As most winos know, Memorial Day weekend is a big event in the Wineries. This weekend is one of (sometimes) two weekends that some small boutique wineries open to the public for tasting their wares. Knowing this, we generally venture out into Wine Country to sample some choices that are fresh to us. And as usual, for us anyway, I make a plan, an itinerary of where I’d like to go based on research of the areas available.
We had decided to venture out into some wineries in Yamhill County that we hadn’t, for various reasons, ever visited before, as well as heading up the Columbia Gorge to Hood River.
Our first stop, and my most anticipated, was Aniche Cellars. I was especially intrigued because all the wines they produce are blends . . . mmmmm. What was also particularly great about this tasting room experience was the plethora of notes provided about each wine we sampled. The winemaker is very creative in her naming conventions as well as providing entertaining datasheets on the contents. Awesome stuff for a wine nerd.
We started the day with Tzippy – a blend of reisling and gewertztraminer that was slightly sweet and reflected pears and citrus. a really lovely fresh white wine. Bombadil – is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Picpoul. I got hints of anise, and it seemed a bit tight, lacking in fruit flavors. Maybe it needs more time. Lizzy – Rousanne and Marsanne. This one has more fruit flavors than the previous with more obvious notes of citrus, but still very light. 3 Witches – this one is a blend of Counnoise, Cinsault and Mourvedre . . . seemed to me to be very Pinot Noir like. Good fruit on the front and very smooth, finishes long with a spicy tone. 7 Gables – Magnificent Southern Rhone blend, GSM plus . . . A superb flavor profile, virtually unmatched by any other I’ve tried before. It carried a light spicy note through its long finish. Really excellent wine. Barbariccia – Super Tuscan, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon blend. First of all. . .a HUGE fruit bomb on the nose, very much the ones that grab me immediately. It continued with a solid structure, very well balanced tannins and acidity and a pleasing long finish. Be Holden – Big and Bold Bordeaux blend (Merlot, Malbec, Petite Verdot, Cab Franc and Cab Sauv). The aromas were very solid and fruit-forward, smooth through the mid palate and very well balanced. Goat Boy – Bordeaux blend primarily of Cab Sauv. Sor to f a strange initial aroma, but a great balance, very smooth and had good spicy quality at the finish. Last but nit least was Tyger, Tyger – A bonus pour as we were the only ones in the tasting room at the time and I guess she liked us . . .This is their “premium” wine at $64 a bottle. Blend of Merlot, Cab Sauv and Petite Verdot, it was SUPERB!! The smooth silky mouth-feel was throughout the entire length of the experience. It finished with a clean acidity that required another taste. Truly great.
Our next stop was Cerulean Wine. They had 6 offerings on that day, starting with their Tempranillo Rose’. I tend to like rose’ made from bolder grape varieties, but this wasn’t one of those times. Initially it had an odd, sort of funky aroma to it. Couldn’t really put a finger on the specific source of the smell. It was crisp, but really lacked any forward fruit . . .disappointing. Chardonnay was next. It was pretty typical for most Chards made in OR and WA. Good solid flavors and aromas, but not extraordinary. An ’09 Gewertztraminer was next on the agenda . . .This was a very good wine. Very smooth, really good fruit and solidly full bodied. I suspect this was done in a sur lie style as the creaminess and fruit were very evident. A ’12 Pinot Noir was next. Initial pour was not awesome. The attendant quickly opened a fresh bottle and gave us another go. Good fruit, a bit tight but could open up over time and balanced acidity. Next was ’10 Nebbiolo , and I had high hopes for this one. Not disappointed at all. Good solid fruit and structure, high acidity and a long finish. Finally, we came to Red Sky, a blend of Barbera, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and Merlot. Super smooth, solid fruit and really well balanced. Had to take one of those home.
Stave and Stone is a brand new tasting room/winery in the area and it was suggested we check them out. Their tasting was accompanied with a tidbit of gnosh to enhance the experience, which was exquisite. Most of their offerings were very good, nothing that different . . .with the exception of their Reisling. Better than most I’ve tried, this reisling is very fruit forward, initial flavors of peach and nectarine with a hint of lime. Loved it. Have to also include their Cab Sauv in this exception list. Nice and jammy . .super smooth with a touch of spice.
Our final wine stop was Springhouse Cellar. Have to say right off the top, I enjoyed pretty much everything they produce. Their Grenache has great fruit on the nose, smooth all the way through, light and not heavy-handed. The Sangiovese has a superb fruity nose with tight fruit and a finish of cherry cola . . .awesome. Their blend is called Ruins Red (and I did take 2 of these home). This guy is a Super Tuscan (82% Sangio) with excellent fruit and spice on the nose, supreme fruit forward character, and a balanced structure. Last option was their Tempranillo, which I qualify as a really great food wine. It has a light nose, spicy but moderately fruity. Not overpowering but really pleasant.