For years, all I drank were California Cabs. Then I met Al.
She couldn't believe with the variety and quality of Pinots readily accessible to me, how I didn't drink or like Oregon Pinot. I would tell her that I just prefer big, ripe, juicy, oaked Cabernets. Plus my biweekly trips to California afforded me the opportunity to get my fill of these powerful red wines.
So one bottle at a time, she gave me a lesson in Pinot. Every month for about a year, we would pick up a case of Pinot. The rules were simple - only wines from the Pacific Northwest, only good value bottles, and only Pinot Noir. We mostly ended up with Oregon Pinots; though Al would introduce me to a bottle or two of BC wines each month. Occasionally, we would pick up something from Walla Walla or Woodinville; sometimes even breaking the rules and buying an interesting Californian.
To remember and to keep track of what we liked, we downloaded the Vivino app. It's really simple and works great. We especially like that we can take a picture of the label. Then we rate and comment. We have yet to rate a wine 5-stars, but it's been great fun and an adventure so far. I am finally becoming a true Oregonian through wine after 20-plus years of living here; and I must say, am loving it every sip of the way.
The highest joint ranking we've given to-date, ironically, was for the Beringer Knights Valley 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. We really enjoyed this bottle. It was an elegant, ready-to-drink Cab. We gave it 4.5 stars.
The Oregon Pinot that we seem to go back to most often is the Del Rio Vineyards Pinot Noir. Our first taste of it was the 2010 vintage. So far, subsequent vintages seem to be consistent. We still like it. It's great with food. It has a 4-star ranking in our books.
As you all know, it has been an incredibly hot summer here in Portland. So though I now love my Pinot Noirs, I have graduated to Rosés with Al's prompting. When it comes to wine, she has never steered me wrong. We've been drinking nothing but Rosés for nearly the last two months. Oregon produces some outstanding Rosés. It makes a lot of sense, since they're using the same great grape varietals with which they produce their red wines. Our summer favorite so far is Guild Winemaker's Willamette Valley 2014 Rosé. It's light and refreshing with enough depth to pair well with food. We think it's caseworthy at 4-stars. You can pick it up at Whole Foods.
Thanks to Ali for co-writing this piece. You can find our Vivino profile under Steve Ali.
Graphic by morii.ca.