I discuss how I draw the line between being a journalist and an unpaid consultant when tasting with vintners in their cellars.
Tasting Pinot Noir from barrel in some of Oregon’s top cellars always yields some tales of the unforeseen. In this state, every vintage is different. For the 2009 vintage the surprises are pleasant ones. here are my notes on a few exciting young wines.
Wine Spectator editor at large Harvey Steiman visits a small Oregon winemaker, who perseveres in a special spot in his wines for the vineyard.
Two things struck me as I tasted through a recent batch of 2008 Oregon Pinot Noirs. One, it’s shaping up as one great vintage, as good I had hoped. Two, the style runs so counter to the prevailing preferences for New World Pinot Noir that I fear a significant number of wine drinkers will try them and say, “What’s the big deal?”
What distinguishes this vintage for me, based on what I tasted out of barrel last year and on the 60 or so 2008s that have passed through my tasting room for blind reviews, is how transparent, pure and clear these wines can be. They do that trick peculiar to Pinot Noir, balancing a wide array of flavors on a relatively fragile frame. I liken it to a dense cloud hovering over the palate rather than blanketing it.
James Frey, owner of Trisaetum Vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, surprised me when we met for lunch at Wexler’s, a new restaurant in San Francisco’s Financial District that specializes in barbecue. He brought a bottle of his new Riesling to drink with the food.
My advice to you: Don't fall into the trap of ignoring whole swaths of the wine world because "everyone" says they're not worth it. Try them yourself.
Oregon vintners introduce a new program—Oregon Certified Sustainable Wine—to identify wines that have been made sustainably, or using organic or biodynamic practices in the vineyard, and in wineries that qualify as sustainable.
I recap the restaurant roster for the Cosmopolitan, opening in Las Vegas later this year, including chefs new to Las Vegas that foodies should recognize.
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