Oregon Wine Tasting in the Wine Cave

Friday, August 23, 2019 - 07:30 PM

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"It's a hard grape to grow. As you know. Right? It's, uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and thrive even when it's neglected. No, pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And, in fact, it can only grow in these really specific, little tucked-away corners of the world. And only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression."

Miles - Sideways


I remember my trip to Oregon in the summer of 1994 for the IPNC (International Pinot Noir Celebration) this is one of the best wine parties that I have ever attended. The festival is limited to 500 attendees as it is hosted by McMinnville College and that is all they can accommodate in their lecture facilities. I remember not only were the quality of the wines at the highest level but the people in attendance were some of the most passionate Pinot Noir lovers that I had ever come across. And although winemaking began in the 19th century in this state it is only recently that its potential has been recognized by the rest of the world.

We were just out in Oregon for Toni’s 50th and our 21st anniversary and I can’t believe how much has changed since my first visit.  The quality of wines was good back then but today Oregon is producing the best Pinot Noir on the planet for the $$.  They are still a few hundred years behind Burgundy but they are catching up fast as more producers from Burgundy are moving in and realizing the potential for Pinot Noir.  They are also making some excellent Chardonnay here with some producers getting away from Pinot Gris varietal that was considered to be king of whites here but you are also seeing alternative white and red varietals here popping up with the decades of experience some producers have had with their terroir.  After all it was only a few short years ago that Oregon started making high quality wines.

It was in 1979 when serious wine producers started to look at the potential of this area as Eyrie Vineyards' 1975 South Block Pinot Noir placed in the top 10 of Burgundy-style wines at the Gault-Millau French Wine Olympiades, and was rated the top Pinot Noir. This send the news around the wine world and shortly after Robert Drouhin, head of Burgundy's legendary Maison Joseph Drouhin, was visiting America's west coast promoting the Drouhin Burgundies. The California wine industry was just starting to receive its first recognition back then, but there was little if anything going on in Oregon. Robert's first visit to the Northwest and its earliest vineyards left him with the impression that it quite possibly would be Oregon, not California, that would ultimately prove to be the best place to grow the great grape of Burgundy - Pinot noir.

Inspired by his trip to Oregon and the results of 1979 tasting that was held in Paris, where, for the first time, the best new Oregon Pinot noirs were tasted in competition with the finest Burgundies. Robert decided to hold his own blind tasting in 1980 at the Drouhin cellars in France, with several of the best Oregon Pinot noirs going up against the finest Drouhin Grand Crus. It was a Drouhin Grand Cru that took first place this time, but an Oregon wine (the now legendary 1975 Eyrie Vineyards South Block) placed 2nd by a very narrow margin with the French experts. News of this tasting brought the first widespread international attention to Oregon Pinot noir.

After a few years’ time Robert's daughter Véronique just graduated with an advanced degree in enology from the University of Dijon, and wanted to expand her experience by working in Oregon. Véronique interned with Adelsheim Vineyards, Bethel Heights, and Eyrie for the 1986 vintage. Later on, Robert mentioned to David Adelsheim that it might be interesting to buy a piece of land in Oregon, to see what it might produce. What started as a passing thought began its transformation into reality when Adelsheim phoned the Drouhins in Beaune not long thereafter to tell them of a property that was for sale that they might be interested in. The rest is history and with one of Burgundies foremost wine producing families moving to Oregon the writing was on the wall that this wine producing region would soon get its much deserved recognition as one of the world's premier Pinot Noir growing regions.

Today, the state of Oregon in the United States has established an international reputation for its production of wine. Oregon has several different growing regions within the state's borders which are well-suited to the cultivation of grapes; additional regions straddle the border between Oregon and the states of Washington and Idaho. Wine making dates back to pioneer times in the 1840s, with commercial production beginning in the 1960s.

American Viticultural Areas entirely within the state include the Willamette Valley, Southern Oregon, Umpqua Valley, and Rogue Valley AVAs. Parts of the Columbia Gorge, Walla Walla Valley, and Snake River Valley AVAs lie within Oregon. Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are the top two grapes grown, with over59,452 short tons (53,934 t) harvested in 2016. As of 2016, Oregon wine makers produced over 3.5 million cases combined.

Currently there are over 700 wineries in Oregon and a bustling tourism industry has developed around wine tasting. Much of the tourism focuses on the wineries and tasting rooms in and around the Yamhill Valley southwest of Portland.


You don’t have to travel to Oregon to see some of the top wines being made here as we have brought the wines to you. On Friday August 23rd we will taste 30+ of this state’s top wines and chef Toni Lampasone is making a few tasty treats to accompany them.  The fee for this event is $45 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.

Oregon Wine Tasting at Wine Watch
Friday, August 23rd


Soter Brut Rose Mineral Springs 2014    
Price: $75.00       Sale $66.00
Elk Cove Pinot Blanc Willamette Valley 2017
Price: $19.25       Sale $16.94
St Innocent Pinot Gris Vitae Springs 2017            
Price: $21.50       Sale $18.92
Brick House Chardonnay Willamette Valley 2015            
Price: $27.75       Sale $24.42
Cooper Mountain Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2016    
Price: $23.50       Sale $20.68
Evening Land Pinot Noir Seven Springs Willamette Valley 2016               
Price: $40.25       Sale $35.42
Cristom Pinot Noir Estate Willamette Valley 2014          
Price: $54.00       Sale $47.52

Image result for Chemistry by Chehalem Pinot Gris
Chemistry by Chehalem Pinot Gris Willamette Valley
Price:  $15.75      Sale $13.86
Gothic Nevermore Pinot Noir
Price:  $24.75      Sale $21.78
Eyrie Pinot Noir Willamette Valley
Price:  $42.00      Sale $36.96
Ken Wright Pinot Noir Freedom Hill 2017
Price:  $66.00      Sale $58.08
Patricia Green Pinot Noir Old Vine
Price:  $42.00      Sale $36.96
Eyrie Trousseau
Price: $39.00       Sale $34.32

Image result for Biggio Hamina Rose of Gewurztraminer Andreas Vineyard 2016 Willamette Valley
Biggio Hamina Rose of Gewurztraminer Andreas Vineyard 2016 Willamette Valley
List $21.75    Sale $19.14
Yamhill Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate 2015 McMinnville AVA
List: $22.75     Sale $20.02
Biggio Hamina Holmes Gap Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 Van Duzer Corridor AVA
List $42.00    Sale $36.96
Biggio Hamina Claygate Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 Ribbon Ridge AVA
List $45.00    Sale $39.60
Biggio Hamina Kiona Vineyard Sangiovese 2016 Red Mountain AVA
List $42.00    Sale $36.96
SchoneTal Cellars Meredith Mitchell Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 McMinnville AVA
List: $53.50    Sale $47.08

Twenty One
Image result for Bethel Heights Pinot Blanc 2017
Bethel Heights Pinot Blanc 2017              
Price: $26.25       Sale $23.10
Bethel Heights Pinot Noir Estate Eola Amity 2017           
Price: $33.75       Sale $29.70
Bethel Heights Chardonnay Casteel 2015
Price: $78.00       Sale $68.64
Bethel Heights Chardonnay Estate 2015               
Price: $30.00       Sale $26.40
Kelley Fox Mirabai Pinot Noir  2017
Price: $37.50       Sale $33.00
R Stuart & Co. Pinot Noir Big Fire 2016  
Price: $19.75       Sale $17.38

Republic National
Image result for King Estate Domaine Pinot Gris
King Estate Domaine Pinot Gris
Price: $26.25       Sale $23.10         
King Estate Domaine Pinot Noir
Price: $69.50       Sale $61.16
King Estate Sauvignon Blanc
Price: $20.00       Sale $17.60

Southern Glaziers
Image result for Erath Pinot Noir Estate Willamette Valley 2016
Erath Pinot Noir Est Willamette Valley 2016      
Price: $35.00       Sale $30.80
Erath Pinot Noir Rose Willamette Valley             
Price: $16.75       Sale $14.74
Erath Pinot Gris                illamette Valley
Price: $15.75       Sale $13.86
Image result for Siduri Pinot Noir Yamhill Carlton 2016
Siduri Pinot Noir Yamhill Carlton 2016  
Price: $35.00       Sale $30.80
Willakenzie Pinot Noir Estate 2016        
Price: $63.00       Sale $55.44
Willakenzie Pinot Gris Willamette Valley 2017
Price: $18.75       Sale $16.50
Willakenzie Chardonnay Willamette Valley 2017            
Price: $42.50       Sale $37.40
Willakenzie Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2016               
Price: $24.50       Sale $21.56
Elouan Pinot Noir Reserve Klamath Kettle 2017               
Price: $27.00       Sale $23.76
Beaux Freres Pinot Noir Zena Crown 2017           
Price: $81.00       Sale $71.28
Wild mushroom & Mascarpone Flat Bread/Fresh Basil Garni
BBQ Pork Belly Slider/Asian Kale & Napa Cabbage Kimchee Slaw/Hoisin Syrup
-Natural Beef Sliders/Gruyere Cheese/Truffled Mushrooms
Salmon Tartar/roasted bell pepper/mango/lemon Aioli
Crispy Panko Chicken bites/Curry-Honey mustard Sauce

The fee for this event is $45 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.

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