Patton Valley “Drink Pink” 2015!

DRINK PINK! Its as though this event was made for me. Now in its fourth year, Drink Pink sold out at 300 people. I probably would have guessed there to be 120 people there, because it never felt crowded (hat tip). I really can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon than at Patton Valley, with around 30 different Rosé producers from the Valley. WHUT. Okay, so I wish it had been a few degrees cooler. But we can’t have everything. And fortunately there was shaved ice, in which I drowned my “sorrows.”

Take a gander at those babies.

Take a gander at those babies.

Although I have mixed feelings about “scoring” in general, I wanted to break up a few of the wines tasted on Saturday into fun little categories. Cause really, when I stop to think, there are two main ways to enjoy Rosé: 1.) as a wine (duh): serve it lightly chilled but not ice cold, and enjoy it with food, or just savor it slowly over the course of a Summer evening. And 2.) the “porch pounder”: serve it cold, drink it down on a hot day that’s meant for day-drinking, with as many jovial friends as possible.

There’s plenty of room for both in my world.

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As a general rule, I like porch-pounders to be 1.) thirst quenching and 2.) easy on the wallet. Let’s face it; when you’re buying a for a small gathering or just to have a cold bottle in the fridge at all times, I think they should stay in the $16-$22 price range. Perhaps your definition of a porch-pounder is more like $9-$15, or maybe its $25 and up. Again, I’m generalizing, but the $16-$22 allows plenty of room for a quality wine that *also* is delicious.

So! Without further adieu: My Top Three “Porch Pounders” from Drink Pink 2015:

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1.) David Hill Rosé of Pinot Noir, 2014. Bright, fresh, fun and really captivating in that energetic, buoyant sense. This wine was a nice surprise for me; I’d never had anything from David Hill before and this wine really caught my attention. $18 retail.

(this is an older photo, Patton Valley's Rosé was on tap this Saturday)

(this is an older photo, Patton Valley’s Rosé was on tap this Saturday)

2.) Patton Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir, 2014. Sorry not sorry. These guys host the event for a reason. Their pink is the jam. I’ve yet to find a Rosé that is as fleeting, pretty, floral, clean, delicate and rose petally (not a word?) as this one. And for $18? C’mon. It’s just stupid good.

Also a photo from a few weeks ago. Is this label not awesome?

3.) Division Winemaking Company Gamay Rosé, 2014. This one also takes home the award for coolest label and coolest grape. I’m really trying not to show favoritism here, and I think I may be verging towards unobjective when it comes to this wine, but I first tried it back in April and after revisiting, am convinced of its greatness. Tart, crisp pomegranate and cranberry notes. Refreshing as all get out. Retail $19.

 

Next! My Top Three Big Sexy’s That I’d Like to Spend an Entire Evening With:

IMG_99031.) Alexana Rosé of Pinot Noir, 2014. Richly colored, this wine enjoyed 10 hours of skin contact and neutral French oak barrels for four months. Inviting color, lingering creaminess on the finish and overall sex appeal make this one a winner in my world. Retail $28.

IMG_93062.) Winderlea Rosé of Pinot Noir, 2014. Slightly more mellow in color but in no way lacking in the lovely department. Fragrant, silky, and the epitome of a crowd-pleaser. Robert does amazing things to the textures of his wines, IMHO. Retail $25

Hey there, piggy.

Hey there, piggy.

3.) Big Table Farm Rosé of Pinot Noir, 2014. I’ve had this wine on a few occasions and it seems to just be getting better over time. Freshly bottled it had great energy but its youth showed a bit; now with a few months to gain traction it has really come together into one magical little entity. Also with a bit of barrel age, this wine ventures into watermelon rind/cherry pith/rhubarb territory. Full malo makes for a nice sturdiness. Yum. Retail $26.

 

Another award: BEST COLOR! Goes to…

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Ribera Vineyards”Molly’s Vineyard” Rosé of Pinot Noir, 2014. I love the super delicate color on this guy. It reminds me of a few of my favorite Spanish Rosé of Tempranillos that I’ve had in the past. Super crisp, beautiful palate as well. Retail $22.

There were so many killer wines there, I almost feel like a poser playing this “favorite” game, but I needed to mix it up a little today. Plus, the interweb likes “favorites.” I hope you enjoyed!

Oh, and can I just say- THAT PAELLA from Crown Paella. Slap. Your. Mama.

I've never seen such a beautiful sight.

I’ve never seen such a beautiful sight.

Oh, and aforementioned shaved ice from Ono Shave Ice! I had watermelon and blue raspberry, naturally. Because if I’m going to overdose on sugar, I want my tongue to be blue at the end:

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This was a beautifully organized event from start to finish. Great idea, great wine, perfect location, great vibe. Awesome all around! Can’t wait for next year.

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Patton Valley Rosé, 14 Willamette Valley

My FIRST Rosé of the 2014 vintage! I’m just TICKLED:

OH LAWD HAVE MERCY.

OH LAWD HAVE MERCY.

If that picture doesn’t make you want to drink pink wine, I seriously must question your sanity. There ain’t nothin’ purtier than sunlight shining through a bottle of pink wine. The only thing that could make it better is if it were a frosty bottle, with beads of condensation running down it that made your salivary glands start dancing the minute they saw ’em.

So I first had this wine at OPC 2013, and I think it was the first wine from Patton Valley I ever had (at the time they weren’t available in my market). I instantly loved it. This is not exactly a shocker, since I mostly love every Rosé ever. But the memory of this one stuck with me, so I was excited when they did a pre-release of it on Valentine’s Day. I’m still a little shocked I managed to make it to Patton Valley after Bubbles Fest went down, but so strong was my determination to taste this wine that I made it happen.

60 and sunny in February? I'LL TAKE IT!

60 and sunny in February? I’LL TAKE IT!

Like I said, I do enjoy Rosé of almost any kind, but this one has cemented a permanent place in my heart. First of all, the color is perfect. Crystalline pale pink with a palpable brightness. The nose is incredibly graceful. Subtle, delicate, yet very inviting. Floral, clean and impossibly fresh, it offers strawberry, rose petal, a hint of tangerine zest, white flowers and a nice pop of quince and tart green apple at the finish. The palate is silky and it drinks like it doesn’t have a care in the world. Which, after all, is sort of the point of drinking Rosé: drink it to wile away the hours and enjoy whatever moment you’re in. Rosé, to me, should always have a slight air of frivolity to it. It should be fun, it should make you happy, it should make you stop rushing and slow down and savor. Want to listen to me ramble a little more about why Rosé is magical? Check it out here.

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Patton Valley really captures this spirit and I love them for it. The other important factor here is that this wine is insanely well-priced. $18? Are you kidding? The only thing is, I’m very certain they don’t make a ton of it and it sells out every year fairly quickly. I know I’ll be stock-piling a bottle or two or five for massive enjoyment once it gets warmer. I will say, I feel incredibly fortunate that it was warm enough last night to crush this bottle on my patio with a friend. It didn’t suck.

Also? Want to brush up on why Rosé is pink to begin with? Here’s another cool piece I wrote. I’m shamelessly self-promoting today. Sorry not sorry.

I do know that I’ll definitely be in attendance for Patton Valley’s Drink Pink 2015, set for July 18th! I’m down. Seeya there?

Thirty Oregon Wines in Thirty Days: Day 6!

What shall we do on day six? Take a break from some of the more hard to find grapes and drink some durn Pinot Blanc. How ’bout it?

Gimmee the Blanc.

Gimmee the Blanc.

The Patton Valley Vineyard Pinot Blanc, 2013 Mora Brothers Vineyard is a delightful rendition. Hands down, Pinot Blanc is one of my favorite white Oregon grapes. Why? On average, they cost you a few more bucks than your run of the mill Pinot Gris, but those few bucks are so crucial. I will gladly extoll the virtues of Pinot Gris any day of the week, but to me a really nice Pinot Blanc brings a lot more to the table for that modest couple extra dollars you spend on it.

What strikes me about Pinot Blanc is always the minerality. I read somewhere that minerality can be a tough thing to really explain and clearly delineate. What do minerals taste like? No one eats minerals. So why describe a wine as minerally? For me it can often be more of a sensation; a pleasant little tingle on the tongue that stays with you. If you think about it logistically, minerals are found in soil; that much is simple. So a wine may have more minerality if it comes from a certain soil, or is made in a way that highlights the mineral tendencies (concrete, as an example, tends to do this). Another thing you might notice is that a “minerally” wine might make you salivate just a little. I really like that; I like for wine to leave my tastebuds wanting more. They also make great food pairing wines.

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In any case, I find Pinot Blanc to be just slightly more intriguing than Gris, and this one is no exception. It opens with delicacy; soft and floral. Accents of white peach, lime zest, green apple, Sleepytime tea, pears and clean white sheets. That sounds funny, but this wine really does remind me of freshly hung white sheets, billowing in the sunshine on a clothesline. That is one of my favorite things to smell, I should add. Blanc often has some distinct nutty aromas- I get a touch of faint almond here, but overall this wine sticks with the clean, bright fruit and freshy freshness.

Can't get enough of these views.

Can’t get enough of these views.

Just 158 cases were made, and the 2013 is the first vineyard-designate vintage for this wine. The day I went to Patton Valley was absolutely gorgeous. The northern Willamette, towards Gaston, is home to a couple of my favorite wineries. I had a really great experience in their tasting room, too; it was a quiet Friday and I was the only one there, but the associate (she may also manage the wine club? I can’t recall…) Talia, was really welcoming and we had ourselves a nice chat. I’m not 100% sure that’s how you spell her name. Plus I’m horrible with names, but I’m almost 100% sure that was her name. I’m truly sorry if its not.

They were tasting a lot of 2011 Pinot Noirs that day, too, and it was a treat. 2011 is becoming one of my favorite vintages for Pinot Noir. I guess I’m just a cold year dork like that. CAN’T WAIT to get my hands on some of the Patton Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir when it comes out. Squeeeeeee.

That concludes Day 6! I’m still having fun! Are you? This wine was purchased at the Patton Valley Vineyard Tasting Room for $20. A freakin’ steal.