Sunday, January 30, 2011

Oregon Wine, Food and Brew Festival 2011

I followed a link from a wine blog, to an Oregon Wine publication, to their events link that happened to have information about a wine, food, and beer gig going on at the Oregon state fairgrounds on a weekend we were going to be in the area. Nice..the world wide web in action.

Heather and I showed up Saturday at 11:45 am ish for a Noon doors opening. I thought we were going to be unfashionably early.. nope...we waited in line for a bit.

Here is the quick rundown. We paid $10 each to get in, we brought our own wine glasses (thanx for the tip mom), we broke one of them, there was not much food nor good food, and we did not sample beer. So after we got a quick glance around, we started looking for wine to sample.

We started at Noble Pig (Willamette Valley AVA). After hearing Cathy's (the winemaker/owner) story, we introduced ourselves as winemakers as well (this was our common m.o.) and we learned that we were tasting Noble Pig's first vintage release, 200 case production, two varietals...hmmm.. I know that story. We bought 2 bottles of Pinot Noir.

Later we tasted another first vintage release from a 200 case production Southern Oregon AVA (Rogue Valley) winery named, Eliana. They had one offering, a 3 varietal blend. It was tasty, but we did not get good vibe, and decided to make a tough pass.

I had to stop by Willamette Valley Vineyards and give the ol' Jim Bernau show a good rogering. Of course Jim was out of town, but I gave the steward my card and told him to make sure Jim gets it (hot tip, I used to work for him in the beer brewery days). We picked up an excellent bottle of whole cluster fermented Pinot Noir. At $20, I found it to be a great deal, however, WVV was the only dudes who did NOT give us the industry discount.

We hit juuust about 90% of the wineries at the event..

One of the two whites we bought came from Zerba Cellars, a nice blend of Chard, Sem, and Vio.

Our favorite of the show was Umpqua Valley's Melrose Vineyards. The father + son one-two punch of Wayne and Cody was a delight to talk to and talk shop to. Everything we tasted was excellent or at least very good. They had quite a line up, I think like 6-7 reds and 3 whites...all estate. We walked away with 3 bottles of their fine (Dolcetto, Pinotage, and Bacco Noir) wine and look forward to supporting them in the future.

In closing, we had a good time and talked with a lot of nice winemakers and stewards, but the real hidden message is go out and support those small wineries. Even if you can not buy them all, think about them next time you are out tasting.