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Wine Tasting Like a Pro

Wine Tasting Like a Pro

Many people avoid the pleasure of wine tasting for fear of drinking too much. Not only is it dangerous and irresponsible to drink and drive, it is difficult to remember what you have tasted. By utilizing the techniques of professional wine tasters, you can spend…

A New Year, a New Wine

A New Year, a New Wine

Happy New Year! New technology has made it possible for even the smallest winery to eliminate much of the guesswork of wine making and the results show in the finished product. The downside to technology is that many wines are loosing some of their varietal…

Oregon Pinot: Oh Yes

Oregon Pinot: Oh Yes

Oregon has made a name for itself for its world class wine. Oregon produces some of the best pinot noir and pinot gris in the world and has become one of the standards that the pinot pair is judged by. Situated close to the same latitudinal lines and sharing similar climate to Burgundy, France, its no accident that Oregon wines exemplify the best the finicky and difficult pinot noir has to offer.

There is no shortage of wine varieties being grown in Oregon but for now it’s the pinot that tops our list of the best the state has to offer. Both pinot noir and pinot gris beg to be paired with food. Pinot noir, loaded with aromas and tastes of cherry, raspberry and a touch of mineral and leather would be great with a roasted rosemary and garlic chicken.  Pinot Gris, with its delicate stone fruit, pear, and nutty fragrance is a perfect accompaniment to Salmon served with a sweet and sour onion confit. Both wines offer the wine drinker pleasure from the first sniff to the last taste.

A winery that demonstrates this relationship between food and wine is the King Estate Winery located just 40 miles south of Eugene. The estate, which sits atop a hillside surrounded by beautifully tended vineyards, reminds us of a European chateau. Pinot is king in Oregon and the King Estate winery is the leader for great wines that will not make your wallet thinner than a Hollywood actress. Their wines are widely available. They have a comprehensive culinary program and a staff that is always looking for great new food matches to pair with their wines. They publish both a pinot noir and a pinot gris cookbook with fantastic recipes that bring out the best characteristics of each varietal. 

King Estate Winery was founded by the King family in 1979. They started with a vision of making the best wine possible and spared no expense in making this happen.

King Estate has been practicing organic farming practices since their beginning and is one of the largest organically farmed wineries in the country. It has now become fashionable to be “organic” and the King Estate planned ahead and built a world class composting program that converts all the waste from the winemaking process into fertile mulch that is spread over the vineyards eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers.

Loraine nursery, owned by the King Estate and located at the winery grows and develops vineyard stock not only for themselves but also for vineyard owners around the country looking to match the quality of Oregon’s best.

Oregon is a wine lover’s paradise with the only sadness created by the fact that most wineries are small and their availability is scarce outside the region and the wines can be a bit pricey. The state has been blessed with several great vintages between 1998-2002 and so far 2003 is looking very good.

Zinfandel: More Than You Think

Zinfandel: More Than You Think

Many Americans know zinfandel as a blush colored slightly sweet wine that is easy to drink and appeals to many young wine drinkers. The story of zinfandel goes much deeper and has a rich history as one of this country’s most important wine grapes. Zinfandel…

Shaking up Paso Robles

Shaking up Paso Robles

Paso Robles is one of the most seismically active regions in California, which says a lot considering the states reputation as an earthquake center. A few weeks ago we had a chance to experience a 6.0 earthquake, fortunately at the time we were not standing…

Beaujolais Nouveau: A November Tradition

Beaujolais Nouveau: A November Tradition

While we are busy celebrating and giving thanks on the last Thursday of November others in different countries are playing hosts to their own century old traditions. So it goes every third Thursday in November in France when the latest vintage of Beaujolais called Beaujolais Nouveau is released and ready for immediate enjoyment. “Vins Nouveaux” or young wine is the antithesis of what most of us think of when we think of French wines. Forget barrel aging and long maceration these wines are produced for early drinking.

Beaujolais is one of the few places in the world where the Gamay grape reaches it’s best potential. The wines are produced primarily by a process called carbonic maceration. Whole clusters are placed in a sealed tank allowing the grapes to begin fermenting internally which extracts the fruitiness of the grape while leaving out the harsh tannins and tart acids which can be produced by traditional fermentation. After a few days the grapes are pressed and the wines are fermented to dryness. The wines exhibit aromatic and very juicy red fruit characteristics, which, combined with appetizing acidity, result in a refreshing wine that satisfies the palate and complements a wide variety of food.

Beaujolais is located in east central France, at the southern end of the Burgundy region. The region cover’s a 34-mile stretch beginning with granite-based hills just south of Macon and ending with the flat clay soil plains just northwest of Lyon. There are three major appellation ranks within Beaujolais. The best being labeled Cru Beaujolais followed by Beaujolais-Villages and then simply Beaujolais.

The best vineyards of Beaujolais are found in the north. This area, also known as Haut Beaujolais is further divided into 10 “Crus” or “vineyard areas” and designate the best soils and topography for growing the greatest grapes of the region. Each of these areas will exhibit their own individual flavor profiles and aging potential. The Cru Beaujolais are from north to south, St-Amour, Julienas, Chenas, Moulin-A-Vent. Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regnie, Brouilly, and Cote de Brouilly. The Cru Beaujolais are labeled by their commune name and are worth looking for. Beaujolais-Villages wine come from 39 approved appellations to the south of Haut Beaujolais and offer good wines at reasonable prices. Wines labeled “Beaujolais” come from anywhere within the designated boundaries of Beaujolais and are normally simple table wines designed to be drunk early. Wines of this class can also be labeled “Beaujolais-Superior” if they achieve a slightly higher alcohol content than the plain “Beaujolais”.