Ring Around the Rosés

Pretty pink wines go well with summer

In our lab, Mole was vigorously pulling corks and polishing rimless glasses: Time for our annual “Rosé Report.” In the last few years, rosés have really come out of the closet. Well, they never actually went into the deep closet; they just got buried (in U.S. markets anyway) under the flood of white zinfandels, sweet pink (“blush”) wines mass-produced and marketed by Cali vintners. Continue reading 

Summer Wines

Drink some wine on a hot summer night

I squinted through the grimy glass of our office window on the 14th floor of Eugene’s oldest high-rise (and eyesore). I stared down at the city’s streets lined with flushed sweetgums and pin oaks. We’re warming fast — maybe too fast — zooming into summer, maybe another hot, dry vintage, promising big bold pinot noirs, not the cool-country delicacy we’ve come to know and love. The global news on climate change (warming) has been grim: retreating glaciers, sweltering droughts, disappearing species. Continue reading 

Always Room for Oregon Wines

Check out some great wine choices for the month

I paused outside our lab door on the 15th floor of the old high-rise, the pebbled glass bearing the painted legend “Wine Investigations.” I pushed on the door, already ajar. My pardner, Mole, sat behind our scarred desk. He looked deeply morose. A mopey Mole is a sad sight to behold. For newbies, my sidekick is the sweetest guy in the world. Everybody loves Mole, even though, at wine tastings, he’s invisible, leaving only the impression of a great guy. He also has an acute, critical palate, doesn’t take notes and never forgets good wines and wine-making. Continue reading 

The Giving Vine

A look at how the local wine industry gives back to the community

Alan Mitchell of territorial vineyards

The popularity of Oregon wine, especially our pinot noirs, has soared. From a handful of wineries in the 1970s, we have seen a near-explosion: Now there are more than 400 wineries in the state, with that number increasing almost daily. Wine contributes several billion dollars annually to Oregon’s economy. The wineries and their owners also contribute greatly to various Oregon charities and nonprofits.  How, and how much? Continue reading 

Running Races for Wine

Good wines are always competing with each other

When I first began to write about Oregon wine 20-some years ago (in millennia of wine, hardly a flash), there were only a couple hands-full of labels to track. Now we have more than 400, increasing almost daily. And the wines are often very good. This poses many challenges, not only for wine writers but particularly for the wineries themselves — their owners, their staff, retailers, et al. Continue reading 

Prize in the Bottle

Wine: It's not just sour grapes

Wine is just fermented grape juice. So what’s all the fuss and chatter? There’s a prize in every bottle of good wine. And the prize can be very special, one that connects to memory, one that draws friends closer, one that opens experience. There’s often synergy with food: Wine makes food taste better, food makes wine taste better.  Now, add time in the bottle. A minor miracle ensues. Horizons expand. Sweet tastes sweeter. Continue reading 

Aging Wines II

Wine during Valentine's Day

Valentine hugs and kisses to all y’all! But first: Last month, we glanced briefly at benefits of maturing (aging) fine wines. The subject is too complex for one skimpy piece. Besides, we must tell the story of Bill Wilson, about time and wine and love. In 1985, Bill was already in his mid-60s, white hair, walked with a cane, always wore his father’s Iron Cross on a ribbon around his neck. He ambled into Ambrosia, introduced himself. We talked wine. Continue reading 

Time in a Bottle

Check the circa-1965 YouTube video of Mick Jagger and Stones crooning “Ti-i-i-ime is on my side, yes it is.” Mick looks like a kid; they all do, the whole band. Well, time is not on your side, or mine, or Mick’s or wine’s. Continue reading