Thirty Oregon Wines in Thirty Days, Day 18!

For the last two months, I have been driving by Carlo & Julian almost every day and seeing a sign that said “Closed.” I did start to wonder if they were ever open. This almost added to the intrigue, as it was obvious that its a tiny place. As luck would have it, my roommate happened to drive by on Saturday and noticed the sign said OPEN. We hustled on over, needless to say. Part of me thought by the time we got there it’d be closed.

But it wasn’t! We noticed a high volume of cars, and in turn, people, as we walked in. What a cozy spot. Its almost the epitome of Carlton; a tiny driveway, chickens and cats meandering about, a tasting room filled with pallets of wine that you know doubles as a winemaking facility. No frills, but very inviting and non-fussy.

Oregon Albariño- Wha?

Oregon Albariño- Wha?

We had actually stumbled into a Tempranillo tasting, we soon found out. The event was probably publicized to the mailing list, but we just got lucky. The owner and winemaker Felix was tasting about 8 different vintages of Tempranillo and two vintages of a blend called Six Grapes. The Tempranillos were wildly fluctuating in character, but all had maintained posterity and reflected the vintage. My favorite wine I had that day was one that was unfortunately sold out- the 2009 Six Grapes. Alas, I had to just enjoy it and then let it go. But I was curious about the Albariño that was listed as available and decided to give it a whirl. I have seen maybe 3-4 other Oregon Albariño around and had been meaning to check one out.

Does it get better than this on a rainy Saturday?

Does it get better than this on a rainy Saturday?

While Felix bottles a lot of Estate fruit, these Albariño grapes come from some nice folks named Ray and Sandra Ethell near Hubbard, OR. I had never heard of Hubbard, so I had to look it up; but it is very close to Woodburn, almost directly east of Carlton. This vineyard contains the first commercial planted Albariño vines in the Willamette Valley, which is sort of a fun fact! So now we can add it to the list of Spanish varietals grown in Oregon.

Always a high acid, super citrusy grape, this is no exception. The nose is all gooseberry, a touch of lees, some light floral accents, and a touch of peach that is almost hidden. In a warmer year like 2012, I can see more tropical fruit probably fleshing out these grapes a bit, but this year is all about the acid. This was such a soggy weekend that this wine makes me dream of a warm Summer evening and some fresh ceviche. Acid-on-acid is a delicate balance, but I think if you threw a sweet fruit salsa in there to marry them, it’d be on time. This wine could also probably cut through something with a higher fat content, or maybe a tangy goat cheese.


In summation, this is a tasty little wine, but prepare your palate to be wow’d by acid. It is a cool-climate wine, no doubt. The bottle doesn’t state how much of this wine was made, but it probably wasn’t much. Carlo & Julian is having a Malbec tasting in a few weeks and I’ll definitely be there! I recommend a stop. Go for it.

This wine was purchased at the winery for $22. Cheers!


Another summer white… Martin Codax Albarino


What’s Albarino, you may ask.  Only one of the most crisp and delicious whites EVER!  Very food friendly.  Very hot-weather friendly.  You could just say this is a friendly and pleasant wine. And I suppose I just did.

Albarino is known as a Spanish grape, but is also grown in Portugal- where they spell it Alvarinho, and sometimes put in it Vinho Verde.  It’s known for it’s somewhat intense, distinctive nose- you could say it’s a little eager to get to know you.  The aromas of ripe lemon, green apples and some herby-ness jump out of the glass.  Color-wise, it’s a really bright, almost sparkly yellow, so it definitely gets your attention.  It’s happy to be alive!

I can think of sooo many things that this wine would taste good with- seafood would probably be the best bet.  A seafood bouillabaise, herb-fried or grilled calamari… any kind of nice white fish like grouper or snapper with a white wine & butter sauce… mmm.  Perfect.  You could even get away with a light, light cream sauce with herbs, pasta, shrimp, and whatever else you want to throw in there.  A pungent cheese like Goat or Brie would be nice, too.

It was given 90 points by Wine Enthusiast! Nothing better than an inexpenive 90-point wine, in my book.  I could talk about how good it is ’til I’m blue in the face, but once y’all see that 90pt rating, you’ll be all over it.  I know you will.  We have this wine at Solstice as a feature right now which means you can drink it on a Monday or Tuesday for (gasp!) $16!  Any other night of the week it will cost you $32 a bottle.   UNLESS you read your Solstice email from yesterday and print out the little goodie that’s in it!  *hint hint*

And a quick side note- I was informed the day after my Opala Vinho Verde post that there is some kind of problem with the distributor being out of the country (yawn) and it has not come in on schedule.  My blood boiled just a bit, because I would never want to pump y’all up to try a wine, only to be told you couldn’t have it.  Horrible!  From now on, I will stick with wines that are physically HERE, or I will send you to the Gourmet Shop to see my fellow redhead, Bryan.  Thanks for reading!