Posts in Pinot Noir
Chehalem Makeover 

Chehalem Winery has a new 'do. Since the winery's purchase in early 2018, the font of the winery name went from "ALL CAPS" to "Sentence case". (The winery's founders previously used CHEHALEM to distinguish the use of the winery from the American Viticultural Area, or AVA, of the same name.) Then, this year, the label got a full makeover (now: sexy and sleek in black vs then: wine geeky and laid-back with colorful photos). My favorite part is the offer a new nugget of information: Chehalem is a Calapooia tribe word that means "Valley of Flowers". 

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Maison de la Chapelle 2017

Winemakers travel so much these days - especially Grégory Viennois of Maison de la Chapelle and Domaine Laroche, both located in northern Burgundy's Yonne region - that it is not infrequent to taste without them, even when I'm on their home turf. I am grateful, however, that Gregory left the Maison de la Chapelle wines for me to taste when I was visiting in July. This gave me the chance to taste them over the course of several evenings. All of these wines open up nicely with air and time, which is not something that I would have witnessed tasting them in one go with Grégory.

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The Reliable Stable at Stoller Family Estate

Melissa Burr has been making wine at Stoller Family Estate for years. Moreover, she was born and raised Oregonian. Her wines taste like they are ready to be the centerpiece - even the host - of a great conversation. There's clearly a lot of heart, personal grit and local love that goes into her wines! 

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The Bollinger Non-Vintages - A Toast to Celebrating Summer

I recently had the chance to taste through these two wines thoughtfully, watching them evolve for several hours after opening. The two tenants of Bollinger's style were clearly present from start to finish: the attractive oxidation from the oak barrel aging of at least half of the base wines (all vintage and reserve wines are made exclusively using oak barrels from a range of ages) and the house's signature power supplied by a majority of Pinot Noir in the two blends.

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Trading a Plane Ride for a Pinot Noir

I love airplanes. So when I was invited to take a ride on The Spirit of Benovia, the renovated C-53 World War II aircraft that participated in the D-Day invastion, I was beyond excited. Then, realizing that other commitments wouldn't allow me to participate sent me into a tailspin.  At least I had the chance to savor the wine crafted and named in honor of the plane to be released for the 75th "vintage" commemoration of that heroic WWII campaign to liberate France.

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Rodney Strong Over-Delivers on This Quintet

This array of Rodney Strong wines over-delivers for its price points. Per my previous post, this isn’t surprising. They have a smartly balanced oak influence, meaning that any new oak flavors present are well-integrated and don’t over take the fresh fruit nuances. They also do a terrific job of showing regional and varietal typicity. I’ll gladly endorse these, especially the Chardonnay Chalk Hill and the Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley.

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FEL: Tasting Firsts 

As an admirer of FEL for many years, I was curious to see what these different vineyards had to say. I must say that I was impressed by the differences in their voices! The two Pinot Noirs offer a surprising contrast of weight, texture and fruit aromas given how small Anderson Valley is – it’s barely longer than the island of Manhattan – and how relatively closely these vineyards sit!  

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Ruby Vineyard Mystery Delivery

Three bottles of wine arrived with no advance notice on my doorstep a few weeks ago. Intrigued, I opened them all over several days last week. They are very accessible, ready-to-drink Oregon bottlings from the Willamette that carry very reasonable price tags. The Chardonnay is the Goldilocks wine of the trio for QPR. I’m so curious to learn more about why I received these wines, but it is always a pleasure to see what is happening in Oregon through the window of a sample set!

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385 Notes & 501 Scores on Sonoma Pinot Noir & Chardonnay

These Pinot Noir and Chardonnay tastings were primarily conducted in Sonoma over the course of two visits (one for ten days, one for three days). My ten-day visit was thorough, covering eight hundred and four miles (1,294 km) and 39 winery appointments.

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Trentodoc Trials

Trentodoc bubbly is on a mission to have its metodo classico wines perceived as the best in Italy. The tip-top of this category of wines is crisp and bitingly dry – in an appealing way. They are also layered with flavor.

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The Latest Sunshine-in-a-Glass from Nicolas Potel: Bellenos

When I visited Burgundy in the summer and fall of 2017, cellars were full of Côteaux Bourguignon. I was surprised at how many vignerons had embraced this category – one that falls into the gluggable, cuddly, one-more-glass-why-not-? sort of category.

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The Latest Releases of FEL and Cliff Lede

One of the most impressive attributes of the FEL wines is their consistency at a high quality level. The Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay are especially notable. I always appreciate the FEL wines’ terrific balance and clearly defined varietal character. Year over year, I am entirely confident of what I will get in a bottle of wine from FEL. So, I was excited to taste the Pinot Gris for the first time.

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All in the Family: Domaine Jaeger-Defaix

I’ve long been a fan of the wide range offered at Chablis’ Domaine Bernard Defaix. So when Didier (son of Bernard, who with his brother Sylvain oversees the domaine’s production today) asked if I would be interested in tasting the wines of the Rully domaine that his wife, Hélène, inherited in 2002, I replied with great eagerness. I’d tasted a wine or two here or there in New York, but I didn’t know much about them.

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