Posted by: David Stewart | December 18, 2013

Leaving home to learn more about … Oregon Wines

How is it that when you travel someplace, it can sometimes give you insights into where you come from.

For example, vacationing in the front range of Colorado I met a couple of Oregon surprises.

I had a marvelous dinner at the Summit Steakhouse which I am told is one of the one or two nicest places to eat in Aurora, Colorado. They had a single Oregon Pinot Noir on the wine list, a Sokol Blosser. I wasn’t particularly stuck on having something Oregonian, but I enquired as to what year they had. Waiter returned and said they had a 2008. Score! Why not enjoy a bottle from one of Oregon’s historic wineries from a historic vintage? It gave us a chance to reminisce about our first visit to their tasting room in 1984 (which was one of the first purpose-built tasting rooms in the state) and the pioneering work of Bill Blosser and Susan Sokol-Blosser in establishing a winery in the Willamette Valley, their fight with phylloxera and ultimately their brand new tasting room.

The wine itself was a wonderful and powerful 2008, well balanced with both fruit, acidity and complexity. A true Oregon classic and truly unexpected.

Honestly, in spite of their history, Sokol Blosser rarely pops up at the top of my wine preferences these days. Although they are amazingly historic and their tasting room view was eye popping when we visiting in July, I’m sad to say I have none of their wines in my cellar. I might need to reconsider based on this bottle.

The other surprise came when I raided my sister’s cellar. She really prefers Bordeaux, Rhone blends and Barolo, so I wasn’t surprised when the only pinot noir I found was a single bottle from Oregon. I saw it was a 2006 so I suggested she should drink it now.

The 2006 Andrew Rich Willamette Valley “Cuvee B” was a muscular wine, not surprisingly, but with enough acid to provide balance and not flab. The nose was excellent Oregon forest floor and the palate is rich with red fruits and cherry notes.

I’ll need to visit Andrew Rich at the Carlton Winemaker’s Studio and check out their other wines. I think it’s another score.

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