Showing posts from September, 2009

Still crazy good after all these years: Oregon's Cristom Pinot Noirs

When I asked winemaker Steve Doerner how his approach to winemaking has evolved over the past twenty years when I visited him at Cristom Vineyards this past August, he confessed, “I’m almost embarrassed to say that I haven’t changed much at all.I guess you can say I’ve grown comfortable with my ways.”
From most vintners, that statement might set off alarms (lord knows, I’ve been in enough wineries of long standing, chatting with vintners left sadly behind the times).But from Doerner, this was actually musi

The green wars part 2 (organic, Biodynamic® & sustainable tasting notes)

Here’s the lowdown on some of the more notable – if not fantastic – organic, Biodynamic®, and sustainably grown wines tasted during (and just after) my most recent jaunt (August 2009) through the West Coast.For an explication of the green delineations, please refer to previous pieces on The War Between the Greensand A Consumer’s Precise Guide to Going Green:

Seven Springs Vineyard, Celebration Gamay 2008 (Eola-Amity Hills;uncertified organic/biodynamic grapes) - Employing nouveau vinification, but a far cry from the usual:vivid purplish ruby followed by teems of sweet blackberry (like the gushy wild fruit we were picking off the sides of the road during our entire two weeks in Oregon) and raspberry aromas; round, luscious, drippy in a zesty center; the sensations soft, yet dense enough with mild tannin to give a little bit of grip on the palate.
Double cordon "trunks" at Seven Hills Vineyard in Walla Walla Valley

Seven Springs Vineyard, Les Gamine 2008 (Eola-Amity Hills; un…

The war between the greens (sustainable vs. organic vs. Biodynamic® viticulture)

Green wines have become more plentiful and better than ever, which is good news for all of us, and the environment.

One of the unseemly aspects of this inexorable movement, on the other hand, is the public sniping between the various sustainable, certified organic, and Biodynamic® camps; and I have to say, what’s even more disappointing are sides taken by individuals in the journalistic community (both print and online). You would think we could all be happy with the progress, no matter what paths growers and winemakers might take.

So let’s talk about this, and maybe by the end of the last paragraph we can give ourselves a group hug. First, in regards to convention: one thing you notice, traveling up and down the West Coast at least, is that very few vineyards of significance are farmed with indiscriminate use of chemicals. As recent a progression as this may be, viticulture is rapidly reaching a point where so-called conventional farming is probably more accurately defined by what …