Twin Cities Articles
Oregon Wine Tasting
The Wine Company (Artisan Vineyards)
A Benefit for the Land Stewardship Project
This was the most amazing tasting for $20 I have attended in my career. Open to anyone in the Twin Cities, this tasting was perfect for learning about the wonderful world of Oregon wines. My wine flight of the night was from Bergstrom and while the most expensive wines at the event they certainly made some winners from a less then stellar vintage.
Oregon Wine Tasting
This was the star of the show! While I enjoy the Argyle table and some of the St. Innocent wines these were drinking better right now. Josh picked after the poor weather and it showed! The only other 07s at this level so far across the board have been Patty Green. I don’t see long term aging on any of these wines but should allow for immediate satisfaction.
2007 Bergstrom Dr. Bergstrom Willamette Valley Riesling
The distributor didn’t know if Josh was going after the Rhine or Mosel. I have to believe Mosel and he almost got it right. The slate and floral were there but it lacks the classic peach, pear and apple that you can get from a Mosel Riesling. Solid effort and I look forward to the future of this wine. 88 points
2007 Bergstrom Sigrid Willamette Valley Chardonnay
By far the best Chardonnay I have tasted from Oregon but at the retail price of $80 it better be! Aromas of floral, spice, lemon and mineral are present and it was designed to attract Burgundian drinkers which it is close. The price scares me away from purchasing this wine. 91 points
2007 Bergstrom Cumberland Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
A beautiful wine meant to drink on release featuring cherry, raspberry, floral and very subtle tannins. A medium finish and very balanced. One of the top wines at the tasting. 94 points
2007 Bergstrom Nysa Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Medium color and aromas of cherry, earth, mineral, and floral. This was the most Burgundian wine of the lineup. 92 points
2007 Bergstrom Delancellotti Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Floral, raspberry, strawberries, and minerals bouncing all over the place. This wine was drinking really well right now and should improve with five years of bottling. 93 points
2007 Bergstrom Bergstrom Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
The most elegant of the Bergstrom wines. This showcased strawberry, raspberries and subtle tannins. I would consume this young as it doesn’t have the backbone of the others. 92 points
2007 Bergstrom Shea Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Spice, floral, spice, raspberry and minerals across the board. This wine is classic Willamette Valley Pinot and should improve with some time. 92 points
2006 Bergstrom Shea Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
I was surprised I liked the 07 better as the 06 was a better vintage. It featured floral, raspberry and spice and had the longest most intense finish of the Bergstrom’s sampled tonight. 91 points
Argyle is by far my favorite producer in Oregon as they make something drinkable across the board. They are the best producer of Sparkling wines in the US and their Extended Tirage Sparkler competes with $100 Champagnes. It will be interesting what they create in the lesser 07 vintage.
2005 Argyle Willamette Valley Brut
Every year a wine I enjoy. I think this is the best sub $25 Sparkler on the US market. This featured lemon, mineral and dough and the acidity was subtle.
2006 Argyle Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
A solid wine for the price featuring floral, spice, and raspberry. Nothing complex but should drink well for the next few years.
2005 Argyle Nuthouse Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
This was the second best wine of the show. Cherry, floral, raspberry, subtle oak and minerals dancing around the glass. This is a ripe style of wine and closed with a Screw Cap. I really enjoy every vintage they make with this line! 93+ points
2006 Argyle Spirithouse Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Medium purple with floral, spice, raspberry. Certainly needs some cellaring as it was too tannic at this time but didn’t ruin the experience. I would image add a few points in five years. 92 points
2004 Roco Private Stash Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Blind I would have guessed Aussie Shiraz. This wine featured blackberries, cinnamon, floral, pepper and earth. While I didn’t feel it represents Oregon Pinot I really enjoyed the wine. 93 points
2006 Roco Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Medium purple with flavors of oak, vanilla, floral and fruit. Nothing complex but well made and sells for under $30. 88 points
2007 Bethel Heights Eola-Amity Hills Cuvee Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
This was maybe the worst wine of the tasting and it is watered down and featured spice and some floral notes. If they didn’t pick early I would be shocked! 82 points
2007 Bethel Heights Estate Grown Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Light color featuring straw, cherry, spice and minerals. While not complex it drinks really well for under $30. 89 points
2006 Bethel Heights Casteel Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
The star of their line. Cherry, sweet fruits, floral, spices and oak. The finish was medium to long and multi dimensional. I would find this a nice wine at $50 price point. 92 points
Really nothing amazing with this producer and their pricing is a bit high for the quality with the exception of the 04 reserve.
2006 Rex Hill Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Floral, cherry and mineral dominate the aromas and palate. Nothing complex but tasty. 89 points
2004 Rex Hills Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Much better then the 06 and it featured cherry, raspberry, minerals, spice and light oak. The tannins were well integrated and the finish was much more concentrated. I would buy at $35 a bottle 91 points
2006 Rex Hill Jacob Hart Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Spice, cherry, floral a little heat. Tannins are a bit much but with some cellaring they should dissipate. Currently 90 points
One of the best producers in America for Pinot Noir and the prices are outstanding. While everyone else is increasing their prices Mark at St. Innocent has maintained steady pricing and his age worthy wines will reward those with patience.
I liked their 07 line but they need some time and who knows how they will evolve with the less then stellar vintage. Mark likes to talk and trying to get a pour was difficult. He was doing a tasting of 10 wines and six courses the next night and I was sad it was promoted properly as I would have attended it had I not had a prior commitment.
2007 St. Innocent Freedom Hill Dijon Clone Willamette Valley Chardonnay
Lemon, floral, oak combine and this is more the norm for Oregon Chardonnay. Good but not great. 87 points
2007 St. Innocent Temperance Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Light wine with strawberry, raspberry and a little bitter. I think with some time in the bottle this will improve. Currently 89 points
2007 St. Innocent Zenith Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Chalk, bitter, wood, and some fruit trying to emerge. Not my style of wine and the weakest of the lineup. 87 points
2007 St. Innocent Shea Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
I always enjoy the Shea wine and this should blossom down the road. Medium purple with raspberry, mineral and floral notes with a solid backbone. Cellar five and come back to it. 90 points
2007 St. Innocent Justice Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
This was the best right now! Five years no clue but this is drinking well right now. This wine features smooth tannins, raspberry, and mineral, smoke and light oak. The finish was medium and full of flavor. 92 points
2007 St. Innocent Rose Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
A nice wine with cherry, floral, pepper, and spice featuring intense aromas. This wine should blossom into something even better down the road as it has the components. 91 points currently
2007 St. Innocent Anden Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
A wine that needs some aging. Solid fruit and earth components that needs some serious time. 88 to 92 points
2006 St. Innocent Seven Springs Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Nice wine with cherry, floral and minerals. Sad to see this is the last vintage of this wine so stock up and age. Complex and big finish. 92 points
The least impressive producer at this tasting.
2006 Torii Mor Dundee Select Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Light color with spice, floral and cinnamon. This wine was a bit out of balance and was too bitter. 88 points
2005 Torii Mor Hawks View Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Light color with spice, cherry and better acidity then the Dundee Select. Typical Pinot Noir for Oregon until I saw the price. 88 points