Three Lodi Wineries Offering Authenticity and Intrigue

The Lodi region of California has grown wine grapes for over a century. This history has both burnished and oxidized its reputation. Lodi has some name recognition, but for a specific niche: high octane zinfandel and bulk filler for the kings, queens, and princes to the west, nearer the cool coast. Both because of and […]

Honest Wine without Waving “Natural Wine” Banner

Most grocery stores, chain liquor stores, and national restaurants sell wines made by the millions of cases—wines made with a recipe, a process more akin to making soda than wine. In contrast, “natural” winemakers have staked their claim as the antithesis to corporate plonk. While “natural wine” is a loose stylistic description, it is generally […]

No Fun Getting Old: Age and Wine

“How you doing, Grandpa?” “Well, it’s no fun getting old,” wheezed my great-grandfather Wes. Then, a deep breath. It was meant as a direct response to a rote question. It frequently left me grinning uncomfortably. For many, aged wine contains an aura of near mythical power. Hold a 30 year old wine in your hands, […]

Tasting the Bella Vida

Three wines. Each providing a thumbprint and insight into a winemaker’s style. All under one roof. A tour of the Willamette Valley typically provides the curious connoisseur an experience with Pinot Noir, soils and AVA variations, winemaking style, and brand image. The preeminent role of site, however, leaves the taster wondering what effect the winemaker […]

Tar, Barnyard, White Pepper, Compost

What makes expensive wine so expensive? I get this question more than almost any other. And it is a great question. Many layers weave together to create a wine’s price tag (Wine Economics Part I, Part II, and Part III only scratch the surface). However, a remarkable reality persists—the large majority of wine drinkers don’t particularly enjoy drinking […]

The Head, The Heart, The Slurp

I recently attended an Oregon Syrah tasting with a trio of Willamette Valley winemakers and a few other industry compatriots. We tasted through seven different Oregon Syrahs, including a vertical from Dion Vineyard in the Willamette Valley produced by Anne Hubatch of Helioterra. Violet-blue in color, the 2013 Dion grabbed me by the shoulders and […]

Breathe

The holidays are coming. Breathe in, breathe out. We benefit from a few deep breaths, and so do most wines we consume today. This past winter I brought a 2012 Owen Roe DuBrul Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon to Minnesota to share with dear friends. We intended to open and enjoy the bottle prior to heading out to a […]

Notice

Senses open. Descriptors flitting and nesting within your brain. Noticing brings meaning and ultimately peace, balm in our hurried world. Harvard Psychologist Ellen Langer agrees, and suggests we practice mindfulness, the “simple act of actively noticing things” (more here). I propose that engaged wine tasting is mindfulness, a means to appreciate the fullness of life. […]

Wine Literature Must Haves

In my previous post, Buying Wine, I mentioned the anxiety many feel when purchasing wine. The plethora of options at most wine retailers leads people to often reach for the comfortable–old trusty–or pick a varietal, price point, and label that aligns with their mood, and then speed out of that daunting environment. The following list […]

Reflections after the Columbia Gorge Grand Tasting

The Columbia Gorge Winegrowers Association (CGWA) recently hosted a Grand Tasting at Castaway in NW Portland. After a few days of pondering and reflecting on my notes, I feel more confident than ever that the Columbia Gorge AVA has a bigger and brighter future ahead (though perhaps we shouldn’t hope for “bigger”). This AVA garners […]

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