Browse Tag


Pretty paint

Belle Pente 2001 Pinot Noir “Estate Reserve” (Willamette Valley) – 14.3%. Singing, softly, a simple tune. Just a few notes, but pretty ones. Almost as much powder as liquid, earthen with a spattering of dark berries, and fully mature. (7/11)

Adelsheim, Adelsheim, bless our homeland forever

Adelsheim 2006 Pinot Noir “Deglacé” (Willamette Valley) – 375 ml. Tastes more of generic sweet wine that anything particular, though there’s a shot of red berry juice that gestures vaguely in the direction of the source material. It’s clean and well-made, it’s just not interesting in any way. (6/11)

Can I get a Witness?

Witness Tree 2008 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley) – Blocky. Tiny berries, but rather than being concentrated and explosive with flavor, they’re just chewy and hard to clear from the palate. Aromatically numb, despite occasional spritzes of blood orange flower. There’s a lot of anonymous fruit, but it’s clipped and lifeless, and the finish isn’t worth much notice. (2/11)

Homestead on the range

Van Duzer 2003 Pinot Noir Homestead Block (Willamette Valley) – This has held better than I’d have expected, and matured less than I’d hoped. Alcohol plays a prominent role here, dragging the already-dark fruit into dangerous licorice-like realms, but otherwise the fruit is solid and, newly-shorn of its supporting structure, shiny and globular. Black pepper and appealing, dark-thyme herbs play a role as well. If it sounds like I’m describing something made from a different grape and from California, know that the thought has occurred. Still pretty good, and the bottle’s soon emptied, but it’s not without booziness. (12/10)

Jubeale Hershaw

Deschutes “Jubeale” Winter Ale (Oregon) – Despite all the spices and stewish darkness, this is actually a lot more standard than the label and style promise. It’s not all that spicy, for one thing, and the flavor is primarily that of a dark, slightly bitter ale. It’s fine, but unimpressive. (11/10)

A Duzer of a wine

Van Duzer 1999 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley) – There was a time when I quite liked this house. And then there was a time where everything they made seemed wretched. This was from the first era, and though it has mostly clung and lingered rather than blossomed, it’s still not bad. A fair bit more menthololic and herbal than pinot noir of only eleven years should be, with all the stripped-down structure but few of the developed berry-leaf aromatics that one expects. Still, it’s pretty enough, in an overly freckled sort of way. Drink up, and soon. (10/10)

Black dirt

Rogue “Chatoe Rogue” Dirtoir Black Lager “First Growth” (Oregon) – There’s a lot going on with that name. Perhaps more than is going on with the beer, though there’s a wrinkly appeal to its heart (and skin, and organs) of darkness. I like it, but I wouldn’t want to drink it in mass quantities. (9/10)

You’re not my brother

Beaux Frères 2005 Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge (Willamette Valley) – Overwhelming. Intensity dialed past ultra-high to pure caricature, with a liqueur-like texture (minus the sweetness). Black fruit gelatin. This is like drinking a migraine. One can admire the skill, I suppose, but…ugh. (8/09)

Rogue rouge

Rogue “St. Rogue” Red Ale (Oregon) – Somewhat overcome by bitterness, but aggressively flavorful, albeit slightly metallic. Some might like this. It’s a little much for me. (7/09)