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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Geek Note 8/16

Lot’s to talk about in this week’s Geek Note:

            A visit to 4 Northern Willamette Producers
            Our Visit and Tasting At Troon Vineyards
            A stop at Rosella’s Vineyard
            Merrill Cellars new tasting room in Jacksonville
            The Buyers Guide Additions and FAQ
            Upcoming Wines to be Tasted
            Upcoming OWG Tasting Events

This wine geek found himself in Hillsboro on Wednesday last week, so with an ancient friend Steve I went out on the road and stopped by several Northern Willamette Valley wineries.  Being Wednesday you have to check to see who’s open for tasting.  It seems most of the producers up here are open Thursday through Sunday so I picked 5 out and we made it to 4.  We started at
Elk Cove Vineyards a really beautiful hillside estate outside Gaston.  We had the full flight of wines, my friend was partial to the Pinot Noir Rose’ which was dry, light bodied and very tasty.  I found the 2009 Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir to my liking and left with some.

Elk Cove Vineyards
Elk Cove Vineyard

Next was Kramer Vineyards a smaller estate just down the road, they offered up some very reasonably priced 2007 Pinot Noir Heritage Estate.  Tasty and refreshing.  They also had Muller-Thurgau white which we picked up for $9.00, follow the link for the tasting note on OWG.  The last wine at this estate was the Carmine Rose’, and interesting varietal and well-made light wine.  We wandered down the road away until we came upon a really picturesque winery and tasting room at Solena and had to stop.

Solena Winery and Tasting Room

The tasting room and winery are incredible buildings with an equal internal décor, their Pinot Noirs are very tasty and subtle.  They also offered some Southern Oregon Wines from Wooldridge Creek which I’ve had often.  The wine I went away with though was  the 2005 Klipsun Cabernet from the Red Mountain Washington AVA made under the Solena label.  A really nice visit worth a stop and a look around.  By this time we are pushing 5:00 pm when most of the tasting rooms start to close so we made a quick stop at Oak Knoll.

Oak Knoll has a large facility but a small cozy tasting room.  A fixture in the Oregon winemaking community since 1970.  Started by Ronald and Marjorie Vuylsteke it was the first winery in Washington County.  The wine here is good with excellent workmanship and worth a longer visit than we could make. I was in the Portland area for a golf tournament the next day at Pumpkin Ridge and came home Friday just in time for our trip through the Applegate to Troon, Rosella’s and Jacksonville.

The basic write up for this trip is at Wine Geeks Adventure through the Applegate.  It follows here in its entirety with some additional pictures.

The wine geeks headed out Friday to Troon Vineyards  for a wonderful chat and wine tasting with Christine Collier, Marketing and Events Coordinator and owner/vintner Chris Martin. We were treated to tastings of Troon’s fine wines and found several we particularly liked: The 2009 Druid’s Fluid is very much an approachable, enjoyable table wine; the Meritage we enjoyed immensely and the Reserve Zinfandel was outstanding. We spent quite a bit of time listening to Chris and Christine and their passion for wine and for Troon. Anytime I get a chance to hear from people who do this for a living, it is an event that makes a lasting impression.

Troon Vineyards

But that wasn’t the end of our adventure as we headed out from Troon and arrived at Rosella’s Winery next. Sandy was serving on Friday and has Rosella’s usual selection of excellent wines.  She treated us to some of her last Cabernet Sauvignons and some of the newer releases.  The 2005 is ready to drink now and is soft, balanced with subtle complexity. I couldn’t live without the 2008 Merlot so I bought several bottles of that.

Rosella's Vineyard Wine Press

We had heard there was a new tasting room in Jacksonville behind the Umpqua tasting room, but hadn’t found it. We were certainly stopping by Herb Quady’s Tasting room to get more of Quady’s Starboard port, of which they were out. Oh the horror!, Ted through persistent hounding did determine that the Quady website in California still has stock though.   But we did have a sip of their Silver medal winning Steelhead Vineyard Syrah (from the
Oregon Wine Geeks Syrah tasting), as well as Quady North’s Flagship Syrah which can make you week at the knees it is so good. But we did make it to Merrill Cellars new tasting room which is tucked in behind the Umpqua tasting room and sampled some of O. Jay Merrill’s wines in what may be the “smallest tasting room in Jacksonville”.  The Cotes Du Rogue name is worth a stop in of itself!  Merrill Cellars is now on the OWG website for your perusal.

Some of you have noticed the new Buyer’s Guide on the site.  These are the wine’s the Oregon Wine Geeks tasters would recommend to friends and fellow wine drinkers for purchase and sipping.  If you want to know more about the selection process please have look at the FAQ for the Buyers Guide.  The most recent additions to the buyers guide are wines we tasted last Friday Troon’s 2007 Old Vine Meritage and 2009 Druids Fluid.  Pebblestone’s  2010 Rose of Syrah and Ledger David’s Rose’.

The current wines slated for tasting this week:
            2006 and 2007 Troon Old Vine Meritage
            2010 Ledger David Chenin Blanc Primoris
            2009 Kramer Vineyards Carmine Little Red Rose’

Upcoming Oregon Wine Geeks Tasting Events:

Southern Oregon Grenache Versus World Grenache.  This tasting will be a blind tasting of Australian, Spanish, and French Grenache versus a picked set of Southern Oregons finest in a similar price range.

First Annual Battle of the Southern Oregon Viognier.  A blind taste off of the Southern Oregon’s premier white varietal.  It should be epic but a really long day.

Both of these events will award medals and at the Viognier event Title of
Geeks Best Viognier 2011.

I think I covered everything I set out too, with the help of my fellow geeks, (Tim wrote 98% of the Applegate trip), and wine community friends we thank you.

Chief Imagineering Officer, Oregon Wine Geeks, (also known as Bailey’s Dad).

Bailey's Dad "Hard at Work"

Posted By: Ted Weldon with Tim Morton @ 5:13:04 PM


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Friday, August 05, 2011

The Geek Note 8/5

Bear Creek Boutique Wineries Passport Event:

It was OWG’s pleasure to spend time at most of the Bear Creek wineries this weekend.  We made it to all but
Paschal and Weisingers which we had been to recently.  The highlight wines for us this weekend were the Rose wines from Pebblestone, 2010 Rose of Syrah and the 2010 Ledger David Sangiovese Rose.

The best food of the day was also from
Ledger David; their pulled pork sandwiches and artichoke dip were off the scale yum.  Along with their excellent Chenin Blancs we got to try the Ledger David Port.  It was wonderful, but will not be released for another year.

We also had a sip of
2009 Pebblestone Viognier perhaps the best Viognier in Southern Oregon for this year.  It is almost sold out so get some more before the end of summer.

We really enjoyed visiting some of the new smaller wineries.  
Aurora Wines has a charming owner, Vicki Nickerson, and a great vineyard view from the back veranda to enjoy while having some of her Merlot.  StoneRiver Vineyard just got their tasting room open just down the street from Aurora and should be a nice place to stop in  and have a sip.  Triumas usual, has wonderful views and a great place to hang out. We had a great time and are looking forward to next year’s event.

What’s next for the OWG; we are going to be heading out to Troon soon to do a reserve tasting.  We have a blind tasting coming up for World Grenache versus Southern Oregon Grenache.  Then our big Viognier contest, a blind tasting to determine who makes the best Viognier in Southern Oregon we may need some more tasters for this one anyone interested drop us an

Posted By: Ted Weldon @ 7:00:15 AM


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Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Birthday America!

Happy 4th of July !

Many returns,

Posted By: TIm Morton @ 9:48:31 AM


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Monday, July 04, 2011

Four Wineries and a Wedding

I had the opportunity to travel to Sacramento this weekend to attend a niece’s wedding. The wedding was in a great setting, the bride was beautiful and I've always thought Zach and Chelsea were one of those "true love" couples meant to be together from the story books.  Live happily ever after.

While there, we stayed in Plymouth, California in the California Shenandoah Valley AVA in Amador County. The days spiked over 100 degrees and it stayed very warm at night, perfect for the southern French, Spanish and Italian varietals grown in this region.

I had an opportunity to try a lot of different varietals, which I had never had the opportunity to taste before:

Verdelho,  a Portuguese white wine, grown and made by Bray vineyards.

Tannat, originally from Southern France, and Uruguay now boasts it as its national grape. High in tannin, as its name suggests, it is often blended with other varietals to soften the finish.

Alicante Bouschet, one of the few grapes that have red juice.

Black Muscat, for red non-port dessert wine.

We tried all the different varietals we could, enjoying each for their distinction and presentation and bought several bottles, but the “WOW!” came from the region’s Zinfandel again and again.

The four top tasting room’s in our journey started with Young’s Vineyard, with their great tasting room and artistic bottling, along with their great wine make it a “don’t miss” tasting room.

Amador Cellars was such a delightful experience and their wines were so good that we bought two vertical flights of Zinfandel.

Sobon had some outstanding wines and some we simply couldn’t live without, we joined the mailing list for this vineyard, and we couldn’t afford to buy all of the wine we wanted from this producer.

Last but not least was Bray Vineyards, we did not visit them last, but I kept them for last because of the amazing experience we had at that tasting room, and the reoccurring theme from friends, family and other tasting rooms…”You simply MUST go to Bray Vineyards, the wines are great and they are so nice!” We found Robin, our hostess to be so much fun we garnered her attention and drank slowly and asked everything we could think to ask! Robin was a joy to be around. It is not common, in my experience, to  have a particular tasting room mentioned so often by so many other tasting rooms – Bray vineyards is the darling of the California Shenandoah Valley.

This was a great trip in a small portion of a large area, these winemakers all are artists and wonderfully friendly people and I can’t wait to go back for another visit. Don’t forget bug repellent and sunscreen. This is a relatively underdeveloped region – very much boutique wineries with limited production with some very old vines. The only time we were charged for a tasting was to taste upwards of seven reserve wines and then they gave us the tasting glasses. A visit here will not disappoint!


Posted By: Tim Morton @ 9:34:33 AM


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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Updated Wine Geeks Web Page

Big changes to the Wine Geeks Web page!

See the events page for news and see the wineries pages for information on local wineries, what they grow and the wines they make.

In the wineries page, click on a winery to see what they're up to - including contact information and their website.

Posted By: Tim Morton @ 10:49:07 AM


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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Where to dine after exploring Yamhill County wineries

2011 Spring Wine Guide: Where to dine after exploring Yamhill County wineries

Published: Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 6:03 AM

Wine Type:
Posted By:   @ 7:58:14 PM


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Monday, May 16, 2011

Lafite On Craigslist

• Craigslist, sprawling Internet bazaar of broken air conditioners, broken mopeds, broken futons and broken people, seems like a perfectly sensible place to purchase bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild for $3,200 a pop from a man known only as "Bart," until you think about it for literally one second. Alas, Quy Duc Nguyen learned the hard way that instead of purchasing an unspecified quantity and vintage of Lafite, he had mistakenly purchased a casual encounter for $40,100, the specific encounter being a violent beating. After flying all the way from California to Queens, N.Y., Nguyen was greeted in the Craigslist "salesroom" with a knock on the head, trussed up and relieved of his shoes, socks and 40 large. Unfiltered has a strong hunch that it was not an actual bottle of Lafite that Quy was bludgeoned with.

From Wine Spectator Unfiltered Column
May 12, 2011, no author cited.

Posted By: Oregon Wine Geek @ 7:19:30 AM


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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Trium and then back to where it began:

I'm writing this while sipping a nice glass of Sonoma Zinfandel, a well aged 2006 Sbragia Gino's Vineyard Zinfandel.  I bought 3 bottles of wine today, a bottle of Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise from Paso Robles a 90% Zinfandel blend, two Southern Oregon wines, 2006 Velocity Cellars Red Table Wine a big red Malbec based blend, and another blend 2006 Lorelli Quattro Foglie.  So as I settled in for the evening meal I picked something remembered, a good old California Zin.

While spending a lot of time working on Rogue Valley wine lately tonight's quaff makes me think of my roots in wine drinking.  Starting in the early eighties.with splendid red Bordeaux with such wonderful body, mouth filling fruit and numbing tannins.  The red/white Burgundy, refined, crisp, with layered flavoring and nose.   I remember discovering white Bordeaux, a refreshing sharp minerality and sweetnes.  Then the rise of California, wonderful Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the one of a kind Zinfandels.  Followed by Oregon creating world class Pinot Noir in the Willamette.  So I always re-trench with a little classic wine from the origins of my favorites wines to put Southern Oregon in perspective.

That said we went by
Trium Vineyards Friday after golf and before a trip to Sammy's Cowboy Bistro for lunch.  Trium's tasting room has a great view, definitely worth a visit.  A good blend to try, nice rose, pinot gris and the like.  Stop by and see what you like.  The tastings are reasonable, $5 for the flight with a 3 bottle buy to cover. Tim bought some Rose, while I saved for Sammy's and a big Cotes du Rhone there. The Rhone will of course require another column or 5 someday. but unitl then Cheers!!



Posted By: Oregon Wine Geek @ 10:39:55 PM


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Friday, April 22, 2011

Oregon Wine Geek Philosophy from Chief Imagineer

Below in this blog you will find the hard work of the Oregon Wine Geeks.  There are wine tasting notes,  tasting rooms & winery visits, news and events from local, regional and Global sources.  Opinion pieces and sometimes something just for fun.  So you should know something about your authors.

What do we mean by “Independent Source for Wine” ? It has a lot to do with who the OW Geeks are. We are all IT professionals, partners in our consulting business, with no vested interests in any winery, vineyard, or any sale of wine.

We drink, try, think and write a lot about wine. It's part of our lives not something with dinner for us. So as we start our venture into wine we looked hard at our area and at what we didn't see. Services we could provide for ourselves and others. Questions we have that are un-answered. We see lots of blogs, winery and vineyard websites, Facebook pages etc. Almost all those people writing and producing material have a vested interest in the industry. They work for or are owners of a winery, vineyard, tasting room, retailer or a publication that sells ad space to the industry, etc.

This is not to say they are not all honest and ethical folks but independent perspective requires the ability to not like something and feel free to express it. You might not tell your employer his tasting room policy is horrible, and what they are calling a claret this year is thin and without taste. That somewhere there is a distiller waiting to turn this wine into vinegar or Gasohol. Being independent we can say those things, and worse, but we probably won't. The easiest way to pan a wine is to simple not review it. We all do this all the time, a flight of 6 wines in the tasting room will most likely contain 4 mediocre specimens. The taster knows it and so do the vintner and most likely the person behind the counter. But they are not going to tell that customer they are serving not so good wine today. They have a vested interest, for a Oregon Wine Geek if it's bad, if its pushed on us, we'll rail against it, but generally we'll just ignore it and chalk it up to a best effort.

That's because the purpose of OWG is to celebrate, inform, cajole, push Oregon wine, and specifically Southern Oregon wine. Talk about what we do well here and ask “what seems to be best for our region?” One of the goals is to have a place for consumers to come and find out about the wines they could taste when they come here. They can find what wine events are coming up in one place, logical and economically planned self-guided wine tour ideas. Where the tasting rooms are, what they are serving.

Because we are IT guys we are starting with data. We already have hundreds of wine tastings of wine worldwide. We're not Robert Parker or Wine Spectator nor do we want to be. We want to be a voice you can trust, because we're here for the wine.

Cheers, from Ted and the other OW Geeks

Posted By: Ted Weldon @ 11:53:59 AM


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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tasting Fees and Bottle Purchases

I had a disturbing experience yesterday at a well known Southern Oregon winery.  My fellow Geek and I had the flight of 5 wines and settled in on 1 that was particularly good.  We decided to buy two bottles of this exceptional Southern Oregon red blend even though at $35 it was a little on the high side.  When we paid I noted that we were also charged for the tasting fee, ($5x2 geeks=$10), even though we had just spent $70 dollars on the wine. 

So hold on here a minute, I spent $70 dollars on wine, we had 5 1 oz tasting but you still want the tasting fee.  I was informed for the tasting fee to be waived we needed to buy at least 6 bottles of wine.  I've tasted wine all over California and Oregon and usually any wine purchase will cover the tasting fee for a person.  The usual formula seems to be 1 bottle=1 fee.  Just based on how much wine was likely to be poured during the tasting, the amount of profit on the bottle I would say the winery is way ahead.

This will cause me to think twice about taking new wine drinkers or out of town guests to this winery.  I think they would not understand why it is when you buy wine from the winery with beautiful buildings and tasting room at full retail.  That this winery will still charge you for 5 sips.  Most people are going to feel like this is gouging the patron, I certainly do.  The guy up the road in single wide with the killer Syrah wouldn't do that.  It's a shame and the first time its happened to me in the valley or anywhere else for that matter.  Really rather disappointed in the vineyard, thought they were classier.



Posted By: Oregon Wine Geek @ 1:46:35 PM


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