I hope you all had a nice Valentine's Day and were able to enjoy time with a loved one. I was able to go out and enjoy one of the many Chocolate and Wine pairings being offered over the weekend. After looking over the selections and talking to my tasting party we decided Elk Cove was our destination for the day.
For those of you who have not taken the time to drive out to Elk Cove, you are missing out on a winery that has a nice selection of quality wines. The view to the east is of the vineyard and a well manicured picnic area. To the west is a nice look at the coastal range.
When we arrived we were pleasantly surprised to see the crowds were small enough we would not have a problem getting the attention of the employees pouring the wine. With glass in hand we started with the first wine on the list, the 2002 Pinot Gris. This wine must have been made in steel for the crispness. It had a nice finish and good balance, but the bad side was it was only being sold at the winery to make room for the 2003 Pinot Gris to be released in May.
The next wine was a new one to me, 2002 Viognier, Del Rio Vineyard. I have not had too many Viogniers made from Oregon grapes and this one showed very well. It showed hints of lemon and citrus on the nose. The taste was just like the aroma--lemon and citrus, nice thick-bodied wine, with a nice finish. My only concern with this wine is the price, at $28, it is a tad high.
2000 Riesling Estate showed a cardboardish musty aroma and the wine was thick, almost syrupy, with a short burnt sulfur finish. At $18 this wine is a rather expensive wine for an Estate Riesling but I think the reviews this wine has gotten has caused the price to be a tad inflated.
This is the first of three wines I came to taste, 2002 Grenache (Del Rio). I really liked this wine but felt it needed a bit more bottle time to soften up. The nose had nice violets and beef currants. The wine itself had cranberry, strawberry and strong tannins with a nice body and long finish. The price of $28 did not concern me for I am sure this is a hard grape to grow in Oregon.
Now we start the Pinot Noirs. The first is the 2002 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. This wine for being $20 showed very well with a nice rose aroma and a balanced leather taste with soft tannins and a nice long finish with a peppery kick at end. I see this wine as a great one to pair with most beef dishes and not a bad one to enjoy on its own.
2002 Alpine Pinot Noir at $32 was a great surprise. I found this wine was well worth the price tag. A strong leathery nose and a balanced cherry, soft tannins, nice body and long finish made this a one of my favorite Pinots I have tasted recently. I know the descriptions of both pinots are similar and in tasting them they were but the Alpine showed more fruit on the palate and was softer around the edges.
Wine two of three I wanted to taste was the 2002 Del Rio Syrah $28. This wine had a deep ruby/purple color I have not seen in quite some time in a red wine. The aroma showed a very faint fruit. It was so faint to me I could not determine the type of fruit but if I had to pick one I would say some type of dark berry. The wine’s taste was great--a nice licorice and fruit welcome you followed by a spicy finish that does not linger too long on the tongue. It still had some tannins in it and I expect it to soften up if left in the bottle till end of 2004.
And here is wine three, 2003 Late Harvest Riesling $15. As many of you have figured out by now, I like late harvest and dessert wines. I really like this one. A nice sweet floral aroma welcomes you and has a thick body, with a hint of pear. I would recommend this wine to any others who like the thick sweet wines.
The last wine was the Ultima Gewurztraminer and at $35, I think I would rather have the Late Harvest Rieslings. The Ultima is a 375 ml bottle and had a copper aroma and a honey taste and to my pleasure no hint of metal on the finish.