About one month ago, we told you about our recent experience tasting wine from Utopia Vineyard and Winery. We also shared our thoughts on Utopia Pinot Noir Blanc “Bliss,” Chardonnay, Pinot Noir Paradise and Utopia Estate Pinot Noir. Subsequently, we had the fortune to taste two more wonderful Utopia wines – a Rosé and another Pinot Noir. We can’t wait to tell you about them.
Located 30 miles southwest of Portland, Alloro Vineyard features alluring Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and more from a gorgeous property in Laurelwood District AVA. This new AVA, at the north end of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, takes its name from distinct soil in the area. Laurelwood is an exceptionally fine windblown soil, with silt-sized sediment formed by erosion of volcanic rocks by glaciers. We received samples of Alloro Vineyard Estate 2017 Pinot Noir and 2018 Chardonnay, and can attest to their distinct, terroir-driven flavors. Continue reading
Panther Creek in Oregon’s Willamette Valley is celebrating its 30th anniversary of making Pinot Noir, which is a perfect reason to raise a glass or two of their fine wines over the holidays.
Renowned Oregon Pinot winemaker Ken Wright founded Panther Creek Cellars in 1986; in 1994, he sold the winery and opened Ken Wright Cellars in Carlton. Other winemakers succeeded him at Panther Creek and by 2013, current winemaker Tony Rynders of Domaine Serene took the helm. One year later, Panther Creek moved to its tasting room in Dundee.
Panther Creek specializes in Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, all of which go well with holiday meals; or you could take a bottle or two to those numerous parties on your calendar this month.
The winery’s 2014 vintage was recently released, and we were fortunate to receive two samples, plus a bonus wine to pour in a side-by-side tasting.
Of note, all young pinots should be decanted for 2-3 hours so you can really enjoy the flavors. This gives you time to prepare your appetizers or your meal, so it’s a good thing!
2014 Panther Creek Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Winemaker’s Cuvee ($30)
This classic Oregon Pinot Noir opens with spicy aromas and moves to red, ripe fruit flavors and earthy notes. It would pair well with turkey or even a turkey sandwich, or if you want something besides the big bird, you could try it with cedar-plank salmon, pork tenderloin or any dish with mushrooms.
From the winemaker tasting notes:
“Reminisce about those delicious La Vie de la Vosgienne Framboises candies in the round tins, highlighted by dark fruit and cola and balanced with fine grain tannins. A mélange of varying soil types create a youthful Pinot Noir with a beautiful blend of flavor profiles and textures…gorgeous and easy to enjoy.”
2013 and 2014 Panther Creek Schindler Vineyard Pinot Noir ($50)
Think big, think age-worthy and take a sip. You’ll understand why Tony Rynders refers to these wines as a “beast” or “monster.”
We opened both bottles at the same time, so we could do a side-by-side tasting. The 2013 showed black-cherry fruit with hints of cedar and earth. As mentioned earlier, these pinots should be decanted. But the 2013 should be cellared first for a few years to really enjoy it. Our friend, Jenise Stone, who has an incredible palate, put it this way: “Let this puppy sleep.”
From the winemaker tasting notes (2013):
“Watch out! This is a big, masculine black fruited beauty. Light smoke with delicate coffee undertones support the expansiveness and fine grain tannins of this monster. The silky explosion of black fruit leaves a lasting appropriately weighted finish…extremely cellar-worthy.”
The 2014 was bigger, a chewy wine with black fruit and classic Pinot Noir savory characteristics such as earth, mushrooms and dark fruit.
From the 2014 tasting notes:
“Dark and brooding blue, purple and black fruit, shrouding a monumental foundation of granite and incredible structure, this is a very big boy that will mature fantastically. Looking for a massive Pinot? This monster is it.”
You can meet winemaker Tony Rynders and taste his wines at the 2nd annual Northwest Wine Encounter at the scenic Semiahmoo Resort, April 28-30, 2017. We attended last year’s inaugural event and are looking forward to the 2017 activities. (More about the event will be posted here in the new year.)
Margot and Dave
Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square will soon be the new site of The Estates Wine Room featuring one of our favorite Washington state wines, Double Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon, and Archery Summit Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon.
On Dec. 11, Crimson Wine Group will open the new venue with a tasting bar, table seating and an area where you can purchase bottles of wine.
Walk-in customers can join in the tastings, purchase wine by the glass, enjoy small bites, as well as food and wine pairings. Yes, Double Canyon and Archery Summit will be featured – they are Crimson Wine Group’s northwest holdings. But other wines will also be available.
Based in the Napa Valley, Crimson’s diverse collection of luxury domestic estates and wine brands also include Pine Ridge Vineyards (Napa, Calif.), Seghesio Family Vineyards (Healdsburg, Calif.), and Chamisal Vineyards (San Luis Obispo, Calif.).
Regular readers know that we have been big fans of Double Canyon since winemaker Jason Ledbetter arrived from Pine Ridge Vineyards, Trefethen Vineyards and Cakebread Cellars in Napa.
At Taste Washington 2014, we named Double Canyon’s 2011 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, from Phinny Hill Vineyard, in our top three favorite wines.
A few months later, Double Canyon was included in our list of top 50 Washington wineries in 2014.
Here are our previous blog posts:
Double Canyon 2013 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon
Double Canyon-New Winemaker, New Wine
We hope to see you at the new Estates Wine Room, where you can stock up on party wine right before the holidays!
Margot and Dave