2010 Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir Estate Cuvée Dundee Hills

What do you do when snowed in for four straight days? At our house, we drink lots of good Pinot Noir! One Pinot we enjoyed was the 2010 Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir Estate Cuvée Dundee Hills. It kept us warm and entertained during the unusual and endless snow Portland received, and I’m happy to say it was just what we needed. 20140209_105353

Sokol Blosser’s tasting room is fun and modern and usually quite busy on a summer day, but don’t let that scare you away. They offer some nice outdoor seating that provides a perfect opportunity to slow down and enjoy the vineyard.

On the nose, this wine has a lot of funk and smells of pure Oregon wine country. The palate also has that same burst of funk and earth with hints of dark fruit and a bit of cola. I probably should have let these breathe over night to open up more of the fruit. If you love earthy Pinots, this is the one for you.

For more information on Sokol Blosser, visit http://www.sokolblosser.com/


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.

Ardiri Winery & Vineyard – Cornelius, OR

A mere 30 miles west of Portland lies Ardiri Winery & Vineyard in Cornelius, OR. The atmosphere is hard to beat with a view of Mt. Hood on sunny days and fire pits, cozy seating and oversized blankets for the more typical cool and rainy days. The bar is located inside but the entire tasting room has roll-up windowed doors for an indoor/outdoor experience. Bring a picnic basket and enjoy the afternoon with some fabulous wines no matter the weather.

If that alone doesn’t convince you Ardiri is one to visit, then let’s talk about the wine. They produce Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc blends with the grapes coming from 5 acres down in Carneros, Napa Valley, California as well as a 15 acre vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, Oregon. So whether you prefer Oregon Pinot Noir or Napa Valley Pinot Noir, Ardiri has you covered!

The staff at Ardiri is well-informed and unpretentious, and I always enjoy talking with them while tasting. I find nice people in the tasting room always add to my experience. Speaking of tasting, here’s a look at their current tasting flight, which costs $10 and is refunded with a two bottle purchase:

First Pour: Picpoul de Pinet 2012, Coteaux du Languedoc, Le Chevalier de Novato
Price: $19 Retail (this is at the winery pricing and will be for all that are listed below too)
Notes: Ardiri ran out of their delicious Chalem Gold Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc blend fairly early in the summer so they imported this wine from France to have a white. This wine is light and crisp with lots of citrus on the nose and mouth. This goes nicely with a salad.
My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Second Pour: Pinot Noir 2010, Willamette Valley
Price: $29 Retail
Notes: The quintessential Oregon Pinot Noir with bright cherry, smoke, and rich earth on the nose. Very smooth in the mouth. This one is probably my favorite wine they are pouring right now, and it will pair nicely with a large variety of foods.
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Third Pour: Pinot Noir 2010, Los Carneros, Napa Valley
Price: $29 Retail
Notes: I love having the Oregon Pinot Noir first followed up by the Los Carneros Napa Pinot Noir to be able to compare the two side-by-side. This one is much more fruit forward as well as lighter and brighter.
My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Fourth Pour: Pinot Noir 2009, Los Carneros, Napa Valley
Price: $29 Retail
Notes: I also enjoyed having the 2010 Carneros followed by this 2009. It’s amazing how wines can vary each year. This one is really nice on the nose with more spice than the others. Tart raspberry in the mouth.
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5. My husband would give this 4 stars out of 5. I mention this because we all have different palates and preferences. Be your own judge and drink what you like!

Fifth Pour: Pinot Noir 2009, Willamette Valley
Retail: $29
Notes: Bright yet bold, earthy with notes of cherry. This is a complex wine and it’s difficult to pick out exactly what you smell and taste, but it’s delicious. The Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs are my preference here at Ardiri.
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Not a part of the tasting flight is my new obsession called Due Stati (shown in one of the photos above). This is a 50/50 blend with half of the grapes coming from the Carneros region and the other half from the Willamette Valley; Oregon and California playing VERY nicely. Retails for $38 at the winery or $43 online. Be extra friendly in the tasting room and you’ll probably be able to score a pour of this one too.

For more information on Ardiri Winery & Vineyard, visit http://www.ardiriwine.com/.