Monday started off at Chateau Benoit. They had seventeen wines available to taste. I am a frequent visitor of Chateau Benoit and therefore usually only drink the new release on special occasions. I only tasted two new releases on the Chateau Benoit label: the 2001 Chardonnay and the 2000 Pinot Noir.
- The 2001 Chardonnay had a nice faint smell of straw on the nose. The taste showed a hint of oak with nice fruit surrounding it. The wine had a long finish on the tongue and a nice full body. This wine I think would stand up well against most food dishes.
- The 2000 Pinot Noir had a nice full rose aroma and a nice balanced fruit with a peppery kick.
- Chateau Benoit also released some wines from their new label, AnneAmie. These wines are very impressive and should help take the winery to the top of local scene.
The first taste was a 2002 Viognier and one of my personal favorites of the weekend. This wine had a nice tropical fruit aroma and a taste to match. The wine showed a nice body and good finish.
Next were the six bottlings of Pinot Noirs, one from 2000 and five from 2001.
- 2000 Pinot Noir showed a nice combination of rose and berry on the nose. The wine had a nice body and a short finish with cranberry currents and a hint strawberry on the finish.
- The 2001 Doe Ridge Vineyard Select was my favorite Pinot Noir tasted at Chateau Benoit. It had a nice combination of raisin and cranberry on the nose. The taste showed hints of cherry and raspberries. The wine had a full mouth feel and the effect stayed longer after the wine was gone. I really like wines that leave a good taste behind and this one did that for me.
- 2001 Yamhill Springs had a nice plum aroma. This one taste seemed faint to me and was hard to get a grasp on. It did not have the finish of the Doe Ridge either, but I think most wines after the Doe Ridge would not compare well. This is one I will need to go back and retaste at some point.
- 2001 Hawks View opened up with a nice rose and berry nose. This was followed by a nice cranberry and raspberry effect on the tongue. The wine had a good body with a minerally effect and nice long finish.
- 2001 Laurel had a nice earthy rose and plum aroma. This was a nice thick wine with cherry and strawberry currants running all through it with a nice long finish. This is your typical fruit bomb Pinot Noir.
Then I tasted some future wines still in the barrel.
- La Colina had a nice big berry nose with a spicy raspberry taste. I think the spice came from the alcohol and over time that should lessen to make this a nice wine. La Colina showed a nice body and finish also at this early stage.
- I followed this up with a port and a late harvest wine. The port is from Southern Oregon Syrah grapes. The nose on this port was great, strong hints of black pepper and berry. The port had a big taste to it, showing a strong berry mixed with hints of strawberry, cranberry and raspberry. The taste on this port stays with you an extraordinarily long time. I would say when this gets released officially on Memorial Day 2004; you want to try this one.
- The Late Harvest was labeled as a "Select Cluster Riesling." This is a 2001 wine that had a nice sweet honey and flower nose. The wine had a semi-sweet taste that sneaks melon and tropical fruit up on you. This is not your typical syrupy dessert wine, but more of a nice, lighter sweet wine you can enjoy with most people who enjoy a good wine.
These were last-second additions that were tucked away in the southwestern part of Washington County. These wineries are making some nice Pinot Noirs.
- 2001 Pinot Noir had a raisin and woolish nose on it. The taste had cherry currants with nice balanced acid and a medium body and nice finish.
- 2000 Pinot Noir had a very nice nose. Aromas of plum, cranberry and blackberry came off the wine and were very pleasant. The wine itself needs a little more bottle time for it had a spicy finish. The cranberry and raspberry currants and the nice body and long finish showed wine can handle the extra bottle time needed.
- 1999 Pinot Noir also had a musty wool aroma with fruit mixed in. I want to add a quick note -- I am not saying musty wool is bad, I am just trying to describe the smell the best I can. The taste showed a nice body with a long finish with hints of cherry but a tad spicy on the finish.
For some reason these wines just did not show up well. I am wondering if the bottles were open too long since we did not get to this winery till late in the day.
- 2000 Pinot Noir had a nice aroma of rose and fruit. The wine showed a light body, with a very weak fruit currant.
- 2001 Pinot Noir showed a musty raisin nose and a weak strawberry currant.
- 2000 Pinot Noir, Winemakers Reserve, had a rubbery smell to it. The wine tasted good with vanilla, strawberry and a smoky taste to it. It showed a nice full body with an average finish.
This was a winery that was hard to find, for the directions given to us were a little sketchy. Every so often we would see a sign for the winery but not often enough to ensure we were going in the right direction. But once we got to the winery you could see from the top of the peak they were on, the view was impressive and would make a great location for an outdoor tasting room. The only wines tasting or made were a Pinot Gris and a Pinot Noir.
- 2002 Pinot Gris had a nice strong lemon and citrus nose to it. The wine had a nice medium body showing a lively citrus taste but a short finish, did not sit on the tongue long but that can be a good thing depending on what you are using the wine for.
- 2002 Pinot Noir showed a nice plummy, raisin and rose aroma to it. The cherry currants in the wine were nice and it had a good body and finish to it.
This winery was also pouring at J Albin on Monday. Till Monday, I had not heard of Keaten-Reed.
- They were only pouring one wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine had a great big jammy aroma and a taste to match. You could just taste the nice big powerful fruit and the wine seemed heavy in the mouth. The finish seemed to last forever and it had enough tannins left in it to allow aging, if you could keep from drinking it.
These are all the wineries I visited over Memorial Day weekend. Yes, the itinerary I put out was not followed as well as I would have liked. I did get to Belle Pente and Willakenze but not on this weekend. I will be writing those up in the future.