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Wine at Willamette

Jim Colby, Willamette Wine Steward, has a simple life philosophy, “I surround myself with good wine and good people.” From customers to wine producers, Jim spends his days celebrating all that is wine. Readers can find his opinionated take on wine, beer and coffee here.

On Thurs. Sept. 18, Market of Choice will present the The Great Taste, an annual event that benefits Eugene’s Relief Nursery. In addition to great food, there will be beverages, which means there will be wine!

Stewards from your favorite Market of Choice stores will be there, serving up some of their personal selections. As a precursor to this fine event, I will provide a sneak peek at the wines I have personally selected to pour. I hope you have an opportunity to come by and try them.

2013 St. Innocent Pinot Blanc
A varietal that is a bit underappreciated, this wine will show its acidity and balance with any creamy or seafood dish. It has a sophistication that differentiates it from some of its competitors in the category of Pinot Blanc. $22.99/750ml.

2010 Chateau La Haute Borie Monbazillac
This sweet Bordeaux white, delivers honey-like sweetness with a freshness of acidity that gives this wine balance. Though often drank as an aperitif, it will complement sharp cheddars and goudas with its soft touch. $22.99/750ml.

2011 J. Scott Petite Sirah
Oregon wine producer J. Scott provides this petite syrah with a fruit-filled beginning, followed by a black peppery finish. This style is known for its big structure and abundance of tannins, and this wine doesn’t disappoint. The easy pairing with a wine such as this, is steak, however it will also pair well with heavily spiced pasta dishes. $24.49/750ml.

2011 Chateau Vernous 
This Cabernet Sauvignon heavy Bordeaux blend offers a bold wine that softens on the finish with its Merlot and Cabernet Franc accompaniments. The lush fruit and complex nose round out a strong showing of the Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine will go well with braised lamb and a spicy bean salad. $24.49/750ml.
Cantina Rizzi 2010 Barbaresco Pajore:
Cantina Rizzi is located in the heart of Barbaresco and includes 35 hectares, of which 15 are planted in Nebbiolo. Of these, the Rizzi estate owns 3 hectares in the heart of Pajore at an average elevation of 300m, facing south-southwest. Hand-harvested with fermentation in stainless steel for 12-18 months in 30hl oak barrels, after which concrete and steel for 12 months. 49.99/750ml.

Azelia 2010 Barolo: Founded in 1920 by Lorenzo Scavino, the winery is now piloted by his grandson Lorenzo. With 16 hectares in Castiglione Falleto and Serralunga, it features 55- to 60-year-old Nebbiolo vines on southwest-facing slopes of calcareous, clay soils. After manual harvest, rotofermenters are employed with aging in large oak for 24 months. 37.49/750ml.

I know you German Riesling wine lovers are out there. Here are a couple of classic estate wines that you won’t want to miss!

Reusher-Haart Piesporter Goldtröpfchen 2012 Kabinett: From 6 hectares, including parcels in the Donherr (cathedral) section of the Goldtropfchen, of south-facing, steep slopes directly behind the Reusher-Haart home. Entirely on soft blue slate with many of the 35+year-old vines planted in the middle section of the amphitheater, thus benefitting from direct sunlight but cooled by winds from the Mosel. Sustainable farming, wide row spacing, hand-harvested in several passes, ambient yeasts and fermentation in stainless all contribute to the charming interplay of fruit and succulent minerality of their wines. 19.99/750ml.

Alfred Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten 2012 Auslese: Taken from just below the sundial in the Wurzgarten, planted entirely on red slate. Here’s Terry Theise being hyperbolic: “The clearest imaginable look into pure Mosel. Vivid, toe-curling clarity of fruit and terroir make this my most beloved Mosel agency. These are just some of the keenest, spiciest, most helplessly beautiful wines you can ever drink. The iciest blade of electric, splashing acidity supports a fruit so clear, so sharply rendered that the entire experience is so vivid it makes your toenails laugh!” Find out for yourself! 24.99/750ml.
140602WillametteWine urzigerwurtzrudiwiestArguably one of the greatest vineyards for Riesling in the world, Urzinger Wurzgarten is located on southerly facing slopes rising precipitously above the town of Urzig. The soil consists chiefly of weathered slate and red sandstone and produces uniquely aromatic and honeyed wines of great intensity and graceful minerality. Johann Wilhelm Schild hand selects grapes from 50 to 70 year old Riesling vines. The 2011 Urziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett is packed with bright acidity, subtle slate and wet earth, with notes of honey and tropical fruit and a luscious finish that goes on and on. 16.99/750ml

150602WillametteWine johannschildAlmost equally famous, the Graacher Himmelreich vineyard, just before the bend in the Mosel south of Urzig and north of Bernkastel, is planted on legendary blue slate soils on southerly facing vertiginous slopes. Josef Bernard-Kieren is one of the most prestigious winemakers on the Mosel, and I’m excited to be introducing the wines to Eugene. The 2012 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett shows gold in the glass with green flashing highlights. Flowery bouquet fills the nostrils with exciting spring-like accents, with lovely layered fruit of orange, lemon and strawberry underlain with chalky minerality and a lively sprightliness. Finishes freshly long. 18.99/750ml.

150602WillametteWine RieslingGrapesFromtheMoselFinally, from Selbach-Oster, the 2011 Riesling Spatlese: Grapes are grown on the Zeltinger slopes between the Himmelreich and Sonnenuhr Vineyards. Again, the vines are planted on southerly facing slopes composed of blue Devonian slate. Grapes are hand-harvested. Beautiful, full bouquet with notes of ginger. Full-bodied, tropical, wild honey and lively acidity nicely balanced with wet stone and great length. The grapes were harvested at 88 degrees Oeshule, which means it is legally an Auslese, but Selbach decided to label it as Spatlese. 28.49/750ml.
Château Margüi 2013 Coteaux Varois Rosé: Cinsault, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Vermentino. Gravity winemaking made with indigenous yeasts and organically farmed grapes. Uses clarification by sedimentation with no filtration. 19.99/750ml.

Château Margüi 2013 Coteaux Varois Rouge: Organically farmed Syrah/Cabernet. Light pressing and vatting for a three-week fermentation. 100% malo. 33% oak-barrel aging for 18 months. Light filtration at bottling. 25.79/750ml.

Château Margüi wines sell out fast; so don’t wait too long.

UntitledChateau Coussin 2013 Sainte-Victoire Côtes de Provence: Gravelly alluvial deposits of clay and limestone soils. Average vine age of 30 years. Cépage is 70% Grenache, 25% Cinsault and 5% Syrah. Destemming and pressing with pneumatic press. 17.19/750ml.

Two gems from Catherine and Pierre Breton:

2012 Bourgueil “Trinch” Cabernet Franc: 30-year-old vines, gravel, cold maceration in stainless. No filtration. ‘Trinch’ is a German expression meaning ‘Cheers”. 23.49/750ml.

2010 Bourgueil “Franc de Pied”: Ungrafted Cabernet Franc from .17 ha. on gravel and sand. Traditional fermenting and aging in stainless for a year. No filtration. 32.79/750ml.

Very good selection of rosés. Please ask if you don’t see what you want. France: Chinon, Lirac, Ventoux, Sancerre, Provence. Spain: Bullas, Rioja, Castile. Italy: Veneto, Abruzzi, Sicily. Oregon: Evesham Wood, Capitello, Abacela, Elk Cove, Bergstôm. And more on the way!

drcOne great thing about Market of Choice, and the Beer and Wine department, is the commitment to furthering the education and experience of our stewards. A couple of weeks ago, some co-workers and I had the opportunity to visit a coalition of wineries that included some of the best wine producers from the Willamette valley. This group is called the Deep Roots Coalition (or DRC).

The overriding purpose of this group is to greatly increase the awareness that, with few exceptions, irrigation for vines has a largely negative impact on the quality of the wine. In the 1970s, a lot of producers in California began what was then the rare practice of irrigating their vines. This seemed like a great idea, getting more juice from the same plants. Another perceived advantage was that growers could use previously arid, unsuitable land to grow vines. Followers and fans of great wine know that this is not how you choose land to plant vines. The French concept of terrior tells us that if a particular vine is not suited to the land, it should not be planted there. This idea also extends into the weather of the area. Each wine should be a representation of that piece of land, including the weather that occurs during the growing season.

The historic principle of terrior is circumvented with irrigation. A number of negative things happen. The root structure itself stays at the surface with the water, preventing the vine from developing through the different sub soils that give wine its depth and character. Vines can and do grow as deep into the soil as 35-40 feet when the roots are not irrigated. With irrigation the berries are larger and the ratio of juice to skin rises. This increases the sugar in the grape, which in turn boosts the alcohol content, and can result in a “hot” wine. These are just some of the examples that you can learn more about by researching dry-farmed wines on the Internet.

Positive attributes of the movement to non-irrigated vines are evident from all of the producers that are carried at Market of Choice: Evesham Wood Vineyards, Brickhouse, Eyrie Vineyards, and Cameron Winery are just some of the highly regarded wines that are available now. Any time you are looking for something new, or just have a question that’s been on your mind about wine, don’t be afraid to ask. Market of Choice always strives to have knowledgeable and helpful Wine Stewards to assist you on your next wine adventure

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