Thirty Oregon Wines in Thirty Days, DAY 30! Quady North GSM

Its finally day 30! Even though I’m a day late posting this and its actually February right now, I am pretty proud that I finished what I set out to do. In the past, I would always resolve to post at least once a week. Then life would get away from me, I’d get distracted, sometimes a little slack.. and not do it. So I’m really glad that I forced myself to write a lot this past month. My wallet needs a little rest, though. I ain’t gonna lie.

But I already have a great many items on my blogging agenda for February! Among them, a trip to Lumos, Patton Valley’s Rosé release on the 14th AND the 2015 Bubbles Fest at Anne Amie on the 14th, too! Thats gonna be a good day, right there. This is the most I’ve looked forward to Valentines Day in at least a decade. Woot!

90 points Wine Spectator, right here.

90 points Wine Spectator, right here.

This wine, the Quady North GSM, 2011 Rogue Valley, caught my eye a couple times at Roth’s, and then Valley Wine Merchants posted about it on Facebook a few weeks ago. Its been in the back of my mind for a while, so I decided to make it the last wine of the Thirty Oregon Wines project, because two out of its three grapes haven’t been written about yet! Grenache and Mourvedre. I geeked out a little over the fact that this is an Oregon GSM. My Oregon GSM cherry has officially been popped.

These guys are pretty hot- this wine got 90 Points from Wine Spectator, and there’s a host of accolades to go around for several of their other wines too. If I blind tasted this, I definitely would guess California Grenache. The nose is herby and savory, a little wily and a little meaty. The Mourvedre “funk” brings in a touch of smoke, pepper and almost mesquite BBQ. Red fruit is also prominent, plenty of red cherry and raspberry. Touches of sage and leather. The finish is what grabs me with this wine. As silky as it could be, with a touch of creamy vanilla makes for an uplifting conclusion.

IMG_8169

This wine seems to be a winner at our dinner table. Its been open for maybe an hour, and is becoming more outgoing as the time passes. That finish, though. Its hanging on strong! I dig it. This is a cool find. I’d be really interested to try more wines from Quady, including their Rosé (squee! it’s almost Rosé time!) It has also continued the piquing of my interest in whats going on in Southern Oregon.

ANYWAY, I want to thank everyone who’s followed along on this lil’ project! I’ve gotten a lot of really nice comments and feedback from readers, which feels great! Its helped me really hone in and focus on Oregon wine, which seems like a crucial element to why I decided to uproot and move out here. Plus, its been fun and I’ve learned a lot. Hope you have, too!

This wine was purchased at Valley Wine Merchants in Newberg for $26. 

A little Fun with the French!

This Tuesday morning has me feeling a bit on the French side. Why?

who’s that in the background? Penelope Garcia!

Well, really because two of my favorite wines of recent have been French.  Actually, there’s a third that I’ll throw in at the end; also French. So three altogether.  But the first two are especially crucial because I absolutely LOVE Frenchies that exhibit tremendous value!  There are still plenty of those in the world, so let’s get started with these guys…

Oooh, lookie here!  A view inside my fridge:

a stunning view! really, I didn’t pre-arrange this. This is it.

Alright, so my fridge isn’t always the prettiest sight, but right now it’s not too bad.  Sadly, that bottle of Rose is way past it’s prime, but it remains in the fridge until the next time I am inspired to edit some items out. Psssshhhtt.  Whatev.

So this wine is the Kimmeridgien Chardonnay, 2010 from Jean Marc Brocard.  It sells for $16, which is a solid deal for a fantastic white Burgundy.  I’ve actually loved this wine for several vintages past, and whenever it’s made it’s way to our retail shelves in the past few years, it’s always sold very well and has been much loved.  It’s truly a perfect expression of this soil type!  “Kimmeridgian” actually is a soil type; or rather a basin of Limestone that runs all the way through Champagne, the Loire, and Burgundy.  Now, I didn’t do so well in Geology class, and really I have only a slightly better than average knowledge of soil types. But based on the best of my understanding, this particular soil makes particularly good wine (Chardonnay, especially) because it is a Limestone-based soil that is nice n’ chalky.  Not to be a total nerd, but it’s actually pretty cool that this soil type and this wine are named for an actual Geological …. um… thing.  That’s about all I can say about that.  Except one more thing- I had a reaalllly hot Geology TA in college named Luke. Fin.

So, this wine is good.  Here’s why: it has a gorgeous golden straw color and a very distinctive Chablis nose of citrus peel, chalk, a hint of gunflint, soap, and fresh tart green apples.  Stainless steel fermentation makes it’s palate very lean and taut, with razor-like focus and searing acidity.  The finish lingers for at least a minute, and shows off a slight touch of hazelnut and a little something floral.  A truly beautiful wine that drinks effortlessly, and might make you think twice about what Chardonnay is capable of.

Next freakout of the week: St. Cosme Cotes du Rhone, 2011!

THE JAM.

Recently given 90 points by Wine Spectator, this guy is set on world-domination!  That is how FREAKING good this wine is.  And, I’m going to go ahead and call that this wine WILL definitely be on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2012.  Why??  Well, like I said, it’s freaking delicious, it got 90 Points (a requirement to be on said list) and it sells for a ridiculous $15!!  Which is stone. cold. RIDIC.

It seems this wine is mostly Syrah, but despite a bit of hunting, I can’t be sure.  To me it doesn’t really matter.  Some past vintages of this bottling have been 100% Syrah, and some have had Grenache.  This wine literally explodes!  An extremely vibrant nose of violets, raw meat (if you’ve never smelled that, it actually smells delicious rather than gross), blackberries, licorice, sandalwood, plums, anise, black pepper… I could really keep going, but hopefully you get the gist.  The palate is quenchy, silky, perfectly balanced and juicy.  This is the absolute epitome of an everyday red wine, in my book.  I know I could drink it every day.  Actually, I think I have had it every day since last Wednesday.

The other cool thing is that Chateau de St. Cosme is currently getting an absolute slew of amazing ratings (think high 90’s), and it’s totally awesome that they have an entry-level red that is this great of a price.  I’d still love this wine even if it didn’t have high-rollin’ big sisters, but it’s still a good selling point.

Alright, one more cool French wine that coincidentally started to blow up in my twitter feed right after we got it in- Shatter Grenache, 2010 Maury, France.  Made by rock star winemakers Joel Gott and Dave Phinney, this wine is a cacophony of wild n’ crazy fruits, spices, and oakyness.  I’d go into much more detail, but my wine-blogging doppelganger The Reverse Wine Snob has written an awesome post on it here, which I can’t really improve on.  We’re currently retailing it for $29, and if you like the sounds of it, come grab one!  That’s all for today.

Orin Swift “Locations E-1”, 2011 Spain

Okay, kiddos.  This post comes to you today from a sunny, beautiful Columbia, SC- AKA the Center of the College Football Universe.

Most of you that live in Columbia will probably not even read this until tomorrow, at the soonest.  Because your life has, of course, been put on pause until the conclusion of the USC-UGA game this evening.  I get it.  But I am for want of things to do this afternoon, as I am not one of those individuals who gets Football Fever.  I occasionally like install shock and fear in folks around here by telling them there is no such thing as College football in New England.  Horrifying, yes; but 100% true.  It’s like telling them there’s no Santa Claus.  In any case, I do have a vested interest in seeing the Cocks win tonight.  Mostly because I hate hearing my coworkers whine and pout if they lose.  That and I find most Georgia fans I’ve encountered to be a bit abrasive. (sorry, Lane. not you.).  But Bulldogs are cute.  That’s all I got.

So let us move on to a topic that can unite even  one of?? the biggest rivalries in the SEC- WINE! (we are in the SEC, right? I don’t really know.  I just remember someone saying “welcome to the SEC, Missouri.” or maybe it was Kentucky. Like I said, I don’t care about this stuff).  I’ll stick to what I like, which is WINE!!  Especially brand-new wine from Orin Swift winemaker Dave Phinney!

a study in simplicity, this package is.

Direct and to the point, the large capital letter E announces this wine’s company.  Functional, non-glamorous, yet appealing to the eye; I like it.  It reminds me of those bumperstickers that people put on their cars with the insider abbreviations for particular vacation spots.  For some reason, I like this bottle, yet I hate those stickers.  Like, if YOU were cool enough, YOU’D know what OBX stood for, and you’d go there!  But we won’t dwell on that.

Locations is a blend of three grapes from three of the most prominent growing regions in Spain; Grenache from Priorat, Tempranillo from Rioja, and Carignan from Ribera del Duero.  Despite some Googling, I can’t seem to find a breakdown of percentages.  I doubt it’s an even three way split, but stranger things have happened.  Now, I am a total slut for Spanish wine.  If I had to choose one country’s wine to drink for the rest of my life, it’d be Spain.  I would shed a tear for Rose from Southern France, but I’d get over it.  So maybe I’m predisposed to liking this wine, in which case I’m biased.  But I also have good taste, so you’ll have to take a gamble if you believe me when I tell you this wine is DELICIOUS.  It’s one of those wines I like to call “a drinker.”

specs.

Yes, all wines are drinkers, technically.  But the ones I call official “drinkers” have to have a specific characteristic- they have to leave your mouth feeling lighter OR as light as it was when you started drinking it.  In other words, it can’t weigh you down.  It can’t coat your mouth.  All you should feel after you sip it is a pleasant little tingle, AKA a lightening sensation.  Often it can make you want to smack your tongue against the roof of your mouth.  We could also call this the correct amount of acid, if we wanted to be technical.

But let’s get back to how it tastes, before I get too wordy.  I’ve actually consumed about a glass of this while writing.  So I’m an expert.  A very ripe and luscious nose of blackberry, black cherry, plums, blackberry liqueur, a hint of fresh sage and maybe juniper arrive in your olfactory glands ceremoniously.  The palate, as I said before, is zesty and bright with nice acid and a good balance of fruit.  Savory, robust and lip smackin’.  Structured, with a nice weight and again- very drinkable.  As is evidenced by me crushing a glass while sitting around at 2 in the afternoon.

In closing, I would say this; remember that this is a Spanish wine in addition to it being an Orin Swift wine.  For me, it is a nice venture into Spain from winemaker Dave Phinney- it IS an Orin Swift wine, because I (as should you) would have 100% confidence in buying it untasted, as I would know I’d be getting high quality wine, with precise, experienced and focused winemaking.  But these be Spanish grapes, not ‘Merican.  So if you buy it thinking it’s going to taste like The Prisoner, it won’t.  But you SHOULD buy it because it’s GOOD and because you love wine.  Also?  It’s only $22!  That’s a major win for this wine, and I’m really glad to see such a friendly price-tag on it.  A touch over your everyday price, but not so much that you’ll want to hoard it and feel bad for opening it.

Now here’s the kicker- this wine is in somewhat limited supply.  So I’d suggest stopping in and grabbing a bottle sooner rather than later.  Or, if you’re a transplant like me, come in tonight and have a glass- because in all likelihood, it will only be on by-the-glass until Tuesday of next week, the 9th.

get you some!

***Also!!  A special announcement for SPANISH WINE-LOVERS, if you’ve made it this far, about a way-awesome tasting we have Wednesday, October 10th from 5-7!!  Four brand-new Spanish reds from Well-Oiled Wine Company!  I was literally blown to pieces over these wines, and the PRICES are stunning.  None of them retail for more than $15.  And they’re all kick-ass.  Absolutely fantastic.  We’ll be trying the Pieza “El Coll” Garnacha, Gran Familia Rioja, Anciano 5 Year Tempranillo, and LAN Crianza Rioja.  I’m trying to talk Ricky into making some Spanish-style food to go along with them, too!  Put it on that calendar!

And okay, fine- after a glass of wine, I can say it- GO COCKS!!!

Orin Swift “D66” 2009 France… yup, France!

Orin, Orin, Orin… so many new releases this year, I can barely keep up!  And you continue to impress, especially with your label art…

Simple, graphical color-blocking.  I like.  What’s inside?  A blend of mostly Grenache, with a little Syrah and a little Carignan.  So, it’s a Rhone blend?  Well, yes… sort of.  It has broken the mold of Rhone blends.  Shattered it, actually, into a million pieces.

Now I’m no Fancy Sommelier, but if I blind-tasted this wine, I don’t think I’d have ever guessed it was from France.  Spain would’ve been my best guess, probably Jumilla.  Although I wouldn’t have faulted myself for this error, since Vin de Pays de Cotes Catalanes is practically in Spain.  This wine actually reminds me a bit of the “I-will-live-forever-in-cult-infamy” wine from Bodegas El Nido called CLIO, which is a Monastrell-Cab blend.  Many have fallen victim to it’s charms and never recovered, destined to one day be on a therapist’s couch whimpering “Once I tried the Clio, nothing ever really impressed me again.”

But that was before they met D66.  This is a true Orin Swift wine- rich, opulent, hedonistic, and seductive.  Almost black in color, it’ll coat your glass with it’s silky layers of dark fruit, spice, and moist earth.  Notes of bitter cherry, raisins, toasty vanilla, and exotic Asian spices are all perfectly balanced out in it’s 15.2 alcohol content.   A nice amount of tannin on the finish distinguishes it from just your average big nasty fruit bomb.  It’s truly gorgeous.  If I were you, I’d snap one up quickly as these wines sell out faster than you can say terroir.

If I may use a clever analogy, the D66 is sort of like French Wine Meets Monster Truck Rally.  “SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!  ORIN SWIFT DOES FRANCE!  Death-defying stunts and POWER POWER POWER!”  Okay, so I’ve never been to a Monster Truck Rally, but I have memories singed into my consciousness of those TV commercials.  I don’t mean to trivialize the D66 by any means, but this is just where my mind went with it.  Call it French wine on Steroids.  Call it French wine “juiced up.”  Call it whatever you want.  It’s a beast.  Enjoy.

This wine is currently in stock at Cellar on Greene for $42.  Check out Orin Swift Cellars Website for more info on all their juice.

Bodegas Borsao Campo de Borja- $8 and 89 points rated? wha??

Delightful.

That is the one word to describe this wine.  It’s just delightful.  I can’t think of one thing not to like about it.  But the best thing TO like about it is that it is EIGHT DOLLARS a bottle!  In the words of Michael Cramer, “are you freaking kidding me?!”  This is why Spain is the reigning King of value! 

I would liken drinking this wine to the feeling you get after purchasing something you really wanted- like a flat screen TV- and getting it for half-off.  The feeling of utmost satisfaction.  The feeling of a job well done.  Except a flat screen TV will not give you a pleasant wine buzz at the end of the day when Christmas is fast approaching and you just want to pull the covers over your head, tap your heels together and be magically transported to the month of January.  If only it were that easy. 

So, yes- I prescribe several bottles of Borsao to cure all your Holiday stress!  I want everyone to love this wine!  This 2008 vintage is a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Tempranillo.  It is a vibrant, juicy, firm red… I just reminded myself of some sort of workout video… so I will therefore dub this the Jane Fonda (80’s Jane Fonda) of wine.  Fun, exciting and chipper!  Here she is, ready to entertain you and some friends with her stylish, agile movements…

Okay, so maybe the stylish part is debatable, but Jane is rockin’ those leg warmers pretty well, you must admit!  Oh wait!  Here she is again, ready to do battle with your Holiday Stress!  Mother in law coming to stay for a few days?  No match for Borsao aka Jane Fonda!  Burnt the cookies for your neighbor’s bake sale that starts in 30 minutes?  Borsao, baby!

Alright, I got a little carried away… back to the way the wine actually tastes; ripe cherries, smoke, boysenberries, black pepper, herbs, and floral notes throughout.  For those of you who enjoy Borsao’s Tres Picos Grenache (a favorite around here), this is like a little sister- softer and not as heavy on the leather.  But still packs that nice little spicy punch and acidic backbone to make it DELICIOUS! 

And, in my infinate wisdom, I have a perfect opportunity for you to experience this wine- Tuesday night, December 8th we will be pouring a value Grenache tasting flight all night, which will include the Borsao, Vinos Sin Ley’s G3, and de Fuego Grenache.  And of course, it’s Champagne Tuesday… so you can start with bubbles and then move on to Grenache!  Perfect!

Atteca Old Vines Grenache

Oh, Michael Cramer.  Do you fondly rememeber when I claimed to not like Grenache for the longest time?  And how you used to open bottle after bottle to try to change my mind?  Tres Picos was the turning point- I finally acquiesced and admitted it was pretty rockin’.  Truth it, I liked it long before then, I just thought it was funny to let you keep trying wholeheartedly to change my mind.  Interestingly enough, this Atteca Grenache is imported by the same dude who imports the Tres Picos Grenache.  He certainly knows what he’s doing, because this wine rocks!

Which brings me to the latest installment in my love of reasonably priced Grenache.  Many of the Cellar on Greene/Mr. Friendly’s regulars know about the G3 Grenache and how fantastic it is.  It’s been one of our top selling wines since we opened.  WELL, let me just say… I think the Atteca may have it beat by just a hair.  I know!  It’s a bold statement for those of you who love the G3.  But please, come down to the wine sale on Saturday, try the Atteca for yourself, and let me know what you think!  I’ll be there with bells on, pushing this stuff on you. 

atteca2

Deep purple in color, the word “exotic” definitely comes to mind when I first stick my nose in the glass.  I get a little smokiness, plums, black cherries, a little wood and pencil lead (which doesn’t SOUND particularly appetizing, but it’s one of my favorite things to taste in a wine), and a little bit of mocha and maybe cinnamon.  It would be PERFECT with some kind of grilled meat, or maybe a burger. 

Since it’s becoming somewhat of a trademark, I am trying to think of a celebrity to compare my friend Atteca to… spicy, handsome but not flashy or polished… a little wild, maybe with some “bad boy” attitude (yes, please!)… I’m thinking Benicio del Toro.  He’s pretty hot in that untamed way.  And he’s COOL.  This is a cool wine.  You will look cool drinking it.  I know I do. 

WINE SALE.  SATURDAY.  Be there or be square!  Atteca and I will be waiting for you.  We’ll be selling this somewhere in the neighborhood of $14 or $15 dollas.  It just came in, so I’m not definitive on the price yet.  We hope to see you Saturday!