March Food and Wine Pairings

Beneath the Cork with Mike H. Assistant Liquor
Mike

Columbia Crest winery has found a home in the Horse Heaven Hills of Washington for more than two decades. This region and winery combine to make some of Washington’s and maybe the world’s most affordable and best “every day” drinking wines. The soil deposits from the Missoula Floods during the Ice Age and the current climate help create a terroir there ideal for wine grapes like Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay & Riesling just to name a few. Continue reading “March Food and Wine Pairings”

A tour of Gloria Ferrer Winery

Beneath the Cork with Mike H. Assistant Liquor
Mike

Admittedly, when I sat down to dinner with Gloria Ferrer Executive Winemaker, Bob Iantosca, I did not know as much about his wines as I should have.  By the end of the night my only disappointment was that I had not encountered these wines sooner.  All of the wines I tasted were excellent, but for me Bob’s Pinot Noir & Sparkling Wines really stood out.

The starting point (and final point for that matter) for Gloria Ferrer wines are the Sparkling wines. Bob has more than 30 years experience in making sparkling wines and the results in the bottles speak for themselves. He starts by hand harvesting the sparkling wine grapes in small lots and much earlier than I anticipated.  For this year’s harvest for example he anticipates harvest for sparkling wine grapes to begin the second full week in August. Bob was adamant about their process of gently pressing these to preserve their very best aromas and flavors. Finally, he was very insistent that we taste the sparkling wines with food just like we would the still wines, as they were made with fruit characteristics, acid and subtleties to pair with food.  I must say that his Blanc de Noirs and Va de Vi sparkling wines were some of the best I have ever paired with food.

www.cobornsblog.com A tour of the Gloria Ferrer Winery - "Pinot Noir should give you a hug not a punch." - Winemaker, Bob IantoscaIn the middle of all this sparkling wine we also tasted through Gloria Ferrer’s Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir paired with my Salmon entrée was fabulous and it generated perhaps my favorite quote from Bob that night, “Pinot Noir should give you a hug not a punch.”  There is no better way to sum up his Pinot Noir than that. Bob has been making Pinot Noir at Gloria Ferrer since 1985 and there are a couple reasons that make his Pinot Noir so delicious.  First (and with many things) it comes down to location. He appreciates the good fortune to be making wine from grapes grown near the bay which bud out faster, but also experience a longer growing season because of the cool nights. The other key factor to his Pinot Noir’s success is his patience and willingness to never stop learning. Since 1991 he and his wine making team have conducted countless trials with dozens and dozens of different Pinot Noir clones to find the right and highest quality grapes to fit their winemaking style and the land they grow on.

Until next time – Cheers!

– Mike
Assistant Liquor Division Manager
Coborn’s, Inc.

Click Here for more blog articles written by Mike

Beneath the Cork with Mike - www.cobornsblog.com

Why I love Pinot Noir

www.cobornsblog.com - Why I love Pinot Noir

Beneath the Cork with Mike  Assistant Liquor Manager
Mike

Oregon wine country, by the standards of many other places, is small.  Although there are multiple American Viticultural Area’s in Oregon it is the Willamette Valley AVA that produces the lion’s share of Oregon’s wine.  From north to south it is 100 miles long and covers 3.3 million acres.  Of that space in 2011 there were 20,000 acres of grape vines planted for the roughly 500 wineries.

Pinot Noir is easily the most widely planted grape, and kudos to The Eyrie Vineyards for being the first to plant this grape variety in Oregon.  Pinot Noir is the reason I drink wine today, especially red wine.  Although my first glass of Pinot Noir was not from Oregon, it was that first glass of Benton-Lane Pinot Noir that hooked me. It has all the cherry and currant fruitiness you would expect with beautifully subtle hints of vanilla and spices.  It should also be noted, Benton-Lane has developed a proprietary method of caring for their land that incorporates the best of Organic, Bio-dynamic and Sustainable farming practices.

A couple other stellar Oregon producers are Adelsheim and Sokol-Blosser.  Adelsheim is in North Willamette Valley in the Chehalem Mountains.  If you are so fortunate as to track down some of their single vineyard Pinot Noir’s they really do an outstanding job of highlighting the many sub-climates within Willamette Valley.  The Adelsheim Willamette Valley Pinot Noir also does a fantastic job of demonstrating the style and scope of North Willamette’s Pinot Noir.  Sokol-Blosser might be most familiar to some as the producers of the white blend called Evolution.  Overlooking their Pinot Noir would be unfortunate.  Winemaker Russ Rosner has taken the single vineyard concept to another level by singling out specific blocks within vineyards and really making special wines.  For him the bottom line with Pinot Noir is care and finesse in treating the grapes and it shows in his wines!

Until next time – Cheers!

– Mike
Assistant Liquor Division Manager
Coborn’s, Inc.

Click Here for more blog articles written by Mike

Beneath the Cork with Mike - www.cobornsblog.com