Whole cluster ferments, destemmed/decrushed, barrels, cold soaks, stainless steal, staves- these are the variables Rob Folin, winemaker at Folin Cellars, has controlled in his latest vintage of Viognier. What started out as three separate trials, will soon be selected for one fabulous wine. Bottling is estimated to occur the first week of May. Listen to Rob talk about his Viognier creation process:
Folin Cellars in Gold Hill currently produces around 2,000 cases annually. They focus on 100% estate grown, warm climate varietals such as Viognier, Tempranillo, and Syrah and elect to use Vino Seal closures on all their wines to ensure all of their wines are as Rob has intended them to be.
Folin Cellars' Tasting Rooms are now open for the season! Their Estate Tasting Room welcomes visitors Saturdays and Sundays 12-5 p.m. and weekdays by appointment. Their Carlton Tasting Room is Saturdays 1-6 p.m. and Sundays 12-5 p.m.
I'm laughing that I am posting two Matt Kramer article excerpts in two days. But, what can I say? Matt Kramer gets how great Southern Oregon wines are. It is exciting to see a Southern Oregon producer, Del Rio Vineyards, highlighted for their Pinot Noir efforts. I told you Southern Oregon was versatile!
Vintage makes a difference in these two Oregon pinot noirs
Abacela once again gets much deserved recognition for their winemaking efforts, this time with their Vintner's Blend #10 in yesterday's Oregonianarticle by Matt Kramer,"Get out of that taste rut with these originals." I have posted the excerpt along with a few added comments in green.
It's said repeatedly among wine producers, retailers and, yes, wine writers, that wine drinkers everywhere are in a taste rut. That consumers want and drink only the same wines repeatedly- namely, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and pinot noir, a relative newcomer to the ranks of wine repetition.
Now, there's some truth to this. After all, familiarity doesn't breed contempt. Rather, it breeds content. (I've always thought that whoever first wrote "familiarity breeds contempt" must have misheard it.) Agree!
The wines this week handily address this state of affairs. They are nothing if not original. But trying new wines hardly precludes drinking the familiar pleasures. There's room for both, don't you think?
Abacela "Southern Oregon" Vintner's Blend #10 Red Table Wine: Various wines from Abacela winery in Roseburg have appeared in this space numerous times over the years. The reason is simple: Abacela makes terrific wines with grape varieties that other in Oregon never previously pursued.
Most of these exploratory varieties were Spanish grapes such as tempranillo and albariño. But Abacela also planted grapes that other in southern Oregon were already tinkering with, such as syrah, malbec, grenache, cabernet franc and viognier.
Abacela regularly purchases grapes from its southern Oregon colleagues. And that, in effect, is the story of its annual bottling designated Vintner's Blend red table wine. This latest version, Vintner's Blend #10, is sourced from five vineyards in addition to Abacela's own plantings: Alta Seca Vineyard, Delfino Vineyard, McCorquodale Vineyard, Pheasant Hill Vineyard and Steelhead Run Vineyard.
This red table wine is composed of a boggling 14 grape varieties: tempranillo (39 percent), syrah (16 percent), merlot (10 percent), cabernet sauvignon (9 percent), petit verdant (5.5 percent) and minor amounts of Grecian, cabernet franc, dulcet, malbec, viognier, ternate, mourvédre, albariño and grenache. I really can't imagine this blending process!
Too often, such wildly disparate assemblages result in a wine of no real character. Such blends can be muddy-tasting and lack flavor focus. That's not the case here.
Abacela "Southern Oregon" Vintner's Blend #10 Red Table Wine (which does not show a vintage, by the way) is a ripe-tasting, rich red with the bright focused spiciness and refreshing acidity of tempranillo enhanced- rather than diminished- by the addition of all those other varieties.
This is a red wine that fairly begs for hearty, robust foods such as bean stews, chili, grilled meats, sausages and the like. Linda, Abacela's Tasting Room Manager, called it the "pizza and burger wine."Also, it will surely benefit from additional bottle age as the fruitiness of this red is substantial and still quite youthful. This wine's purpose is to be an everyday all-star. Drink now.Worth noting is that this freshness is enhanced by the use of a screwcap closure. Hmm...
At $15.95 a bottle, this is an outstanding deal in flat-out good red wine of real character with not a shred of pretension.
Kramer continues the article talking about a 2008 Grecante "Grechetto dei Colli Martini" from Italy. I couldn't find the article online yet, so you will just have to take my word for it.
This weekend was the epitome of spontaneity and that means many blog posts are coming out of it.
On Friday we pulled up the schedule for the Ashland Independent Film Festival, saw a 12 o'clock showing, got in the car making it just in time to be let into the Varsity Theater to see Obselidia.
Synopsis: Believing he's the last door-to-door encyclopedia salesman in the world, George decides to write The Obselidia, a compendium of obsolete things. George believes that love, among other things, is obsolete. In his quest to document nearly extinct occupations, he befriends Sophie, a beautiful cinema projectionist who works at a silent movie theater. Sophie believe that nothing is obsolete as long as someone loves it. When they interview a reclusive scientist who predicts 80 percent of the world's population will be obliterated by irreversible climate change by the year 2100, the two must fact the question, if the world is going to disappear tomorrow, how are we going to live today?
I couldn't have written anything I agree with more than this review from Variety,"From the striking title cards to the beautifully composed visuals and unusual collected items that litter the protagonist's home, Obselidiahas the look of a hand-crafted piece, something meticulously sculpted or painted in an artist's studio."
After the showing, Diane Bell, writer and first time director, got up in front of the audience for Q&A. Previously a yoga instructor in Barcelona, Diane moved to Los Angeles to pursue writing. After feeling dissatisfied writing Hollywood horror movies, Diane started working on Obselidiawith inspiration from encyclopedias and climate change. Filmed in 17 days, on an extremely low budget of $500,000, and casting literally off the LA street,Obselidiawas a Sundance Film Festival selection. This showing in Ashland is only the second festival the movie has been involved in, but plans to participate in film festivals in Texas, Florida, and in Diane's home of Edinburgh, Scotland are next up for the indie film. Hopefully the film gets picked up so more can enjoy its message, but if not, Diane and her husband, Chris Bryne, talked about taking the film a more viral route.
While leaving the theater, a woman asked me what movie I saw and I responded with my favorable recommendation of Obselidia and how impressed I was with my first visit to the film festival. She too saw the film and said it was movies like that which bring her back year after year to the Ashland Independent Film Festival. Next year, attending the film festival will not be a spontaneous event in my Friday, but rather a planned out trip to catch as many wonderful films as I can.
Obselidia will have one last showing at the festival tonight at 6 p.m. I cannot urge you enough to go see it. For more information go tohttp://www.ashlandfilm.org/.
If you miss its last showing tonight, or want to followObselidiasuccess, join thefacebookfan page.
*** The winners of the festival were announced and Obselidia took home the award for "Juried Best Feature!" Congratulations to Diane, the cast and crew. Fortunately that also means additional showings will take place this week at The Varsity Theater.
Here is the first post in a new ongoing segment called "Wines up North from grapes down South." Many Willamette Valley wineries are now making wines from grapes grown in Southern Oregon (Dobbes Family Estates, Domaine Serene, Penner-Ash, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Wildaire... just to name a few). They, along with the rest of the world, are discovering the high-quality fruit that is coming out of the region. It is a great way to diversify their Pinot-dominated portfolios.
I am 75% excited to see these grapes getting into the hands of esteemed winemakers and creating additional buzz for Southern Oregon, but I am slightly hesitant that this could backlash on Southern Oregon. Southern Oregon could stay in the shadows of the Willamette Valley by being seen as a supplier rather than an equal producer in the Oregon wine industry. And we all know that Southern Oregon has much more potential than that!
In early March Chris took a field trip with his fellow enology students to Genius Loci in McMinnville. Genius Loci Wines are the labor of Michael Lundeen, the son of Pat Lundeen, an instructor at the Northwest Viticulture Center that Chris attends. Genius Loci is a boutique winery making wine from their estate Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris and teaming up with Folin Vineyard in Gold Hill to source their Syrah.
Last Friday night was as stormy as they come in Oregon. Stormy evenings and Syrah go hand in hand for me. We popped open the 2007 Genius Loci Folin Vineyard Syrah and aerated the magneta-colored wine and let it sit for "a while." Okay, "a while" turned out to be about five minutes after we caught a whiff of the nose of this wine. We stood around the decanter like vultures ready to swoop down on some tasty decay. As you can tell, we contain a lot of restraint! This Syrah was fruity and bright with a marathon of a finish. It has made it onto my favorite Syrah list and shockingly retails for $24 a bottle. When a wine like this comes across my palate at a price like that, I am thankful for Michael's generosity!
The 2010 Wine Blog Awards are coming up and it'd be awesome if you nominated The Southern Oregon Wine Blog in the category of Best New Wine Blog. The competition is tough and time is almost out (ends tomorrow, April 7th!).
Awards are given based on a combination of judges' opinions and a public vote. The public vote will take place from May 17-23rd and I will definitely let you know if I need you to help out.
Click here to nominate The Southern Oregon Wine Blog.
Portland Indie Wine Festival. In its sixth year, the festival celebrates the top 40 Oregon craft wineries selected to pour their artisanal wines at the festival's Grand Tasting held on Saturday, May 8th from 2-8 p.m. The festival takes place at the spacious, industrial-chic Bison Building in Northeast Portland. Fifteen of the city's top restaurants will be pairing food with the wines.
This is no April Fool's Joke! Umpqua Community College's Southern Oregon Wine Institute announced it received a gift of $800,000 to get the school's winery jump-started. The generous donation was made by Sutherlin attorney Danny Lang.
According to The News-Review article, Lang admitted he drinks only about three glasses of wine per year, and he couldn't pronounce most wine names. Still, he said, he recognized the importance of the industry in the region.
The Southern Oregon Wine Institute will use the money to build a commerical-scale winemaking facility that is modeled after a similar structure at Walla Walla Community College in Washington (design by Fletcher Farr Ayotte pictured). The total cost of the project will be $8 million and if that money is raised through loans and donations, ground breaking will begin this summer.
Currently, the Southern Oregon Wine Institute is mainly an online-based program that serves approximately 50 students working to earn a one-year or two-year degree in viticulture and enology. The institute will be releasing its first wine vintage this summer.
On the drive out to a hike in the Red Butte Wilderness area, Chris and I got distracted as we saw Valley View Winery's huge grape vines on the right-hand side. Look at these Cabernet Sauvignon veteran vines:
Seven Feathers Casino Resort & Spa.
The weather in both the Umpqua and Rogue Valley AVAs has been dry, dry, dry this year. They have received only about one third the average rainfall. The weather has been consistent with predictions made by Climatologist Greg Jones, and is due to El Niño currents that cause a warming trend. This has also meant that bud break is likely to be very early, which has winegrowers in the valley very concerned, since early bloom means greater potential for frost damage. According to Michael Moore, Operations Manager for Quail Run Vineyards (who has 10 vineyards sites in the area) and South Stage Cellars, "Our buds are swelling, especially in the warmer sites, but haven't yet pushed. We've got our fingers crossedthat temperatures will drop and bud break will be delayed until early April."
Warmer weather will induce bud break and if that happens Harvest will be earlier. But overall, having Harvest come earlier is not worth the stress and headache of trying to ensure that frost doesn't damage the vines. Because if the buds are out and the temperature drops too low they die. If they re-bloom, Harvest is pushed way back and the grower might not have the opportunity to harvest grapes at the level of maturity thats needed to make a balanced wine.