Thursday, July 19, 2012

Walla Walla: again, it's just the best

It is time to praise Walla Walla wines again. And the wines from the nearby also-WA desert areas of Red Mountain, Tri-cities, and Yakima.

There is great wine from many places on our planet, but: most of California and France's wines that are high quality are more expensive; it can take some effort to taste through the mountains of Italian wines, to find the best ones (which are insanely good), and many of those are quite spendy. Some great wine areas are limited in what they can do (New Zealand, whose Sauv Blancs can be amazing, and cheap, and unique, but their Pinots, while cheaper than Oregon's, are overall just OK-to-interesting. Willamette Pinots are (generally speaking) too expensive for the quality presented and the product too variable. Andean Argentina comes to mind for amazing quality at low prices in the Malbecs, as do the old-vine Garnachas from Spain, but Washington rings the bell with a large number of successful grape varieties.

Desert Washington is slowly becoming better known, but that climate married with red vinifera and skilled winemakers results in better and better wines that (for the most part) are still fairly affordable. And at the top end, WA has wineries (Quilceda Creek, K Vintners, Cayuse) which routinely outscore 99.99% of the wines of the world, and they do it cheaper than most other top-end wine regions do.

Therefore, I reiterate: Desert Washington's wines just may be the world's best, for the price.

This photo is of Girasol Winery; the dry hills are very representative of W.Walla, which is near the Blue Mountains and thus has sufficient water available to quench the thirst of vines laboring in extreme heat and sun.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Oldest liquid wine found?

Reported by Wine Spectator: 

Archaeologists in China have unearthed what may be the oldest liquid wine yet discovered (dried residues have been found on older vessels). The liquid is in one of six bronze vessels that date from the West Zhou Dynasty (1046 – 771 B.C.) found in a tomb at a dig in the city of Baoji. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

2011 Bordeaux Futures fizzle

The wineries got a bit greedy, and didn't discount their prices enough, compared to the recent great vintages' stratospheric pricing. 2011 was a good Bordeaux vintage, but not as good as 2010 or 2009.

The photo is of La Mission Haut Brion:

See Spectator's article here.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Salt and Straw

We heard this was a hot new ice cream place on NW 23re in Portland. Drove there after a great Tuscan dinner at Porto Terra, only to find the line for the ice cream place around the block! Guess we'll try again later. Life is too short to wait in line with the herd. If there is a line at the pearly gates (not that it's assured I'll be in that line), I will very likely just opt for the other place ;)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Univ of Ark a leader in breeding of table grapes

John Clark at U of Arkansas is releasing four new table grape varieties.  They have named them:
Faith, Hope, Joy and Gratitude.  
It appears the astronomers couldn't find planets as fast as Arkansas can produce new grapes.

A few years ago, Arkansas released a truly great grape: Jupiter--a seedless dark Muscat hybrid grape. Large oval berries, laughs at Oregon rain, ripens even in cool, short years, and is disease-free. It even has good chemistry for wine.

How Climate Change's Extreme Weather Events Affect Grapes and Wine:

  We (Epona) joined the Porto Protocol a year or two ago; it's a collaboration of grapegrowers and winemakers, worldwide, who are focusi...