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Feb. 13, 2012


Fog fills Oregon’s Willamette Valley bottom near the EolaAmity Hills. (Photo courtesy of Amity Vineyards)

Fresh Press is a weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest magazine. In each edition, we review recently released wines from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho. Feel free to forward to your wine-loving friends and family. For more information on our tasting methods and review process, please go to the last page.

A weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest • Vol. 2, No. 6 • © 2012

FRESHPRESS Feb. 13, 2012

Spotlight: Amity Vineyards 18150 S.E. Amity Vineyards Road, Amity, OR 97101 503-835-2362 •

It speaks volumes of Darcy Pendergrass that she’s worked for the iconic Myron Redford for more than a decade. Redford, owner and founding winemaker of Amity Vineyards, which he created in 1976, remains one of the most outspoken personalities in the Pacific Northwest wine industry. “Lively is a good description of him,” Pendergrass said with a chuckle. “I know his palate pretty well, and I do know what NOT to put in front of him. My goal is to make a wine that we can both agree on, and our palates are very different.” The synergy obviously works. Pendergrass took over in 2008 as head winemaker of Amity Vineyards, and her release of Pinot Noir from the stellar 2009 vintage shows the skills that she’s gathered since being first hired for Redford’s tasting room in 2001 — not long after she graduated from the University of Montana. “I was moved pretty quickly from the tasting room into the lab and the winery once Myron found out that I had a degree in microbiology and was taking winemaking classes at Chemeketa (Community College in Salem),” Pendergrass said. “The things that I’m really good at are different than what Myron is really strong with. It’s a good thing he loves to teach.” Redford himself learned winemaking in Seattle from the late Lloyd Woodburne, a dean at the University of Washington and the legendary co-founder of Associated Vintners, which later became Columbia Winery. Pendergrass’ development allows Redford to spend more time at home and return to growing grapes at his new home. And it doesn’t sound as if he needs to worry about losing Pendergrass anytime soon, as long as he OKs her annual spring sojourns to New Zealand, where she helps her friends at the cult Dry Creek Vineyard. “I love our vineyards. I love our growers and I love the fruit that I’m fortunate enough to source because of Myron and his history,” she said. “And Myron is very encouraging.”

Among the standout recent releases from Pendergrass are the 2009 Crannell Pinot Noir, the 2007 Winemaker’s Reserve Pinot Noir and the 2009 Pinot Blanc. The Crannell Vineyards Pinot Noir is stunning and personifies the vineyard relations program Pendergrass began in 2005 with the Eola-Amity Hills site. “It’s a very consistent vineyard and warmer than ours, even in cold year, but in warmer years it doesn’t ripen as fast as say Dundee Hills,” she said. “I like to target 2 to 2 ½ tons per acre for Pinot Noir, but ideally, that vineyard is best when cropped at 2 ½ tons. If you crop it down more, you lose some of the acidity.” While the Crannell Pinot Noir shows finesse, the 2007 Winemaker’s Reserve Pinot Noir swings dramatically in the opposite direction. “I have no problems calling it a very ‘Burgundian’ wine,” Pendergrass said with a chuckle. “It’s a very different beast. It was done a little intentionally, there’s no getting around that, but I personally love that wine. Texturally and structurally, it’s beautiful. And it’s going to age beautifully. “We would not have made it if Myron didn’t like it,” she added. “He is still the face of Amity Vineyards, and the wines are still his. And a very Burgundian wine is true to Amity Vineyards.” Another wine that Pendergrass hopes will continue to be accepted is her expression with Pinot Blanc. “The Pinot Blanc is definitely a house favorite at Amity, but you are starting to see some of the style

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Spotlight: Amity Vineyards changes of mine,” she said. “Myron was one of those in Oregon who grafted over some Chardonnay in the mid-1990s, and while lot of people went the Pinot Gris route, Myron chose Pinot Blanc because of its better aromatics and it pairs better with seafood.” One of the tools Amity Vineyards uses to boost its Pinot Blanc is adding 5 to 8 percent of Auxerrois from Sunnyside Vineyard near Turner, Ore. “He’s always wanted to run the wine drier, but it would become austere, and while the winemaker loves it, the customer doesn’t always appreciate the racy acidity and minerality,” Pendergrass said, noting that she’s increased the lees stirring during fermentation to help with mouth feel. And while she’s ramped up production of Pinot Blanc, the past two short vintages in Oregon trimmed Amity’s total production from 10,000 cases per year down to between 6,000 and 8,000. “Our facility has still been operating at 10,000 cases though because I’m making wine for three other people,” she said. “I’m very busy.” In fact, she’s producing for five brands. Two are start-ups she declined to identify, and a third is strictly for East Coast restaurants and merchants. That other brand is hers — Tartan Wines. It’s a tribute to her Scottish and Irish heritage, and she’s partnering with Sunnyside Vineyard owners Tom and Lucy Wisniewski. Bottles are ready, and Pendergrass said she’ll pick up the labels in Portland this week. “I’m doing Dolcetto and Tempranillo from Willamette Valley fruit,” she said with a chuckle. “Lucy and Tom have been growing grapes for Myron since the early 1970s, and ever since 2005 we’d talked about doing something a little different than growing Pinot. “So we’ve grafted some over to Dolcetto and Tempranillo,” she continued. “It’s been a fun and learning process for both of us. I’m only doing 75 to 100 cases off that vineyard every year, and I don’t want to make more than 500 cases total and no more than three or four wines.” Perhaps some of that would be similar to Peter Rosback’s side project of working with New Zealand grapes, she said. “New Zealand is like a second home to me,” Pendergrass said. After all, she is 35, single and without children.

“The wines are my babies,” she said. And while Pendergrass became a third-generation microbiologist, when she left Florence, Ore., as a teen, she harbored dreams of becoming a brew master. With Big Sky Brewing Co., near the campus of the University of Montana, the temptation could have been too much for some. “I was fortunate to have parents who paid for my education, but there were strings attached,” she said. “I could go where I wanted as long as it wasn’t more than a day’s drive away from home, and the plan was for me to become a pharmacist. That ended pretty quickly when I learned how hard chemistry is, so then I thought I would go into health care on the research side, but the thought of spending all that time in a lab wasn’t for me. “So ironically, here I am doing chemistry in a winery, but I’ve always enjoyed fermentation science.” From the sounds of it, her folks aren’t complaining. “My entire family has become wine drinkers, and they’ve gotten pretty spoiled over the last 11 years with my industry discounts and the employee discounts,” she said with a chuckle. The past couple of years, Pendergrass began taking time out for herself. She’s progressed from jogging on her own to working out with a trainer three times a week in preparation for Olympic-distance triathlons. “I first took up running just to get healthy because our industry is gluttony at its best,” she said. “I was pretty athletic in high school and college. I was a swimmer and enjoy biking. It’s fun to get back in the pool. The running is my weakest link.” Her other guilty pleasure is watching Oregon Ducks football. “Aside from me, all of my family went to the University of Oregon, and I’m a huge football fan,” she said. “We all have season tickets, and during harvest, really the only days I take off are for the home football games. Those are days when we just don’t pick (grapes). I still usually miss one or two games a year, and it kills me, so on Saturdays and Sundays we are streaming the games live at the winery.” How does that go over with Myron? “Oh, he’s a big football fan, too, except the only problem is that he’s a Beaver,” Pendergrass said with a chuckle.

Wine ratings All wines reviewed here are tasted blind after being submitted by producers. They are rated Outstanding, Excellent and Recommended by a tasting panel. Outstanding: These wines have superior characteristics and should be highly sought after. Excellent: Top-notch wines with particularly high qualities.

Recommended: Delicious, well-made wines with true varietal characteristics. Best Buy: A wine that is $15 or less. Priced are suggested retail and should be used as guidelines. Prices are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted.

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FRESHPRESS Feb. 13, 2012

Spotlight: Amity Vineyards Outstanding! Amity Vineyards 2009 Crannell Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $35. Dick Crannell’s vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills is less than a 10minute drive east from Amity Vineyards, and it’s an early ripener for winemaker Darcy Pendergrass, who made the right call to pick on Sept. 28. It’s a fruitforward Pinot Noir that opens with whiffs of dark strawberry, boysenberry, black cherry and smoky milk chocolate. A sip makes for a smooth drink of black cherry that evolves into cherry pie flavors with lingering lip-smacking blueberry acidity and a late showing of blueberry skin tannin. Enjoy with a pork loin prepared with LaBarge Gourmet Spice’s Rib Rub. (361 cases, 13.5% alc.) Excellent. Amity Vineyards 2009 Estate Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $35. Myron Redford’s venerable estate vines were harvested for this wine between Sept. 27 and Oct. 5, which preserved the brightness of the resulting wine. Cassis, raspberry, Marionberry and white strawberry aromas include hints of tobacco leaf, leather, cedar and cardamom. The flavors start with cherry before giving way to strawberry and pink raspberry on the midpalate with Meyer lemon acidity. Notes of leafiness and smoke funnel all the way to the finish. (240 cases, 13.5% alc.) Recommended. Amity Vineyards 2009 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $22. This release accounts for about half of the production at Amity, and much of it hints at Dundee Hills with its high-toned red fruit profile. It opens with aromas of dried cranberry, strawberry candy, raspberry, blueberry and a scrap of slate. Blueberries lead the flavors, followed by cassis, white strawberry and more cranberry. That lighter structure of racy acidity and a near absence of tannin will serve this well with a wide variety of food, including alder-planked salmon and lean meats such as flank steak. (4,068 cases, 13.5% alc.)

Excellent. Amity Vineyards 2009 Sunnyside Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $35. Harvest off this Turner, Ore., site — Amity Vineyards’ longest supplying vineyard — took place three times in the first half of October, and the results show attention to detail. The focus is entirely on fruit with almost no hint of barrel, starting with aromas of dried strawberry, raspberry, rhubarb compote and black cherry Jell-O. There’s more black cherry on the entry and almost no tannin to get in the way of the strawberry/rhubarb jam and twist of orange peel. (122 cases, 13.5% alc.) Recommended. Amity Vineyards 2007 Winemaker’s Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $40. Myron Redford’s winemaker, Darcy Pendergrass, lovingly refers to this wine as “a different beast,” and those who desire Pinot Noir made in a Burgundian style will best appreciate the approach. The use of nearly 50% new oak loads it up with notes of cinnamon bark that join black cherry, portabello mushroom, alfalfa and saddle leather. Enjoy with beef roast served with root vegetables or three-bean casserole. (373 cases, 12.2% alc.) Outstanding! Amity Vineyards 2009 Pinot Blanc, Willamette Valley, $17. Darcy Pendergrass increased production by more than 50% from the 2008 vintage, and yet she’s earned our top rating for her Pinot Blanc for the second straight year. The nose conjures up thoughts of fruit cocktail, chock-full of pineapple, pear and grapefruit, a hint of green banana, anise root and starfruit. The refreshing drink is dang tasty and remarkably dry, featuring flavors of Asian pear, lemon, lime, melon and gooseberry. Acidity akin to a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and some slatiness combine to give it traction. Enjoy with basa or baked chicken. (1,533 cases, 13.5% alc.)

New releases we’ve tasted Cabernet Sauvignon Recommended. Ash Hollow Vineyards & Winery 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $36. The estate Bella Terra Vineyard, near Leonetti Cellar’s winery, accounts for this tastingroom-only release, which is a Cab that’s quite approachable because of its slight tannin structure. Aromas of blueberry, Simpkins Black Currant Candy Drops, NECCO Water, root beer and porcini mushroom transition to a drink of boysenberries rolled in sugar, pomegranate and bittersweet chocolate. As a sidenote, Bella Terra is on the market with an asking

price of $348,500 for the 9-acre parcel. Contact the winery for more information. (50 cases, 13.6% alc.) Excellent. Cathedral Ridge Winery 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $48. Hillside Vineyard near The Dalles, Ore., afforded winemaker Michael Sebastiani the opportunity to develop a Cab that straddles Old World aromatics with a New World flavor profile. The nose hints some influence of Cabernet Franc with leafy notes, backed by blueberry, black currant and slate. Once in the mouth, there’s ripe and sweet black currant, followed by pomegranate and a continuation of minerality as acidity stays just ahead of the tannin structure. In the

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New releases we’ve tasted finish, look for raspberry and black licorice. (51 cases, 14.6% alc.) Excellent. Otis Kenyon 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $34. Dave Stephenson crafts the wines in Milton-Freewater, Ore., for the Kenyon family, and its estate Stellar Vineyard joins famed Seven Hills and Pepper Bridge sites in the production of this smoky Cab. Supporting aromatics include cassis, orange peel and black licorice. The mature palate carries flavors of pie cherry, chocolate, pomegranate and freshly ground coffee beans. Pleasing acidity and vanilla bean make for long finish. (644 cases, 14.4% alc.) Excellent. Pend d’Oreille Winery 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington, $17. Years ago, Stephen Meyer moved from California to Sandpoint, Idaho, for the skiing at nearby Schweitzer, but he relies on Columbia Valley vineyards for his red wines. Sources for this approachable Cab include Dionysus (47%), Coyote Canyon (35%) and Lawrence (12%) vineyards, with a dab of Merlot from Wells. The nose features black currant, fresh plum, cedar and bittersweet chocolate, while the silky smooth palate brings cherries and chocolate-covered pomegranate. Its structure focuses on nice acidity with abbreviated tannins, and it’s finished with roasted coffee, slate and a hint of leather. (445 cases, 14.4% alc.)

Merlot Recommended. Otis Kenyon 2008 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $30. The pedigree of Pepper Bridge and Seven Hills fruit brings out blue notes of pomegranate, blueberry, Van cherry with lots of chocolate and hints of minerality. Its racy acidity matches the boldness of tannin one expects from Northwest Merlot. (442 cases, 14.6% alc.)

Cabernet Franc Excellent. William Augustus 2008 Cabernet Franc, Rogue Valley, $18. Owner/winemaker Gus Janeway’s skills raised the profile of Southern Oregon wineries Paschal, RoxyAnn and Volcano, but he’s shifted his focus to his own projects. This label, named after his great-great-grandfather, doesn’t bring the leafy, herbaceous notes that Francophiles tend to gravitate to, but the remarkable balance and richness make it a quaffer. Aromas and flavors of Marionberry, blueberry and lingonberry are backed by coffee and a pinch of black pepper. (96 cases, 13% alc.)

Tempranillo Outstanding! RoxyAnn Winery 2008 Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, $30. One of Southern Oregon’s largest and most famous orchards is seeing its vineyard

plantings take root in Medford, and here’s another example of how well this Spanish variety can do in the Northwest. Aromas gather up cordial cherry, plums, mint, black tea, coffee and a nice blend of cinnamon and allspice. There’s a continuation of ripe black fruit on the palate, and the easy tannins make it difficult to believe it is Tempranillo. Ripe blueberry, mint and chocolate carry through to the finish. (289 cases, 14.4% alc.) Excellent. Sweet Valley Wines 2009 Righteous Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley, $24. Secondgeneration vineyard manager Shane McKibben runs Les Collines, which translates to “The Foothills,” and young vintner Josh McDaniels turned those grapes into a remarkably expressive Temp. Plums and black currants aromas are surrounded by hints of chai spice, sagebrush, lavender salted caramel, saddle soap and fresh-cut cedar. The fruit turns more purple on the palate with boysenberry and blueberry taking hold. In the midpalate, there’s wheat Chex, blueberry seed tannin, chocolate-covered cherries and chocolate in the finish. Enjoy with braised ribs or a New York strip. (99 cases, 13.9% alc.)

Malbec Recommended. Velocity Cellars 2008 Malbec, Rogue Valley, $24. Tons of black plum, pomegranate, grape jelly, mint, sage and graphite combine for a easy drinking and lighter-structured Malbec. (420 cases, 13.5% alc.)

Nebbiolo Excellent. Wind Rose Cellars 2009 24K Vineyard Nebbiolo, Wahluke Slope, $30. Olympic Peninsula winemaker David Volmut helps put this Wahluke Slope vineyard on the map with his expression of this Italian variety. The nose leads with black currant, Rainier cherry, sassafras, moist earth and a sliced portobello mushroom. On the attack, it’s light and lively with more black currant, slightly underripe blackberry and leather. The firm tannins and savory finish call for London broil served with a mushroom sauce or a bowl of teriyaki. (85 cases, 14.2% alc.)

Red blends Excellent. RoxyAnn Winery 2009 Sky Hill Red, Rogue Valley, $24. This wide ranging blend of Grenache (32%), Mourvèdre (25%), Syrah (17%), Merlot (15%), Malbec (10%) and Cinsault carries an inviting theme of red fruit from start to finish. Aromas of cherry Red Vines licorice, Craisins, chocolate, cinnamon and coffee carry on into flavors akin to a bite of Red Vine. Blackberry and pie cherry pop into the midpalate, backed by bacon, white pepper,

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New releases we’ve tasted tobacco leaf, chocolate and cola in the finish. (746 cases, 14.5% alc.)

Chardonnay Excellent. Spangler Vineyards 2010 Unoaked Chardonnay, Southern Oregon, $20. Think of the fresh-cut heart of pineapple, and that helps start the conversation about this tasty fruit-forward, no-oak Chardonnay from Roseburg, Ore. What follows are Golden Delicious apple, fresh-squeezed lime juice, pleasing mineralty and a trail of tangerine. (180 cases, 13.4% alc.)

Riesling Outstanding! Lake Chelan Winery 2010 Sweet Riesling, Lake Chelan, $20. There’s a delicious future with Riesling in the young Lake Chelan AVA, and veteran winemaker Ray Sandidge is helping to lead the way. Clo Chevalle Vineyard on the south shore of the lake produced the fruit for this, which incorporates Gewürztraminer (13%) and Pinot Gris. In a sense, this is an example of the style of wine that first put Washington on the Riesling map. The nose brings in hints of apple pie, white peach, pineapple and river rock. The drink come across like a two-act play, opening with flavors of apple juice before the acidity kicks in on the midpalate to bring in apricot, Juicy Fruit gum and mouth-watering Jolly Rancher green apple candy. While the residual sugar registers at 3.7%, the flourish of acidity is astounding and makes it a delightful drink. It’s already earned a gold medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, but it’s limited to tasting room and wine club sales. (247 cases, 12.5% alc.)

Viognier Recommended. Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden 2010 Viognier, Applegate Valley, $30. As one might surmise from the name, this winery in Southern Oregon subscribes to biodynamic methods for its grape growing and winemaking. This 100% Viognier used estate-grown fruit and native yeast fermentation, then was aged in mostly neutral French oak. It opens with aromas of bay rum, lime zest and bananas. On the palate, it reminded us of a dry Riesling, with flavors of bosc pears, Granny Smith apples, limes and oranges. The creamy texture leads to a delicious finish. (125 cases, 13.5% alc.)

for those who enjoy a California reserve-style Chardonnay. However, it still preserves some classic Viognier qualities, starting with aromas of huge Circus Peanut candy, followed by toasted coconut and smokiness. You almost need a machete to make your way through all the unctuous tropical fruit flavors, including hints of piña colada and nuttiness. It’s backed by tangerine and apricot, finished by a lick of orange Creamsicle. (1,294 cases, 14.4% alc.) Excellent. Sweet Valley Wines 2009 Viognier, Columbia Valley, $25. Josh McDaniels, one of Walla Walla’s “Young Guns,” sourced from McKinley Springs Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills for this white Rhône variety. Aromas feature fresh-cut Jonagold apple, banana, canned pear and coconut cream pie. Flavors run along a theme of pineapple backed by apple peel, lemon pith, orange zest and fresh-cut potato. Serve with New England clam chowder (99 cases, 13.5% alc.)

Roussanne Recommended. RoxyAnn Winery 2009 Roussanne, Rogue Valley, $20. This Rogue Valley winery launched in 2002 on a century-old orchard, and the tasting room is in a beautiful barn. This white grape originates in France’s Rhône Valley and is catching on in the Pacific Northwest. This version opens with aromas of pears, apples, oranges and even something that reminded us of Bit-O-Honey candy. On the palate, it reveals flavors of Granny Smith apples, fresh lime juice and peaches. A touch of oak adds complexity. (190 cases, 13.9% alc.)

Fortified Excellent. RoxyAnn Winery 2009 Founder’s Reserve Petite Sirah Dessert Wine, Rogue Valley, $24. Here marks the debut vintage of John Quinones, who left Napa for Southern Oregon. He joins a number of Northwest winemakers who have achieved success with Port-style wines made from this big Rhône red, and the aromas are akin to a candy store with hints of strawberry plank taffy, cinnamon and blackberry, backed by more adult notes of coffee and cough syrup. Flavors follow through with the taffy, followed by cordial cherry and a fascinating feel of sandy tannins. (259 cases, 19% alc.)

Excellent. RoxyAnn Winery 2009 Viognier, Rogue Valley, $20. This bottling by winemaker John Quinones accounts for nearly 10% of this Medford, Ore., winery’s total production, and the product of estate vineyards serves as a delicious change of pace

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Northwest wine regions Multi-state appellations Columbia Valley: This multi-state appellation is 11 million acres in size and takes up a third of Washington. Established in 1984. Columbia Gorge: This multi-state appellation begins around the town of Lyle and heads west to Husum on the Washington side of the Columbia River. It was established in 2004. Walla Walla Valley: Walla Walla Valley: This multi-state appellation is in the southeast corner of Washington and around Milton-Freewater, Ore. Established in 1984. Snake River Valley: This is in southwestern Idaho and southeastern Oregon. It covers 8,263 square miles and was established in 2007.

Washington Yakima Valley: The Northwest’s oldest appellation (established in 1983) stretches past Wapato in the west to Benton City in the east and includes Red Mountain, Rattlesnake Hills and Snipes Mountain. Red Mountain: Washington’s smallest appellation is a ridge in the eastern Yakima Valley. It is 4,040 acres in size. Established in 2001. Horse Heaven Hills: This large appellation — 570,000 acres — is south of the Yakima Valley and stretches to the Oregon border. It was established in 2005. Wahluke Slope: Approved in early 2006, this huge landform north of the Yakima Valley is an 81,000-acre gravel bar created by the Ice Age Floods. It is one of the warmest regions in the entire Pacific Northwest. Established in 2006. Rattlesnake Hills: This appellation is in the western Yakima Valley north of the towns of Zillah, Granger and Outlook. The appellation is 68,500 acres in size with about 1,300 acres of vineyards. It was established in 2006. Puget Sound: This sprawling appellation is in Western Washington. It stretches from the Olympia area to the Canadian border north of Bellingham. It also sweeps through the San Juan Islands and to Port Angeles. Established in 1995. Snipes Mountain: This is one of Washington’s oldest wine-growing regions. At 4,145 acres in size, it is the state’s second-smallest AVA. Grapes have been grown on Snipes Mountain and at the adjacent Harrison Hill (also part of the AVA) since 1914. This AVAwas approved in 2009. Lake Chelan: This area in north-central Washington is almost entirely within the Columbia Valley. It is a young area, with the oldest vines dating to 1998. About 250 acres are planted here. It was approved in 2009. Naches Heights: Approved in 2011, this area near the city of Yakima has fewer than 50 acres of grapes planted.

Ribbon Ridge: This is the Northwest’s smallest appellation at 3,350 acres. It is best known for its Pinot Noir and is within the Chehalem Mountains AVA. It was established in 2005. Yamhill-Carlton: This is a horseshoe-shaped appellation that surrounds the towns of Yamhill and Carlton. It was established in 2005. The “District” was dropped in 2011. Chehalem Mountains: This is the largest within the Willamette Valley. This 62,100-acre appellation is northeast of the Dundee Hills. It was established in 2006. Dundee Hills: Many of Oregon’s pioneer wineries are in the Dundee Hills within Oregon’s Yamhill County. The appellation is 6,490 acres in size. It was established in 2005. Eola-Amity Hills: This important region stretches from the town of Amity in the north to the capital city of Salem in the southeast. It is 37,900 acres in size. It was established in 2006. McMinnville: The hills south and west of the Yamhill County city of McMinnville are more than 40,000 acres in size. It was established in 2005. Umpqua Valley: This Southern Oregon appellation surrounds the city of Roseburg north of the Rogue Valley. It can produce Pinot Noir as well as warm-climate grapes. It was established in 1984. Rogue Valley: The Northwest’s southern-most appellation surrounds the cities of Medford and Ashland, just north of the California border. It is known for its warm growing conditions. Established in 2001. Applegate Valley: This small valley within the Rogue Valley is known for a multitude of microclimates that can result in wines of distinction and complexity. Established in 2004. Southern Oregon: This AVA encompasses the Umpqua, Rogue and Applegate valleys and Red Hill Douglas County. It was established in 2005. Red Hill Douglas County: This tiny appellation — just 5,500 acres — is within the Umpqua Valley. Fewer than 200 acres of wine grapes, primarily Pinot Noir, are grown here. Established in 2005.

British Columbia

Okanagan Valley: In the province’s interior, this 100mile valley stretches from the border in Osoyoos to Salmon Arm in the north. Most wineries are near Oliver, Penticton and Kelowna. It was established in 1990. Similkameen Valley: This warm valley is west of the southern Okanagan Valley. It was established in 1990. Vancouver Island: This marine-influenced appellation is in the southwest part of the province. Established in 1990. Fraser Valley: This farming area is in the Lower Mainland, south of Vancouver. Established in 1990. Gulf Islands: This appellation includes approximately Oregon Willamette Valley: Oregon’s largest appellation stretches 100 islands spread out between Vancouver Island and the southern mainland. Established in 2005. roughly from Portland to Eugene. Established in 1984.

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About us Wine Press Northwest is a quarterly consumer magazine that focuses on the wine regions of Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho. Annual subscriptions are $20. Click to subscribe. Editor-in-chief: Andy Perdue Managing editor: Eric Degerman Advertising inquiries: Parker Hodge © 2012

Tasting methods Recent Releases are evaluated under strict conditions to ensure objectivity. Northwest wineries submit wines to Wine Press Northwest for evaluation by Wine Press Northwest’s tasting panel. After wines are received, they are stored for at least two weeks and a third party serves them “blind,” meaning the tasting panelists do not know the producer. In addition, the panelists are served glasses of wine and are not able to view the bottles or their shapes prior to tasting. Wines are stored in temperature-controlled conditions, allowing them to be served at perfect cellar temperatures. Price is not a consideration in these evaluations, nor is a winery’s advertising activity with Wine Press Northwest, as the magazine’s editorial/wine evaluation activities and advertising/ marketing efforts are kept strictly separate. The panel has a combination of technical and consumer palates. If at least three of the four panelists consider a wine technically sound and commercially acceptable, it is included here as “Recommended.” The panel may also vote the wine as “Excellent” or “Outstanding,” our top rating. Wines considered

unacceptable by the panel are rejected and not included. Reviews are grouped by variety or style and listed alphabetically by winery. Prices listed are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise indicated. To ensure we maintain an international perspective, our tasting panelists judge thousands of wines annually at various competitions, including: Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition, Riverside International Wine Competition, Dallas Morning News Wine Competition, Indy International Wine Competition, Virginia Governor’s Cup, Sonoma County Harvest Fair, Grand Harvest Awards, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Pacific Rim International Wine Competition, Long Beach Grand Cru, Washington State Wine Competition, Seattle Wine Awards, Northwest Wine Summit, British Columbia Wine Awards, New York Wine and Grape Foundation Competition, Tri-Cities Wine Festival, Capital Food & Wine Fest, North Central Washington Wine Awards and Idaho Wine Competition.

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Fresh Press for Feb. 13, 2012  

This week, we spotlight Amity Vineyards, a longtime winery in the northern Willamette Valley. Additionally, we review wines from Ash Hollow...