McMinnville Wine and Food Classic _ The SiP

Friday my lovely bride and I attended theMcMinnville Wines and Food Classic,a benefit for the St James Catholic School in McMinnville.  Without doubt the standout wine festival in our area.  There were approximately 70 wineries represented, as well as many other vendors of various types, including food and distilled spirits.  There are so many great producers, but so little palate available to try them all . . . we have had to be very systematic, limiting the agenda (itinerary/field) to visiting some new wineries at each event.  We did sample several options at most of the wineries we chose to visit.

I’m a huge fan of blended red wines, so those were the focus of our pursuits that evening.

Paul O’Brien Winery I was drawn in by theirGrenache and proceeded to also sample their Tempranillo, Orsation Riesling and theirPinot.  The Grenache blew my mind with its lusciously soft tannins and fruity long finish.  With or without food, this is a wine not to miss.  I also HAD to try their Tannat.  This wine will put hair on your chest . . . it is bold and heavy, but still fruity and luscious.  I generally don’t gravitate to white wines, as I feel they often lack character.  That was not the case with Orsation Riesling.  As Scott Kelley (Winemaker) described it, this wine is his expression of how Rieslings are made in the Alsace region of France.  If you are a fan of fine Rieslings, I would encourage you to seek this one out.  

Cottonwood Winery TheirEstate Red Blendintrigued me; hereTempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon are blended with Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir in this full-bodied, fruit-forward expression of their terror.  This was very nice and a great value as well.  I chose not to try any of their other offerings . . . focus.

Eola Hills Winery is a fairly large producer, nestled in Polk County.  I’d hoped to try their Sangiovese, which got high marks from reviewers, but alas, they are out of production.  Our server/pourer suggested we try their Persnickety Pinot Noir.  We are fans of well-balancedPinots, I thought “Why not”.  Wow . . . velvety soft tannins, well incorporated acidity and a fruitiness that required me to acknowledge its goodness with a very audible, Oh Wow!  Interestingly enough, this particular wine is the same as their Classic Pinot Noir.  They produced a new label for marketing it in a different state.  So, do check it out.

River’s EdgefromElkton produces some really juicy, supple wines that beg for more consideration.  We tried their new Rose’ of Pinot which was, unlike most in this category, succulent, fresh, and not astringent.  Their DulcetCuveePinot was also a surprise.  I love mostcuvees, which are typically the best barrels blended together, and this one should peek your interest.

David Hill Winery makes Pinots, Chardonnays, Rieslings and quite a few others.  But my favorite is their blended red,Farmhouse Red.This blend is unique in that the combination of wines changes with each vintage.  Winemaker Jason Bull tries to give it the same character and profile, while using different varietal blends.  Truly an intriguing adventure.

We also had to visit some of our favorite wineries, a couple of which we are club members.
Willamette Valley Vineyardsdoes so much right, especially when it comes to their PinotNoirs.  Tualatin Estates Frizzante is one of my wife’s favorites.  It is a bubbly Muscat that will satisfy anyone that seeks out sweet, fresh, citrusy enjoyment in their wines.Bernau Block Pinot Noir is full-bodied and loaded with character.  It is produced from the oldest vines Vineyard Owner Jim Bernau planted when he acquired the property.
Troon Vineyards is one of the oldest vineyards in Oregon.  The one not to miss is also their highest selling wine,DruidsFluid. This unique blend tops the offerings atTroon as the #1 selling red wine blend in the state and represents nearly half of totalTroon sales. Offering both a red and a white variety, Druid’s Fluid is labeled as “The Wine for Everyone.”  This red is a blend of Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Its flavor profile contains hints of vanilla and pie spice and aromatics of blackberry and black cherry.
There were a few offerings we tried that Ididn’t particularly care for, but I’m choosing to focus on those that made me happy.  Experimentation is always part of the fun.

The evening began to wind down and I found I was very happy with the choices of great wines we experienced.  After retrieving our purchases from the Will-Call desk and “resting” for a bit before traveling home, we realized that this event is without doubt our favorite that we have attended.  The vendors seem to be happy and treated well by the organization and the volunteers.  The crowd was excited and enthusiastic.  The atmosphere was one of a party.  AND there were real indoor restrooms, a major plus.


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