Saturday, April 12, 2014

WineChat Tasting 2010 Lenné Pinot Noir, Oregon,Yamhill-Carlton District @lennewine

Stephen Lutz, Owner, Lenné.

Is there a difference between good wine and great wine? There is, there is. Compare a great wine besides a good wine and the good wine may be bitter ashes in your mouth. The 2010 Lenné  Estate Pinot Noir is a great wine my friends. Seek this wine out and savor the beauty of great Oregon wine.
"It was almost 5 years before we knew we'd make great Pinots." - Stephen Lutz 

The Wednesday, 09 April 2014 #Winechat twitter wine tasting featured the 2010 Lenné  Estate Pinot Noir. Stephen Lutz, Owner of Lenné tweeted from Oregon as a group of us from the East and West coasts opened and savored his 2010 Estate Pinot Noir. There were smiles in the twitterverse from coast to coast.


My first experience meeting Steve Lutz and sampling his Oregon wines was in 2012 at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland, Oregon. I was impressed then by the great depth and character of his Pinot Noir. Truly some of the biggest and most complex Pinot Noir I have enjoyed. I knew I was in for a treat when I received his 2010 Lenné  Estate Pinot Noir.


Tasting Notes:

Color: Burgandy, darker than expected
Nose: Rich, dark, raspberry, strawberry and cherry. Spicy tar notes. After 25 minutes nose was deeper, mocha appeared. At 40 Minutes candied fruit, rich earth. At 45 minutes strawberry and balsamic reduction. Intense nose. Herbal/grassy notes faded in and out, along with coconut and vanilla. Almost like going for a stroll in wine country with a delicious glass of wine.
Palate: Creamy mouth, dark fruit, solid dark tannin, scrumptious finish. Rich finish at 25 minutes with mocha. Tannin more present on teeth and gums at 45 minutes with mocha, strawberry, balsamic reduction finish. Super focused at 55 minutes, a true pleasure. At 75 minutes fantastic.

Day Two: Nose just as intense with mocha, sarsaparilla, cherry, dark java with black pepper. Mocha dominant, red fruit notes. Silky smooth with black cherry finish.

Thoughts: Refined Pinot Noir, silky drinker at opening, great depth and a wine that will surprise you at how big it drinks. This is one of the best Oregon Pinot Noirs I've enjoyed. At 40 minutes it had a super sexy nose. You can tell I enjoyed and savored this wine. Ready to drink today and over the next 5 years. I have little self control with great wines, so I'd likely drink it all this year. Discover what a great Pinot Noir tastes like - Strongly Recommended.

Pair with mushroom risotto or Chicken Marsala. Steve recommends mac and cheese with good cheese.

Closure: Natural cork
ABV: 14%
SRP: $45
Production: 225 cases
Cold soaked 5 days; aged for 11 months French oak barrels
Sample provided by the winery.

Visit Lenné  Estate
Open Saturday and  Sunday from 12-5,
Usually there Thursday and Friday from 1-5,
Please verify by email to STEVE@LENNEESTATE.COM
Lenné ~ 18760 NE Laughlin Road ~ Yamhill, OR 97148 ~ 503-956-2256


Lenné  Estate 20 acre vineyard is on sedimentary or Willakenzie soils called "Peavine" which is considered the poorest soil type in the WillametteValley. The Lenné vineyard shares a ridge with Willakenzie Estate, Deux Vert, Shea, Solena, Roots and Penner-Ash. The vineyard was planted between 2001-2004 at an elevation of 375-575 feet, with 2084 vines per acre. Clones Pommard, 115, 114, 777 and 667.

Cool vintages like 2010 take time to reveal and are best with patience. Many producers in 2010 lost up to 50% of their crop yield, due to cool weather and bird pressure. Patience rewarded -  this wine is a stellar vintage for Lenné.

Lenné was born in 2000 when Steve and Karen Lutz bought a 21 acre site near the town of Yamhill, Oregon. Steve planted 15 acres of Pinot Noir on the site beginning in 2001. The vineyard is managed and farmed by Steve and the wine is made by Steve at Owen Roe with the help of their crew. Lenné takes its name from Karen’s late father Lenny, an Englishman and farmer whose spirit lives on at Lenné.

Steve shared that when he first tasted his bottled Lenné in 2004, he told his wife "Don't worry we are going to be okay." More than okay Stephen, well done, bravo!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Rock Legends Take the Stage - Maryhill’s 2014 Summer Concert Series


Styx and Foreigner, Peter Frampton and Buddy Guy, plus Ian Anderson performing the Best of Jethro Tull summer 2014 at Maryhill Winery!

Goldendale, Wash. (April 7, 2013) – Maryhill Winery & Amphitheater is pleased to announce a chart-topping lineup for the 2014 summer concert series, featuring some of the best-selling artists from the 70s and 80s. With dates set for August and September, three groups are set to take the stage at Maryhill Winery’s picturesque amphitheater:

Ballad legends Styx and Foreigner, recent Hall of Fame inductees Peter Frampton and Buddy Guy, and iconic rocker Ian Anderson performing the Best of Jethro Tull.

Tickets go on sale to the public through Maryhill’s website or Ticketfly (1-877-435-9849) on Friday, April 11 at 10 a.m., with prices ranging from $49 to $150. 

Panoramic view of Maryhill Winery amphitheater.
Located along the Washington border of the Columbia River Gorge, just 100 miles east of Portland, Ore., Maryhill Winery is lauded as one of the top destination wineries and most scenic music venues in the Pacific Northwest. With seating for 4,000 built into the natural slope of the outdoor lawn, Maryhill has been a popular summer hotspot for nearly a decade and continues to add new attractions, such as four world-class bocce courts and a Reserve Room, to make it the fifth most-visited winery in the state.

Craig Leuthold.

“The talent that has crossed our stage over the years has been incredible, and this year is no exception,” said Craig Leuthold, owner of Maryhill Winery.

“We started the summer concert series 10 years ago with a pop-up stage, but quickly realized that by combining great music with our stunning location and exceptional wine, Maryhill could become more than just a winery for our fans. It’s now a tradition.”

2014 Summer Concert Series Musicians.
The summer concert lineup includes the following musical acts, with more artist information available at
  • Aug. 2 – Styx and Foreigner. 
  • Aug. 23 – Frampton's Guitar Circus featuring Peter Frampton and Buddy Guy.
  • Sept. 13 – The Best of Jethro Tull performed by Ian Anderson.

In addition to its summer concert series, Maryhill Winery also offers free live music on the terrace every weekend from 1 to 5 p.m., from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The winery’s Tasting Room, which closes 90 minutes before gates open on concert days, is open throughout the summer from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, with the Reserve Room hours varying by season.

For more information about Maryhill Winery, its popular concert series and to sign up for the winery’s e-newsletter, visit; and be sure to fan Maryhill on Facebook, and follow on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Vicki and Craig Leuthold with winery dog Potter.

About Maryhill Winery
Established in 1999 by Craig and Vicki Leuthold, Maryhill Winery is the 10th largest winery in Washington state and produces 90,000 cases annually. Nestled among rows of vines along the stunning Columbia River in Goldendale, Wash., Maryhill is a popular destination for wine tastings, tours and special events, with an adjacent 4,000-seat outdoor amphitheater that hosts a world-class summer concert series and free live music on the vine-covered terrace every weekend (Memorial Day – September). Maryhill’s 3,000 sq. ft. tasting room and 1,200 sq. ft. Reserve Room draw more than 75,000 wine enthusiasts from around the globe each year, ranking among the top five most visited wineries in the state. Maryhill sources more than 30 different varietals of grapes from some of the most highly-regarded vineyards in the state, producing nearly 40 different wines, and has claimed more than 2,000 awards since its first vintage in 2001.

Related Posts:
I'm a little tingly about this years summer concerts at Maryhill Winery. These bands were huge and some of my favorites growing up in Seattle and then in College. Yes, I'll try to make it to Maryhill Winery this summer. Get your tickets now before they disappear.


- William

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review: 2012 Lupine Vineyards Roses and Ribbons Pinot Noir, Lake Chelan AVA

Yes, a Washington Pinot Noir.

We named it Roses and Ribbons in homage to the Bob Hunter- Grateful Dead's song, "It Must have Been the Roses."
- Robert Anderson

There is precious little Pinot Noir made in Washington. We lack the climate for this most delicate fruit. Naturally I was curious about how well it would show in this bottling.

Tasting Notes

This wine was timid and required patience, almost two hours, for it to open.

Color: Ruby.
Nose: Earthy raspberry, marmalade toast.
Palate: Medium body, bright, good grip on the tongue and inner lip, cinnamon, raspberry, orange on the dry, medium-short finish.

Day two: Bigger and drier, tannin more obvious and appreciated. Hint of strawberry on the nose and an herbal note, with blackberry fruit leather and black pepper on the tongue, a dry raspberry finish. This bad boy is just coming to speed. It's a young wine and should only improve in bottle. I'd hold for 3 months and start pulling corks over the next 3 years.

Thoughts: What a contrasty wine; on day one a modest and delicate Pinot Noir and an enjoyable accompaniment to dinner of Lamb Loin Chops. On day two it was big, dry, with dark fruit and grippy. For those who prefer delicacy over power, this wine will suit now. If you are looking to understand the potential for Washington Pinot Noir you won't be disappointed. Open and drink the second day for a much bigger wine.

An interesting wine and worth your attention. Please, decant first. Recommended + Great Value.

AVA: Lake Chelan
Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 13.6%
13 months in neutral oak
Winemaker: Robert Anderson
Sample Provided by: Lupine Vineyards
SRP: $20

> Contact to arrange delivery or shipping.
Follow Lupine Vineyards on Facebook!

Neglected Pinot Noir.

Note from the winemaker: "Common thought is that these grapes would be sub-standard at best and probably un-useable. In some years that may still be true. The location, the wind, the minimal ground water source and what might just be the toughest Pinot in the West conspire to make this a remarkable source for a few barrels. Why? The owner is unable to invest any effort and may sell the land to a developer at any time, so spending thousands to redress years of inattention without some surety is a risky endeavor. The vineyard had zero positive attention. No spray, no water, no mowing, no roundup- nothing for more than 5 years. Without pruning we have had to hand pick clusters that were both ripe and free of problems."

Related Posts:
About the winemaker: “Robert Anderson is a biologist and winemaker... As Operations Manager at the Seattle Aquarium, his experience in pumps and pipes, process control and chemistry serve him well...” Lupine Vineyards was established in 2010. It is located north of Lake Chelan, Washington.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review: Lupine Vineyards 2012 "Lyric" Pinot Gris, Chelan AVA


An intriguing and sexy artisanal Washington Pinot Gris.

ar·ti·san·al [ahr-tuh-zuh-nl, ahr-tiz-uh-]
"pertaining to or noting a high-quality or distinctive product made in small quantities, usually by hand or using traditional methods."

The Lupin Vineyards Pinot Gris was called "Lyric" in Keeping with a theme of music (their Chardonnay is named - "A Cappella", the Viognier - "Madrigal").

Neglected Pinot Gris.

This is an extremely small production wine. A great deal of TLC went into the making of this Pinot Gris. The Lake Chelan AVA vineyard these grapes were sourced had zero positive attention. No spray, no water, no mowing, no roundup- nothing for more than 5 years.

Without pruning, the clusters had to be hand picked. Only clusters that were both ripe and free of problems were selected. Common thought is that these grapes would be sub-standard at best and probably un-useable. The location, the wind, the minimal ground water source and the neglect conspire to make this a remarkable source for a few barrels.

Are you intrigued?

Tasting Notes

Color: Gold
Nose: Toast, ginger, unripe nectarine.
Palate: Medium body, honey, ginger, chamomile, fresh, creamy, dry, with nectarine on the cheeks, sexy at first taste. Equally refreshing and enjoyable day two. An outdoor sipping wine, enjoy paired with fresh seafood. Highly Recommended + Great Value.

Closure: Natural cork
ABV: 13.65%
AVA: Chelan AVA
Fermented in stainless
SRP: $14 direct
Sample provided by the winery

> Contact to arrange delivery or shipping.
Follow Lupine Vineyards on Facebook!

This is the first of two samples I received from Lupine Vineyards. The other wine I will review is their 2012 Roses and Ribbons Pinot Noir. Yes! A Washington Pinot Noir. More soon.

About the winemaker: “Robert Anderson is a biologist and winemaker... As Operations Manager at the Seattle Aquarium, his experience in pumps and pipes, process control and chemistry serve him well...” Lupine Vineyards was established in 2010. It is located north of Lake Chelan, in Manson, Washington.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Review: 2011 Villa San-Juliette Zinfandel Paso Robles, CA @VSJWinery


Say hello to my delicious friend Zinfandel.

When I was asked to review this California Zinfandel I jumped at the chance. California is famous for producing world-class Zinfandel. And Zinfandel is a variety I seldom see in my glass. The last time I enjoyed California Zinfandel was at the 2013 International Wine Festival in Vancouver, BC. They kind of blew away the California Pinot Noir. This wine was a true treat.

Tasting Notes:
Color: Clear garnet
Nose: Smoky, blueberry, tar, resin and licorice
Palate: Good mouth feel, tart, licorice, tar, nicely dry, dark fruit finish, happy flavors of lingering gingerbread, licorice and coffee. With air this wine became dense on the palate, smoky dark blueberry, orange marmalade, plum, tannin fuzz on teeth and gums. Shiny mid-palate.

Day two: Most excellent on day two, heavy, flavorful and most enjoyable as a drinking wine. There's aging potential in this vintage.

Thoughts: Get up and go! Open and enjoy.  I enjoyed this wine at opening and on the second day. A supremely flexible dinner wine, suitable for restaurants and home gatherings. Recommended + Great Value.

ABV: 15.5%
Closure: Natural cork
President, Hillary Trout
Winemaker, Matt Ortman
Sample provided by the winery
SRP: $25

About Villa San-Juliette
Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery recently completed Sustainability In Practice (SIP) certification with the Vineyard Team, a network of farmers that strives to promote sustainable vineyard practices and protect resources valuable to the land and the community.

Launched by Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick in 2006, Villa San-Juliette has made sustainability a focus since its inception, said Winemaker, Matt Ortman. “VSJ is a long-time member of the Vineyard Team,” Ortman recalled, “so we were already following many best practices before pursuing SIP certification.”

When Ortman joined the VSJ team in January, 2013, gaining SIP certification became a priority. “We completed the Vineyard Team’s audit of our growing practices and winery operations, including testing our well pump for efficiency. We made some important changes in erosion control and integrated pest management – specifically, installing more owl boxes – and were SIP certified within a year of my hire date.”

Villa San-Juliette is the vision of television producers Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe who believe in bringing the best talent together to create remarkable experiences.

The Villa opened to the public in October 2012. Nestled on the 168-acre estate with 132 acres of bearing vineyards planted to 11 varietals, provides a gracious setting for enjoying a one-of-a-kind experience in Paso Robles wine country. For more information about Villa San-Juliette, please call 805.467.0014, or visit

Villa San-Juliette is located at: 6385 Cross Canyons Road, San Miguel, CA 93451.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review: Holman Ranch 2011 Pinot Noir Heather's Hill, Carmel, California @holmanranch


Bravo! A Plush Pinot Noir.

Last May, I originally reviewed this 2011 Holman Ranch Pinot Noir. It was a pleasure and a special treat to re-visit this wine from Carmel, California. It has improved my friends. Any rough edges I noticed last year are gone. This wine is ready to drink now and has potential to improve in bottle. 


Tasting Notes: 
Color: Clear ruby.
Nose: Ripe strawberry flesh with dark tilled soil, candied raspberry.
Palate: Plush, medium-full body, wild strawberry, ripe and fresh, longer than expected finish. Pinot fans will adore this wine. Those unaccustomed to Pinot Noir will discover how seriously good this variety can be expressed. Big drinking Pinot Noir after seven hours with deep blueberry, fresh strawberry and spicy violet notes. Very intense, pretty and captivating. Impressive wine.

Thoughts: Pair with baked chicken, game hen, turkey, duck, pork loin, and beef Carpacio. Or just drink with a good friend. Highly recommended.

ABV: 14%
Closure: Real cork
Production: 444 Cases
SRP: $37
Sample provided by winery


I encourage you to seek out Holman Ranch wines. If you are anywhere near Carmel Valley a visit to their property is mandatory. They are on my must visit list.

*Since Holman Ranch is a private residence, all visits are by appointment only. Please call in advance.

Holman Ranch
P.O. Box 149
Carmel Valley, CA 93924
Tel (831) 659-2640
Fax (831) 659-6055

Tasting Room
19 E. Carmel Valley Road
Suite C
Carmel Valley, CA 93924
Tel (831) 659-2640
Fax (831) 659-6055
Tasting Room Hours
Mon–Sun - 11am–6pm
Private Tasting - Call for information

About Holman Ranch

Holman Ranch is located in the Carmel Valley, California. It was originally part of Mexico and the land was bestowed to the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo during the Spanish era. One of the first ranches was the Los Laureles Rancho that included property which today is Holman Ranch. In the 1920's the Ranch served as a retreat for Hollywood celebrities; including Charlie Chaplin and Theda Bara. By the 1940's Holman Ranch became one of the first resorts in the Carmel Valley and host to another generation of Hollywood celebrities. Some of the famous actors you would have seen included: Clark Gable, Vincent Price, Joan Crawford and Marlon Brando.

In 1989 estate vineyards were planted on the property. In 2006 the property was purchased by Thomas and Jarman Lowder. They refurbished and updated the Ranch, fulfilling their dream of making estate grown and bottled wines and olive oil.

The 400 acre property at Holman Ranch has become a venue for weddings, special events and corporate retreats. And they have 19 acres of estate vineyards. Varietals grown on property include: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. 


Friday, March 7, 2014

Bodegas Carrau Winemaking Passion in Uruguay @OWOCwines


Last year I attended a presentation by Professor Francisco Carrau at a luncheon on the Wines of Uruguay. It was my first opportunity to experience wines produced in this smallest South American country. The wines were impressive. My attention was especially captivated by the red wines. I was thoroughly intrigued by the Tannat. Later, I had a chance to sample more Tannat from Uruguay and to visit briefly with Mr. Francisco Carrau, winemaker of Bodegas Carrau. Wow! They had my attention.

In Uruguay red wine means Tannat. Tannat is a hardy varietal from France, originally made for kings, it is now the national red grape variety of Uruguay. Call me excited when I had the opportunity to participate in a Virtual Wine Tasting of wines from Uruguay. Wines made by the Carrau family!

Bodegas Carrau Sauvignon Blanc and Tannat Reserva.

It was a pleasure this week to taste and tweet about the Bodegas Carrau 2013 Sauvignon Blanc "Sur Lie" and the Bodegas Carrau 2010 Tannat De Reserva. I would like to thank Our World, Our Community for allowing me to participate in this wonderful wine tasting. You can consider me a fan of wines from Uruguay, and Bodegas Carrau. I'm eager to drink more Tannat.

About Bodegas Carrau

The first Carrau family member involved in winemaking was Francisco Carrau Vehils, a fisherman who started the original family winery in Catalunya, Spain in 1752. Today, the eighth generation of Carrau winemakers continue with passion in Uruguay. The Carrau family has been making wine for 260 years.

Winemaker Francisco Carrau speaking about wines of Uruguay.

Winemakers Francisco Carrau and Octavio Gioianacio practice sustainable farming techniques in the vineyard. They have two vineyards, one in Cerro Chapeau in northeast Uruguay and another in Las Violetas in southern Uruguay. They emphasize the fruit, not the oak. They are producing beautiful wines.


Tasting Notes 2013 Sauvignon Blanc "Sur Lie"

FYI: Fermented and left for six months in contact with the lies (Sur Lie).

Color: Pale silver-gold with hint of green.
Nose: Citrus, mineral, passion fruit, toasted coconut.
Palate: Crisp citrus, grapefruit, passion fruit, white peach, tea, good mouth feel, round,
fruity, long finish.

Day 2: Jasmin tea stood out on the finish. Still fresh with zesty grapefruit and soft pineapple, but enhanced by floral tea. It was just as good on day three. Terrific value at $14. Highly Recommended.

Blend: 100% Sauvignon Blanc, hand harvested
Country: Uruguay
Region: Cerro Chapeau, northern Uruguay
SRP: $14
ABV: 13.5%
Closure: Aglomerated cork
Production: 2,250 cases
Sample provided by Our World, Our Community, San Diego, CA


Tasting Notes 2010 Tannat De Reserva

FYI: Tannat is known for having the highest concentrations of oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs), an anti-oxidant which helps repair cells and thin blood - which is associated with health benefits and longer life spans. Some intriguing research is ongoing into the benefits of Tannat on health.

Color: Garnet.
Nose: At first restrained, whiff of blueberry and pepper, then leather, blackberry,
incense, sandalwood.
Palate: Fluid, instant like, filled the mouth, plum, some friendly acid back palate, plum,
orange peel on the medium dry finish. A lot of pleasure in the bottle. A less aggressive representation of Tannat, which can be rather big and bold.

Day 2 it was very focused. Not soft, not over the top, just a pure pleasure to drink. Fantastic value at $14 and a wonderful introduction to Tannat. Highly recommended.

Blend: 100% Tannat, hand harvested
Country: Uruguay
Region: Las Violetas, southern Uruguay
Fermented in stainless with native yeasts
SRP: $14
ABV: 13.5%
Closure: agglomerated cork
Production: 5,000 cases
Sample provided by Our World, Our Community, San Diego, CA

Tannat and OPC concentration.
What is Tannat?
  • Tannat - also known as: Bordelez Beltza, Harriague, Madiran, Moustrou, Moustron and Tanat.
  • Tannat is known for having the highest concentrations of oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs), an anti-oxidant which helps repair cells and thin blood - which is associated with health benefits and longer life spans.
  • Tannat is quite tannic -due in part to the berries’ thick skins.
  • Tannat is one of the easiest varietals to grow. It is frost hardy and a solid producer whether trellised or head-pruned.
  • The oldest Tannat vines are found in Uruguay at 100 years old. Older than the vines in France.
  • Though many scholars believe Tannat originated in the Basque region of France, Tannat is most closely associated with the winemaking region of Madiran, at the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains in southwest France.
  • The grape has been grown in that region for centuries, and 17th and 18th century French kings accepted Madiran wines as payment for taxes.
  • Tannat continues to be grown in the Basque country, most notably in the tiny appellation of Iroulèguy, on the Spanish border.
  • In 1870, Basque immigrants brought the grape to Uruguay, where it adapted perfectly to the local soil and climate. It has since become the national red grape variety of Uruguay, accounting for approximately one third of all wine produced in that country.
  • More Tannat is grown in Uruguay than in the varietal’s native France.
  • Tannat is also in Brazil, Italy, British Columbia, Peru, Australia, Switzerland, South Africa & Japan.
Uruguay Wine FAQ
  • Uruguay: "River of Birds" in the native aboriginal language.
  • Uruguay has 450 species of birds in the smallest country of South America.
  • Uruguay has 3rd purest vineyard environment according to Yale and Columbia Universities. 
  • There are 3,500 growers, 270 wineries, 22000 acres of vines, and 10 million cases of wine produced annually.
  • In the 1870s, Basque settlers brought Madiran (Tannat) with them to Uruguay.
  • 22% of the vineyards in Uruguay are Tannat
  • More cattle and sheep than people, similar in size to New Zealand.
  • Uruguay exports only 5% of the wine produced. Because they drink a lot of the wine.
I encourage you seek out wines from Uruguay and especially wines made by Bodegas Carrau. Read up on the health benefits of Tannat too.