2009 Bergström Pinot Noir Old Stones

While my vacation may be over I am still in a drinking local state of mine. This was another I picked up at Whole Foods in Bend where I asked for a recommendation. After being asked if I preferred bigger fruit or something more elegant; when I said later I was the told this was the best thing going for $25. Per the winery this one is made for early drinking, while the precious (Lord of the Rings anyone?) single vineyard offerings get a bit of age, from barrel selections of non-estate fruit and received 91 points from the Wine Spectator but how would it fare here?

Price: $24.99 @ Whole Foods

What They Said:

2009 Bergström Old Stones Pinot NoirPer Bergström Winery “We have renamed our “Willamette Valley” Pinot Noir “Old Stones” to give it a personality & an identity that is worth seeking out. A great wine born of the West Coast’s most ancient soils that shows breed & nobility of varietal, but is accessibly priced for everyday drinking. We admit that our single vineyards are definitely wines that need to be cellared to reach maximum potential. In fact, that is how we think great Pinot Noir should be! But we also need great wine that we can drink while we wait for those precious bottles to come around. And so was born our “Old Stones” wines Pinot Noir & Chardonnay. These are wines that are barrel selections from our best non-estate sites that show more accessible texture & lower level of tannin & acidity which benefit from early consumption. The 2009 Old Stones Pinot Noir is a lavish mouthful of red fruits reminiscent of a berry pie with cinnamon & vanilla spices, a sweet pie crust type of flavor that is folded in amongst the waves of ripe & beautifully textured red cherry & raspberry fruit flavors. This is a joyride of a wine & will deliver immediate pleasure & drink well for the next 1-3 years.”

What I Think:

(14.1%) Nose promising as more balanced than most. Medium bodied with a fresh mineral acidity before the fruit arrives on the scene with racy, tart black cherry, raspberry and sandalwood leading to a spicy, tingling tannic finish that dries out and lingers on. Lots of tannins and acidity make me think despite the wineries take otherwise that this will improve with a bit more age.

Wine Geek Notes: 902 cases made, aged in large oak cases versus barrels. No new oak

Rating: Very Nice (At $25 this didn’t disappoint a bit; didn’t necessarily over deliver either making it a fair QPR)

2010 Anne Amie Müller-Thurgau Cuvée A

Yes I’m still drinking local but couldn’t help (guessing you’re not surprised) jumping off the beaten path. Have you had Müller-Thurgau (mew-ler ter-gow) before? Do you know what the most planted variety in Germany is? Why Riesling of course! But did you know that Müller-Thurgau was the 2nd? It was created in the late 19th century with the hopes of combining intensity and complexity of the Riesling grape with the ability to ripen earlier in the season that the Silvaner grape possesses. It never quite got there but for a brief period in the late 1970’s it was the most widely planted in Germany before a cold snap in the winter of 1979 destroyed the majority of the plantings. Which gets us to this Anne Amie which happened to be planted in 1979. Müller-Thurgau in Oregon you say? I first heard about it from my friend Beau over at Beau’s Barrel Room who covered the Kramer’s Vineyard sparkling offering. Needless to say I decided to give this one a try so why don’t we answer the question “why what do we have here?”

2010 Anne Amie Müller-Thurgau Cuvée APrice: $11.99 @ Whole Foods

What They Said:

Per Anne Amie “Our estate-grown Müller-Thurgau comes from vines first planted in 1979. Crisp, fresh, and dry, it is a charming example of the variety at its best. From chicken to shellfish, this wine is a versatile match for mildly spicy foods like Thai, Creole, or Mexican.”

What I Think:

(12.4%) 100% Müller-Thurgau – Rich and floral on the nose. More weight than expected on the palate with subdued peach and melon flavors along with a clean acidity that keeps this one (closer to off) dry and crisp. The finish shows apple, white fruit flavors and mineral notes while lingering on richly. Enjoyed this one and it gets extra points for being a grape variety off the beaten path. Strikes me as most closely resembling a dry Gewurztraminer (of which I happen to be quite a big fan of) so pair with spicy food and thank me later!

Wine Geek Notes: 1,500 cases produced, under screwtop (which I prefer)

Rating: Interesting (not sure I’d buy it again but glad I bought it once!)

2009 Elk Cove Pinot Gris

And my Oregon summer vacation drinking local series rolls on. Next up a few I picked up at the Whole Foods in Bend. Again I went for the one-two Pinot punch of Gris and Noir. First up this Gris from Elk Cove which has been making wine in the Willamette Valley since 1974…

Price: $15.99 @ Whole Foods

What They Said:

2009 Elk Cove Pinot GrisPer Elk Cove Vineyards “The 2009 Elk Cove Vineyards Pinot Gris starts out with sweet and unctuous aromatics while showing crispness on the palate with citrus and grapefruit. True to Elk Cove Vineyards’ style, a rich mouthfeel leads to a full and satisfying balanced finish. Drink this lovely white wine as an aperitif or with a variety of food pairings from salmon and main-course salads to Asian and Thai influenced dishes.”

What I Think:

(13.5%) Big honeyed, pollinated floral nose. This one is rich, juicy and fruit forward on the palate loaded with peaches and some pear/cantaloupe notes on the edges before a mineral acidity emerges on the backbone leading to a crisp, lingering mineral rock finish with touches of citrus. Best Pinot Gris I’ve had to date but I’d still recommend pairing this one with food. The Thai recommended by the winery seems like a good place to start.

Wine Geek Notes: 18,430 cases produced, under screwtop (which I prefer)

Rating: Good but… (while I consider this the best Pinot Gris I’ve had I’m finding this varietal from Oregon, versus the Alsace, doesn’t deliver the acidity I prefer in my whites)

2006 Vinum Cellars Clarksburg Petite Sirah Reserve

2006 Vinum Cellars Clarksburg Petite Sirah ReservePrice: $12.99 @ Whole Foods

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “Nothing like a little inside joke to spark your curiosity. “Pets” is a nickname for Petite Sirah used by vet (veteran, not veterinarian) growers like Ken Wilson, who owns the vineyard where the fruit for this wine comes from. A portion of the profits for this wine will be donated to the San Francisco SPCA animal shelter in memory of Wilson’s dog, Tanker. Inky in color, this is wine that will leave a mark on your teeth and your memory. Notes of wet clay, lavender and clove lead into dark huckleberry fruit on the nose and palate. Subtle notes of vanilla cola linger on the finish. The wine had massive, teethcoating tannins and intense concentration to boot. It’s easy to see another correlation between this and pets, in the more traditional sense, it can easily become your new best friend.”

What I Think:

My curiosity on this one was easy to capture when my friend and colleague of RJ’s Wine Blog gave it a thumbs up and later ranked it as his #5 wine in his Top 10 of 2008 list. Couple his thumbs up with my enjoyment of all things Petite Sirah and it was an easy sale. In trying to tie this back to the winery site I found this PETS offering which seems to be the same, that said you can see my label clearly doesn’t match, can anyone confirm this is the same bottle?

Once the bottle made it home I was quick to open it. The nose was typical Petite Sirah. Initially, I was not to impressed. $13? Thinking immediately what do I have from Trader Joe’s to do a taste-off with… I felt this was tightly wound and full of tannins. To be certain it didn’t need some air I was sure to drink it over a few days, not much help. Full of dark but muted fruit and lacking the type of finish I expect from a Petite Sirah. I’m a fan of big and chewy but this one didn’t get it done. Even my wife, who rarely does so, gave it a thumbs down. Now, perhaps this is the case of the overhyped movie that ends up falling flat. Couple that with my dramatic rise in expectations with double digit price tags and this one may have had the chips stacked against it from the get go. Not bad by any means but at this price point I was expecting a bit more. That said feel free to give it a try, most love it. Perhaps I stand along on this one but I’ll spend my money elsewhere. Seen two Petite Sirahs at Trader Joe’s, one was the Rendition, I’ll give a try and see if it turns out better.

Rating: Pricey