Chris from Bellwether Wine Cellars was kind enough to send us some samples from the Finger Lakes of New York. As American Riesling lovers, we always enjoy the chance to educate ourselves about the great work people are doing out East. While we’re quite fond of Oregon Riesling, we accept that New York has the world’s eye when talking about Riesling from the USA. While we drink a lot of German Riesling, tasting new world Riesling gives us a chance to expand our understanding of Riesling’s expression of terroir, and range of expression. In this show, we taste the 2012 A&D Vineyard Wild Ferment, the 2012 Sawmill Creek Vineyard Riesling, and the 2012 Sawmill Creek Pinot Noir.

Chas picked up 3 wines with the intent of tasting them blind, and making it tricky. He picked bottles from 2010, 2011, and 2012, and tried to pick producers whose style differs a bit from the general impression of each of these vintages. He wanted to make it tricky. Our friend Matt joins us again, so two of us are giving double blind impressions while Chas tastes single blind. We taste the 2010 Belle Pente Pinot Noir from the Belle Pente vineyard, the 2011 Ayers Perspective, and the 2012 Matello Hommage.


When have you been most surprised by a blind tasting?


Dan picked up a couple of bottles of 2012 German Riesling to share on the show. The 2012 St. Urbans Hof Riesling is well distributed, and the producer has a great track record. The 2012 Josef Bernard-Kieren Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett is new to the Portland market, and neither of us have tried his wines from previous vintages.



How old do you prefer to drink your German Riesling?

Planted in the 70’s, Durant Vineyards is one of the older growers in the Willamette Valley. They’ve supplied grapes to many producers over the years, and also have small quantities of wines under their own label. Paul Durant and Libby Clow joined us to talk about the wines and wine makers they work with, as well as their olive oils. Paul’s parents started an olive grove, and it’s been expending regularly, now covering over 17 acres. Paul mills the oils himself, and Libby is focused on educating consumers about the attributes, benefits, and uses of fresh, high quality olive oil. On the show, we taste the 2012 Durant Vineyards Olivia Grace Pinot Noir, the 2012 Durant Vineyards Bishop Pinot Noir, the 2012 Durant Vineyards Raven Chardonnay, and single cultivar Oregon Olive Mill oils made from Koroneiki, Frantoio, and Arbequina.

How do you use extra virgin olive oil?

Chas went shopping this week, and it’s no surprise that he came back with a couple of 2012’s we haven’t tasted yet. Both wines come from well respected producers, and we were excited to try their current releases from the vintage. We taste the 2012 Matello Lazarus Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and the 2012 Vincent Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir.

How much sleep do you need to get by day to day?

Quite a while ago, we received a box of samples from our friend Mike who works with Balzac Communications and Planet Bordeaux. Since it was a lot of wine, and it’s not in our focus area, it’s taken us a long time to get these on the show, and we feel a little badly about that. But, this week, we were able to take an entire evening to taste through the case, and pick out a few that we wanted to discuss in a show. Most of you probably know that Dan had a hard time finding Bordeaux he enjoys, but Chas is more open to it, and drinks it fairly regularly. These are interesting bottles, because they’re all at entry level price points, and meant to do away with Bordeaux’s image of being inaccessible. The four we chose were the 2011 Chateau Freynelle Bordeaux Blanc, the 2010 Chateau Freynelle Bordeaux Rouge, the 2009 Chateau Laronde Desormes Bordeaux Superieur, and the 2009 Chateau Barreyres Bordeaux Superieur.

What was the last crazy dream you had (preferably wine related)?

We’ve been on a roll with Oregon Pinot Noir lately, but we suspect that that’s OK with most of you. While looking for wines this week, Dan came across two entry level bottles from some producers that also make very high end wines. We’ve enjoyed wines from both producers in the past, and were interested in how these two would turn out. We taste the 2011 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from Adelsheim, and from Evening Land.

What do you do during the winter?

This week, Chas picked up a bottle from Ayers because we always like trying their wines, and Dan picked up a bottle from Dopp Creek that neither of us had tasted. Both come in at right around $20, and we feel that quality Oregon Pinot Noir at this price point can take a little work to find. We taste the 2012 Ayers Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and the 2011 Dopp Creek Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.

Do you know anybody famous?

Chas picked up a couple recent releases for this week’s show. We’ve enjoyed wines from both producers in the past, and were happy to see how good both of these were tasting. We taste the 2012 Bow and Arrow Medici Vineyard East Block Pinot Noir, and the 2012 Bergstrom Cumberland Reserve Pinot Noir.

Do you know of a producer that does better in particularly warm or cold vintages?

We got some splits of Ken Wright’s new releases, and thought it would be fun to taste them blind to see if we could figure out which vineyard was which. We’ve been tasting some of these for a few years running now, and hoped that we’d be able to guess a couple of them. A little miscommunication ended up with us having 5 bottles, but we wanted to taste them all anyway, and are happy that the show is still less than 30 minutes. We taste the 2012 Ken Wright Pinot Noir from Shea, Canary Hill, McCrone, Nysa, and Guadalupe.

What’s the last blind tasting you’ve done? What’s the last blind tasting where you guessed everything?