Friday, March 21, 2008

Cana's Feast Turns Grapes to Some Delicious Oregon Wine

Last time we stopped by Cana's Feast, it was known as Cuneo Cellars and the winery had a much smaller space. Previously their best wines were labeled under the Cana's Feast. The name refers to the wedding feast in Cana, where Jesus was reported to have turned water into wine. From what we're told, they do use grapes from Southern Oregon, Eastern Washington, and the Willamette Valley to make the wine instead of water. One of my favorites about this tasting room is the expansive views from the property. Absolutely breathtaking. Lucky for us the wine's inside were a match for the scenery.

2005 Bricco Sangiovese
Bricco in Italian means the top of the hill hence the name since their Sangiovese is sourced from the vineyard at the top of the hill. This Sangiovese was delicious.
Bright juicy cherry, touch of cinnamon and leather. Fantastic fun wine thats judiciously exuberant yet restrained enough to pair with food. $34

2004 Bricco Two Rivers Blend ( Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, Petit Verdot)
Lovely, succulent cherry and earthy notes contrasting to make a delicious blend sourced from vineyards along the Rogue and Columbia River. Its a bargain at $20!

2005 Bricco Syrah $27
Co fermented with Viogner. Loads of dark fruit, leather and a finish of dark chocolate. $24

2005 Tre Novo Dolcepassa $35 A sweet, slightly raisiny dessert wine with lovely dark fruit and 7% residual sugar.

Cana's Feast also prices their wines in the tasting room the same as the average retail price in local wine shops or grocery stores so unlike many of the other Oregon wine tasting rooms, you don't have to feel ripped out when you see the same wine in the grocery store for less. Erath and Argyleboth charged a premium price in their tasting room compared to the same price you could get in the local Safeway. Sometimes it's best to taste and take your list to the local wine shop in wine country and pick up the same stuff for less. Cana's Feast was the exception the to rule.

Cana 's Feast tasting room is open 11-5pm most days. On Saturday's they have Enoteca Lunchs and Sunday's their tasting feature a menu of soup, cheeses, antipasti, and small plates. Their wine's are sourced from location in Oregon and Eastern Washington. A fun way to re stimulate your palate while tasting in the Willamette Valley which will predominately feature Pinot Noir at most wineries.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Happy Saint Patricks Day to everyone. Even though I am half Irish, I'm not a big fan of the corn beef and cabbage dinner and will be having salmon instead. My Irish grandmother told me in Ireland they often have salmon for St Paddy's day so I'm happy to leave the cornbeef and cabbage in the dust. Other key items are Guinness, Irish Soda Bread (Bristol Farms) and for the kid in you, the elusive Shamrock Shake from McDonalds. Last year was the first Paddy day that I was unable to locate my favorite guilty pleasure, the Shamrock Shake. The McDonald's register person made me feel like I was trapped in the Chappelle's Show's Pop Copy Skit by backing away from his register,raising his arms out to his side as if I had challenged his manhood. After this negative response to a simple question, I sadly left the McDonalds. How could they let me down? I rely on this "restaurant" for 2 things, reliable sausage egg and cheese mcmuffins for breakfast 3 times a year and the Shamrock Shake. I'm happy to see this post today at the LAist. It looks like they are back and I will hunt for mine today.

Or perhaps I will make this recipe instead. It sounds even better.

2 cups Breyers Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
1/4 cup Low Fat Milk
1/2 York Peppermint Patty
1 Pack of York Wafer Bars
Reddi Whip
Chocolate Sprinkles
Green food coloring( optional)

In a blender combine milk, ice cream and a few drops of food coloring. Blend to desired consistency. Pour into malt glass and top with a swirl of whipped cream. Sprinkle with chocolates. Garnish with York patty and and wafer bars.

Show your support at Bring back the Shamrock Shake

And of course, wine just doesn't work today, Pour yourself a Guinness and enjoy your St Paddy's Day!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

One of my favorite Wine Events of the Year: Melville Small Lot Pinot Noir Tasting

It's time for Melville's yearly debut of the 2006 estate small lot collection pinot noirs: High Density, Indigene, Terraces and Carrie's. For a tasting fee you get access to some of the most sought after Pinot Noir from Melville. Last year we retired to the tables and enjoyed chatting with Brent Melville who was whipping up some great complimentary Tri Tip. According to the site, he'll be barbecuing again this year. Tasty stuff, plus he's apt to go dig out some other new releases for sampling. This is event is fantastic every year and a great opportunity to taste some Pinot Noir. I've been a fan of the Carrie's and the Terraces since our wedding at Melville. Last year was the first year for the Indigene, Melville's first Pinot fermented with native yeast. I'm looking forward to see how it compares with the other selections.

Dates March 21st- March 23rd 2008 . Hours 11 am - 4pm. Link to Melville's site.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

WBW: Comfort Wine for the Last Days of Winter

Charged with finding a “comfort” wine, I thought about what brings me comfort. Wine is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think comfort. I find comfort in childhood favorites like grilled cheese with a Guldens Mustard smiley face drawn on it and a cup of tomato soup. Or comfort is indulging in a box of macaroni and cheese without worrying about the “carbs” because I was out hiking or biking all day. Or staying in and curling up on the couch with my husband, popcorn, and a good movie. Well, perhaps a nice sparkling would be just the thing with popcorn and that scenario. For me, great wine engages so many of my senses, that I don’t unwind per see, but I do refocus my mind from perhaps a tough day at work to investigating what the wine has to offer. What do I smell? What do I taste? Is it what I expected? What foods would this be perfect for? What can I perceive about the choices made during harvest? And most important, do I like it? Finding a wine that engages all my senses and stands out as memorable is akin to perhaps catching that big fish, or winning the big game. Its deeply satisfying and not easily forgotten. Perhaps going wine tasting for me, is better described as wine hunting. I'm always looking for the next great white whale, or red whale in this case.

Recommending one wine is tough, but the wine that is up there in the wine hunt and allows me shift gears and unwind my mind to a sensory pursuit is the J Wilkes 2005 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Hillside Blend. I love this wine just for the sensual experience of drinking it. Great Pinot Noir is one of our civilization's best inventions. It's probably up there with electricity, a great shower, comfortable bedding, terrycloth robes/slippers, and running water. All great comfort giving inventions. My experience with this wine is enhanced since I got the opportunity to assist the winemaker during the 2006 and 2007 harvest. I can’t lay claim to any input on the wine I’m recommending but it adds greatly to my enjoyment that I can visualize how it was made based on my harvest experiences. This adds an extra dimension to every sip of this wine and allows me to reminisce and savor simultaneously.

Tasting Notes ($39.99)
This is not a big fruit forward California Pinot. Instead, there is a deep sensuous complexity reminiscent of great burgundy there for the attentive soul who indulges. A wonderful spicy, herbal bouquet invites you in. The notes of strawberries and cherries typical to Pinot Noir are present upon tasting but they are just one of the many that will overwhelm your senses. Simply sublime wine.

Read here for more reviews of J Wilkes Wines and Harvest.

Thanks and Congratulations to Joel at Wine Life Today for the Comfort Wine Theme for Wine Blogging Wednesday and on the arrival of his new baby girl!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Pinkie Party Report: 2007 Pink Fiddle

The 2007 Pink Fiddle ($18) made its debut this February and I have to say, its the best vintage yet.

An enticing vibrant strawberry color gets you to lean in and experience the burst of strawberry on the nose. The wine is not sweet, its tart with juicy strawberry notes and a touch of nutmeg and clove. I think this my favorite vintage of Pink Fiddle. Rose's are fantastic wine for a warm summer day. More about Pairings,winemaking and fun facts on Drinking Pink here

Wine making This is not a saignée*, the fruit was chosen and dedicated to the making of this delicious rose. 100% de-stemmed, cold-soaked at 40º F for 24 hours for delicate extraction of color and texture; lightly-pressed and cold-fermented at 50º F to complete dryness. Non-malolactic to keep the fragrance true to pinot noir.

*saignée is when you bleed off some juice from a fermenting batch of fruit. Often use to increase the ratio of skin to juice in order to intensify the remaining juice to improve the flavors. The leftover bleed or saignée can then be used to make a rose. I have also seen winemakers take this saignée and let it barrel ferment and use this batch later for blending purposes.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Pinkie Party Report: Fiddlehead Pinot Noir

More notes from the Pinkie Party. Kathy Joseph's wines continue to amaze me. I took a sip of her first pinot and serendipitously scored a slice of a delicious piece of tri tip sandwich.
Matching up nicely with my grilled tri tip sandwich were the Fiddlestix and Oregon Pinots. Tip for the home cook, the bread was soaked in butter and garlic prior to grilling. It really makes the sandwich.

Seven Twenty Eight Pinot Noir 2004 Fiddlestix Vineyard Named for the mile marker 7.28 on Santa Rosa Road in the Santa Rita Hills AVA, this wine is quite showy for Fiddlestix and enjoyable. ($40)
Lovely bouquet of raspberry and black cherry supported by cloves and nutmeg. Lots of rustic red fruit and plum with a touch of spice on the finish. Well rounded and silky and a favorite of the day.

I thought this was favorite of the day but then I tried

Fiddlehead Oldsville Reserve Willamette Valley, Oregon Pinot Noir 2003. This wine since it was poured from a 375 ml bottle had a bit of an unfair advantage of the other pinot. Wine will tend to age faster in smaller bottles and we got to reap the benefits.
Lovely dark earthy mushrooms and soft raspberry notes on the nose. The taste was so smooth and the wine possessed an elegant blend of so many fantastic elements. I detected raspberry, cranberry, marionberry , lavender, earthy mushrooms, and a touch of creme brulee . Amazingly seductive haunting wine. This is a wine to pause for a moment in life and just enjoy. Fantastic.

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