
Buyers Guide Additions, removals and FAQ
On the slate to be tasted, the tasting queue and example of what we tasted last month

The 2011 Tasting Notes

We wrote and published over 200 wine tasting notes this last year through the first week of December. Of that 200 wine tasting notes, 150 were from Oregon, 136 from Southern Oregon. We tend to write notes on about 1 in six wines we taste. That means in 2011 we tasted about 1200 plus wines. The average Score of the tasting notes was 89.1, the low was 83 the high was 95. Those numbers tell you a lot about what we take the time to write a note on.

Scoring Distribution

We don't write negative wine reviews very often, and even when we do they are generally anonymous as to the producer. We strive to be positive about all the wine we drink, wine that is mediocre we tend not to ever do a formal tasting on, but put it aside and move on. A truly bad note and score would be from a wine we have formally tasted and was truly bad. From the Oregon Wine Geeks point of view it's a waste of our time to do a formal tasting on wine we don't like. We are asked by a lot of producers to taste their wine either before or after its been released. When we do we will write a review and score each wine submitted to us, but we only publish tasting notes on Oregon Wine Geeks that are in excess of 81 points. How does this benefit the public?

One of the things we wanted our site to be is somewhere to come find the best Southern Oregon wine to drink. There's no sorting through the mediocre wines reviews, if it's on our site we were at least neutral about the wine. The Oregon Wine Geeks respect the fact that no palates are alike so my good (81 to 85) a rather low score for me could be your 90 if it's something you're looking for. Let's talk scores for moment, in the Oregon Wine Geek world it looks like this:

81 to 84 is a good workmanship wine, most table wine fall between 81 and 90. It should be lower priced, not over $25 or you wouldn't be getting the value you deserve.

85 to 89 is very good wine it should be very well made, generally the producer is very consistent in their quality, you see real reflections of winemaking styles, terrior of the fruit, vintage variations, aging of the wine will show improvements. The pricing should be under $40.

90 to 95 is excellent to classic, sometime the variation here can be much greater than in 80 to 89 range. All the wines over 90 are going to taste wonderful. When you start to close in on 94-95 the words wow and yummy are heard very often. Oregon Wine Geeks smile at each and tend to pour more in their glasses before someone else gets it. There are no limits upper of lower on price at this level.

95 to 100 is extraordinary, truly a classic. Wines with these scores tend to exemplify their varietal, blend types, appellation and regions. Skies the limit on the pricing so we don't get a lot of these, but I predict very soon Southern Oregon will get a 96+ wine.

Oregon Wine Geeks don't take price into account when scoring or tasting a wine. Most times we are unaware of price when wines are selected for tasting. The wine that Oregon Wine Geeks decides to do formal tastings on is decided in a few different ways.

The most common way is by tasting, we get out to the winery tasting rooms and we taste a flight. Within that flight will be wines we'll pick to taste and write notes on. The next way is what we order at meals, especially our weekly lunch at 38 Central. In these cases we order and taste and write notes on the wine before the meal, but supplement the notes with how the wine pairs to food. We also accept submissions from winemakers anything from a single bottle to a producer's entire current release. We don't except payment for any tasting note or scoring we do, though it is occasionally offered. The last way is just like any consumer, we wander around the wine section at the store looking for the new untried gem. The method that generates the written bad reviews is generally with meals and occasionally wine club allocations, following are two such notes. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Where are the bad reviews? , Here's a sample and why we don't publish them.

This from a respected indie producer in the Willamette Valley for a 2007 Pinot Noir.
Watered down, nose almost had BY but could not stand up. Over filtered pinot, tastes like watered down grape juice, no real body, finish non-existent. Some people will say this is elegant and refined, but I see no age ability, just watered down wine. Overpriced and over rated why have this when a wine with body, flavor and complexity is available at 2 for the price of this 1, Now that said this is just me and my palate, my wife enjoyed the wine very much but didn't rave over it. I was just looking for something more.

And this one regarding a Southern Oregon Cab Franc from 2008
This started out sketchy and got worse, after opening and a sip another OWG looked at me and said fingernail polish remover. I took my first sniff and sip and found no fruit, a bitter tannic aftertaste much like sucking on tree bark. I thought we'd give it time to breath and was rewarded with a barn yard full of ponies on the nose, the fruit finally showed up very thin with the same awful tannin and no structure. Not sure what happened here but after drinking so much Cab Franc in the last few weeks this one truly reeked, no score possible, 4 people could not drink even half of the bottle and we moved on to a nice Napa Merlot. PTS, 50 it resembled wine until we opened the bottle.

These are the only negative reviews I've written in the last few months, neither wine of course got a published tasting note on the Oregon Wine Geeks Site. A truly bad wine rarely gets enough of our time to warrant a review, even a bad one. I don't wish to spend my time reviling wine, and most wine we choose not to review is not bad it's just not to up to the minimum. To get a tasting note on Oregon Wine Geeks the wine must be good or better.

Now the top 10 and ties for scored wines from 2011 on Oregon Wine Geeks

At 93 Points:
2007 Abacela Cabernet Franc
2008 Rosella's Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
2003 Madrone Mountain Late Harvest Port
2004 Madrone Mountain desert wine
2006 Silverado Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
At 94 Points
2006 Cricket Hill Winery Cabernet Franc
2003 Foris Cabernet Franc
2008 Spangler Vineyard Cabernet Franc
2008 Spangler Vineyards Petit Verdot
2008 Cowhorn Syrah 74
2006 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

At 95 Points
2009 Teso'aria Attila
1990 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

Now the Top 20 and Ties for Southern Oregon wines from OWG 2011:

At 92 Points
2009 Tesoaria Dolcetto
2009 Cowhorn Grenache 80
2009 Abacela Garnacha
2007 Spangler Vineyards Claret
2009 RoxyAnn Pinot Gris
2010 Deer Creek Vineyards Pinot Gris
2007 Abacela Port
2003 Velocity Cellars Red Table Wine
2004 Pebblestone Vineyards Melange
2008 Merrill Cellars Syrah
2005 Red Lily Tempranillo
2009 Pebblestone Viognier
2009 Cohworn Viognier
At 93 Points
2007 Abacela Cabernet Franc
2008 Rosella's Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
2003 Madrone Mountain Late Harvest Port
2004 Madrone Mountain desert wine
At 94 Points
2006 Cricket Hill Winery Cabernet Franc
2003 Foris Cabernet Franc
2008 Spangler Vineyard Cabernet Franc
2008 Spangler Vineyards Petit Verdot
2008 Cowhorn Syrah 74
At 95 Points
2009 Teso'aria Attila
It should be noted that unlike the Oregon Wine Geeks Buyer's Guide there are no price or availability constraints on this list, it's strictly a lists sorted by tasting note scores from 2011. It's definitely not meant to be “The Best” of anything list as some publications and people put together. Its subjective, most tastings were not done blind, the list is just a history of this year's work. The next piece of information we want to share with you is not subjective at all but based on the retail prices for the over 1000 wines in our database for Southern Oregon.

How much should I be paying for that bottle of Southern Oregon white wine?

We've released some of our statistical analysis of our Southern Oregon Wine Data before but here is another piece of that data below, as you can see white wine can range from $32 a bottle all the way down to under $8. The average cost for each varietal, and blend is there to help consumers to know what the average price should be. It should also help producers to see where their price points fit into the scheme of things.

Buyer's Guide Revisions:

Below are the latest revisions to the Buyer's Guide on Oregon Wine Geeks:

Producer Vintage Wine Date Added Date Removed
Quady North 2007 Viognier Steel head Run   10/13/2011
Quady North 2007 Syrah 4-2,A   10/13/2011
Ledger David 2009 Primoris   10/13/2011
Carpenter Hill 2006 Tango Red   10/13/2011
Tesoria 2008 Attila   10/13/2011
Abacela 2009 Garnacha 10/18/2011  
Abacela 2007 Cabernet Franc 10/22/2011  
Pebblestone 2007 Syrah 10/22/2011  
Trium 2006 Growers Cuvee 11/1/2011  
Cricket Hill 2006 Cabernet Franc 11/6/2011  
Spangler 2008 Cabernet Franc 11/2/2011  
Eden Vale 2005 Syrah Reserve   11/21/2011
Folin 2007 Syrah   11/21/2011
Folin 2008 Tempranillo 11/21/2011  
Abacela 2007 Merlot 11/21/2011 11/24/2011
Caprice 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon 11/22/2011  
Abacela 2008 Merlot 11/24/2011  
Carpenter Hill 2007 Petite Sirah 12/10/2011  

If you're interested in why and how wines are on the buyers guide please check out the FAQ for the Buyers Guide. If you are a producer and want to submit your wines for tasting please email us.

On the slate to be tasted, the tasting queue.

2010 Araujo Estate Sauvignon Blanc Eisele Vineyard
2010 Folin Cellars Mourvedre
2010 Folin Cellars Ambassador Cuvee
2009 Quady North Cabernet Franc
2009 Quady North Merlot ceci n'est pas un baril de merlot
2008 Pebblestone Cellars Merlot Block 2 Ellis Vineyard
2009 Wine Guerrilla Zinfandel Old Vine Block 1 Coffaro Vineyards
2007 Weisinger's of Ashland Mescolare Lot 19
2010 Pebblestone Cellars Pinot Gris Ellis Vineyard
2010 Pebblestone Cellars Viognier Ellis Vineyard
2007 Slagle Creek Vineyards Merlot Pini
2007 Weisinger's of Ashland Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
2009 Crater Lake Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
2008 River's Edge Pinot Noir Barrel Select
2010 Cowhorn Vineyards Viognier

Wines Tasted in November:
Wine Score TastingDate
2008 Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir Dundee Hills 91 11/1/2011
2008 Cubanisimo Vineyards Pinot Noir 85 11/1/2011
2006 Trium Wines Growers Cuvée 88 11/1/2011
2008 Valley View Anna Maria Claret 86 11/6/2011
2006 Cricket Hill Winery Cabernet Franc 94 11/6/2011
2009 Longsword Vineyards Phrase Pinot Noir 88 11/6/2011
2009 Ken Wright Pinot Noir Carter Vineyard 92 11/4/2011
2008 Ponzi Dolcetto 89 11/4/2011
2008 Spangler Vineyard Cabernet Franc 94 11/2/2011
2008 Folin Tempranillo 90 11/20/2011
2008 Misty Oaks Vineyards Jones Road Cabernet Franc 89 11/20/2011
2008 Velocity Cellars Cabernet Franc Wm Augustus 86 11/16/2011
2006 Cavatappi Molly Cuvée Sangiovese 88 11/16/2011
2007 Abacela Merlot 89 11/16/2011
2008 Abacela Merlot 90 11/24/2011
2009 Tesoaria Dolcetto 92 11/24/2011
2009 Tesoaria Tempranillo 87 11/23/2011
2008 St. Innocent Pinot Noir Momtazi Vineyard 91 11/28/2011
2008 Valley View Winery Anna Maria Tempranillo 88 11/27/2011
2009 Cardwell Hill Cellars Pommard Block Pinot Noir 91 11/27/2011
2008 Cardwell Hill Cellars Estate Bottled Pinot Noir 88 11/27/2011

I've come to the end of the 2011 year end Geek Note do we have goals for next year? You bet we do, we want to visit every winery, vineyard tasting room we missed this year. We may add an associate Oregon Wine Geek or two if we can find the right people. Tasting note should top 250 with a little help. Until the Cheers !!!

Posted By: Ted Weldon @ 10:00:07 AM


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