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Dec. 19, 2011

FRESHPRESS

Frosty vines and thick fog create a beautiful setting at Red Heaven Vineyard on Washington’s Red Mountain. (Andy Perdue/ Wine Press Northwest)

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. 1, No. 30 • © 2011


FRESHPRESS Dec. 19, 2011

Spotlight: Cubanisimo Vineyards 1754 Best Road N.W., Salem, OR 97304 503-588-1763 • http://www.cubanisimovineyards.com

A physician in Cuba would need a month’s salary to buy a bottle of estate Pinot Noir from Cubanisimo Vineyards. While that seems extreme, the price of Mauricio Collada’s Willamette Valley wine ($32) serves as an example of why his parents took him and fled Cuba in 1962 when he was 9 years old. “One hundred percent of the population lives on the black market,” Collada said wistfully. Aside from some firsthand observations of his native Cuba, Collada seems to be living on cloud nine in the Eola-Amity Hills above Salem, Ore. The term “Cubanisimo” translates as “very Cuban,” and Collada readily and happily shares his culture with those who take the time to visit his 2,500-case winery. He grew up in Miami, attended medical school in New Orleans and moved to Oregon to establish a practice as a neurosurgeon. Along the way, the CubanAmerican found a way to blend his passion for Pinot Noir with his love for Havana. Thanks in large part to Rob Stuart’s winemaking, Collada is doing it in delicious fashion at Cubanisimo Vineyards. “When it comes to celebrating, I celebrate every day,” Collada said. “We are celebrating this wonderful Pinot Noir that we have in the Willamette Valley and combine that with something that I’m equally passionate about, which is my Cuban culture.” Stuart crafts fruit-forward and food-friendly Pinot Noirs for Collada and his wife, Debra, primarily from fruit on the Eola-Amity Hills vineyards that the Collada home overlooks. And the adjacent tasting room features salsa music because Collada wants to create a fun and inviting atmosphere for his visitors and employees. On Memorial Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving weekends, Cubanisimo has found a niche among Willamette Valley wine tourists by staging salsa and jazz weekends. Jenelle Ford, operations manager at Cubanisimo Vineyards, said, “I can’t tell you how many times we get guests who come in and say, ‘I wish we had come here first.’ The tasting room is not ‘grapy’ and the salsa

music is always playing. Mauricio really wants people to embrace the wine, the dancing, the art and his culture.” Collada said, “We want people to feel like they walked into a little bit of old Cuba, if you will.” Cubanisimo Vineyards takes it a step further by playing host to salsa dance lessons on the third Saturday of each month. “We’re proud of how we’ve developed the estate and the vineyard and love to share it with people,” Collada said. “We do it with a lot of love and care, and when people have weddings here, we get involved with them. And it seems as though we always become of a part of them.” Nothing in his Cuban heritage led him down this path of Pinot Noir, he said. Cubans, per se, don’t drink wine. They drink rum,” Collada said. “But I was a biology and chemistry guy who was fascinated by how wine had been made over the years, so I started making wine from bananas and mangoes. “The alcohol must have been about 16 percent, and it tasted like mango liqueur and banana liqueur, but it made for a great party,” he said with a laugh. “That was shocking to me that you can use almost any fruit and make wine — if the fruit was clean.” He gradually developed a fascination with Burgundies grew as he graduated first from the

A weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest • Vol. 1, No. 30 • © 2011


FRESHPRESS Dec. 19, 2011

Spotlight: Cubanisimo Vineyards

University of Miami and then Louisiana State Univeristiy. “I trained with a young man of Lebanese and French descent, and his family was into wine,” Collada said. “He taught me about French wines and that’s how it all began. I began reading and studying about making wines, especially Burgundian wines. My dream was to make a nice, elegant Pinot Noir.” In 1983, upon graduating from LSU and his neurosurgery residency in New Orleans, Oregon emerged as a prime place for him to establish his practice. “It was a state that I had only heard about, but I was immediately impressed by its natural beauty and by the openness of the people,” Collada said. “I came here to start my practice with that in mind, and I was shocked when I learned that people were making Burgundian Pinot Noir.” Collada quickly grew to enjoy the wines and the people at Bethel Heights, Cameron, Knudsen Erath, Panther Creek and Eyrie. He spent three years researching vineyard concepts before he purchased 21 acres, which have a high point at 1,000 feet elevation. In 1991, he began planting Pommard and later clones 115 and 777 in the jory and nekia soils. His early clients included Erath, Evesham Wood, King Estate and Willamette Valley Vineyards. The relationship with Erath would prove to be most important for Collada. In 1994, Dick Erath recruited Stuart from Washington’s Yakima Valley, where he was the longtime winemaker at Staton Hills, which became Sagelands Vineyard. In 2002, Stuart left to launch R. Stuart & Co. Winery in McMinnville, and Collada soon began to create his brand with Stuart as his winemaker.

“I have a sense of trust with Rob Stuart that I cannot overstate,” Collada said. “We are, like that saying, ‘brothers of a different mother.’ He is my American brother.” Cubanisimo Vineyards opened in 2003 as Collada began to end his contracts with other wineries. By 2005, his vines were producing only for his winery, and Collada’s goal is for Stuart’s influence to showcase the Eola-Amity Hills site. “I like a delicate style of Pinot Noir, and I decide how long I want the wines to stay in wood, the flavors of the blends that I want to purchase and the extraction,” Collada said. “But to say that I micromanage Rob is not even close to reality.” The Colladas’ closest neighbors are Redhawk and Kathken, with Orchard Heights, Evesham Wood, Cherry Hill, Left Coast and Eola Hills nearby. Their home overlooks 13 acres of vines, which produce about 50 percent of the wine at Cubanisimo Vineyards. At this point, they don’t intend to grow much larger. “The plan is to let the market dictate our growth,” he said. “I do not want to create any financial holes, and I won’t want anything to impair this beautiful wine trip that I am on.” Collada harbors a dream, not quite as bleak as it once appeared, to return to Cuba and live there on a part-time basis. His first trip back to Fidel Castro’s communist country came in 2002. He visited again earlier this year. “It is shocking to see how much it has changed in the last 10 years,” Collada said. “It was bittersweet. The people are still very positive and very fun, but they are horribly hamstrung, limited in what they can achieve.” For example, a 50-seat restaurant must give 50 percent of its profits to the government and then pay taxes of 30 percent, Collada said.

A weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest • Vol. 1, No. 30 • © 2011


FRESHPRESS Dec. 19, 2011

Spotlight: Cubanisimo Vineyards “One hundred percent of Cubans recognize their so-called ‘socialized dream’ is a failure, and I even talked to a retired general,” Collada said. “Ten years ago, you felt the military presence and the repression was very palpable. Everyone was afraid then, but this time, people were very open with their opinions.” Collada said his childhood memories of Cuba are dramatic and emotional. “My father’s business was taken overnight,” Collada said. “He was a painter and an artist, and he had the Christmas decorating contract for the city of Havana.” No one knows when or how the Cuban government will change, but Collada believes the United States would help ease the suffering if it were to lift its trade embargo.

“I would love to have an opportunity to have a place in Cuba and truly reconnect with my island, but I don’t see that having an immediate chance of happening,” he continued. “If you had an ‘occupy’ movement in Havana, it would last five minutes — and you would get ‘re-educated’ for 15 years.” It’s not surprising that Collada, who called himself a product of “the Cuban soup in Miami,” has found a market outside Oregon for his wine. About 25 percent of Cubanisimo Vineyards’ wine club members live in Florida. “It’s our second-biggest market,” said Ford, the operations manager, “Some months, it’s our largest.” Cubanisimo Vineyards, which closes each year in mid-December, will reopen April 1 on a daily basis. However, winter visits are available by appointment.

Outstanding! Cubanisimo Vineyards 2009 Estate Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $30. Mauricio Collada, a Salem, Ore., neurosurgeon, once sold his fruit to Erath Winery and winemaker Rob Stuart. When Stuart left to start his own winery, he also began making wines for Collada, and this release is a testament to their synergy. Fragrant barrels help make for aromas of boysenberry, black cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, clove and allspice. A tip of the glass brings a lovely carriage of fruit with flavors of sweet cherries, black currants, black raspberry and chocolate. It’s backed by fresh baking spices amid a medium structure where everything fits into place. For those new to Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, here’s a great introduction. Enjoy with slow-cooked lamb shanks. (500 cases, 12.8% alc.)

Outstanding! Cubanisimo Vineyards 2009 Rumba Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $21. Vineyard sources change each vintage for Mauricio Collada’s entry-level Pinot Noir, and this year it was Dylan’s Run near Eugene, Ore. Regardless, winemaker Rob Stuart continually dials in this screw-topped Pinot Noir that incorporates some estate fruit. There are notes of black cherry, boysenberry, orange zest, milk chocolate, allspice, warm tar and cherry wood. Flavors run back and forth from black cherry, black currant, dark chocolate and blood orange, creating a full mouth feel and a balanced structure with almost no tannin but lots of acidity. Enjoy with a flank steak rubbed with rosemary or a hearty lamb stew. (600 cases, 12.7% alc.)

Excellent. Cubanisimo Vineyards 2008 Estate Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $32. Inviting aromas of black currant, cordial cherry and fresh-picked dates include black olive and a whiff of saddle leather, which lead into a juicy presentation of more cherries and currant flavors. There’s a spicy and food-friendly finish of black olive, graphite and Earl Grey tea. Try with Cuban-style baby back ribs, which feature garlic, oregano and orange juice. (750 cases, 13% alc.)

Excellent. Cubanisimo Vineyards 2010 Rosado de Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $19. Delicate aromas of strawberry, rhubarb, cherry juice and pomegranate extend into the flavors of this dry rosé from this estate vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills near Salem, Ore. It’s a crisp and broadly textured pink with accents of coffee, pomegranate acidity and cherry-skin tannin. Enjoy with Coconut Chicken, a pulled-pork sandwich or smoked salmon. (178 cases, 11% alc.)

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.

A weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest • Vol. 1, No. 30 • © 2011


FRESHPRESS Dec. 19, 2011

New releases we’ve tasted Syrah Outstanding! Dusted Valley Vintners 2008 Rachis Syrah, Columbia Valley, $53. Another Syrah from Dusted Valley? You bet! This is a big, reserve-style red that is co-fermented with 6% Viognier then blended with 4% Petite Sirah (a grape that is fast becoming a favorite with the Dusted Valley boys). Most of the grapes come from Lonesome Spring Ranch near Benton City, and this is 100% free run, meaning the majority of the tannins were left behind by not pressing the grapes for additional juice. It is aromatically intriguing with floral notes on the nose, as well as hints of cedar, vanilla bean, a hint of oak and a boysenberry milk shake. On the palate, it is as complex as it is delicious, with flavors of blackberries, slate, red currants, cherries, black licorice and dark chocolate. The tannins are well in check, expertly backing up a ton of fruit. (150 cases, 14.7% alc.) Excellent. Dusted Valley Vintners 2009 Squirrel Tooth Alice Syrah, Columbia Valley, $39. This Walla Walla Valley winery has excelled with Syrah, and here’s another high-end offering. It’s named after a Kansas woman of lore who worked in the world’s oldest profession. It is a quite a romp in the glass with seductive aromas of dusty blueberries and cedar, followed by sensual flavors of boysenberries and Marionberries. It’s a big, rich wine with exciting acidity that adds to Dusted Valley’s already-impressive body of work. (150 cases, 15.2% alc.) Excellent. Dusted Valley Vintners 2009 Stained Tooth Syrah, Columbia Valley, $32. This top Walla Walla Valley winery blends a bit of Petite Sirah, Grenache and Mourvèdre into this high-quality Syrah from top Washington vineyards, including Lonesome Spring and Stone Tree. It was aged in 30% new oak from Wisconsin and France. It opens with classic aromas of black plums, boysenberries, figs, baked pears, cedar and cocoa powder. On the palate, it offers big flavors of Marionberries, blackberries, black currants and dried cherries, all backed with assertive tannins. (480 cases, 15.2% alc.) Recommended. Smasne Cellars 2007 Upland Vineyard Syrah, Yakima Valley, $25. Robert Smasne creates a fair bit of hedonism here with its dense and toasty theme of plums, black currant, Belgian chocolate, cedar and cardamom. Look for this either at his Woodinville or Kennewick tasting rooms. (98 cases, 13.9% alc.)

Malbec Excellent. Desert Wind Winery 2009 Desert Wind Vineyard Estate Malbec, Wahluke Slope, $20. The Fries family’s first bottling of this Bordeaux variety off

its Wahluke Slope estate provides a nice look into the future, but the present is not to be overlooked, especially at this price. The nose carries aromas of purple fruit such as boysenberry, blueberry and mulberry, backed by violets, cracked pepper and a freshness that suggests some carbonic maceration. Complex flavors of boysenberry, huckleberry, ripe watermelon, pie cherry filling and lime make this delicious amid the structure of well-managed tannins and minerality. And the 20 months in American oak shows particularly with the finish of Baker’s chocolate. (160 cases, 14.5% alc.)

Mourvèdre Excellent. Dusted Valley Vintners 2009 Stone Tree Mourvèdre, Wahluke Slope, $39. Tedd Wildman operates what is developing into one of the top vineyards on Washington’s Wahluke Slope. Dusted Valley blended a bit of Syrah and Grenache into this Mourvèdre, keeping with the traditional Rhône varieties. The resulting red wine is as opulent as it is bold, with aromas of blackberries, black currants, chalkboard dust and flannel. On the palate, it is delicous from first sip, with flavors of Belgian chocolate, Marionberries and black licorice. The massive tannins might remind you of another Rhône variety (Petite Sirah), and the voluptuous fruit manages to keep up. Tame this big guy with a rib eye topped with gorgonzola. (75 cases, 15% alc.)

Red blends Outstanding! Dusted Valley Vintners 2009 Wallywood, Columbia Valley, $42. The Dusted Valley boys have a great sense of humor with many of their wine names, and this is another clever offering that combines the names of the two cities where they have tasting rooms: Walla Walla and Woodinville. It’s a Southern Rhône-style blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre using grapes from the Walla Walla and Yakima valleys and Wahluke Slope. It opens with aromas of cherry pipe tobacco, blueberries, a sprinkle of cocoa and something that reminded us of the Hoh Rain Forest. On the palate, it reveals flavors of pomegranates, boysenberries, blackberries, black olives and Baker’s chocolate. It’s beautifully integrated with plenty of tannin to back up the extensive fruit. (125 cases, 14.9% alc.) Recommended. Northwest Cellars 2007 Intrigue, Columbia Valley, $28. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (71%), Merlot (25%), Malbec (2%) and Petit Verdot features a theme of poached plums, chocolate-covered cherries, vanilla extract and chewing tobacco. Bold tannins and a hint of

A weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest • Vol. 1, No. 30 • © 2011


FRESHPRESS Dec. 19, 2011

New releases we’ve tasted sweetness have this in the drink-now category. (141 cases, 13.9% alc.)

Sauvignon Blanc Recommended. Best Buy! Desert Wind Winery 2008 Desert Wind Vineyard Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Wahluke Slope, $15. Far from boring, there’s no shortage of citrus or tartness from this second vintage of Sauvignon Blanc created by this stylish tasting room in Prosser, Wash. The nose flashes aromas of gooseberry, kumquat, slate, grassiness, lime and Hubba Bubba gum. A sip brings flavors of fresh gooseberry pie, Circus Peanut candy, lime peel and lemon. Enjoy with grilled oysters. (611 cases, 15.5% alc.)

White blends Excellent. Columbia Crest 2009 Coyote Canyon Vineyard Reserve White, Horse Heaven Hills, $20. It’s strange to see such a small production from this Northwest behemoth, yet its obvious that the winemaking team enjoyed this Rhône variety project. And folks will relish this blend of Roussanne (65%), Viognier (18%) and Marsanne from Mike Andrews’ 1,100-acre vineyard. The nose brings thoughts of dried apricot, apple, fig and lemon zest, then come flavors of Honeycrisp apple, white peach, freshsqueezed lemon and anise. There’s a bit of flannellike tension to the structure and bold acidity. (50 cases, 13.5% alc.) Excellent. Best Buy! Script & Seal 2009 White, Washington, $12. This second label for Dusted Valley Vintners is a value-minded blend of Chardonnay with Riesling. We love the aromas of apples, pineapples, pears and lemon yogurt, followed by flavors of Asian pears, Granny Smith apples and a hint of saffron. It’s a tart wine without being too puckery. This is part of Dusted Valley’s Blind Boar project, a negociant operation whose wines are available in various outlets, including Haggens and Top Foods. (3,500 cases, 13.9% alc.)

Viognier Recommended. AntoLin Cellars 2009 Viognier, Yakima Valley, $19. This new Yakima, Wash., winery planted its young estate vines in the Rattlesnake Hills, and his Rhône varities are coming on line. The blend with Marsanne (10%) and Roussanne (10%) shows oak influence throughout, starting in the nose that includes apple, pineapple and butterscotch. On the palate, it drinks akin to a high-acid Chardonnay with flavors of apple, white peach, lime and blanched almond. (117 cases, 13.7% alc.)

Excellent. Best Buy! Desert Wind Winery 2010 Desert Wind Vineyard Estate Bare Naked Viognier, Wahluke Slope, $15. The “naked” reference means winemaker Mark Chargin went sans oak for this Viognier. That allows for a quintessential Viognier nose of orange Creamsicle, backed by tutti frutti bubble gum and honeysuckle. It’s more grown up on the palate with Asian pear, pink grapefruit and slight nutty flavors, finishing with plenty of accessible acidity and dried orange rind. Enjoy with pad Thai. (251 cases, 14.5% alc.) Excellent. Northwest Cellars 2010 Viognier, Snipes Mountain, $21. Kirkland, Wash., entrepreneur Bob Delf made his mark early on by creating personalized labels for Northwest wines. He continues to have Yakima Valley winemaker Robert Smasne crafting some of his wines, and that relationship allows Delf to tap into Snipes Mountain for fruit. There’s a whiff of orange Creamsicle, smoke and oak, yet the flavors are dominated by enjoyable tangerine, nectarine, peach and pear. It packs more acidity than one usually associates with Viognier. (102 cases, 13.9% alc.)

Dessert wines Excellent. Westport Winery NV Ancient Mariner's, Washington, $25. Dana Roberts makes the wines for his folks their young winery along the Washington coast, and a sizeable portion of their bottlings are devoted to adding non-grape fruit to wine made from vinifera grapes. Here, the base is Riesling with pear juice, and there are strong signs of both in the lively aromas. Poached pear, peach and apricot aromas also bring in hints of green apple taffy, lemon zest, honeysuckle and wet stone. It’s a dang tasty drink with flavors of pineapple, mango and papaya, backed by tangerine-like acidity to balance the 10% residual sugar. Approach this as you would a late harvest, serve with an ice cub or pour it over the top of ice cream. (267 cases, 10% alc.) Recommended. Westport Winery NV Peaches on the Beaches, Washington, $21. The artful and suggestive watercolor painting featured on the label serves as a momentary distraction from this peachinfluenced, dessertish white blend. Dense aromas of peaches and fuzzy apricots include candied ginger, Bit O Honey, butterscotch and a fresh-baked maple bar. It’s a soft and very peachy mouthful of sweetness (10% residual sugar), and backed by more butterscotch. Purchase of this wine helps support the Grays Harbor Breast Cancer Alliance. (383 cases, 10% alc.)

A weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest • Vol. 1, No. 30 • © 2011


FRESHPRESS Dec. 19, 2011

New releases we’ve tasted Recommended. Westport Winery NV Shiver Me Timbers, Washington, $25. Take some late-harvest Riesling, blend it with juice from passion fruit, orange and guava (POG) and strap in for a bit of a wild ride from this amber-colored drink. The nose takes a tropical theme, backed by hints of dried pineapple, apricot, currant and papaya. The approach to the palate starts with sweet pineapple then quickly turns tart with flavors of Mandarin orange, sour cherry, white peach and quince. There’s a bit of talcum powder in the finish for fascination. Serve this cold. (237 cases, 11% alc.) Recommended. Westport Winery NV Shelter From The Storm, Washington, $25. It makes sense for a winery near the Pacific Ocean to create Port-style wines, but the Roberts family charts a rather unusual course with this blend of blackberry, blueberry and cranberry juice that’s fortified. While the blueberry and cranberry aromas lead the way, there are notes of bittersweet chocolate and a bit of leafiness. The flavor and structure to the palate is fun with cranberry as the theme and blackberry in the finish. But this is a bit devilish, too, because its combination of berries, wealth of acidity and tartness tames the residual sugar (10%) and makes it a sneaky drink. Pour this over French vanilla ice cream or crushed ice. (301 cases, 16% alc.)

A weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest • Vol. 1, No. 30 • © 2011


FRESHPRESS Dec. 19, 2011

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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FRESHPRESS Dec. 19, 2011

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 editor@winepressnw.com Managing editor: Eric Degerman edegerman@winepressnw.com Advertising inquiries: Parker Hodge phodge@tricityherald.com © 2011

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.

A weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest • Vol. 1, No. 30 • © 2011


Fresh Press for Dec. 19, 2011