December 19, 2007

Author and writer George Taber (Judgement of Paris)had been in town in October to promote his new book, To Cork or Not to Cork, and we scheduled some studio time to talk with him. However, his laryngitis was so severe we all decided to put off the interview until another time. Well, that time finally came and George was in great form. Hear the interview at the link below.


December 11, 2007

GrapeRadio sat in with Rusty Gaffney (the Prince of Pinot) for a tasting of 11 Pinot Noirs from the Shea Vineyard in Oregon. Nice cross section of wines, and not quite the results we all might have expected.

  • 2005 Shea Wine Cellars Willamette Valley Chardonnay -
    Nose of lemon-lime, tropical and pineapple notes, with touches of jasmine and honeysuckle. Slightly sweet lemon-lime flavors, lightly spicy, with nice balance of fruit and acids, and very long lingering finish and aftertaste.
  • 2005 Shea Wine Cellars Willamette Valley Estate Pinot Noir -
    (Blend of different blocks.) Nose of dark cherry fruit with the barest hint of citrus and damp earth. Nice acid attack on the palate, with a little tartness initially. It finally becomes a bit sweeter just before a citrusy sour cherry flavor arrives. Moderate tannins on the latter palate.
  • 2005 Shea Wine Cellars Willamette Valley East Hill Pinot Noir -
    (Wadenswil and Dijon clones.) Less overtly tart/sour in the nose, with warm spices and dark fruit. Big chewy center of creamy dark fruit, with a light sappy streak throughout. Very nice and my #3 WOTF.
  • 2005 Shea Wine Cellars Willamette Valley Pommard Clone Pinot Noir -
    (Replaces Block 23, as replanted.) More sap in the nose then the preceding wine, but similar aromas. More finesse at the core, with wild strawbery and cherry flavors, and soft fleshy finish.
  • 2005 Shea Wine Cellars Willamette Valley Wadenswil Clone Pinot Noir -
    (Old vine plantings.) Initial light citrus in the nose, and pineapple streak in the flavor profile. This seems to hit higher notes in the register as well picking up some bing cherry leading to a somewhat short finish.
  • 2005 Shea Wine Cellars Willamette Valley Homer Pinot Noir -
    Nose is significantly riper and sweeter than the preceding wines, and there is a fascinating hint of tapenade. Full sweet fruit through mid-palate, with a little tartness and acidity creeping in on the back end. This is the "reserve" of the Estate wines, and I wanted to like this a lot. However, much as I liked the nose, I found the mouthfeel just too sweet, and I felt the East Hill delivered better.
  • 2003 Shea Wine Cellars Willamette Valley Block 23 Pinot Noir -
    (100% Pommard clone.) Nose of dark cherry and wild strawberry aromas. Not too much interest on the palate, yet about 3/4 through there are some nice acids that lift the fruit to a nice finish. Quaffer going in; nice wine coming out.
  • 2002 Shea Wine Cellars Willamette Valley Block 23 Pinot Noir -
    This had a "wow" nose of sweet sappy dark fruit, with touches of citrus and floral scents. Excellent balance and melding of fruit flavors, and long lingering finish. Really nice, and my #1 WOTF.
  • 2005 Penner-Ash Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir -
    Slightly sweet nose, with vanilla, light oak and a sense of stem inclusion. Nice enough initially, but seems to have a hole at mid-palate and a flabby finish.
  • 2005 Auteur Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir -
    Nose of dark cherry, gardenia, and Xmas spice. Fascinating floral and citrusy flavors mingle with the dark cherry on the palate. Very good balance and terrific finish. Decidedly different than its siblings, I liked this a lot. My #2 WOTF.
  • 2005 Broadley Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir -
    Nose of dark cherry, roasted beet, citrus and spice, this seems a bit angular and sharp in aroma. Initially full on the palate, but tapers off rapidly until acids give it a sense of completion.



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