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Wine Bloggers Conference 2012: The Orgundian Wine Trail

"The friendliness is natural, it's regional and it's contagious.”It's a little bit of Oregon culture, it's in our DNA" Jim Bernau, founder of the Willamette Valley Vineyards as quoted in Oregon Wine Country and he went on to say regarding folks who may be visiting for the first time, "You'll have a down-to-earth, personal experience here"

I hope the state of Oregon; especially Portland is prepared for the hundreds of wild-eyed vino-sapiens also known as wine bloggers, who will be visiting in just seven days. Woot, it's time once again for the Wine Bloggers Conference and this year it's in Portland, Oregon. Of course it goes without saying that I'm pretty excited about the event, especially for this great opportunity to re-visit the Oregon wine scene.

Yes, I say Oregon, because while many folks think of Pinot Noir and the wonderful Willamette Valley, many folks are missing the boat if they think that Oregon is only about Pinot Noir. Mrs. Cuvee and I spent a week in Oregon back in 2005, visiting many wineries, seeing many vineyards, speaking with winemakers and producers, so for us and me in particular revisiting Oregon is going to be a great refresher course, to get caught up with all of our "old" favorites, check-out all the new hot-shot producers and others making a splash in purple-colored pool.

Going back to the first paragraph regarding the "friendliness" to be found while traveling through the Oregon wine-scene, he's so right on point, it should be said with an exclamation point. When Mrs. Cuvee and I first traveled to Oregon to get our Pinot-on, it wasn't long before we remarked to each other, "Wow, this place is really friendly" in a Mayberry kind of way. We were strangers and we were from the Californication down south, but no matter we were treated like welcomed guests and it's a memory that lives with my wife and I every time, we pop the cork on one of the many Orgundian gems we brought home from that trip.

While many folks who have never visited Oregon or more specifically the wonderful Willamette Wine Scene, the great wines that you'll ultimately discover are just the tip of the proverbial "iceberg". There's so much to see and do, that you'll need to book another trip to peel back the rest of the onion. This is especially true if you fancy yourself a bike-riding fan, because in Oregon they love bicycles. They love them so much in fact that they've created the 132 mile state-designed Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, where you can scoot down a nicely set-aside scenic bicycle trail, that will take-ya from Wilsonville in the north, to Armitage Park in the south. If you'd like to learn more about the many easy to ride trails and fun day trips awaiting the adventurous wandering-wino and even the garden-variety vino-sapien, then may I suggest you plug www.OregonWineCountry into your browser and let the thrill of exploration begin.

Lastly I wanted to highlight a great producer who graciously shipped me a couple samples of what's new [or at least new to me] on the Orgundian wine scene. These wines come to me from a producer of whom I was not familiar with and one of the very first producers from Oregon to send samples for the review process.

Now that said, it's with no further ado, that I introduce you to R. Stuart and Co. Winery and Winebar located in the delightful town of McMinnville, Oregon. I should have published this review much sooner, because the wines sent for review were pretty fabulous, the kind of Pinot Noir that gets my highly coveted recommendation, "drink now and drink often". In fact I had to go to the bottom of my wines to-be-reviewed stack to find the welcoming note from Maria Stuart and my notes about the wines I tasted during #winechat a few months back.

 2009 Big Fire Pinot Noir: Once in the glass you'll find a lightly colored garnet core, which fades effortlessly to the rim. Sticking my fat nose in the glass, I easily found wafting up out of the glass, inviting aromas of raspberry, dried cherries with a hint of gentle spices. Taking in my first big-gulp, warm rich-earth, dark plum, ripe strawberry and just a splash of cranberry, spills across my palate with nice length and precision. This PN weighs in 13.4% abv, has a palate pleasing fruit to acid balance, representing wonderful Oregundian effort for the budget-conscious vino-sapien. This wine sells for SRP of $19 and I scored this wine 90 points.

2008 Autograph Pinot Noir: Wowsers, this wine is multi-layered, a Pinot Noir reminding me of my newly found love for the "Blues" via Buddy Guy and other similar super-stars. This is the kind of music and the kind of wine, that gives you time to think, as you watch the wine evolve, the music will strike a deep chord in your thirsty soul. This is the kind of wine that puts me in my ambitious-boy recliner, with over-sized head-phones on, melting away all the days’ activities. This wine, this Pinot Noir is a blend of too-many to name here relatively young vineyards [exciting].

Once you pop the glass-closure off the top of the bottle and pour yourself a glass, you'll find a bit more here than may be anticipated. This wine sells for $38 and I scored it 92 points.

Look: This Pinot Noir glistened and shimmered in the glass like gentle rose petals falling upon a silk-pillow, conjures vic-secret commercials [oh-my] and staring back at me from the glass; a lithe shade of crimson in the core fading to a silky cerise rim [no really].

Smell: The aromas of barnyard type rustic smells wafted effortlessly from my glass, with a strong under currant of rich spices and fragrant red berries enveloping my senses and tempting my palate, like the coming attractions of summer blockbuster.

Taste: So after I finally take a sinfully huge gulp, my palate is struck by rich black cherry, raspberry, dusted rich vineyard earthiness. The key word on this wine is seamless, immediately expressive rich sandalwood spice, black cherry, fruit tart explosion and a really nice balance, acidity and elegant mouth-feel, departing with a wondrously long finish. A fab wine, that will make a believer out of you, enjoy.

Mrs. Cuvee and I are super excited about the upcoming conference and I can't wait to meet all our new friends, especially the many folks I only know through twitter, get reacquainted with others, hob-nob with great producers, thank all the folks that helped make this years event possible, listen to some great talks from folks I admire in the wine-biz, mingle with old-friends who've known for years now, seeing this is going to be my fourth conference, let's light this candle.

I hope all the folks who can't make it this year will tune-in on the #WBC12 hashtag to see all fun conversations and impressions from this years attendees. For everyone else who will be there, I look forward to seeing you all very soon, cheers!


Nice tasting notes Bill! I really liked these wines and look forward to re-visting them as well as you and Mrs Cuvee.
petertrapasso said…
That is so awesome! I wish I could come. Cheers from San Francisco!

Vino Pete
Bill Eyer said…
Hey Shawn,

Thanks it was a fun tasting and those two wines really stood out for me. Likewise, looking forward to seeing ya at this years conference and re-visiting these wines and all the other fab juice that I'm sure we will experience.

Bill Eyer said…
Hi Pete,

Thanks for stopping-by it's always fun to hear from new folks. Perhaps you can join in on the fun at next years conference.


Jason Phelps said…
Looking forward to seeing you guys in a few days. I can't wait to learn more about the OR wines first hand!

Bill Eyer said…
Likewise Jason, the Mrs. and I don't have any plans for the evening on Sunday, so give me a holler and will figure something out. See you bro, cheers!

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