Thirty Oregon Wines in Thirty Days: Day 1!

Happy New Year!

In honor of 2015 being an exciting year for me, I’m embarking on a little challenge this January! Since every year I resolve to blog more, and most years I only marginally succeed, I wanted to start out with a bang. Write about an Oregon wine a day for 30 days! It’s like those 30 day gym motivational challenges, except this one has WINE. So much better. Then I thought, I gotta make it a little harder (that’s what she said) and write about 30 Oregon wines that AREN’T Pinot Noir. Not that I don’t absolutely love Pinot Noir- I did move here, after all– but I think it’ll be super awesome to highlight some of the more under the radar grapes here in Oregon. So, BAM! #Oregon30in30 is born. Here goes.

Now, for the rules. These are all self-imposed. I have consulted no one. I am the master of my domain:

1.) Pinot Noir is only allowed if it’s been blended or turned into bubbles.

2.) Repeat grapes & wineries are acceptable, but no more than twice (ie, two different Rieslings, two wines from Willakenzie, etc).

3.) I have to have tasted (duh) the wine in question, but not necessarily purchased an entire bottle- can be written up based on a tasting room experience or bummed off a roommate, etc. My credit card would not thank me if I embarked on this having to purchase every single bottle, I ain’t gonna lie.

4.) When at all possible, these have to be wines I haven’t had before.

5.) I can combine a few wines into one post, at most once a week (ie- Gamay day, etc).

So, I think this will be fun! I hope you do, too! And if you’re someone who gets an email every time I write a post… well, don’t get all “my inbox is too cluttered!” and unsubscribe. I mean, you can if you want, but I’m sure once February rolls around I’ll be back to my once-a-week-maybe schedule.

Without further adieu, here is WINE NUMERO UNO! Kramer Vineyards Celebrate Müller-Thurgau, 2013…

Müller Bubbles. Mmm.

Müller Bubbles. Mmm.

So, I really enjoyed the 2011 Kramer Brut at the Southeast Wine Collective Dinner a few weeks ago and was itching to try another one of their sparklers. Also they have a tasting room that’s walking distance to my house, so I’m constantly looking at it and saying to myself, “man, I gotta get in there.”

Well, I didn’t this time, but I will. I bought this little guy at Roth’s in McMinnville on Monday knowing I’d want to drink it on New Years and that their tasting room would not be open before then. Oof. That was a lot of planning. #thisisyouinyourthirties.

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I like the intention behind this wine; to me, it’s essentially a Prosecco but its from Oregon and its much more fun. Titillating and flirty flavors of granny smith apple, fresh flowers, honeysuckle, apricot and a nice tingle of bright acidity. Fresh and ready to party. A wine that’s clearly meant to be consumed with joy, with friends, at parties, with nothing but whimsy in the air.

This wine was made bubbly using the tank method; stainless steel fermented, aged on the lees for 5 months, then transferred to a large stainless steel tank and infused with CO2. Whammo. Sparkling wine. This method is great for highlighting a wines natural delicacy and freshness, so this is a really fun little marriage. A charming little wine, I gotta say.

I gotta get in to that tasting room. First resolution of 2015, right there!

MY BUBBLES.

MY BUBBLES.

So here’s to a new year, a new state for me and lots of new wines to explore. I’m about to throw my black eyed peas in the crock pot, and sip on this bubbly while I clean the house and listen to 90’s music. If that ain’t a good way to start the new year, I don’t know what is.

Cheers! 

This Week’s Whites to Watch Out For!

It finally feels like we better strap in and enjoy the ride folks- Summer is almost here! Spring was sort of a temptress this year, no? Warm. Cold. Warm. Cold. And the last few days have been downright Summery. Complete with a forecast full of rain and… no accumulation. So what better time than to preview a few fun exciting new whites?

mmm.. WHITES

mmm.. WHITES

 

Folk Machine Tocai Friulano, 13 California, Mendocino. Retail $15. 

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OKAY OKAY- so THIS one is hands-down one of the coolest whites I’ve had this year! For a lot of reasons, some nerdier than others. I’ll get into that in a bit, but first I must regale you with details about how delicious this stuff is! If you’re after a flowery-citrus-bomb that’ll leave you feeling like you licked a grapefruit peel, this one might not be your jam. Because it is a study in understated, if you will. It’s an effortless little wine, made from a cool grape that you don’t see a lot of in California, and dollar for dollar, it absolutely owns some of it’s closest “competitors”, style-wise. Yes, I’m speaking of the “New California” category. But anyway, let us first get back to the wine itself: this wine has an irresistible freshness straight out of the bottle. I hesitate to call it “petillant”, but there’s definitely a touch of fizz on this wine when you first crack it. It’s a lean and fresh palate that you’ll find when you sip this guy. Slightly saline with green hints. Think an underripe pear, green grapes straight outta the fridge, lime pit, and fresh herbs. The nose is not terribly forthcoming, but that’s just kinda how it rolls. It hits the thirst-quenching note quite precisely, and the finish is dry and a bit chalky. This wine is like Vinho Verde’s slightly more evolved cousin, in my opinion. Meant to be taken just a bit more seriously than your average poolside-crusher, but still falls into the everyday category. Would be genius with a fresh tomato salad with plenty of herbage and some tangy goat cheese. This wine was written up by The New California Wine author Jon Bonne in SFGate. Check it out!

 

Anne Amie “Cuvee A” Muller-Thurgau, 2012 Oregon, Willamette. Retail $16.

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So if you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you’ll remember that I’ve written about this wine before. But… it’s just SO. DURN. GOOD. And this is a new vintage! I can’t resist a revisit. Especially since I have been to Oregon and Anne Amie Vineyards since the last time I wrote about this wine, so my appreciation has only deepened. I’ll skip the part where I explain to you what Muller-Thurgau is in great detail; suffice to say, it’s a grape you should be drinking. It originated in Germany but has found a happy home in Oregon’s cool Willamette Valley. And you can call it MULL-er, or MEW-ler, depending on your mood. I go with MULL-er because I find the alternative awkward. I may be remiss in that, but I am okay with the consequences. I have heard pros say it both ways. So there.

It goes without saying that this wine has been delicious and consistent every year that I’ve tasted it, and this one is no exception. It’s aromas are downright intoxicating. Sweet honeydew melon, honeysuckle, peaches and fresh spring flowers. The palate offers a touch of tartness (green apple, lime) and minerality. But it finishes up with an oh-so-silky mouthfeel that will make you squeeeeee. I can’t think of a more perfect wine for Pad Thai (yeah, probably even the kind you can get at Food Lion), a Spicy Tuna Roll &/or a Shrimp Summer Roll with sweet thai chile sauce! (I gotta pause and drool now….) LOVE. IT. You need it in your mouth.

 

Vina Tobia Blanco, 12 Spain, Rioja. Retail $14. 

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Yet another funsie! I love a good, zippy Spanish white. If you’ve been in an Albarino phase, let this one be your next fling! It is a blend of 50% Viura, 20% Verdejo, 10% Malvasia, 10% Tempranillo Blanco and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. Note: there will be a quiz. You may or may not be familiar with many of those, but Verdejo and Viura are fairly common in the world of Spanish whites and you may have had them before. An energetic and vibrant white, it has a rounder texture than an Albarino typically does, but all the lovely bright citrus flavors you probably love. You’ll also find some exciting hints of pineapple, passionfruit and and a touch of nuttiness. The finish is fresh and clean, but with the aforementioned touch of texture and “waxiness”. Kind of an odd word, but it will make more sense once you try it.

…And try it you will! Or can, at least, at TOMORROW’S Wine Sale! All these babies will be open for the tasting from 12-2. I picked three off-beat wines today for a reason- my new catch phrase at the wine sales is going to be “TRY SOMETHING NEW!” Cause I love y’all mean it, but sometimes I feel as though I sell the same wines to the same people every week. We gotta shake it up! Try new stuff! That’s what we’re here for.

Come visit tomorrow, have a great, wine-filled weekend, and thanks for reading! 

 

 

Some white wines for Royal Wedding day!

So, I’ve been up since 4 relishing every detail of the Royal Wedding…

aaaahahahaha!  No I haven’t.  Not at all.  I get the fascination and I’m not a hater, but it’s not my thing.  Although I will admit to browsing Tom & Lorenzo for a few pictures of the dress.  Interestingly, I was enamored of the Maid of Honor’s dress rather than the sea of lace and fabric worn by the bride.  But good choice with McQueen, and it was a pretty amazing piece of craftsmanship.  That’s enough of that!  Let’s move on to things I REALLY like…

WHITE. WINE.  I can’t get enough white wine.  I’ve been trying to write this post for about two weeks.  I started with just picking the Chono Sauvignon Blanc.  Then we got the Anne Amie Muller-Thurgau in and I fell madly in love, so I was going to have it be a dual post.  Then the 2010 Kung Fu Girl came in.  Then just this week, two more favorites arrived.  So, this is a big fat post dedicated to perrenial favorites and new obsessions.

First is my original blog pick, the Chono Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Chile.  Those of you who read me often know I’ve been in a Chile phase for months now, and I think THIS wine might be the root cause of it all.  So deep is my love of this wine.  I love this wine and I love its price ($11).  This is definitely one of those wines that reminds you that is IS possible to drink delicious wine and not pay a lot for it.  It is effortless in its tangy, thirst-quenching, fruity-with-a-hint-of-herbs palate.  Perfect acidity on the finish really make this one refreshing.  There is just enough grapefruit present to make it enjoyable, yet not have the ONLY thing you can think about be the taste of grapefruit, as is the occasional case with New Zealand Sauv Blancs.  Love it.

Next in the procession comes the Anne Amie Muller-Thurgau, 2010 Oregon.  ($16).  I just call it MULL-er for short.  This is one of my favorite weird grapes.  I thought it might have been a fluke when I fell hard for the Colterenzio Muller-Thurgau last year.  But no.  The Anne Amie is representin’ and I’m into it.  There’s lots more wine-nerdy info on Muller in the Colterezio post, so for today we’ll keep it simple and say that Muller is sort of like a cross between an off-dry Riesling and an old world Gewurztraminer.  Aromas of fresh white flowers, melon, yellow apples and light citrus permeate- and then the finish offers a little zing! of spice and minerality.    Yum.  ‘Nuff said.

So to wrap things up for today, here’s a few things that just came in.  The 2010 vintage of the Kung Fu Girl Riesling is here!  and it’s awesome.  The ’10 is probably better than the ’09 by just a hair- read this post of the ’09 and than just take it up a notch on the wow scale.  And it still maintains its nice price of $14.  Lioco Chardonnay, 2009 Sonoma is here, too!  This is a gorgeous Cali Chard that will leave you speechless.  If you’ve EVER uttered the words “I don’t like Chardonnay,” the Lioco will laugh in your face.  And then change your mind.  It’s one of the cool kids.  Lush and fruit-forward with aromas of lemon curd and pears, followed by a really gorgeous, silky mouthfeel.  None of that over-oaked over-buttered Cali Chard business.  Which has its place, but not here.  $19 gets you this bottle.  Last is a literal party-in-a-bottle, the Xarmant Txakolina, 2009 Spain for $15.50.  Never had Chak-oh-lee-na?  It’s awesome.  It’s sort of like Vinho Verde’s step-sibling, as it has a teeny fizz when you open it and it’s lean, tart and focused.  Tons of green apple and notes of lemon thyme and other herbs.  Yet another awesome pool or porch sipping wine.

Hopefully one of these spoke to you!  Actually, ALL of these wines are by the glass at Cellar right now, so you’re welcome to try a taste the next time you’re around to see what you think!  Ciao for today!

Colterenzio Muller-Thurgau, 2009 Italy. Muller-Thur-what??

“Umm.. ex-squeeze me?”  The great Wayne and Garth get straight to the point.  Huh?  Muller?  Thurgau? 

So let’s start at the very beginning… a very good place to start, as Julie Andrews would say.  How the heck do you say this?  Well, to further confuse you, I’ve had two people in the business whose opinion I would trust pronounce it two different ways.  MULL-er Thur-gow and MEW-ler Turr-go.  The “u” is supposed to have an umlaut over it regardless, but I don’t know how to get my keyboard to do that.  My best guess would be that Mew-ler Turr-go is correct, if you were trying to be fancy about it, but that Mull-er is an acceptable Americanization that will not get you laughed at. 

Mew-ler grapes

 Here they is- cute little green grapes.  More about the actual grape- Muller is what I like to call a “test tube baby”- created in 1881 by a guy named Hermann Muller- who wanted the intensity and sharpness of Riesling, and an early ripening season.  Wikipedia says “…Although the resulting grape did not entirely attain these two qualities, it nonetheless became widely planted across many of the German wine-producing regions.”  Interesting!  I guess he just got lucky.  Must be nice.  Apparently many people think Muller is a cross between Riesling and Silvaner- but is in fact a cross between Riesling and “Madeline Royale”- which I never would have guessed was a grape.  Who would name a grape a person’s name?  Bizarre.  Anyhow, there you have it. 

Moving on, this Colterenzio Muller Thurgau has got to be one of my favorite whites that we’ve poured by the glass this year!  Now, to be fair- I am a total whore for unusual, offbeat, acidic white wines, and this is no exception.  It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but in my effort to make everyone in the world appreciate the exact same wines I do (kidding), I wanted to write about this wine.  It hails from a little region in northern Italy called Alto Adige (AHL-to Ah-deejay).  This part of Italy used to be part of Austria which makes it a very unique spot.  Even the bottle- and all the Colterenzio bottles- have a distinct look to them that differentiates them from other Italian wines. 

This is such a beautiful wine.  I love a white wine that really captures a degree of elegance and purity, and this one is just that.  It would likely go overlooked at one of our Saturday wine sales, especially if it were placed next to something much more “new world” in style.  It takes a bit if concentration to appreciate this wine, because it’s not very forthcoming with it’s presence.  Light notes of wild flowers reveal themselves, especially after the wine warms up just a touch.  Honeysuckle and white peach show up as well, and the palate is steely, quenching and refreshing with citrus and minerality.  Fantastic. 

This wine makes me want to be here:

 And based on looking at photos of the Alto Adige region, this is pretty much what it looks like.  Green grass, wildflowers, mountains, clean air… and Julie Andrews basking in all of it.  Grab a bottle of this wine for just $13 next time you’re at Cellar!  Which will be soon, I hope….