Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Could It Really Be Spring . . . Finally? Or Not.

After a couple mornings of temperatures right at or slightly below freezing, we woke up today to almost balmy temps around 40 after a beautiful, sun-drenched day yesterday. Maybe Spring is finally here.

Oh, wait. The 10-day forecast calls for one day (Friday) in the sixties with the balance of the days in the fifties with showers. The vines haven't budded out, the tulips and magnolia trees are blooming in a real half-assed way and it looks like the rhododendrons won't make it for their traditional Mother's Day blooming apogee. Roses might bloom by July.

I'm hating life about now and I don't know whether to drink or go bowling.

Monday, April 18, 2011

An Early Look At The 2010 Willamette Valley Pinots

I've now tasted 10 barrel samples from 2010, all of them from Byron Dooley at Seven of Hearts/Luminous Hills. Previously I'd had three from Doug Ackerman's Armstrong Vineyard. Yesterday I had the privilege of tasting six new ones from various spots - though one was a syrah from the Columbia Valley.

These were all from new barrels and had been taken from the barrels the previous week, so there was a bit of extrapolating to do given the new oak (not my preference) and oxygen exposure, so you may want to take what I have to say with a grain of salt. Along with the Armstrong samples, these are about the most exciting young pinots I've ever tasted. One sample, taken from Lia's Vineyard (Pommard, Wadensvil and Mariafeld) was, to put it mildly, simply outrageously good. As I understand it, the Pommard and Wadensvil are approximately 20 years old and own-rooted, but I digress.

I gave a taste from my glass of Lia's to another customer in the tasting room. Her husband wasn't so crazy about it 'cause he's an acid freak and loves the 2007s, but I thought her eyes were going to roll back in her head and she was going to pass out on the spot. She's a pretty experienced taster with a well-developed palate from what I was able to gather during our conversation, so I guess you can use her as another source of enthusiasm for the 2010 pinots from the Willamette Valley. Too bad there isn't going to be a lot of wine because of the bird damage, but what there is will be outstanding.

Disclaimer - I like to think I can be objective, and every time I say something even remotely critical of Byron's wines he plays it back for me when I visit. The guy's got an eidetic memory, I suppose. In any event, I like to think we're pretty good friends so I might be biased. Add to it that I'm going to be working in his tasting room on special occasions like Memorial Day weekend and I feel the need for disclosure. The wines were still outstanding, though.