Archive | June, 2016

Pinot and Oregon’s Panther Creek Cellars

20 Jun

For lovers of pinot noir, Ken Wright is the master of Oregon vinification. Wright founded Panther Creek Cellars in 1986, and his collaborator Tony Rynders, (celebrated for his work at Domaine Serene) took the reins as consulting winemaker at Panther in 2013 when Bacchus Capital Management acquired the operation. Together, management and winemaker strive for continued growth and excellence while seeking new heights and producing multi-faceted expressions of pinot noir as Panther Creek Cellars celebrates its 30th year.

With Panther Creek’s vineyards in six of Oregon’s greatest AVAs and nine iconic territories, Rynders has both the knowledge and the tools at hand to develop stunning wines, and a taste of them is all that is required to know that Panther Creek offers serious competition in quality wines.

 

Panther Creek 2014 Pinot Gris, 13%ABV, $20/bottle MSP

I’m normally reluctant about pinot gris made in the USA but Rynder’s Eola-Amity Hills AVA is closer to the Burgundian whites than some  would admit. While the 2013 showed as slightly more lush and creamy, the 2014’s expression is elegant and crisp with notes of golden delicious apple, lemon rind and honeydew melon. The medium-long finish has a savory balance between expressive fruit and zippy acidity with no barrel aging to cover imperfections. Delightful cold but beautiful as it warms and can show complete expression. It is becoming a solid value from Oregon in the $20 and under field.

PC Gris

 

Panther Creek Single Vineyard 2014 Kalita Vineyard Pinot Noir. 14.3%ABV, $50/bottle MSP. 

Dark ruby in color; bright raspberry and cherry nose with green herbs; brisk cherry and red plum on the palate with subtle vanilla, baking spice, mineral and vegetal notes on the medium-long finish.  This beautifully feminine expression of pinot is fruit-forward with vibrant acidity, a gentle oak backbone and a complex mineral base of sedimentary soil. The jovial, friendly and well-spoken Arthur Kalita carries a jar of his Kalita soil to tastings (featured to the left of the bottle in the photo below) which is helpful to remember the layering flavors of the wine when the fruit and floral notes that drive it forward are capable of making you forget the complexity and beauty the Kalita vineyard offers in the bottle. If I were to cellar this, I’d expect it to be even more gorgeous and refined to classic perfection in six to ten years, as the ability is absolutely there for those who have the patience. Personally, I’d drink it now as the wine pairs gorgeously with a wide array of flavor profiles from meslcun-and-chicken sausage pizza, to Sockeye Salmon, but is brilliant on its own.

 

PC Kalita

Panther Creek 2014 Schindler Vineyard Pinot Noir

Offering a strong contrast to Kalita, the Schindler Vineyard provides a big, brawny and masculine expression of pinot noir. Deeper in color with a nose of massive black fruit, the palate proves dark black cherry, allspice and black pepper, and powerful acidity and tannins. To me, this is a pinnacle of age-worthy burgundy that can be enjoyed now while massive in proportion, or aged to a balance of perfection. The wine drinks gorgeously alone but simply sings with food, complementing duck, ribs, and beef tartare easily, bringing out additional floral notes as well as heavy tones of earth, cedar, granite and leather. A monumental wine that offers tremendous value in being affordable for those who love world-class pinot noir.  Thinking about joining an Oregon wine club? You should consider Panther Creek- I know I am!

 

PC Schindler

 

PC SchindlerS

Robert & Janet Schindler, with whom I just loved hanging out with and chatting about wine, sound, and cochlear implants. Seriously! 

 

When it comes to single vineyard pinot noir and pinot gris, it is worth your time to check out Panther Creek Cellars and specifically the Schindler and Kalita vineyard wines. Rynders is crafting great wines, and I only expect them to get better in quality. Currently, they offer excellent expression of both the feminine and masculine sides of pinot noir, are very Burgundian in style for Oregonian wines, and sell at competitive price point.

Need more proof?  Just taste it- the proof is in the glass.

à votre santé!

 

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Señorío de P. Peciña Cosecha 2013 Rioja

12 Jun

Señorío de P. Peciña Cosecha 2013 Rioja, DOC, Spain.  13% ABV, $13/bottle average online price.

Color is a bright purple with ruby edging and good clarity. The nose features powerful blackberry with notes of  forest floor and stone. In the mouth, blackberry, plum, black cherry and eucalyptus meet solid tannins and acidity, making a nice balance for this young wine. Notes of earth, peat, calcium and chalky clay show on the top and back palate before the medium-short finish. The grapes used in this blend are primarily tempranillo with tiny percentages of garnacha and graciano. I find this Rioja to be a pleasure to drink and a solid value as a food-driven wine. It is a perfect red for summer nights and barbecued meats, but capable of driving a winter roast as well. At this price, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for more from this producer, and remind myself of the advice I give to others about “the great value spanish wines offer”. This one is spot on!

IMG_2179

 

à votre santé!

Pouilly-Fumé, s’il vous plaît!

9 Jun

Domaine du Bouchot Pouilly-Fumé 2014, Saint Andelain, France. Organic. 13%ABV, Found online from $17-25 /bottle. 

Medium straw in color with good clarity, the nose features grapefruit, lemon zest, and lilac. The mouthfeel is savory with bright fruit, perhaps a stolen moment of Loire summertime in a glass. White peach, lychee, and grapefruit dominate the palate with lemon and lime following with racing acidity, beautiful herbal and floral notes expand as they cross the top palate, as notes of gooseberry, clay, flint and limestone appear on the back palate. This wine will remind you of what you adore, be it Sancerre, Loire valley whites, or sauvignon blanc – I rarely find people who adore all three (I myself only am a huge fan of ONE of those descriptors) but this is simply a lovely wine, whatever you prefer to call it. Match it at this price point ($17/bottle? I must have hit the jackpot, because I bought a case!) Oh, did I mention the wine is organic? This is one to pour just below room temperature, sit back and smile smugly as you know you got a tremendous deal on a stunning Pouilly-Fumé for a pittance. Then savor the aromas and flavors and watch the day escape, knowing that life is too brief, but moments of beauty can be found in your glass when you search for them.

Believe me, I will keep an eye out for winemaker Pascal Kerbiquet and Domaine Du Bouchot. If you love amazing, organic sauvignon blanc from the Loire, you might do the same thing.

 

Kerbiquet Bouchot Fumé

 

à votre santé!

Senseless about Great Buys: Sensible Tudela De Duero Tempranillo

2 Jun

Isaac Fernandez Selection’s Sensible Tudela de Duero 2013 Tempranillo (Spain).
14% ABV; List @ $12.99 /bottle, purchased from Garagiste at $7.99/bottle!

 

“Wishing I had bought more” is a tasting note that I should celebrate (for finding a great wine) instead of being frustrated. Alas, sometimes you realize you missed a great opportunity. Well, this wine is still a bargain at the street price, so don’t you worry!

A Spanish delight! Color is a murky ruby with purple center. The nose shows black fruit, a hint of kiln dried wood and minerals. In the mouth, black cherry and blackberries, smoky black pepper, secondary notes of vanilla, cedar, forest floor, halite and some gravelly chalk on the full and savory finish that resounds with a tight, tannic mouthfeel.

Sensible

Very satisfying on the palate and a lovely complement for food. I had forgotten everything about this wine and pulled it out of a mixed case for a dinner with family, and my brother-in-law and I both loved it on first taste, then more with a little air, and I continued to appreciate it for several days. Not until a week later did I realize this was a $13 bottle I had acquired for only $8 and made the mistake of only buying two. Live and learn… a few cases would have been perfect, but maybe Fernandez will do even better with the ’14 and ’15. Keep your eyes peeled.

à votre santé!

 

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