Thursday, May 26, 2016

Pike Road Wines

The Campbell Family has been farming in Oregon for five generations, four decades of which have been as grape growers in the Willamette Valley. Finding success with Elk Cove Vineyards, they are branching out with a project to bring unbeatable value to Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. This new endeavor is called Pike Road Wines, named after the winding road that runs adjacent to their vineyards at the foothills of Oregon's Coast Range Mountains.

Pike Road Wines

Tasting Notes:
Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2014: 100% Willamette Valley AVA grapes; aged for 10 months in French oak barrels; dark ruby red; dark fruit, red berry and smoke aromas; plum, rhubarb, and pomegranate flavors; super pleasant mouthfeel with beautiful balance; nice acidic backbone; twist off closure; 9,000 cases produced; SRP $19.
Willamette Valley Pinot Gris 2015: 100% Willamette Valley AVA grapes; fermented in stainless steel; floral, pear, and starfruit aromas; pear, vanilla, unripe lemon into a muskmelon finish; hint of acid keeps it fresh; twist-off closure; 8,000 cases produced; SRP $15.
Both eminently drinkable wines at a price point that allows for drinking more often than not.

Wines provided for tasting purposes - all opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Holman Ranch Olive Oil

About a year ago, Holman Ranch Vineyards and Winery sent me a sample of their 2012 Sauvignon Blanc to taste and it was quite good, a wine I'd return to for sure. Holman Ranch is more than just wines, though, the property includes many projects:  weddings, events, an olive grove, and stables. Originally, the ranch was part of the lands bestowed to the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo.  In 1989, Dorothy McEwen planted the vineyards and created the ranch as it is known today, though the current owners, Thomas and Jarman Lowder, planted the olive groves. They were kind enough to provide a sample of their Holman Ranch Olive Oil for tasting.

Holman Ranch Olive Oil

The olive tree grove is composed of 100 trees with cultivars of Frantoio, Leccino, Mission, Coratina, Pendolino and Picholine represented. The trees were raised in a nursery from 1994 and then transplanted to the Ranch in 2007. Nice to know: Although the Olive Grove is not certified organic, organic practices are employed and the mill is certified organic.

I found the olive oil to be very rich and creamy. There are strong grassy notes both on the nose and the palate - this oil tastes fresh and alive. We tried it neat, as part of salad dressings, and also for cooking - a very versatile olive oil, it worked splendidly in all situations.

Oil provided for tasting purposes - all opinions are my own.

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Summer Edition: Casillero del Diablo

Stored in Hell - Made in Heaven

We're big fans of Casillero del Diablo, so samples of new summer sippers were very welcome. Not only are the wines really tasty, but the new packaging is very attractive and festive. Definitely a good add to your wine plans for this summer!


Tasting Notes:
Rosé 2015: Shiraz, Consult, and Caremenere grapes from the Central Valley; fermented in stainless; reddish pink tending orange; raspberry, white floral and pear aromas; strawberry, tart berry, and a crisp acidic lemon finish; nice balance to this dry rosé; twist off closure; SRP $11.
Sauvignon Blanc 2015: grapes from  Casablanca, Rapel, and Limari; fermented in stainless; lovely light straw yellow; starfruit, pear, white floral and lemon aromas; lingonberry, pear, melon flavors into an acidic lemon finish; just the right touch of sweetness, great balance overall; twist off closure; SRP $11.
Wines provided for review purposes - all opinions are my own.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

#UncorkColorado

You may not think of Colorado when it comes to wine production, but it's been made there since 1890. Colorado is now home to over 125 licensed wineries, along with more cider and mead producers, which are oddly included with wine in Colorado. There are two federally designated American Viticultural Areas (AVAs): the Grand Valley along the Colorado River and the West Elks along the North Fork of the Gunnison River. Several months ago, I got to participate in a virtual tasting, #UncorkColorado, and we tasted across a wide variety of 2015 winning entries from their state competition, the Governor's Cup. Very eye-opening, in that the range is very broad, with literally tastes across a wide spectrum. Overall I was quite surprised by the quality of these "wines."

#UncorkColorado

Tasting Notes:
Guy Drew Vineyards Colorado Sweet Riesling 2012: Montezuma Valley grapes from Russell and Yucca House Vineyards; clear light golden yellow color; lingonberry, white floral, and muskmelon aromas; dried apricot, muskmelon, and pear flavors into a honeyed lemon finish; sweet but not cloying; solid acid backbone; twist off closure; SRP $13.
Carlson Vineyards  Peach Wine: Colorado peaches; sunshine yellow color; peach, white floral, and starfruit aromas; peach, almond and subtle clementine flavors; synthetic cork closure; $13.49.
Aspen Peak Cellars  Mocha Zinsation NV: grape wine with coffee and chocolate; strong ground coffee aroma; wine into coffee into chocolate flavors; nicely balanced with good acidity; cork closure; SRP $19 (375 ml). Much better than expected, not too sweet but tastes like dessert.
Whitewater Hill Vineyards  Grand Valley Sweetheart Red 2014: Colorado grapes; light ruby red color; sweet cherry, cassis, and pomegranate aromas; cherry cola, red hibiscus, and tart red berry on the finish; sweet flavors but not syrupy; surprisingly well balanced with nice acidity; cork closure; SRP $13.
Colorado Cider Co Grasshopper-Ah: cider with hops and lemongrass; pale amber; honey and floral aromas; subtle hop intro, then yeasty apples, with a slight citrusy finish; no or minimal carbonation after initial pour; SRP $8 (650 ml).
Redstone Meadery Nectar of the Hops: 100% Colorado honey (5 parts clover honey, 1 part wildflower honey); made with Centennial and Amarillo hops; Metheglin style mead, with herbs and spices added to honey wine; light Amber color with tiny bubbles; honey, floral, and spice aromas; spiced honey into a musky floral finish; swing top cap; SRP $17 (750 ml).
Wines provided for tasting purposes by Colorado Wine - all opinions are my own.

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