Friday, July 29, 2011

Kings Ridge Pinot Noir 2009

Tonight, I stopped into Bruce Park Liquors and asked for a suggestion.  Both employees said one of their favorite wines in the entire store is the Kings Ridge Pinot Noir.  Maybe the distributor was just in.  Anyways, I gave it a try.  This 100% Pinot Noir is a blend of grapes from the Willamette Valley and the Umpqua Valley in Oregon. The Willamette Valley is located in the northwest region of Oregon and has more of a cooler and wetter climate from the mountains.  Although this region is prone to flooding, however, these floods have also brought rich soils from the eastern side of Oregon.  The Willamette Valley has received rave reviews for the outstanding Pinot Noirs produced in this region.  The Umpqua Valley is located in southern Oregon and rivals Willamette for outstanding wines.  Depending on which region of the Umpqua Valley you are in, the climate changes quite drastically.  Southern Umpqua is a much warmer region than the mountainous northern Umpqua.  For the outdoorsman, this is a great area for hiking, camping and is well known as a mecca for fly fishing. 
The Kings Ridge Winery is owned by two partners Ryan Harms and George Hillberry.  How's that name for a winemaker?  The ownership entity is Union Wine Company.  According to the winemaker, 2009 was a tough year due to the rains and then the high temperatures later on when they typically harvest the grapes.  This vintage was allowed to stay on the vines for an extended period of time, which did cause some to dry and shrivel.  Unfortunately, my hopes of this "best wine in the store" was quickly tarnished once I opened the screw-top cap.  This dark burgundy wine had a black fruit aroma along with an alcohol smell that had a burning effect on my nose.  As the wine opened, the alcohol burns went away and the black fruits turned into red berries, along with a leather belt aroma.  Yet ever changing, an aroma of red roses evolved along with some raspberries.  This wine was aged in both new and used French oak barrels.  On the palate, the wine missed the front and middle of the palate and went straight to the back.  There was some red currant flavors along with some herbal notes.  I also picked up some teaberry flavors.  Remember Clark's teaberry gum. The tannins were relatively smooth but there was no back end to this wine, except for an unpleasant after taste.   Overall, I would pass on this next time. The Kings Ridge Pinot Noir 2009 retails for $17.50.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tilia Torrontes 2009

With summer upon us, the Tilia Torrontes is a nice wine to savor on a hot day.  The Torrontes grape has really gained attention in Argentina, yet I feel many white wine drinkers in the US have not ventured into this varietal yet.  Tilia is Latin for Linden, which is the tree represented on the label.  This wine is produced at Bodegas Esmeralda located east of Mendoza. The Tilia Torrontes starts off with a nice floral aroma along with apricots and some citrus.   The flavors are not overpowering of citrus or juicy peaches but more of a white peach along with some cantaloupe and jasmine.  The acidity is perfect and the flavors are long lasting.  This would be a nice aperitif, or better yet, served with an appetizer due to the 13.5% alcohol.  Some people ask what you would serve with a salad and this would be the perfect pairing.  I could even see pairing this with chips and a artichoke dip or other non-spicy dip.  Wine Spectator rated this 85 points.  This wine deserves a higher rating.  The Tilia Torrontes 2009 retails for $10.