I attended a symposium at Ridge Vineyards this May.
Located in the Santa Cruz Mountains Ridge Vineyards was instrumental in creating a vineyard driven expression of a vintage year. Each year the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc changes depending on the how the grapes taste after they have finished their elevage. Their Montebello bottling is blended by a team who jointly recommend the blend for the vintage. Each year the blend of the Montebello will change slightly. Montebello ages very well. The 1992 I had in 2011 was perfectly poised and very beautiful. The 1978 Montebello was graceful and silky. The 2000 vintage tasted in 2011 felt very young with many years of bottle aging ahead.
I attended a symposium at Ridge Vineyards this May.
As the weather warms it is the perfect time to try light refreshing wines.
Pinot Grigio & Pinot Gris
Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are the same grape variety. Pinot Grigio is the Italian spelling and pronunciation and Pinot Gris is the French version. The difference is often the style. Pinot Grigio is usually picked less ripe so the finished wine is crisp and refreshing. Pinot Gris is usually picked a little riper so the grapes have more fermentable sugars, making a wine that is more full with more tropical flavors.
Pinot Bianco & Pinot Blanc
Just like Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Blanc are the same grape variety, just different spellings. Pinot Blanc is a mutant of Pinot Gris which is a descendant of Pinot Noir, the grapes having mutated hundreds of years ago. Pinot Blanc is grown in Alsace, France and in small pockets around the world. It is often grown in the vineyards of Burgundy and can be used as part of the blend to make the great chardonnay based wines of the region.
Private wine tastings available, call 435.645.6455.
As the winter weather arrives wines that warm us up take precedence over the refreshing white wines of summer. The dark-fruited red grapes from the Rhône department of France are great wines to enjoy anytime, but they are especially delicious during the colder months because their dark fruit flavors and lush texture pair so well with hearty fare.
The Rhône valley is divided into two distinct regions; northern and southern. The northern Rhône is renown for the wines made from Syrah and Viognier. Here you will find the appellations of Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, Croze-Hermitage, St-Joseph, Cornas, Condrieu and Château Grillet. Vines have been grown on the hill of Hermitage since the Romans occupied the region. Both Pliny and Martial mention the wines of Hermitage in their writings. The name of the appellation is on the label, not the grape variety.
The southern Rhône is a patchwork of numerous grape varieties with the most recognizable red grapes being Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Cinsault. The primary white grapes are Rousanne, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc. Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Lirac, Vacqueyras, Vinzellas, Côtes-du-Rhône and Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, are all wines made in the southern French wine region. Each of these appellations have slightly different rules as to which grapes can be blended into the wines.
Read Cara’s complete wine newsletter The Grapes of Rhône
The 2009 harvest began today 09.09.09.
The grapes are beautiful and the weather is perfect.
This vintage has the potential to be absolutely outstanding.
The first fruit to arrive at the winery early this morning was
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru Maltoie followed by Blanchot-dessous. Grapes are perfect.
We have accomplished four pressings today. W and I are going to finish the last press which is scheduled to finish just after midnight. A long, arduous day.
After a lunch at Dundee Bistro we drove up highway 47 to Patton Valley Vineyards. Owner Monte Pitt and winemaker Jerry Murray took us through a tasting of their 2007 Pinot Noirs. We followed the 2007s in the barrel cellar sampling barrels of their 2008 vintage. The appellation is Willamette Valley, Patton Valley is just north of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA and west of the Chehalem Mountain AVA. The 2007 pinot noirs from Patton Valley are some of the most elegant Oregon Pinot Noir that I have tasted in some time. They have beauty and structure, perfume and elegance. I look forward to watching the 2007s evolve.
I went to Portland this past Thursday to visit my brother. I spent Friday in the beautiful Willamette valley. Spring was everywhere. Fields of red poppies, pink rhodaenderoums, bright green grape leaves. I met with Margie Olson owner of Torii Mor Friday morning. They have a relatively new winery where Jacques Tardy is making expressive pinot noir, pinot blanc, pinot gris and chardonnay. The name comes from two languages; Torii is Japanese for the ornate gates that designate the entrance to a garden or temple. Mor is an ancient Scandinavian word that means earth. The winery was founded in 1993 by Dr. Donald Olson and his wife Margie. Their Olson vineyard (formerly McDaniel Vineyard) was planted in 1972 making it one of the oldest vineyards in Yamhill County. For more information on Torii Mor visit their website at www.toriimorwinery.com.
Posted on May 8, 2009 by Cara Schwindt | in Wine Tips from Cara | Comments Off
Last year we built a beautiful wine cellar in the dining room to showcase our wine list. The project was given to me by our CEO Russ Olsen. I was enlisted with creating a showcase for our wine list, but to also create a visual counterpart to the spectacular mountain views seen from the windows on the other side of the Glitretind restaurant. I wanted the wine labels to be viewed as art. I have seen hundreds of wine cellars that have the capsules of wine on display and I was adamantly apposed to that view. I worked with Jake Barlow, a Utah builder and contractor and we designed and built the interior. We then added Rick Jedruski who designed the exterior, using the oversized cabinet that holds our crystal stemware as inspiration. We call this space the Wine Room since the Wine Cellar is still located on the level below. This small room has a capacity of 2370 bottles which is an exceptional ratio of space to bottle ratio. I was very conscious of maximizing space. I think all sommeliers want to be able to house more wine. We have three wine coolers in the back of the room to house the white wines at proper service temperature. The room has a split level cooler that keeps the space at 62F. Wine is stored from the floor to the ceiling. One of my wonderful customers Billy Koral built me a step stool so that I could reach the top rows. Jason Berrett, the Co-Food & Beverage director was also intagral in the development of this work of art. He kept me examining my ideas until we codified the layout in the form of blueprints. And without the support of our board of directors this project would never have succeeded. A special thanks to D.S. and K.P.
Jim Dahlgren took this photograph as well as the one at the top of the blog. Jim is my assistant sommelier and I am thankful that he is a skilled photographer as well.