This Week’s Wine Tasting
California and Oregon
Union Wine Company/King’s Ridge
“My name is Ryan Harms, and I founded Union Wine Company. I moved to Oregon in 2001 and embraced wholeheartedly the region’s unique spirit and passion for craftsmanship, finally deciding in 2005 to satisfy that entrepreneurial bug that had been nagging me to start something that I could be proud of. I’ve worked for some great Oregon wineries throughout my career. In so many cases, my friends wanted to support us, but simply couldn’t afford to. I decided that I wasn’t going to accept that wine made in Oregon had to be expensive. So, Union is about creating something that I can share with friends and family and make accessible, without sacrificing quality.”
King’s Ridge Pinot Gris 2012
Willamette Valley, Oregon. 100% Stainless steel. “Our goal with the Kings Ridge Pinot Gris is to make a more richly textured white wine with lush acidity. We carefully choose vineyards in cool parts of the Willamette Valley that have significant daily temperature swings. We believe this helps to give ripeness and concentration to the fruit while preserving freshness and vibrant acidity. We harvest our Pinot Gris vineyards in the cool early morning, and then gently press the whole clusters to coax the juice through the skins of the grapes. The Pinot Gris juice undergoes a long, cool fermentation in stainless steel tanks. The resulting wine is aged on its lees to build weight and body, and is bottled in late winter to preserve the delicate aromatics. The 2013 Kings Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Gris shows off beautiful aromas of ripe pears, lemon, and kiwi. The flavors extend to the palate which shows great intensity and richness extending long into the finish.” 87 Wine Spectator– “Fresh and lively, with pretty peach and citrus flavors on a light, dry frame.” 4200 cases produced. $12.99
St. Supery Estate Vineyards & Winery “Surrounded by our estate vineyard, St. Supéry is recognized for outstanding Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends. St. Supéry crafts three distinct tiers of wine to please wine lovers from the novice to the connoisseur. The estate grows all the grapes for our wine portfolio. The Napa Valley Estate Wines are bright, smooth, fruit-forward flavors are featured in our flagship varietal, Sauvignon Blanc.
With 475 acres planted at Dollarhide and 35 acres planted in Rutherford, St. Supéry is a major vineyard owner in Napa Valley. This allows for wines of St. Supéry to be estate bottled (meaning created by St. Supéry from start to finish, with no purchased fruit, offsite production, storage, or other outside influences). St. Supéry has complete control over how its grapes are grown. While St. Supéry is the steward of 510 planted acres of prime Napa Valley vineyards, nearly 1000 acres of our land remain unplanted – a virtual nature park. Vines thrive with some elbow room, as do the resident bugs, birds and critters.”
St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Dollarhide Estate Vineyard, Napa Valley, California. “After achieving the desired flavors on the vine, the Sauvignon Blanc was harvested in the cool morning hours in an effort to preserve the delicate flavors. The fruit was received in the cellar, where the grapes were pressed to tank and immediately chilled and settled prior to fermentation. All fermentation was completed in stainless steel tanks at cool temperatures to maintain and enhance the natural flavors. The final blend was completed soon thereafter to capture the lovely fresh qualities and intensity of flavor of this Sauvignon Blanc.” “This Sauvignon Blanc presents with brilliant shades of pale yellow laced with youthful notes of green. Green lime and grapefruit aromas bounce from the glass, accompanied by vibrant citrus notes of lemon zest and a hint of caper. Grape-fruit and green lime couple with zippy citrus flavors on the palate. This is an opulent and vibrant wine that is full of life.” $14.99
Talbott Vineyards– “In 1982, Robb Talbott began planting his original Diamond T Estate vineyard on a cold, windswept mountaintop in Carmel Valley. Conventional wisdom was against him, and many said the steep, exposed site with its massive shale boulders was “too cold,” “too difficult to plant” and “too challenging to grow on.” But Robb had a vision—a vision he held on to as he prepared the cliff-side vineyard by hand, breaking apart its massive boulders with a 12-pound sledgehammer. “It all began with my first taste of a great Burgundy,” says Robb. “That experience profoundly shaped my palate, and as I grew older I knew that I wanted to create unique and exceptional Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. Wines that took their inspiration from the traditions of Burgundy, but had their roots in California’s soils.”
Talbott Vineyards is one of the pioneers of world-class Monterey winegrowing, and its estate program, which includes Sleepy Hollow and Diamond T vineyards, is recognized as the finest in the region. The Kali Hart label is named after Robb Talbott’s youngest daughter.”
Talbott Vineyards Kali Hart Chardonnay 2012
Monterey, California. “Aged on the lees for 9 months; 15% in French oak, 5% new. A pure fruit expression of our vineyard, Talbott Chardonnay, Kali Hart is lush and lively. Minimal winemaker influence allows Kali Hart Chardonnay to showcases the strength of Talbott’s estate vineyards. The rich, inviting nose shows bright tropical notes that continue on the palate, where refreshing flavors of pineapple and honeydew are complimented by refreshing acidity. A generous mid-palate leads to a long citrus and tropical fruit finish with hints of French oak and minerality. Kali Hart Chardonnay is made using 100% estate grown fruit from Talbott’s Monterey vineyards. Monterey is one of the best places on earth for growing Chardonnay. The two-mile-deep underwater canyon that begins just offshore and the clockwork fog that rolls in daily from the Pacific Ocean provide a constant cooling influence.” $16.99
Talbott Vineyards Kali Hart Pinot Noir 2012
Monterey, California. Fermented in French oak and aged in barrel for 9 months. It is made to be bright and appealing upon release, with the fresh, cool-climate flavors for which the Monterey County AVA is known. It has a beautiful, deep ruby color with bright fruit aromas of cranberry, currant and plum, as well as hints of vanilla. The crisp red fruit flavors continue on the palate, where they are accentuated by soft, smooth tannins. The finish is long with lush fruit and hints of vanilla and French oak. The 2012 Talbott Pinot Noir, Kali Hart is made from 100% estate-grown fruit from Sleepy Hollow Vineyard. It is sourced from vines ranging from ten to forty years old. Sleepy Hollow Vineyard is situated on 585 acres of benchland in the Santa Lucia Highlands, 13 miles south of Monterey. The well-drained vineyard features sparse soils comprised of sand, gravel, and granite. These soils reduce yields and create rich, concentrated flavors in the grapes. The vineyard receives morning sunlight from its east-northeast exposure, and lives much of the time in the cool fog and wind from the Pacific Ocean. With a long, cool growing season, the grapes develop the character, intensity and depth of flavor for which the vineyard has become famous.” $18.99
Soter Vineyards– “Soter Vineyards makes its home at Mineral Springs Ranch in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Thirty acres of Pinot Noir and two acres of Chardonnay are sustainably farmed here, resulting in wines of the highest quality and caliber. Mineral Springs Vineyard wines are imbued with an indelible exoticism and varietal purity.
The biodiversity of the property provides Mineral Springs Vineyard with natural predators and healthy microorganisms. This gives our production team the ability to focus on sustainable farming, which allows the property to thrive in a nourished and natural way. In addition, Mineral Springs is dry farmed and benefits from both cutting edge and antique systems to keep in balance with nature. This is demonstrated through the planting of heirloom clonal selections and the use of sheep and goats to help manage mowing and weed control in contrast to the solar radiation studies which we did in order to determine precise row orientation before planting.”
Soter North Valley Pinot Noir 2012
Willamette Valley, Oregon. 57% Yamhill-Carlton, 26% Eola-Amity Hills, 5% Ribbon Ridge, 12% Willamette Valley, all Certified Sustainable Vineyards. Aged in 16% new French oak, 84% 2-3 year old French barrels. “It is from the rolling hillsides and diverse soils of the North Valley that veteran winegrowers James Cahill and Tony Soter, along with North Valley partners, Brian Sypher and Michelle Soter, source certified sustainable vineyards of real “Cru” quality for these personality-driven wines. Meticulous, hands-on attention to farming practices throughout the growing season from flowering through harvest, and minimal handling in the winery, assures a resulting level of quality normally associated exclusively with estate grown wines.” “The 2012 vintage will be regarded as one of the greatest in the history of the Willamette Valley. A warm, early spring flowering helped to begin and ensure full ripening under consistent, sunny skies throughout most of the growing season, which included harvest time. For us, the vintage has yielded hedonistic Pinot Noirs that do not sacrifice balance or focus. They will be enjoyable young, and age for years to come. Aromas and flavors of perfectly ripe raspberries, plus blue and black fruits, are laced with notes of passion fruit. Additional nuances of ripe cane berries, pie spice and earth layer in complexity. The wine has great energy, with cherry pit and mineral elements contributing a fine sense of grip. In 2012, our North Valley Pinot Noir also represents the highest caliber of combined vineyard sources we have been privileged to work with, which include Beacon Hill, Momtazi, Zena Crown and Vista Hills.” $32.99
B.R. Cohn Winery– “B.R. Cohn Winery is located in the heart of the Sonoma Valley. This small family operated winery is surrounded by the 90-acre Olive Hill Estate Vineyards, where soils warmed by underground natural hot springs and gentle ocean breezes create a unique microclimate resulting in ideal growing conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon. B.R. Cohn also produces Chardonnay from the Carneros Region and Merlot from Sonoma Valley.
A Sonoma County native since early boyhood, Bruce Cohn’s extensive agricultural background served him well as he became immersed in all aspects of wine growing at Olive Hill Estate Vineyards. After Bruce purchased Olive Hill Estate Vineyards, he started making wine under his own label and B.R. Cohn Winery was founded in 1984. Budding winemaker Helen Turley was a member of the inaugural B.R. Cohn team, and wowed the wine world with stellar releases of B.R. Cohn’s first four vintages. B.R. Cohn Winery was firmly established with wine critics and public perception.
Merry Edwards and Steve MacRostie continued the B.R. Cohn tradition through the 1990’s, until winemaker Bill Parker, a revered industry veteran, worked with Bruce for four years, crafting wines with an eye toward the legacy of buyers’ confidence in the consistent quality. In 2004, Tom Montgomery joined Bruce as the winemaker. Tom is in charge of day-to-day winemaking operations in raising the bar of excellence at B.R. Cohn Winery.”
B.R. Cohn Winery Silver Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
North Coast, California. B.R. Cohn Olive Hill Estate, Pauli Ranch, Largo Ridge, and Rosenthal Vineyards. “The B.R. Cohn Silver Label Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of select hillside vineyards in Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake Counties and our own Olive Hill Estate Vineyard. Years of working with these vineyards allow us the advantage of selecting only the best low-yield vineyard blocks to produce this rich concentrated Cabernet. Individual vineyard lots are fermented and aged separately. Best lots receive extended maceration. Aging in French tight grain oak barrels. Blending to produce the richest, most complex Cabernet possible. Complex and full, rich aromas of plum, cassis and black cherry are accompanied by a bouquet of the finest French oak, cedar, cola, anise, vanilla, and nutmeg. On the palate, our Silver Label is a big rich Cabernet with luscious flavors of dried berry and cherry, ample tannin, and a long finish.” $24.99