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Filtering by Tag: moises wines

Coravin, Drinking High End Wines and Never Popping the Cork!

Beth Ribblett

It's Sunday night and I've cooked a really nice piece of crispy skin salmon.  For some ridiculous reason, Kerry wants to drink a beer.  I, of course, want wine.  Digging through the wood boxes stuck in the dark corner of the downstairs hallway, I'm in search of something for me to drink with my meal.  I realize I have a dilemma - the only appropriate wine, in my mind, to have with my fish is the 2008 Moises Holmes Hill Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and at almost $40 a bottle, it's not the one to pop open on a whim, drink a glass or two and put in the frig hoping it holds until the next time I'm at home and looking for something to drink.  But now my mouth is watering thinking about drinking this wine and how lovely it will pair with my salmon....

Enter Coravin, the solution to my problem!  I had brought home our new gadget and this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.  Unwrapping the box, I'm a bit nervous - it looks like a cross between a microscope, a drill press and one of those silly rabbit wine bottle openers.  I take my time, read the directions and follow the steps to readying  the "device" - take the yellow safety piece off of the needle, insert the gas capsule and test the gas.  Ok. looks like we're good to go.  

Clamping it on the bottle, it's time to insert the needle. Making sure everything is lined up properly, it goes in with an easy push from the palm of my hand, right through the foil and into the cork. I pull out one of my awesome Reidel Oregon Pinot Noir glasses and get ready to pour.  Tilting the bottle above the glass I give the trigger a quick press, release, and out it comes - the translucent but deeply tinted perfect shade of garnet lovely Pinot Noir. Into my glass it flows until the bowl fills to my desired amount.  Turning the bottle upright, I hear the quick hiss of the argon gas being released into the bottle.  Out comes the needle, the bottle goes back in its resting place until its services are required on another day, the perfect pairing just a pour away... After a glass and a half I thought about having a little Barolo, but then realized I was just being greedy :)

The top of the bottle - you can see where the needle pierced the foil.
Coravin offers a revolutionary way to drink or serve high end wines without worrying about oxidation - the cork is never pulled and the instant insertion of gas means that it never sees air.  For more info on how it works, check out the Coravin site or sign up for our Special Coravin Flite Nite this week where we'll be offering the following wines to chose from.  A flite of 3 will be $25.  Reservations are recommended as we are only pouring 12 flites.  You can reserve here with a credit card, Coravin Flite.  

2007 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino, $85
Winemaker's Notes
Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino is ruby red tending to garnet. It's very intense, with a persistent nose with red fruit notes. There is a warm, balanced flavor with velvet-smooth tannins and long-lasting aroma. A beautiful Brunello made in the traditional style, produced exclusively from Sangiovese grapes picked by hand from vines at least 20 years old.

Critical Acclaim
"The estate’s 2007 Brunello di Montalcino has developed beautifully over the last year. Freshly cut flowers, dark raspberries, spices and mint all take shape in a 2007 that impresses for its freshness and pure energy. Sweet roses and violets linger on the finish. I imagine the 2007 will enjoy a very broad drinking window. Today it is drop-dead gorgeous. The combination of dry extract above 34 and acidity north of 6% is exceedingly rare and suggests the wine will age for several decades. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2047."
95 Points The Wine Advocate

"Medium red. Reticent nose hints at red berries, marzipan and nutty oak. Fine-grained, fleshy and highly concentrated, without any undue impression of weight. Lovely sappy sweetness accentuates the wine's inner-mouth perfume. Really builds on the very long, even, sweetly tannic back end, which stains the palate with red fruits, flowers and complex soil tones. This strikes me as more typical perfumed sangiovese than the darker, more locked-up, more obviously structured 2006 riserva."
95 Points International Wine Cellar

"A wine with roasted meats and dark fruits on the nose and palate. Full body, with soft and velvety tannins and a juicy and fruity aftertaste. So delicious and seductive. Drink now or hold."
94 Points James Suckling

2008 Fisher Coach Insignia, $87
Winemaker's Notes
The Coach Insignia honors our family's tradition of craftsmanship, first represented in fine automobiles of the 20th century with Body by Fisher and now in Fisher Vineyards' wines of the 21st century. The Coach Insignia Cabernet represents the pinnacle of our winemaking craft, comprised of the finest selected lots of Bordeaux varietals from our Napa Valley Estate.

Critical Acclaim
"Deep ruby. Highly fragrant aromas of red and blackcurrant, dried cherry, anise and herbs, with sexy oak spice and floral qualities adding complexity. Sappy and expansive in the mouth, offering sweet cherry and dark berry flavors. Turns spicier with air and finishes quite long, with fine-grained tannins and a late note of black cardamom. "
93 Points International Wine Cellar

"The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Coach Insignia is a gorgeous, refined wine laced with expressive red fruit, flowers, mint and licorice. The elegant, feminine side of Cabernet comes through, along with a hint of mocha and spice from the presence of 8% Cabernet Franc in the blend. Hints of sweet herbs and licorice reappear on the finish. Today the 2008 looks to be a fairly early-maturing wine, but I don’t think that will be much of an issue based on how delicious it is."
92 Points The Wine Advocate

2010 M. Chapoutier "Les Granits" Saint-Joseph Rouge, $76.99 
In Saint Joseph, as in Hermitage, elevated soils of high granite composition give Syrah a unique style. Made from 60-80 year old vines this rich and expressive Syrah is dark garnet in color and features aromas of black fruit jams (blackberry) and mineral overtones. Smoky, peppered notes, with a long persistency in the mouth.
Chapoutier owns some of the most famous plots in the Rhône, including 34 hectares within the tiny Hermitage appellation. This collection of highly sought after wines is coined "Selections Parcellaires".

Critical Acclaim
"Most of the fruit comes from hillside vineyards in Larnage. The 2010 St.-Joseph Les Granits (870 cases produced) is a more flowery, elegant, feminine-styled effort than Les Varonnieres. A deep purple color is followed by sweet aromas of Chinese black tea, graphite, blueberries and black raspberries. With a flowery character, superb purity, full body and a precise, crisp finish with plenty of wet rock and powdered stone-like notes, this 2010 should age well for 15-20 years. "  
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

"Bright purple. Potent aromas of black and blue fruits, incense, licorice and black olive, with a bright mineral topnote. Sappy and precise, offering deeply pitched blueberry and cassis flavors and an exotic floral pastille nuance. The mineral quality comes back strong on the finish, which lingers with outstanding tenacity and clarity. There's a tension to this wine that suggests it will be a long-distance runner."
93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

2010 Gaja Ca'Marcanda Magari, $79.99
Winemaker's Notes
The word "Magari" has several meanings: "if only," "would that it were true," "perhaps." Ca'Marcanda's unique combination of terre brune (dark soils: loam and clay) and terre blanche (white soils: stones and pebbles) is reflected in Magari. Deep garnet with blue tinges. Lush Merlot fruit and spicy Cabernet aromas. Magari showcases the essence of the upper Maremma. It's a full, rich, well-rounded wine with an elegant, silky finish.

Critical Acclaim
"Showing spectacular traits of the vintage, the 2010 Magari (50% Merlot and 25% each Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc) is a dark and modern wine with a thick fabric of dark fruit, blackberry preserves, spice and tobacco woven tightly together. The mouthfeel is exceedingly plush and there’s a sweet oak note of toasted almond or Spanish cedar on the close. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2026. "
94 Points The Wine Advocate

"Fresh and bursting with black cherry and plum fruit, this red has density and a well-integrated structure. Builds to a long finish of fruit, spice and mineral. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc."
90 Points Wine Spectator

Falling in Love with Oregon, One Pinot at a Time...

Beth Ribblett

Picking grapes at the Wahle Family Vineyard in Yamhill

Oregon Pinot Noir has been slowly, subtly, seeping its way into my wine consciousness since I met James Moises in the summer of 2009.  Wrongfully lumping it into my not so favorite category of new world wines, it has always been lurking just a bit under the radar for me.  And even though our wine reps have been bringing me Oregon Pinots for years, it was my personal relationship with James that made me want to learn more about this place that was drawing him away from his lifelong medial career and home town of New Orleans to make wine.  Well I got all of my questions answered on our trip last month with him to the Willamette Valley.

The Holmes Hill Vineyard, a 310 acre site in the Eola Hills

Oregon is a special place, and while there are a handful of big money, fancy wineries in the area, the majority of the producers are small and passionately making artisan wine from tiny, individual plots of land that they are farming themselves or from carefully selected purchased fruit.  Take Mark Wahle, James' business partner, as an example.  His family planted the earliest commercial vines in 1974 on a hundred acre plot in Yamhill.  He and his mother Betty Wahle manage the vineyard from the tending of the vines, picking of the grapes, and maintaining long term contracts to sell fruit to other wineries, as well as using it for their own wines.  One foggy, rainy morning we assisted in the picking of 3 tons of grapes with Mark, Betty, James and one worker, that were being sold to Ponzi. They are the real deal; farmers and stewards of the land who put their heart and soul into those vines and it is hard work!

The Carlton Winemakers Studio

Mark and James both currently make their wine in an eco-friendly, recycled-material-using, cooperative winemaking facility where a bunch of top-notch Oregon winemakers all share equipment and resources.  The Carlton Winemakers Studio became a leader in "green" winemaking when they came LEED Certified,  Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, an internationally recognized green building certification system. There is a wonderful environmental awareness pulsing through Oregon wineries and an amazingly collaborative, friendly wine community.  Winemakers and owners talked freely about what wines they made and how they made them.

Biodynamic winemaker Patrick Reuter of Dominio IV

And then there are the wines themselves.  I have to admit, I thought I would get bored with drinking Pinot for 5 days straight, but I didn't, not in the least.  The wines are the the perfect blending of the old and new world; subtle, elegant, higher acidity levels but still with beautiful, intoxicating fruit.  The different vineyard sites and vintages offered such unique expressions of the grape that I just couldn't, and still can't, get enough.  And what a treat to be spending time with Mark and James who know all of the winemakers and vintages and selected the most beautiful examples of what Oregon produces for our drinking pleasure!
One of our favorites from the trip.
And most importantly, Oregon is a pretty fabulous place that makes fantastic wines without any pretense.  It's a place where quality over quantity is the rule, sustainability is a lifestyle and where visitors always feel welcome and the winemaker is never far away…

James pouring a taste of the 2012 Yamhill from the tank.
So I'm on a bit of an educational quest right now in terms of Oregon wines.  And part of that quest is involving the drinking of at least one 2008 Pinot per week until the 2008's are gone from the city.  Not that 2008 is the end all be all vintage, but I had to start somewhere!  Each week I'll be writing about the wine that I've chosen, sometimes they will be available for retail, but sometimes not like the Willakenzie I had the last bottle of last week...and yes the educational research is also for an upcoming customer trip that I am putting together for next year's harvest, but more on that later!

Last week we popped the 2008 Willakenzie Estate Pinot Noir Aliette and this week's victim was the 2008 Dominio IV The Black and the Red. Look for my posts on my 2008 Pinot Quests weekly on swirlandsavor.

The 2008 Oregon Pinot Show: 6 Artisan Producers from a Historical Vintage

Beth Ribblett

Pinot Noir grapes in Oregon.  Photo by James Moises

"In the 2008's, you've got the best vintage Oregon has ever produced, the kind of vintage Oregon winemakers always hoped they could produce." Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator.

Praise for the 2008 vintage in Oregon has been unanimous, from the New York Times, to Wine Spectator and all of the ratings rags, to the Oregon Wine Awards and more, it is simply superb.  With an uncharacteristically dry September and October, the warm days and cool nights allowed grapes to achieve ripeness without sacrificing the freshness provided by good acidity.  The wines are sought after by collectors and wine enthusiasts around the world making the 2008's harder and harder to find.

2010 harvest in Oregon's Willamette Valley.  Photo by James Moises
But on Wednesday, August 22, we are giving 20 lucky people an opportunity to taste 6 beautiful wines made by small artisan producers from this historic vintage.  The wines will be presented by James Moises, Oregon producer and distributor of limited production wines from Oregon and Washington, and promises to be an unforgettable evening of fine wine and great company!

James in the vineyards, Oregon's Willamette Valley.  Photo courtesy of James Moises
This is a seated event and reservations and prepayment are required.  We have only 8 spots remaining so please contact us at 504.304.0635 to secure your spot. $30

Here's a look at the line up:
2008 J. Daan Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, $24, 450 cases produced
Justin and Megan Van Zanten own this small winery in the Yamhill County town of Carlton. J Daan Wine Cellars, currently housed at the Carlton Winemakers Studio, is the effort of Justin and Megan Van Zanten. Justin's "day job" is as assistant winemaker to Andrew Rich, and he worked previously at major Oregon wineries, including Adelsheim and Chehalem.

The wine is produced from the Croft-Williamson Vineyard and Apolloni Vineyard grapes. This vintage shows off the best of Willamette Valley Pinot-- lush flavors of raspberry and cherry with an elegant finish and silky mouthfeel.

2008 Lumos Wine Company Pinot Noir Temperance Hill, $36, 688 cases produced
The Lumos Wine Company is the product of the efforts of its owner/winemaker, Dai Crisp, who was first introduced to viticulture in 1986 when he helped his parents plant a small, 10-acre vineyard on their farm in Wren, Oregon. In 1990 he became manager of Croft Vineyards where he began to develop his own unique style of grape growing. Then in 1999, Dai took on the 100-acre site at Temperance Hill Vineyard, where he is currently manager. While always interested in the process of wine-making, it wasn’t until Dai had proven to himself and others that he could grow an outstanding wine that he finally made the leap with his own label.

The wine won Double Gold at the Oregon Wine Awards! Lovely, brush-tinged juicy red fruits highlight this classy, fresh, delicious wine. Cristom is one of those producers who can do virtually no wrong. Great wine. Renowned vineyard manager meets famous vineyard. Result: Terrific wine. This stuff is dense, purple-dark, and laden with deep flavors and minerally structure.

2008 Capitello Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, $37.50,
Ray Walsh made King Estate's white wines from its start, developing the US's best known Pinot Gris. He rose quickly at King Estate, highly regarded for his ability to bring out the very best in Oregon grapes. Ray left King Estate last year to make his own Capitello wines.  Ray is a native New Zealander, and worked his way up from "Cellar Rat" to "Cellar Master" at Limeburner Bay, Villa Maria, Waitakere, and Coopers Creek Wineries before moving to the US in 1995. He started as Cellar Master at King Estate in June of 1995, then became winemaker in June of 1999. He was instrumental in the development of the King Estate wine style, and in the high ratings and national respect the winery has today.

The wine is sourced from two vineyard sites in the Willamette Valley; Mary’s Peak Vineyard (located just south of Philomath) and Rainbow’s End Vineyard (located in Monroe). Both vineyards are warm sites that are planted on Bellpine soil, offering richness to the fruit as well as elegance to the finished blend
This Pinot Noir gives off rich aromas of ripe raspberry & pomegranate fruits, while offering elegant oak spice, floral and earth tones. In the mouth, a full display of rich berry fruit and silky tannins shows  up front. The intensely bright raspberry -blueberry fruit along with oak tones fill out the mid-palate, leaves you with a viscous raspberry linger.

2008 De Lancellotti Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountain, $63
The De Lancellotti Family Vineyard's owners Paul and Kendall de Lancellotti bring to Oregon Pinot Noir a dedication to organic and sustainable grape growing practices that is rare to find and hard to achieve.
A hallmark of Paul and Kendall's winemaking philosophy is their commitment to stewardship of the land. In 2004, they received Biodynamic certification for their 27 acre vineyard. Certification is a complex process involving a commitment to the land and to the cycles of nature, as well as to strictly regulated winemaking practices. The Bergstrom and the deLancellotti Family Vineyards operations were the first two vineyards in the Willamette Valley to be certified Biodynamic. In 2008 they received the highest level of Biodynamic farming, Demeter certification. Using France's great Burgundies as his benchmark, Paul deLancellotti aims to bring subtlety and elegance to his signature Pinot Noirs.

IWC & WS 92 points: Full, bright red. Sexy bouquet of raspberry, cherry-cola and potpourri, with subtle woodsmoke and anise qualities in the background. A juicy, spicy midweight that offers sweet red and dark berry flavors and a zesty mineral spine. Darker fruits come up on the finish, which lingers with impressive juicy persistence. Very attractive right now but has the balance to reward another four to six years of bottle aging, at a minimum.

2008 Dominio IV Pinot Noir Poetry and Roses, $33, 205 cases produced
The husband and wife team Leigh and Patrick are the driving forces behind the winery, supported by Leigh’s parents Liz and Glenn. Leigh is in charge of the Dominio IV vineyards, but her main job is to be vineyard manager and co - general manager for Archery Summit, a producer of ultra-premium Pinot Noirs in Oregon. Leigh studied viticulture at the University of California at Davis and joined the team at Archery Summit in 2000. Patrick also studied at the University of California at Davis and is the winemaker of Dominio IV.

WA 91 points: The medium ruby red 2008 Pinot Noir of Poetry and Roses displays an enticing bouquet of exotic spices, incense, floral notes, and assorted red fruits. This sets the stage for a sweetly fruited, elegant wine that also contains plenty of density, impeccable balance, and a lengthy, seamless finish. Drink this stylish effort through 2019.

2008 Moises Holmes Hill Vineyard, $38, 100 cases produced
Born and raised in New Orleans, Jesuit and LSU graduate, ER doctor and professor, Dr. James Moises is a busy man. Somehow between working in the ER and teaching, he is finding time to follow his other passion, making wine. And not just any wine, we’re talking very small production, serious Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley made with sustainable vineyard practices and minimalist intervention in winemaking.  James’ first vintage release was in 2006, producing an old vine Pinot with fruit from friend Mark Wahle’s original family plot that was planted in 1974, and a Holmes Hill Pinot from the recently planted 40 acre site. Total production was only 150 cases in 2006 and in 2007. With the release of the Vieux Carre, a blend of the old vine Yamhill Carlton and the Holmes Hill fruit, production increased to 300 cases. While Mark Wahle is the winemaker, James is there every step of the way, involved from planting to bottling and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He loves the creative process involved in “taking this cluster of fruit and producing something really special that will bring enjoyment to others.”

The Holmes Hill is my current favorite of James' 2008s and it has been since the night we did the 2008 release tasting of all of his wines.  Immediately drinkable, yet it has all the right stuff for aging.  Great plush, silky mouthfeel, delicious dark cherry fruits with balanced acidity and minerality it is a knock out! 

Local Gifts with Heart and Soul

Beth Ribblett

This holiday season Swirl Wine Bar & Market has taken "shopping local" to new level. Bottles of wine made by passionate New Orleanians, accompanied by holiday ornaments handcrafted by local artists with contributions to area non-profits, these unique packages perfect for those looking to do something meaningful with their holiday gift giving.  

A Gift From the Heart
The 2008 Moises Vieux Carre Pinot Noir is made by local doc James Moises, with 2008 representing one of the finest vintages Oregon has ever seen.  As a tribute to his native New Orleans, James has named this combination of two of his favorite vineyards "Vieux Carre" and only produced 100 cases.  Add a handcrafted wood and glass ornament featuring our treasured fleur de lis from our friends David Porretto and Paulette Lizano plus a donation to Steve Gleason's Initiative Foundation that supports ALS research and give a gift from the heart.$65

A Gift with Soul
The 2009 Vending Machine Wines Double Shotgun is a tribute to the New Orleans architectural icon, the double shotgun house, made by local wine producers Monica Bourgeois and Neil Gernon, from some of the top vineyards in California.  With only 150 cases produced, this blend of Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot with its shotgun house label by artist Grant Schexnider is unique on its own, but when you combine it with a handcrafted wooden shotgun house ornament by Shaun Aleman and a contribution to the Preservation Resource Center, you have a truly special gift with New Orleans' soul. $60

Merci Beaucoup! 2009 Moises Mes Amis Pinot Noir Release

Beth Ribblett

It was March of 2003, and local doc James Moises had just one week to turn his newly acquired 10 acres of land into a vineyard.  The eternal optimist, he didn't think twice about trying to handle the back breaking task with just two other guys, but luckily his friends back home thought better.  So they came to Oregon, eight New Orleanians who didn't know a thing about planting a vineyard, but wanted to help their friend accomplish his dream.   In the cold pouring rain they worked to mark the rows, pound the posts, drill the holes and plant the vines.  They worked from sun up to sun down in mud up to their knees and they accomplished their goal: 10,000 vines in the ground in one week. Pretty serious business for a bunch of amateurs!

In the fall of 2009 James was able to harvest the vineyard for the first time and he named the bottling "Mes Amis" as a tribute to those who put their lives on hold for a week to help a friend.  And now after two years of bottle and oak aging, he's ready to let his friends and you, literally taste the fruits of their labor and try his 2009 Moises Mes Amis.

Come to Swirl on December 1st to hear the story, meet the friends who were there when it all started, and of course taste the wine!  We'll be pouring lots of Mes Amis for free from 6:00 to 7:30, and all of James' other Pinots, including the fabulous 2008 releases will be available at the bar for $9 a glass.  If you've ever been to one of James' release parties at Swirl, you know your glass is never empty and the store is always full...

A Twelfth Night to Remember

Beth Ribblett

Taking no break from the eating and drinking of the holiday season, we spent Twelfth Night last week feasting with friends.  Twelfth Night in New Orleans marks the end of the Christmas and the start of Mardi Gras, and gives us all another reason to have a party!

An interesting group of people made for great conversations with topics ranging from political discussions, recent films, travel, wine, art and ducks on the bayou (a discussion that ended promptly as views tended to swim on opposite banks...) Everyone contributed something for the meal, from delicious fresh baked breads, my favorite garlic shrimp, Kerry's zucchini ribbon salad, mushroom and truffle risotto, a decadent double dose of pistachio desserts with both cake and gelato, and the best beef tenderloin I've ever eaten doused with a delicious red wine sauce.  Made by Rachel and Marline with Moises Dundee Hills, the sauce was absolutely fabulous, and made even more special by having James Moises and his wines at the table.  We fed both stomachs and souls that night and I truly hope there are more such evenings together in our future!

Here is their recipe for beef tenderloin  and the cleverly coined "Moises Sauce".

Beef Tenderloin with Moises Sauce


4 T butter
1 T flour
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 T tomato paste
1 1/4 cup Moises Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/4 cup beef broth
1 3.5 lb beef tenderloin
2 T cracked black pepper


Mix 2 T butter and flour in small bowl. Melt 1 T butter in heavy large skillet over low heat. Add onion, carrot and celery, sauté until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add tomato paste; stir until vegetables are coated.

Add wine; boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

Add both broths, boil until liquid is reduced to 1 1/4 cups, about 5 minutes.

Strain liquid, discarding solids. Return liquid to skillet.

Add butter/flour mixture to sauce, whisk over medium heat until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Season to taste with pepper. (Sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead.)

Take meat out of fridge, one hour before cooking. Sprinkle beef with cracked pepper and salt.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Put a small bit of vegetable oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add beef and brown each side 4 minutes on top of stove.

Roast about 15-20 minutes (or until meat thermometer says 160 if thick – if thinner maybe less 140). Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Serves 4-6.


Dr. James Moises Rocks Ponce de Leon Street!

Beth Ribblett

Saturday's launch party at Swirl for Moises Wines was a special night as owner and local ER doc James Moises and friends generously poured fabulous, small production, single vineyard Oregon Pinots for 3 hours straight! The standing-room-only crowd stood elbow to elbow inside and out to celebrate the first ever release of James' wines, a true labor of love for the native New Orleanian! Guests were treated to glasses of the 2006 Yamhill-Carlton and Holmes Hill and the 2007 Yamhill-Carlton, Holmes Hill and Vieux Carre, of which total production for all wines combined is under 300 cases! Great food was provided by Chef Richard Papier and RK Rowell's art provided a colorful backdrop for the event.

Even better attended than the Rachel Ray Food Network filming in the spring, if James' future success can be measured by the number of attendees, he has it made as local musician Phil deGruy shouted, "This is amazing! It's like being at the House of Blues!"

Congratulations James and thank you for letting us be part of your celebration!

Check out the slide show in the sidebar on the right and click here for past posts on Moises Wines.

Wine of the Moment, 2006 Moises Wahle Vineyards Yamhill Carlton Pinot Noir

Beth Ribblett

Located 35 miles southwest of Portland and 40 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, the Yamhill-Carlton District is a sub-appellation of Oregon’s famed Willamette Valley AVA. It is a horseshoe shaped appellation that surrounds the two communities from which it is named, Yamhill and Carlton, and is home to some of the finest Pinot Noir vineyards in the world.

Once primarily known for tree-fruit orchards, nurseries and livestock, wheat and logging, the area now known as the Yamhill-Carlton District has a relatively recent wine history. In 1974, pioneers like the Campbells and the Wahles were planting vines long before other areas of the North Willamette Valley. Other quickly followed suit and today it is known as one of the country's finest producers of cool-climate varietals and was officially established as an AVA in 2004.

The vineyards of the Yamhill-Carlton District were planted mostly in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The primary soil of this area is called Willakenzie, named after the Willamette and McKenzie rivers. It is comprised of coarse-grained, ancient marine sedimentary soils, over sandstone and siltstone, that drain quickly, making them ideal for viticulture. Grapes grown in this soil type often result in wines lower in acid than those made from grapes grown in other areas.

Yamhill-Carlton vineyards grow on sites with elevations between 200 and 1,000 feet, avoiding low valley frost and high elevation temperatures unsuitable for effective ripening. Geographically, this area is protected by the Coast Range to the west, the Chehalem Mountains to the north and the Dundee Hills to the east.

With the orientation of vineyards and unique soil conditions found in the AVA, the Yamhill Carlton District is a leading producer of concentrated, more lush styles of Oregon Pinot Noir. As with other Willamette Valley AVAs, only those vineyards falling within defined elevations (in this case between 200 and 1,000 feet) are permitted to use the AVA designation. This trend amongst the new Willamette Valley sub-appellations, such as the Yamhill Carlton District, only reaffirms Oregon as the leader of ‘terroir’ consciousness in North America.

The 2006 Moises Wahle Vineyards Yamhill Carlton Pinot Noir is produced with wine sourced from the Wahle Family’s initial vineyard planting located in the heart of Oregon’s Yamhill-Carlton District. Established in 1974, it is one of the oldest Pinot Noir vineyards planted in Willakenzie soil. The vineyard sits at 450' elevation and enjoys a beautiful southern exposure.

The wine was aged 11 months in French oak and another year and 9 months in the bottle. It has aromas of red and black fruits, with added elements of herbs, cloves and fresh-turned earth. On the palate, cherry and cassis dominate with herbal notes and continued spiced undertones. The lower acidity level brings a lush mouth feel and makes the Yamhill Carlton approachable young. Less than 100 cases produced.
Retail Price: $39.99

This wine is one of the gems we'll be tasting with Dr. James Moises at his launch party on August 15 from 6 to 9pm at Swirl. This is a "don't miss" event for anyone interested in tasting high quality, small production Oregon Pinot from a native New Orleanian. For more information on James and his wines, check out my blog post, Moises Wines, Driven by Passion, Heart and Healing.

Grilled Salmon Paired with Moises Wahle Vineyards Yamhill Carlton Pinot Noir

Beth Ribblett

I went for a classic pairing here for the Moises Pinot Noir (yes, red wines can pair with fish!) and kept the marinade as something that would compliment the wine and let it really shine. Pinot Noir is a versatile wine that works well with a variety of foods . Its acidity helps balance the rich, fatty nature of salmon, making it a great choice. The thyme in this dish really helps bring out the herbal notes of the wine and the lushness of it is great with the melt-in-your-mouth fatty salmon. And please don't waste the beautiful Moises wine by putting it in the marinade! The rule of thumb in using wine for cooking is that it needs to be something you don't mind drinking while you cook, but don't use anything expensive!

Grilled Salmon with Pinot Noir Marinade
Serves 2

2 salmon fillets, rinsed and patted dry
1 cup pinot noir
2 shallots, peeled and sliced
2 springs fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
salt to taste

Combine marinade ingredients in a large zip-lock bag or non-reactive covered dish. Add salmon and turn to coat. Refrigerate, turning several more times, at least 30 minutes but not more than an hour. Place salmon in hinged grill basket. Grill for approximately 5 to 7 minutes per side or until fish flakes.

For more info on the wine go to Wine of the Moment, 2006 Moises Wahle Vineyards Yamhill Carlton Pinot Noir.

Moises Wines; Driven by Passion, Heart and Healing

Beth Ribblett

Born and raised in New Orleans, Jesuit and LSU graduate, ER doctor and professor, Dr. James Moises is a busy man. Somehow between working in the ERs of both Tulane and Baptist, and teaching, he is finding time to follow his other passion, making wine. And not just any wine, we’re talking very small production, serious Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley made with sustainable vineyard practices and minimalist intervention in winemaking.

When asked about his leap into the world of wine, James credits his good friend and colleague Mark Wahle of Mark Wahle Vineyards. Residents together at LSU in the 90’s, Mark gained his wine knowledge through UC Davis where he completed his Viticulture & Enology studies in 1988, and his hands on experience in his family’s 100 acre hilltop vineyard site outside of Yamhill, Oregon. Traveling extensively with Mark through Europe, California and Oregon, James discovered his love of wine and decided he wanted to take the plunge into the challenging world of Oregon Pinot.

In 2002 James bought 40 acres of land in the Eola Hills area of Oregon, where Mark was also planting vines. Named the 'Holmes Hill' vineyard (pictured left) after the original homesteader of the property, James and his closest friends and family including our friend and neighbor Bob McGuire, pounded the posts and planted the vines themselves. Controlling the process from start to finish, both he and Mark use a very hands-on approach to both the viticultural and winemaking practices. Incorporating sustainable vineyard practices is a priority. From using dry farming techniques (no irrigation), no herbicides, hand harvesting and sorting to the production of the wine in the Carlton Winemaker’s Studio, the first winery to be registered with the U.S. Green Building Council, these guys are serious about what they do and how they do it. Already planning expansion, they are currently building their new winemaking facilities in the Holmes Hill area (pictured right) and would like to expand to 150 planted acres in the next 2-3 years which would put them in the top five in terms of largest vineyard land holdings in Oregon.

James’ first vintage release was in 2006, producing an old vine Pinot with fruit from Mark’s original family plot that was planted in 1974, and a Holmes Hill Pinot from the recently planted 40 acre site. Total production was only 150 cases in 2006 and in 2007. With the release of the Vieux Carre, a blend of the old vine Yamhill Carlton and the Holmes Hill fruit, production will increase to 300 cases.

The health benefits of red wine fit in with James’ other passion in life, practicing medicine. His affinity for Pinot Noir is supported with the related medical research, as James says “Studies have shown the Pinot Noir grape contains the highest levels of the super antioxidant resveratrol”. In fact, Cornell researcher Leroy Creasy found the highest resveratrol levels in pinot noir grapes that are grown in cooler, rainy places like the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York and Oregon's Willamette Valley. Long sown in France's cool Burgundy region, pinot noir is considered a finicky grape to grow, in part because it is susceptible to rot which may be the reason it produces more resveratrol than other grapes--up to 40 times as much resveratrol as grapes such as merlot and cabernet sauvignon.

While Mark is the winemaker, James is there every step of the way, involved from planting to bottling and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He loves the creative process involved in “taking this cluster of fruit and producing something really special that will bring enjoyment to others.” And he’d like you to experience that enjoyment first hand by attending his release party on August 15! “I’m really excited about this launch as everyone who has listened to me talk about this project for the last 6-7 years will finally get to taste my wines!”

So please join us on Saturday, August 15 from 6 to 9pm as Dr. James Moises will be popping corks on his amazing 2006 and 2007 Yamhill Carlton Old Vine, 2006 and 2007 Holmes Hill and the 2007 Vieux Carre, as we celebrate his début as a serious player in the world of Oregon Pinots!

Pinots Rule!

Beth Ribblett

I had the pleasure last week of tasting 3 really delicious Oregon Pinots with the owner of Moises Wines, Dr. James Moises. Although James is better know as a ER doctor and professor in New Orleans, in his "spare" time we works in the Willamette Valley making wine to keep himself sane. The wines were beautiful, and as James quotes, "...are a reflection of my celebrated Lebanese heritage. Known as one of the oldest wine producing regions in the world, the ancient Phoenicians of Lebanon were influential for setting the standards with viticultural and enology traditions. We continue to have a strong philosophy with the same ideology here in the Willamette Valley – practicing sustainable farming in the vineyard and minimal handling in the cellar – producing wines of depth, grace and character."

Through the assistance of our mutual friend Bob McGuire, James and I made an instant connection knowing we needed to launch these wines in New Orleans and Swirl was the place to do it!! So mark your calendars for Saturday August 15th and the Launch Party for Moises Wines. Dr. James Moises will be popping corks on 4 of his amazing Pinots, as we celebrate his debute as a serious player in the world of Oregon Pinots! I'll be writing more about James, his wines and the event in upcoming emails, so stay tuned for more information!

Speaking of Pinot...
Our Tuesday tasting this week will take a look at our favorite "Pinots" from around the world including Pinot Grigio/Gris and Pinot Noir. This will be a great opportunity to taste the stylistic differences as well as the influence of "place" on the same grape varietals. We'll also be tasting my new favorite Pinot Noir rosé made by the exciting team at Lioco. Great summertime wines, these 6 Pinots of either color deliver a refreshing lightness perfect for this time of year.