Showing posts with label oregon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label oregon. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Westward Single Malt Whiskey Pinot Noir Cask

 

Westward Single Malt Whiskey Pinot Noir Cask


We could keep this short and sweet by stating, "We really like this", but that's not our style.  Today we tasted the Westward Single Malt Whiskey Pinot Noir Cask from Oregon and if you're a finished whiskey fan, read on!

Whether or not you're familiar with Westward Whiskey, you need to pay attention to their history and their philosophies.  This award-winning distillery has been around for 20 years, back when craft distilling wasn't "a thing" and they helped pave the way for the now more than 2200 craft brands in the US.  Head distiller Miles Munroe approaches each offering with critical care, always conscious of the footprint that the northwest United States will leave on each bottle.

This single malt whiskey is finished in French Oak Pinot Noir barrels, after first starting off the aging process in American Oak.  For finished whiskey enthusiasts, this one is hitting on all cylinders.  You start with a cherry pie, sweet tobacco, leather and vanilla.  We tasted this neat and allowed it some ample air time, rather than a pop-and-pour method.  Suspecting we had something special here, we wanted to give this dark amber offering some time to show itself, and it did!  Scorched earth, fig, stone fruits and vanilla were at the forefront with a more herb-like finish, combined with cocoa powder and sweet, savory vanilla pudding.  

While we don't know the mash bill or the details of the finishing time in the Pinot barrels, we can tell you that this whiskey really put a smile on our faces.  As someone who genuinely loves Pinot Noir from the Pacific Northwest and whiskey, this was a fanstastic marriage.  A self-proclaimed "whiskey purist" might not appreciate a finish like this, but they would be remiss.  If you aren't familiar with wine finished whiskey, we definitely recommend you try this one out.  It may blow your mind!

Westward Single Malt Whiskey Pinot Noir Cask Label

ABV:  45.0% (90.0 proof)

Distillery:  Westward Whiskey

Suggested retail price:  $89.95

Drink The Bottles score:  93/100



Tuesday, February 14, 2023

2018 Youngberg Hill Natasha Pinot Noir

 

2018 Youngberg Hill Natasha Pinot Noir


Don't worry wine snobs.  Not all great wines have corks.  The 2018 Youngberg Hill Natasha Pinot Noir is a screwtop but there is nothing screwy about this wine!  Blueberry compote, leather bound book, wet stone and barn dust are prevalent on the nose.  You really get lost in the aromas of this juice and we found our noses in the glass repeatedly!  Berry cobbler, mocha and ripe plum dance on the palate with a firm but not overbearing acidity.  Medium and memorable finish puts this wine in a "must buy" Oregon Pinot category.  It's quite lovely!

2018 Youngberg Hill Natasha Pinot Noir label


ABV:  14.0%

McMinnville, OR

Production:  600 cases

Suggested retail price:  $65.00

Drink The Bottles score:  92/100


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

2020 Bells Up Winery Jupiter Pinot Noir

 

2020 Bells Up Winery Jupiter Pinot Noir

Rounding out our tastings of samples from Bells Up Winery is their 2020 Jupiter Pinot Noir.  This comes from an estate vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains.  Three words.... It is fantastic.  Too often we have been slightly underwhelmed by Pinot, often getting the "same old" dusty, overly sweet rose petal vibe.  But not with this.  This Pinot Noir is built differently and if this is testament to the Chehalem Mountains AVA, then we can't wait to visit some day.  Cherry pie, tobacco leaf, graphite and forest floor on the nose.  Solid medium purple color makes an introduction to rhubarb, cherry pomegranate and a subtle hint of pepper, leading to a finish that leaves you yearning for more.  This wine should be in your cellar and with such a low production, you'd better act fast.  This is drinking wonderfully now and should for another 5-7 years.

2020 Bells Up Winery Jupiter Pinot Noir label

ABV:  13.5%

Chehalem Mountains, OR

Production:  94 cases

Suggested retail price:  $48.00

Drink The Bottles score:  94/100





Tuesday, August 23, 2022

2021 Bells Up Winery Rhapsody Pinot Blanc

2021 Bells Up Winery Rhapsody Pinot Blanc

The 2021 Bells Up Winery Rhapsody Pinot Blanc wine from this small, family-owned winery is our second introduction of unique and flavorful wines from David and Sara Specter.  Pinot Blanc is not a dominant varietal and if you haven't tried it, this is the one you need to get.  Aged on lees for six months, this has a fuller body feel than many white Pinot grape varieties and the terroir of Willamette Valley is evident by the wet stone, crisp fruit flavors and dollops of soy sauce lurking in the background.  There is just the right amount of baking spices mid palate and a memorable finish that includes a noticeable acidity and mineral notes.  We love when you taste a wine and just smile from ear to ear, knowing that you've discovered a fun, memorable bottle.  This wine is drinking very well right now and should for another 4-5 years.  

2021 Bells Up Winery Rhapsody Pinot Blanc label
Medium golden color and very fragrant.

2021 Bells Up Winery Rhapsody Pinot Blanc with Popcorn

We generally don't taste wines (when reviewing) with food.  After we scribed our thoughts on paper we could just tell that this Pinot Blanc would be a great wine to compliment a snack.  We tasted this with popcorn from Northern Neck Popcorn Bag and the pairing was a-MAZ-ing!

ABV:  12.9%

Willamette Valley, OR

Production:  114 Cases

Suggested retail price:  $32.00

Drink The Bottles score:  91/100





 

Monday, August 22, 2022

2021 Bells Up Winery Prelude Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir

 

2021 Bells Up Winery Prelude Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir

Kicking off our series of Oregon wines, we started with this inviting Rosé that is as gorgeous in the glass as it is on the tongue.  The 2021 Bells Up Winery Prelude Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir first captures the eye with the stunning reddish hue, darker than many other Pinot Noir rosé on the market.  It was intriguing and immediately mouth-watering.  We tasted this wine both on its own merit and with food (which is unusual for us, but we had to prove a point to ourselves).  With ample time in the glass, we began swirling and collecting pleasant, but not overpowering, aromas of strawberry and pomegranate.  The fruit is more noticeable on the palate and the acid is in check and doesn't even begin to overpower this easy-drinking wine.  The finish is subtle and enjoyable.  While we don't always taste wines with food, there was something here that was urging us to do so. We tasted this with a variety of salty cheeses and the pairing was absolutely incredible.  This is definitely a "food" wine and one of the best Rosé of Pinot Noir that we have tasted in recent memory.  

2021 Bells Up Winery Prelude Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir Label


ABV:  12.9%

Chehalem Mountains, OR

Production:  101 Cases

Suggested retail price:  $28.00

Drink The Bottles score:  92/100






Tuesday, October 26, 2021

2018 Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Estate Pinot Noir

 

2018 Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Estate Pinot Noir

We were first introduced to the wines of Sokol Blosser over a dozen years ago while trying their Evolution white blend with fondue.  Well-made Oregon Pinot Noir is always a treat to taste.  The 2018 Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Estate Pinot Noir is no exception!  Deep plum skin color with cranberry on the nose and mouth. The cranberry blends with tanned suede, campfire smoke, clove and white pepper to bring this wine to a strong finish with a solid acidic  backbone.   This wine is young and we think will be even more memorable in the next 18 months.  We think this wine would pair very well with beef stew or pheasant.  

2018 Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Estate Pinot Noir label

ABV:  14.0%

Dundee Hills, OR

Suggested retail price:  $42.00

Drink The Bottles score:  90+/100





Wednesday, May 23, 2018

2017 Abacela Albarino

2017 Abacela Albarino

I'm always looking for a new and interesting wine, especially one made with a grape that isn't mainstream or widely produced.  Don't get me wrong - I absolutely love a velvety Chardonnay, but the 2017 Abacela Abarino introduced me to a grape that I had nearly forgotten but don't want to lose sight of again.  This wine is very light and made of a Spanish grape that presents wonderful floral and orange blossom aromas with canning spices.  The wine is crisp but not overly sharp, which allows it to be a great hors d' oeuvres accompaniment or a refreshing cooler on a hot summer day.  I really think this mildly sweet, fruitful wine would pair well with empanadas on the back deck.  With it's low alcohol content and light mouthfeel, you can easily forget that this is a wine, and not in a bad way.  I suggest drinking this lovely wine slightly chilled.

2017 Abacela Albarino label

ABV:  13.2%

Umpqua Valley, Oregon

Suggested retail price:  $21.00

Drink The Bottles score:  90/100

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

2014 Abacela Barrel Select Tempranillo

2014 Abacela Barrel Select Tempranillo

One of the most enjoyable things about wine blogging is the ability to not only share stories of great wines through the blog, but also the occasion to physically share a bottle of wine with friends.  And that is exactly what happened with this 2014 Abacela Barrel Select Tempranillo.  I was lucky enough to introduce a new varietal to a friend, honestly not knowing his palate or his preference in wines.  To say that he was impressed would be a gross understatement.  I chuckle inside when someone finds a wine that they love, they take a sip, discover something new, talk about it....and repeat!  Gorgeous dark purple velvet in the glass with blackberry smokiness combines with espresso and exotic spices on the nose, this wine is made proper in all aspects.  In the mouth is a very welcoming and delicious basket of dark fruits, smoke-charred hickory wood and spices that wake you up at first taste and follow this wine all the way to it's very long and memorable finish.  The good news?  This wine is really an amazing example of Tempranillo.  The bade news for my friend?  He might expect all Tempranillo to be made this fine!   Outstanding example of Oregon grapes and stellar wine making.

Abacela wines

ABV:  14.8%

Umpqua Valley, Southern Oregon

Suggested retail price:  $33.00

Drink The Bottles score:  93/100

Thursday, April 5, 2018

2015 Abacela Fiesta Tempranillo

2015 Abacela Fiesta Tempranillo

I'm a sucker for Tempranillo.   It's one of about 4 wines that I really, really enjoy, but think it is either greatly underappreciated or often ignored for more popular varietals.  This 2015 Abacela Fiesta Tempranillo is not only delicious, it is an incredible value for what you get out of the bottle.  Medium to bright crimson throughout the glass, this wine is very fruit forward for this varietal, which is typically more reserved across the board.  Aromas of spiced, stewed red fruits and dark mocha engulf the senses and instantly produce a mouth-watering sensation that is only quenched by the first taste of this beauty.  In the mouth are dark fruits, plum skins, vanilla and a beautiful and smooth finish that again presents the dark mocha.  This wine has been in the bottle for less than a year and it is the kind of bottle that a Tempranillo lover (like myself) would not want to share.  With magic like this, it's easy to understand how Abacela was the Oregon Winery of the Year in 2013. The 2014 vintage is sold out, so get to the Abacela web site to secure your 2015 vintage soon.  Just lovely! 

2015 Abacela Fiesta Tempranillo Label

ABV: 14.2%

Umpqua Valley, Southern Oregon

Suggested retail price:  $23.00

Drink The Bottles score:  92/100

Saturday, March 10, 2018

2016 Adelsheim Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

2016 Adelsheim Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

When I think of amazing Pinot Noir, I think big bucks.  I think hard-to-find, impossible-to-get and out of my price range.  Well, that's what I used to think.  About 7 years ago I was turned onto the  wines of Willamette Valley in Oregon and like a boy with his first crush, I was quickly smitten.  Anytime you can find a gem in the store, pick one up, even if know little about the wine.  These Pinot Noir are generally top notch and seldom disappoint because most are 100% Pinot (and that's what you should look for).  The 2016 Adelsheim shows the typically beautiful medium blue-purple color in the glass and the aromas of raspberry and cocoa powder are most noticeable.  The mouthfeel is light and welcoming and the raspberry is joined with dried cranberries and baking spices.  This wine is very silky and has very low tannin.  With over 12,000 cases produced, you shouldn't have any trouble picking up 3 or 4 bottles for yourself!  This would pair great with a fatty fish dish.  Enjoy!

ABV:  13.5%

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Suggested retail price:  $30.00

Drink The Bottles score:  92/100






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