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McKinlay · 2012 · Pinot Noir · Special Selection · Willamette Valley, Oregon

Have you ever met a winemaker that seems totally unafraid? Grounded and uncomplicated? No type-A, in-your-face manifesto, philosophy or secret stash of skills for which stand solely as the barrier between great wine and everything else? When you meet those winemakers you can’t help but start questioning the fluff and ego that gets credit for the success of the wines we drink. […]

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Oregon 2014: Photo Journal Part I

2014 could mark the end of an era, or perhaps just the beginning of new things. 3 years, 4 harvests, each so unique I sometimes  feel like the only common thread is that I spent them all with Winemaker Michael Lundeen at Walnut City Wineworks. 2011 was my debut vintage, as well as a difficult harvest, and looking […]

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Pinot Noir: 2 for around $20

Jean-Paul Brun · 2012 · Bourgogne · Terres Dorees · Beaujolais, France  2012 is going to be a scant vintage in Burgundy to say the least. It was the first half of the year that really set the tone. The weather was, well, shit. It was cold, wet and punctuated by a weak, drawn out flowering, spoty fruit set, frosts […]

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Montsecano · 2012 · Pinot Noir · Casablanca Valley, Chile

I like forward thinking in winemaking. I like winemakers that separate themselves from the pack on just the hope that maybe somebody will understand and appreciate what they’re trying to do. And I believe that’s exactly what André Ostertag is doing here. So here’s the breakdown… André’s family domaine and roots are in Alsace, he trained in […]

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Domaine Rolet · 2011 · Côtes du Jura Rouge · Les Grandvaux · Jura, France

From a geographical standpoint, the Jura is not all that complicated. Just four regional appellations comprise this north/south swath east of Burgundy: Arbois, Côtes du Jura, Château-Chalon, and L’Etoile. Straight forward enough, but that is about where the simplicity ends. The wines, on the other hand, can be confusing. All in one breath, they can be trendy and unknown, […]

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Jérémie Huchet & Jérémie Mourat · 2004 · Muscadet Sevre et Maine · ‘Gorges’ · Loire Valley, France

This wine has been my imaginary summer jam. I picture rolling it out at just about every occasion, for no reason other than we should all be drinking more good, decade-old Muscadet. Unfortunately, at around 30 bucks, it’s a bit too pricey to pour with Vinho Verde-like irreverence. On the other hand, though, it’s a hand-crafted, 10-year-old […]

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Cameron · 2011 · “Clos Electrique” · Pinot Noir · Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon

2011, in Oregon, was one of those years that was basically declared a disaster before fruit even started rolling in. Oh, but what a mistake it was if you were one of the defeatists. Sugar levels were low and botrytis was an issue, but after a lifesaving Indian summer and super long fruit hang times, […]

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François Carillon · 2011 · Bourgogne Blanc · Burgundy, France

This is good wine. This is a great value. Domaine François Carillon is a new endeavor with old roots, launched in 2010 with the split of Domaine Louis Carillon by his sons Jacques and François. Jacques continued the longstanding relationship with importer Neal Rosenthal, and François went with Danny Haas of Vineyard Brands. Or at least that’s the […]

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I was just going to buy strawberries.

This is a first for me. A wall of Kermit Lynch wine at a grocery store. If I turned 180 degrees and took another picture, I think it would be of the Flip Flop wall of wine. For those of you who are not familiar with Kermit Lynch, he is a wine importer based in […]

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Oregon Harvest 2013: Photo Journal Part I

I finally unloaded a harvest’s worth of pictures from my phone this morning. It’s hard to imagine a better working adventure than harvest in Oregon, so here it is, round 1 of my favorite photos. [Paella dinner in the Dundee Hills with the Walnut City crew.] [A view from Belle Pente Winery at their estate […]

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Rob’s Harvest Journal: the 2013 Riesling pick.

Harvest 2013 is over and I’ve been back in Virginia for a few weeks transitioning back into the other side of the business. Only time will reveal how 2013 in the Willamette Valley is packaged and branded as a whole, but I can guarantee, for the people that were in the mix making it happen, […]

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Randall Grahm at the Barrel Thief!

  It’s gonna be a hell of a night! We sat down today, tasted through a bunch of Bonny Doon wines, found our lineup and brought them to the chef. We re-tasted, hashed out flavors and combinations, and Chef Sam did what he does best. The pairings will be sensational, and if you live in […]

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