Memorial Day Weekend 2018 – Day One

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Memorial Day weekend is always a wonderful opportunity to try new wineries.

For those who are unaware, there are 2 weekends per year where wineries and vineyards create a huge party atmosphere and and celebrate their wares for their fans.  These weekends are special in particular because many small boutique wines that may not have tasting rooms or even their own facilities open in often communal locations in order to entice the wine drinking public to try their products.  AS you may have already guessed, Memorial day weekend is the front half of these events and Thanksgiving weekend is the back half of these proverbial bookends.  And with 725 registered wineries in Oregon, you have your work cut out for you to try a few.

Saturday (May 26th) is Day One.  My wife had previously arranged to meet with a friend in Salem so our adventure begins in the Cascade Foothills region of Oregon, part of the Willamette Valley AVA, which reaches essentially from Oregon City in the North to Sublimity in the south along Highway 99E.



[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”64px”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]First stop – Vitis Ridge Winery in Silverton.  We had tasted their wines a few years ago at one of the wine festivals, but we both enjoy the environment and countryside that fosters this industry.

What I will say right off here. . .their white wines are not their strong suit.  If you want something to have with food, this may be a good choice.  If you are expecting great fruit and citrus  . . .you probably need to look elsewhere.

We started with the 2016 Gewurtztraminer– The nose is mild, slight bit of peach, the palate is even milder and it finishes quite dry.  Not much else to say.

2015 Pinot Gris – Light citrus aromas and not much fruit carryover onto the palate on this one either.

2014 White Table Blend – Muscat is prominent on the nose, and et the flavors are still quite muted.

2017 Semi Sparkling Blend– Same grape blend as the Table Blend, and the saga continues.  Not much good to say as yet.

2017 Rose of Pinot Noir– Aromas are again quite mild, the mid palate is tart, but more flavorful than previous and the finish is just dry.

2012 Pinot Noir – Nice nose, good red fruit, and solid structure.  Slightly tart with a mild finish.

2016 Marechal Foch – Nice dark fruit aromas on the nose with a bit of forest as well.  Warm and smooth structure with very nice fruit flavor carry over.  great finish.

2016 Cabernet Sauvignon – Light aromas of dark fruit, good solid structure and smooth from beginning to end.  Very nice and estate fruit.

2016 Lucy’s Blend – Dolcetto and Gamay Noir.  Aromas are muted, which is odd for fruit that traditional is very aromatic.  The structure and mid palate are smooth with nice spice notes.  Easy drinking.

2016 Tempranillo – No nose.  Nice structure and smooth with spice.

2016 Malbec – NOW we’re talkin’!  Great aromas of dark fruit with a silky smooth mid and great fruit carry over through-out.

*2012 Fab Four – I found my Happy Place.  This wine caught my attention years ago and it is still my fave of all these.  Raspberry is prominent alongside other red and dark fruits on the nose.  Satiny mid with excellent structure.  Superb flavors of strawberry, cherry and blackberry.  Taking one home!

Vitis Ridge makes 3 different port-style wines, each from different grapes.  Of course I HAD to try them . .I mean, REALLY!

NV – Cabernet Sauvignon Late Harvest– Very smooth, bursting with dark fruit flavors, warm and silky mid.  Really lovely port-style . .

NV Syrah Late Harvest – Dark fruit is very prominent, dark cherries and plums.  Truly the epitome of a great port-style wine with a slight alcohol bite at the finish . . .and I do mean slight. . at 18.5% alc.  Incredible.

NV Fortissimo – Marechal Foch is the grape used here .  Dried fruit aromas and silky mid palate.  A bit more alcohol bite on this one, but very typical of a great port-style wine.

Their red wines, in particular, are definitely worth a visit.  Check them out.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”64px”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]I first encountered Hanson Vineyards at the Portland Seafood and Wine Festival in 2016.  I was enamored with their take on Pinot Noir and Riesling.  We also ran into them last summer at the Deep Woods jazz festival and my wife was captured by their Gewurtztraminer.  This visit was truly long overdue.

*2017 Gewurtztraminer – Beautiful floral nose, lightly citrus on the palate and slightly tart with a silky long finish.  Took one home.

2017 Riesling – Flowers and lightly citrus on the nose.  a lovely tangerine and lemon flavor structure that finishes long and crisp.

2015 Pinot Gris – Certain aromas I just couldn’t identify.  Kind of anise, kind of herbal . . and the flavors are muted.

*2017 Rose of Pinot Noir – Bright and crisp with red fruit and all that carries over nicely onto the palate.  Crisp and slightly tart on the finish.  Took one home.

2015 Gamay Noir – Light cherry and cedar on the nose.  Cranberry and cherry on the palate.  Strong acidity.  great for fatty food.

2014 Pinot Noir – Marvelous aromas of cherry and raspberry.  A great mix of dark and red fruit with a silky smooth mid and a hint of chocolate.  The moderate acidity prompted much salivation.  Fantastic!!

2015 Black Grange – Blend of 85% Marechal Foch and 15% Gamay Noir.  Light aromas of dark fruit.  Silky mid and solid structure.  Prominent dark cherry flavors.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”64px”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Alexeli Vineyard and Winery is a small boutique winery just outside Molalla,

2015 Cascade Blend – A white wine blend of Muller-Thurgau, Gewurztraminer and Riesling.  It carries with it some interesting forest floor aromas and is a bit tart.  The fruit flavors are leaning citrus and the finish is crisp and clean.

2015 Chardonnay – Quite bright aromatics, lemons and stone fruit, silky texture and nice bright finish.

2017 Rose of Pinot Noir – Very, Very light pink color . . . Bight red fruit on the nose, the flavors are lighter, more zippy. Great finish

2014 Pinot Noir– Gorgeous bright red fruit aromas, light silky mid and great finish.  Would be excellent with food.

2015 Nuages – A modified GSM . . .Merlot / Malbec / Grenache / Syrah . . . Dark cherry and plums on the nose, along with some brambles.  Silky mid palate with an edge at the finish.  Very nice blend.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”64px”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Known more as an event center for weddings etc, the Postlewaits have also made wine for about 10yrs.

Whiskey Hill Winery is small and quaint, with a great outdoor tasting space.

2016 Pinot Gris – Light aromas, but much more prominent flavors of citrus and stone-fruit.  Nicely robust structure and finish.

2016 White Pinot Noir – Crisp and bright aromas, but the fruit was extremely subtle.  Flavors tended toward those of a white wine. . .citrus and stone-fruit.  nothing of the traditional red fruit.  A truly unique way to craft a nice white wine from red fruit.

2016 Rose of Pinot Noir– Very light aromas. silky mid.  Nice acidity and light red fruit flavors.  Unique and different, which sometimes is a good lace to be.

2014 Pinot Noir – Clone 115 – Brambly red fruit aroma, Tight mid palate and moderately acidic with a quick finish.  Just not quite right, to my taste.

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