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Filtering by Tag: carlton winemakers studio

Andrew Rich, Innovation in the Pacific Northwest

Beth Ribblett

Like most of us in the wine industry, Andrew Rich had a former career. Needing a change from the hectic pace his life had taken on as a successful magazine editor, he decided to follow his passions and learn how to make wine.  Andrew trained in Burgundy, and afterwards his love of Rhone varieties led him to Randall Graham of Bonny Doon where he worked for five vintages.

A connection with another Oregon winemaker brought him north where he decided to start his own label, Andrew Rich Vintner in 1994. He quickly became a noted pioneer at creating Rhone-driven wines with a Northwest spin and works with some of the most respected vineyards in the Columbia Valley of Washington. With 20 years experience behind him, he has access to choice fruit and his his highly regarded Syrahs and his Coup D'Etat (Châteauneuf-du-Pape comes to Washington!) are a testament to his success.   And with his base in Carlton Oregon, he makes really delicious Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley too!

Dinner w/Andrew @ Cuvee
Andrew produces his wine at the state-of-the-art Carlton Winemaker's Studio, the nation's first "green" cooperative winemaking facility, which is where James Moises currently makes his wine and hence the connection between the two. James introduced us to Andrew when we visited in 2012 and the most recent meeting included a wine dinner that I arranged for our group of New Orleans travelers as part of our Artisan Oregon wine and culinary tour of the Willamette Valley.

We are excited to have him in the shop this week to host our Wednesday Nite Flites where we'll be showing a range of wines from a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and 3 of his Washington State wines!  The tasting is part of our Wednesday Nite Flite Series and is $15.  You can book your spot here:  Andrew Rich

2010 Andrew Rich Wines Pinot Noir The Knife Edge Willamette Valley
Bright ruby-red.  Intense black raspberry and cherry aromas are complicated by notes of smoked meat, licorice and dried flowers.  Smooth and succulent on the palate, offering powerful dark berry and bitter chocolate flavors and a touch of candied rose.  Finishes on a smoky note, with slow-building tannins, a jolt of peppery spices and very good length. ST 91pts, RP 91pts, $50

2011 Andrew Rich Wines Roussanne Columbia Valley
Bright, full yellow.  Musky aromas of pear, apple, honey and nuts.  Broad, dry and pliant, with good definition to the flavors of apple, menthol and flowers.  Nicely done, rather suave roussanne with a firm finish. ST 88pts, $22

2009 Andrew Rich Wines Mesalliance Red Wine Columbia Valley
(48% merlot, 24% cabernet franc, 20% syrah and 8% malbec):  Bright medium ruby.  Slightly candied aromas of black cherry liqueur, licorice, bitter chocolate and violet.  Sweet and smooth but a bit youthfully stunted; not a thick wine but densely packed and fine-grained, with firm acidity keeping the dark berry flavors under wraps today.  Finishes with firm, suave tannins and good subtle length.  I'd hold this for two or three years before pulling the cork. ST 90, $24

2010 Andrew Rich Wines Cabernet Franc Red Willow
Its Burgundy-shaped bottle hinting at a possible kinship with Loire exemplars that is borne out in the glass, Andrew Rich’s 2010 Cabernet Franc Red Willow – from two-decade-old vines on this iconic property – leads with scents of dark cherry, beet root, and fennel, which re-merge in the context of an infectiously juicy palate that utterly believes its (per the label, anyway) 14.1% alcohol. Positively herbal, subtly bitter and saline notes of sea oats, dried herbs, walnut, maple syrup and dark chocolate add interest en route to a succulently lingering finish tinged with saliva-liberating salinity. There is a fine diffusion of tannin that, along with the wine’s reservoir of primary juiciness, likely guarantees that its fascinations will persist for at least 3-5 years in bottle. RP 90pts, $27

Wine & Culinary Travel, Artisan Oregon 2013

Beth Ribblett

Artisan Oregon,  Willamette Valley Winemaking Tour
October 9-13, 2013
Join Swirl Wines and James Moises of Bizou Wines for a unique, hands-on experience of small production, artisanal winemaking at its best!  We'll take you to the stunningly beautiful Pacific Northwest where the lush foothills of Oregon's Willamette Valley await.  Nestled between the Oregon Coast mountain range and the snow-capped Cascades, the many different terroirs and microclimates makes this one of the most distinctive places on earth for grape growing.

On this five day tour you will visit small, off the beaten path wineries and vineyards; meet, taste and dine with winemakers and witness one of the most exciting times of the year in wine country, the harvest!  You will get an exclusive, insiders look into what goes on behind the scenes as you'll have the opportunity to pick grapes, sort fruit and see many aspects of the grape harvest and early stages of production first hand.

                                 Sorry, This Trip is Full!

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.