Bergström Wines – Newberg, OR

It’s been way too long since I’ve done a post, and all I can say is that in the span of a few weeks, it was Thanksgiving, my son’s 3rd birthday, and the end of him taking naps. I’m still in mourning over the loss of nap time. Luckily, we managed to sneak away one Saturday and do some tasting at Bergström Wines in Newberg, OR.

Bergström Wines consists of five estate vineyards totaling 84 acres that span across four Willamette Valley appellations. I love that they farm all of this without the use of harsh chemicals, systemic or fertilizers. Bergström produces approximately 9,000 cases each year, including two Chardonnays and nine different Pinot Noirs.

I always enjoy a visit to Bergström, but this was a particularly exciting tasting experience because many of the new 2012s had just been added to the tasting flight. In case you haven’t heard, 2012 is THE year for Oregon wine. The weather provided an ideal growing season producing some of the best wines the area has seen to date. While the 2010s and 2011s needed a little more time in the bottle before they were ready, the 2012s are enjoyable straight away.

Here’s a look at the tasting flight we had that is $15 (refundable with $100 purchase):

First Pour: 2011 Old Stones Chardonnay
Price: $35*
Notes: Bright, neutral French oak, aromas of lemon and lime, like a lemon Jolly Rancher on the palate. Juicy. This goes well with food but is also enjoyable on its own.
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Second Pour: 2012 Gregory Ranch Pinot Noir
Price: $57*
Notes: Blackberry, vanilla, and cinnamon on the nose. The vanilla hits me right away on the palate followed by dark cherry. Lovely in its complexity and layers. The 2012s are big Pinots and this is no exception. Doesn’t just the description of this alone make you want to try it right away?
My Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Third Pour: 2011 Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir
Price: $50*
Notes: The nose and palate offer lots of berries and earth. Only 18 cases left. Age this one.
My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Fourth Pour: 2011 Le Pré Du Col Pinot Noir
Price: $60*
Notes: Mushroom and herbs on the nose with a hint of sweet fruit like strawberry and smoke on the palate. Only 15 cases left.
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Fifth Pour: 2012 Temperance Hill (not on the tasting flight)
Price: $60*, sold out
Notes: I’ll just start by saying if you want to try the 2012 Pinots from Oregon, act fast. This one is already sold out and that’ll be the trend this year. Side tip, joining a wine club is a great way to get your hands on more of the 2012s that are sure to sell out. The San Francisco Chronicle and Wine & Spirits magazine have previously named this the top Pinot Noir in America. It’s very earthy on the nose with notes of mushroom and moss. Blackberry and cherry on the palate. Full-bodied and complex. You could age this for many years, but I’m not sure who has the patience. My favorite that I tried one this particular day.
My Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Sixth Pour: 2011 Bergström Vineyard Pinot Noir (not on the tasting flight)
Price: $80*
Notes: Bergström’s flagship Pinot Noir. This wine is smooth and balanced with lots of that great earthiness I happen to love. This will age well for years to come with proper storage.
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

For more on Bergström Wines, visit http://bergstromwines.com/.

* Prices reflect those listed on the tasting flight menu at the winery. Pricing and availability may vary outside of the tasting room.

Advertisements

Alexana Pinot Noir 2010 Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Revana Vineyard

I was so excited when Wine Spectator recently announced their “Top 100 of 2013” list and the Alexana Pinot Noir 2010 Dundee Hills Revana Vineyard was listed as number 17. My first visit to Alexana was in September of 2012, and since then, it’s been one of my favorites in the Willamette Valley. In addition to the specific Pinot Noir I review in this post, Alexana also makes a Riesling that isn’t as sweet as Rieslings typically tend to be, Chardonnay, and a few other Pinot Noirs. The tasting room in Newberg, OR is only a couple of years old with warm wood throughout, a bar layered with the regions various soil types for display (so cool!), and sweeping views of the Willamette Valley; it’s as gorgeous and inviting as it sounds.

Alexana was created by a cardiologist with a love for wine, Dr. Madaiah Revana, and named after his daughter, Alexandra. In 2005, Dr. Revana sought out the ideal region and an experienced winemaker to make his Pinot Noir. He found what he was looking for in Oregon, where he met Lynn Penner-Ash. Lynn helped Dr. Revana find the property which is now the Revana Vineyard in the Dundee Hills of Oregon, and the first production came in 2006. Penner-Ash wines are ranked among the finest in Oregon by the wine press year after year. You may recognize the name from Rex Hill and also from Penner-Ash Wine Cellars. I have to say that I personally agree with all the buzz and think it’s well-deserved.

IMG_20131120_181626_resized

Now that you know a bit about Alexana, let’s get down to the
tasting notes of the Alexana Pinot Noir 2010 Dundee Hills Revana Vineyard. On the nose you’ll get notes of dark berries, cherry, and vanilla. On the palate, I immediately get the dark fruit followed by the vanilla with a black pepper finish. It doesn’t have the rich earth nose and taste that’s more typical of a Oregon Pinot Noir, which I usually prefer, but with this Pinot, I don’t find myself missing that characteristic. Complex, well-layered, and nicely balanced, I rate this wine 5 stars out of 5.  At just $42, this wine is an incredible value. If you see this while wine shopping, snatch it up before they’re all gone and enjoy. Once a wine is published on a list like this, it’s sure to sell out fast if it hasn’t already. If you can’t find it, don’t hesitate to try the 2011 vintage.

For more information on Alexana Winery, visit http://www.alexanawinery.com/.

To see the full list of the “Top 100 of 2013” by Wine Spectator, visit  http://2013.top100.winespectator.com/.

BlackLIST Pinot Noir 2009 Willamette Valley

It only makes sense that my first post would be on a Oregon Pinot Noir being that they are some of my favorite wines. I’m probably a little biased as a local Oregonian, too.

20131024_190952 (1)

The BlackLIST Pinot Noir is a limited production from The Four Graces Winery located in Dundee, OR. We purchased this wine while tasting there in August. The staff was extremely friendly and very accommodating to our request to taste out on the back patio. The laid back, take your time vibe provides a relaxed tasting where you genuinely feel they want you to stay as long as you’d like and answer any questions. If you’re traveling through the area, I’d recommend a stop in as they’re also pouring a really nice Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc (excellent with Thai food!) as well as a few other Pinot Noirs at reasonable price points.

20130824_110059

I give this wine 3 stars out of 5. It’s a solid Pinot at $38 with a high alcohol content at 14.8%. Medium-to-full bodied with dark fruit and a hint of vanilla and spice. Ready to drink now. We started with a glass at dinner, which was a tofu spinach lasagna, but the tomato sauce really brought out the high alcohol content in the wine making it lose a lot of the nice fruit and spice flavors. It was much nicer to drink just on its own.

For more information on The Four Graces Winery, you can visit their website http://thefourgraces.com/.

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you tried this one for yourself or if you’ve enjoyed a visit to The Four Graces Winery too!