Welcome to the mid-September Oregon Wine Geeks, Geek Note. We’ve been working really hard on a couple of projects right now. We are partnering with Medford Parks and Recreation on their Parks Uncorked fund raising event. A lot of producers have heard from Tim these last few weeks regarding this wonderful event. They are moving the event from fall to spring next year to make sure harvest doesn’t get in the way of participation. But for this fall’s version we do have a full house. We are still looking for bottle donations for wine gift packages that are being offered. The other is an article that is in final editing called, “Geeks thinking about tasting rooms”. We go into detail about what makes a good tasting room experience and what doesn’t and provide a tasting room scoring sheet to help you sort them out.
From our Tasting Room Article
So here’s the Agenda for this Geek Note:
Tasting room Etiquette the Geek point of view
Whites fading as Fall comes on, what Reds to try this Winter
Winter Wine road in Sonoma
The Buyers Guide Additions and FAQ
Upcoming Wines to be tasted
Tasting Room Etiquette the Geek point of view
If you’re taking some wine newbies out on their first tasting trip you should prepare them for what they should expect. It will make them more comfortable with experience and easier for them to enjoy the day. So here are the basics you should explain to them:
Wine tasting for many people is all about the nose of the wine, remind your guest no heavy perfumes or body lotions the day you taste.
White wines are usually tasted first, then red and dessert wines. You may choose to start where you like, so if you want just reds starting there is not a problem. It is also acceptable to skip wines and ask for something not on the menu. If it’s not available, (‘I believe if they have a wine they should let you taste it !”), they will let you know.
There are usually notes about the wine when tasting, I suggest you look at the note after you taste so it does not influence your palate. After tasting see if you found what the note says was in that wine. You might even save some of the taste to try it again and look for that whiff of honeysuckle, or fried bacon they claim is there.
Keep negative comments to yourselves in most circumstances, if the wine displeases you, simply pour it out in the dump bucket. Try to keep the poison control “Mr. Yuk” look off your face. It’s not unusual to have 5 mediocre and one bad wine for every really good wine you taste. Not to say that is a good thing just that’s the way it is at many wineries.
The water available at the tasting room is for rinsing you glass and clearing your own palate as well. Use the water to clear your palate and the glass then spit/pour the water in the dump bucket/Spittoon provided.
If you want to taste but do not wish to drink too much alcohol spitting you wine out after tasting is totally acceptable in tasting rooms. You can use the dump bucket or ask for a glass to spit into and then empty that into the bucket if you like. Using your glass and the water to clear is also fine.
Crackers, bread, pretzels and other foods are available for you to clear your palate. Use them sparingly they are not meant to be a meal. There may also be chocolate or another food that is paired with a particular wine, the server will let you know, but generally anything on the tasting bar or table you may try it with any wine.
Most tasting rooms charge a fee for the tasting that is refundable with purchase, make sure you ask if you intend to buy wine after tasting. It is also generally acceptable for a people to share a tasting as long as there is only one glass and pour. I have seen people who prefer whites team up with a red wine drinker to share a tasting.
Tipping your server is encouraged if they make the visit memorable and enjoyable to you. If the person serving you is the owner/vintner/winemaker tipping is not encouraged and might even be offensive.
Remember to make room at the bar for new arrivals so the server can get them started on their wine flight.
One last thing, keep your hands off the fruit! The vineyard you may be parking and tasting wine in the middle of should be treated with a look but don’t touch rule. Keep your hands to yourself and no one has to go home early.
Whites fading as fall comes on, what Reds to try this Winter
When fall comes to the Rogue Valley the leaves start to turn. The Southern Oregon grape harvest is growing near as September’s Indian summer wanes into Octobers gray skies and golden leaves. I’m looking back at all the wonderful summer wines I had this year.
The Viognier we had this summer from 3 different vintages was outstanding. The Pebblestone 2009 and Cowhorn 2009 lead the way. They had wonderful fruit, minerality, acidity and we drank them throughout the hot summer days. Then there were the Rose’, 2010 offerings from Quady North, Ledger David and Pebblestone that were fantastic dry Rose”. The Rieslings of Southern Oregon where very good this Summer both north and South. The dry offerings of Troon,and the sweeter variety from Pyreneesboth made our Buyers Guide. I wish I had the time to sample more of the Umpqua Valley’s whites but I’ll get to them this Winter and Spring. The Pinot Gris from all over Oregon were good this year with 2010’s just starting to appear as fall looms
So I’m getting ready to work through the Oregon Pinots from 2009, the ones that are affordable anyway. I hate to break it to Oregon Pinot that they might consider dialing back the pricing structure a bit. But that’s for a rant not a Geek Note. The Willamette Valley 2010 and 2009 pinot will never be the 2008 but time to see how they fared. Then it will be the time for winter wine road and big California Zin.
Winter Wine Road in Sonoma County
One thing I do look forward to is the Wine Road of Northern Sonoma County each year. This year’s events start on Nov. 5th and 6th for the 13th Annual Wine & Food Affair and then on Martin Luther King weekend with the Winter Wineland. Winter Wineland opens 140 wineries for a three day weekend of wine tasting and great food. In March they have Barrel Tasting so a good time is had by all. Why I mention this is that all of us Oregon wine drinkers need to get a taste and feel for an area similar to our own. We need to visit not just taste the wine. It gives us perspective on our own region’s wines and where they need to go. It also gives me my Zinfandel fix for the year.
Latest Buyers Guide additions for this week include:
Some notes on buyer guide additions: You will see a lot of new wines from our visit to Spanglers Vineyard in Roseburg. We tasted all these wines and brought home bottles but have not had time do formal tastings of them. Other wines without a tasting note are 2008 Melrose Tempranillo, it won our impromptu Tempranillo Blind Tasting we had at Enoteca we also Added
2009 Pyrenees Riesling
2008 Quady North Arsenal
2008 Abacela Malbec
2009 Velocity Cellars Velo Rose’
If you’re interested in why and how wines are on the buyers guide please check out the FAQ for the Buyers Guide.
Upcoming Wines to be tasted:
On the upcoming Tasting to do list are:
2008 Pyrenees Syrah
2008 Quady North Syrah 4-2A
2008 Rosella's Cabernet Sauvignon
2009 Tesoaria Vineyard and Winery Attila
2006 Spangler Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2008 Spangler Vineyards Petite Sirah
2008 Spangler Vineyards Petite Verdot
2007 Troon Vineyard Old Vine Meritage
So much for this Geek Note, look soon for the tasting room guide, and score sheet.
Posted By: Ted Weldon @ 3:14:20 PM