I am not sure if you could have a better mix of wine experiences then the ones I was able to have June 19th. The morning started of at AnneAmie (used to be Chateau Benoit) with a blending seminar. A while back I was telling you how wine clubs can be fun if you find one that fits with what you want from a wine club and this is one of those activities I was able to do. We were divided into tables of 12 people, and each table had to come up with 3 wines blended from three Pinot Noirs grown in different vineyards.
The first task was to sample each vineyardís offerings, take notes on what was right and what was wrong with each one. Each vineyard was different than the others. The first was very big in fruit on the nose and taste. As it was, it would have made a great wine to bottle on its own and would be a great drink now wine. The second seemed to have a very weak aroma, strong tannins, and was not showing any fruit currants. The third vineyard also had a weak nose, but a full mouth feel and some fruit.
The object was to come up with the perfect blend using the three different vineyards and the only rule were we given is the blend can not contain more then 50% of any given vineyard. So we divided into 3 small groups at our table, just like every table did, and came up with our own blend. The group I was a member of decided to make a wine to have good fruit now and still have the tannic structure to age for about 5 years safely. To be honest this part took a lot longer then you would imagine since each member had their own ideas and after some give and take we finally came to an agreement We decided we would use 45% of vineyard 1, 30% of vineyard 2 and 25% of vineyard 3.
The next step was to compare our blend with that of the other two made by our tablemates. After making all three blends each table member ranked the three table blends and we voted. Your favorite wine got a one, your second choice two and the last wine got three points. It was a close vote, luckily the blend I was part of took the table title but by only one point of the second place blend and only 3 points over the third place blend.
Now came the real challenge, our table blend was to go up against the other tableís blends in a blind tasting challenge to see which blend would be made into a wine for the wine club members only. So as the winemaker and his staff blended the wines, we broke for lunch and enjoyed great food and a few wines made by AnneAmie. After lunch each table was given the five blends that were made. Each person was to taste and rank each wine. Each table tallied its points based on the same rate scale as before. The tablesí totals were taken to get a total by the group.
The fun part starts here, slowly each wine you tasted is revealed as to the blend and table it was made by. It is great to see the reactions of each table that thought their wines were the best come in last or near the bottom. Every table hopes to win but only one does. I am sorry to say our blend did not win but we did not finish last either, we actually finished third out of five, dead middle.
The story does not end there; it seemed there was a possible mix up of our blend when made by the crew. Remember our numbers were 45% 1, 30% 2 and 25% 2, when they read off our recipe, they said 45% 1, 30% 2 and 55% 3. I do believe they made the wine correctly and we just got beaten out by a better blend on that day.
Now the great part is, this is the fourth year I have done this and sometimes the blends that win are not always that great when they are released. The people at these events, I think, forget that you will not see this wine for about a year so if you donít put some tannins in it, the wine will be weak and uninteresting. They are tasting and ranking them on what they taste like today and not what they probably will be in a year. I do think the wine that did win the event this year will be a good wine in a year and will still be a good wine in three years. So I am not too worried.
After picking up some wine and stretching my legs for a bit it was time to drive to Rockaway for the festival. The drive was much longer then I expected due to some road construction, that was not well labeled and warnings were missing, but I will not spend too much time on that. We got to Rockaway about 4pm, which is much later than we expected to arrive. We dropped off our bags and then headed down to the festival.
What could be better then live Jazz on the beach on the sunny day with little wind? Well one that also had a few good wineries at it. Luckily for me it did. There were four wineries there, Hauer of the Dauen, Henry Estate, Marquam Hill and Willamette Valley Vineyards. Each winery brought their best wines and a good variety of them also. I can say I did not taste a bad wine that day and will recommend any wine made by these four wineries.
For those of you who did not come down, you missed a chance to meet some of the Oregonwines.com staff. Our table was staffed all day and you could have met any number of us. The people we were able to met, it was nice talking to you and those you did not make it, I hope to get a chance to meet you some day in the future.
You could get a small taste of the wines and after you found the wine you wanted, purchased a glass, found a seat, your day was set. Nice music with a great view and great wine. I donít think anyone had a better Saturday than I, unless you did the same thing and got a better seat. Even if you had a better seat I am sure you did not get the chance to meet Tom Grant after the event and spend a few minutes talking with him and finding out what a great person he is.