Saturday, January 31, 2009

Late with a Late Harvest

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I realized that January had literally come and gone and I had not made an entry for the month. This evening I was in the mood for something sweet. Fortunately, or not, I noticed that I had nothing sweet to eat in my apartment. I did, although, forget that I had a wine in my basement, and some wine on the sweeter side at that. I didn’t think I wanted a port, and when searching through my wine stock, I found this 2005 Late Harvest Chenin Blanc from Terra Blanca. This wine came in my latest shipment from Willamette Valley Vineyards.

As a reminder, late harvest grapes tend to be those grapes which are left on the vine for a long as possible, sometimes to the first frost of the year the maximization of sweetness of the grape. This particular wine is sold out, so maybe I should not have opened it so soon :-)

I opened the bottle and was again reminded of the nose that I tend to enjoy on Late Harvest Chenin Blancs. The nose is fruity, but not overly, with hints of grapes and pear, and a hint of alcohol. For whatever reason my legs did not show the legs very well, so I cannot give you an accurate detail of what they are like nor how this wine coats my glass. What I enjoy most about this wine is that it is softer on the palate, not over sweet, with a little bite of tartness.

The website makes note that this wine has hints of pineapple, mango, and other citrus which I don’t notice as much, but it could also be because I was eating some peanut butter with wheat bread (no, it wasn’t the tainted Salmonella peanut butter, but I appreciate your concern) because I noticed a difference in my first couple of sips and my sips while I munched.

All the same, this wine can be enjoyed by anyone who likes wine. It is not too sweet, nor is it too tart. While I opted to enjoy it later in an evening with some peanut butter and bread, I imagine it with a light cake, perhaps an angel food, or a cake without frosting.

I would be interested in what others have to say about this one.

Until next time...
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Monday, January 26, 2009

Crabs...and some other things.

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This weekend was the annual Mo's Crab and Chowder Festival at Willamette Valley Vineyards.  A few year ago this was one of the first events that I went to at WVV, and had such a good time that I have made it a point to go every year.  Crab and wine, who could ask for a better combination?

We arrived around Noon on Saturday, and despite only being open for an hour the place was pretty much packed already.  Luckily Micheal had squirreled away a table for us in a secret hiding space that I won't disclose, and our group was quite comfy.  I promptly got one of my very favorite seafood wines, the 2007 Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris, a Wine Enthusiast Best Buy wine with a 90 rating.  This wine is very drinkable, with a crisp taste and a nice fruit basket on the nose.  At $16 a bottle, its perfect to keep a few bottles around.  Mo's was serving up chilled dungeness crab by the half or whole, with coleslaw, cheesy garlic bread, and the options on clam chowder and shrimp skewers.  Their clam chowder may be famous, but I'm a crab guy through and through.

In other excellent wine news, researchers at Oregon State University (disclosure...they pay my salary) have developed an earthquake-proof wine rack in partnership with the Wood Innovation Center.  This rack has survived simulated earthquakes of magnitute of 7.1 and is designed primarily for the retail environment.  I should think this will become a popular mainstay in California wine country.

Finally, I leave you with good news in the world of Washington wine categorization.  One of the initial grape growing regions in the state has gained recognition from the feds as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) -- Snipes Mountain.  Located in the Yakima Valley near Sunnyside, this appellation is one of the smallest in WA that's climate is ideal for Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.  As an AVA, winegrowers and makers from the area can further distinguish their wine as unique.
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