Vino Divino II

Filed under: Vinology — Chamberlain @ 9:26 am
No. 113

Just in time for Thanksgiving, David Easthope delivers his second installment in our continuing education series Vino Divino. What a resource! Thanks David for bringing us along.



Thanksgiving Suggestions (Pinot Noir and Riesling)

Our last installment covered the Dry Creek Region of Sonoma Valley. This time, we thought we would focus on Thanksgiving pairings. California has an abundance of wines to offer for the Thanksgiving table, so naturally we wil be covering….Oregon. Yes, Oregon! The land of zany folks, microbrews, hippies and great, great Pinot Noir. We strongly suggest you consider a Pinot Noir (red wine) or Riesling (white wine) from the Willamette Valley in Oregon for your Thanksgiving turkey. While certainly, Napa and Sonoma have their wonderful and well recognized Pinot Noirs (and of course Pinots are of recent fame from the movie ‘Sideways’, filmed closer to Santa Barbara), Anne and I are big fans of the Willamette Valley. These are not your subtle, French Pinot Noirs which can be, honestly, a maze of difficulty and with higher prices to match. Rather, Willamette Pinots have bite and usually reflect a more eclectic style in order to stand out. While some might taste a little cola-y (as Anne likes to describe) they are always, always memorable and provide enough zing for your buck. Today, while Willamette Valley is rising, it is still a relatively good value, with excellent Pinot Noir in the $30 range! Also, many wineries are active in biodynamic practices, which is taking organic to a whole different level. As for Rieslings, we know them a little bit less than Pinot Noir but we have ordered a few Dry Rieslings ’08 from Penner-Ash for Thanksgiving in addition to some Pinot’s. Rieslings from reputable Willamette winemakers will be great pairing for Thanksgiving Turkey as well.

A quick note- the bottle labels will often describe in more detail where they come from using the AVA designations. Many are from McMinnville, Newberg, Eola-Amity Hills, Dundee Hills, etc. Ask at the wine store for Willamette Valley and they should point you to the right place.

We strongly suggest the following Willamette Pinot makers, wineries tried and tested:

Penner-Ash (our definite #1 based on taste and price)
Belle Pente
Torri Moor
Lemelson (good value)

….and worth a serious splurge- Archery Summit, some of the best Pinots we have tasted, ever


Archery Summit


In Vino Veritas,


Vino Divino

Filed under: Travel,Vinology — Chamberlain @ 11:33 am

The Wines of Dry Creek Valley (Sonoma, CA)

After many weekends exploring Napa and Sonoma (so great to be only 45 minutes away) Anne and I discovered the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma. Dry Creek is one of those places that produce top quality wines (mostly Zinfandel, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon) but without the worldwide reputation of Napa or other parts of Sonoma. As a result, prices there are lower. Dry Creek is warmer than other appellations of Sonoma so the wines tend to be big, sometimes “fruit bombs” but with delightful character and a little spice.

The wineries here are refreshing. Tourist hordes are at a minimum and the winemakers are often known personally by wine club members and visitors. It’s the type of environment that is very conducive to learning about wines and being relaxed. Anne and I love Zinfandel so Dry Creek was immediately appealing. We have never been interested before in wine ‘futures’, which offer future delivery of 2010/2011 vintages, but after tasting wine by Mazzocco, a boutique Zinfandel producer in Dry Creek, we were hooked and placed an order on the spot. The beautiful mustard was in full bloom at the time (see photo).

Try to find Dry Creek Zinfandel, Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon (or a blend) in your local wine store, or just try something from Dry Creek (known for red, not white wine) and see if you like it.

Wineries tried and tested

  • Mazzocco
  • Unti
  • Ridge (lytton springs)
  • Mount (great family
  • Quivira
  • Rued
  • Mauritson

This is a most wonderful addition to the OurRumpus arsenal – the clan extends its appreciation to David and Anne and look forward to future tips and advice from our West Coast vinologists.