Category Archives: Oregon

Linda Foxworth: Beyond the Sea; Confined by Beauty

Somewhere, beyond the SeaThis is the second installment of my guest blogging series “Somewhere, Beyond the Sea”. Today’s guest blogger is Linda Foxworth, of From Vinho Verde to Barolo with Love. I asked her to join the series because I believe she has a unique voice and approach as a writer. Linda is a weaver of words, using wines she has tasted to venture out further and draw conclusions, raise questions or just give helpful advice for general life. I find that approach particularly compelling. Take for example her beautiful post about how to remember all the different Italian wines, The Three Sisters of Veneto. Thank you, Linda! 

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“What’s your favorite wine?”  I don’t know how anyone could ever answer that.  I’m all for a good ‘go-to’ wine, like a lovely Willamette Valley Corvallis Cellars Pinot Noir with its red fruit aromas peppered with nutmeg and orange, all nicely balanced, and when on sale can be had for $12.99.  I’ll stock up on that and tuck it away for those nights when I don’t want to swirl and sniff and write and pair.  You know those nights.  You’ve had them yourself.  You just want to sit down with a glass of wine that you already know will be good and you don’t have to analyze it to figure out why.  But does its ease and accessibility make it my favorite?  Certainly not.

Recently I came across an Austrian red, Blauer Zweigelt from the Niederösterreich region.  It had earthy aromas with some red fruit and a lot of  acidity which is not surprising since cold weather makes acidic grapes.  It wasn’t my favorite wine, but it was certainly worth trying.

Blauer Zweigelt

Last week I tried a still red Portuguese wine, Callabriga from Dao Region.  It’s made with Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (two of the three primary grapes of Port,) and Alfrocheiro Preto.  Dark and deep in color the wine was full of flavors and aromas like violets, cherries, blackberry, plum, rosemary and cinnamon.  It was a strong wine, rich in flavor and heavy in tannins, but my favorite?  As much as I enjoyed it, I wouldn’t go that far.

callabrigadao

I love fortified wines and recently tried one from Greece, Hermes Mavrodaphne of Patras.  It had all the flavors you would expect from fortification, raisins, prunes and nuts.  The balance was good, though it wasn’t nearly as rich and delicious as a good Port.  But for an inexpensive, fortified wine, it was worth the price, though, again, not my favorite.

mavrodaphnepatras

This spring I traveled to a beautiful island in the Pacific.  Everything about it was perfect, the air, the water, the flora, the gentle trade winds.  My husband and I began wondering what it would be like to live there.  We both came to the same conclusion.  As beautiful as it was, we’d feel stuck, because it’s an island the size of a small US state surrounded by water.  We’d never be able to jump into the car and drive away.  Leaving would always involve a trip to the airport.  That felt confining to me.  It seems like a funny conclusion to come to, however, paradise is a lovely place to visit, but I sure wouldn’t want to be stuck there.

As beautiful as any one wine is, I will never claim one as my favorite.  The most beautiful thing about wine is that there are so many of them to try!

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2010 Caiu a Noite Vinho Verde and 2011 King Estate Acrobat Pinot Gris

2010 Caiu a Noite and 2011 Acrobat Oregon Pinot Gris

2010 Caiu a Noite and 2011 Acrobat Oregon Pinot Gris

We were invited for at dinner party on our last Saturday evening in Alaska before flying back to Ann Arbor. The hosts had told us to bring wine and sent us a menu for dinner: broccoli, roasted lemon-herb chicken, mashed lentils with caramelized onions and balsamic vinegar. In my opinion, this dinner was screaming out for white wines. I guess a Côtes du Rhône would have worked fine as well, but with the lemon chicken I just felt safer with whites.

We headed over to the liquor store and I was thinking something along the lines of a Burgundy chardonnay. We kept checking the pretty decent wine selection when Nina had the idea to bring a vinho verde to start with. We couldn’t see any, so we asked the lady in the store who promptly sent us to the Chile wine section because Portugal was somewhere in South America…ah, well. I finally spotted a vinho verde, the 2010 Caiu a Noite. I had never seen that wine before, but it was $6.99 and since a bottle of vinho verde has yet to disappoint me, we picked it up.

With some uneasiness and the very limited selection of Burgundy whites I was convinced by Nina that we might want to look into pinot gris. I complained that I am not the person who brings pinot gris to a dinner party (I am not the fondest supporter of that grape). I saw some Oregon pinot gris and I decided that that might be a route to take. I have never had Oregon pinot gris before, so it was an experiment. The 2011 King Estate Acrobat seemed about right, and cost around $10.

Both wines turned out to be very good (as did dinner!). The 2010 Caiu a Noite Vinho Verde still had some bubbling going on, which I did not expect given that it is a 2010 vintage and vinho verde is usually meant to be drunk young. It had a great nose of fresh apple and citrus and in the glass showed these same apple aromas, a very slight sweetness backed up by a nice acidity. It was a really good vinho verde, probably one of the best I have had (better than the Trader Joe’s Vinho Verde Espiral, I think, because it was more rounded and less wild). I highly recommend this wine if you get a chance to try it.

The 2011 King Estate Acrobat Oregon Pinot Gris poured in a very light yellow color. The nose was a bit perfumy, but somewhat subdued. Not very expressive at first. On the palate the wine was beautiful. It had a nice body to it, was dry and showed some interesting fruit aromas of pear and apple. It had a nice length to it and was just incredibly smooth and wonderful to drink. I enjoyed it tremendously, and I loved that there are always wines out to positively surprise me. It also paired well with dinner. I have to try more Oregon wines, from what I hear this is a wine region that is producing wines that I will like. I am very excited about that prospect.

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