Archive for the ‘Youngberg Hill Pinot Noir’ Category

Six Tips for Pairing Wines

April 29th, 2014 by Rachel

youngberg hill wine tasting notes

Finding the perfect meal for your wine can be a daunting process.  There seems to be a ton of rules and regulations which you should follow – and often these are contradictory.  This can make any wine lover feel as if they need a personal sommelier in their home at all times.  Unfortunately, that option is rarely practical. Instead of giving up and resorting to water at your mealtimes, here are six tips for pairing wines with your meals – or vice versa.

 

Tip #1: It’s all a matter of taste.  While there are some very general rules – like whites usually go with fish and chicken, while reds often go with red meat, these aren’t hard and fast rules.  Instead, think about wine and food pairings which you have enjoyed in the past.

Perhaps you had a great Pinot Noir with a delicious mushroom dish.  Be sure to consider what about the wine pairing worked for you.  What were the notes and textures you enjoyed most about the wine? Consider why that wine worked well with the food you ate.

Tip #2: When in doubt, try a medium-bodied wine.  The middle of the road may not make the perfect pairing, but it can be a great safety net when you really have no idea what to pair with your food.

Tip #3: Take a look at the label.  Does it say what kind of flavors the wine has?  Match those flavors with your meal.  For example, the note of pineapple in your white may go great with fish or some asian cuisines, but could taste very strange with pesto.  A young red wine may work really well with bitter foods like olives or radicchio, but could taste pretty odd with pecorino.

Tip #4: Experiment.  One of the best ways to discover your own taste and what food and wines work best for you is to try and pair foods with wines.

Try this: Buy or make small appetizer portions of your forthcoming meal.  Next, taste the wine, then the food and see if they pair well.  If not, look at the characteristics of the food and the wine.  Were you pairing a high acidity food with a high acidity wine?  Was the wine so full bodied that it overwhelmed the delicate dish?  Experimentation may lead you down a culinary path you would not have otherwise discovered.

Tip #5: Don’t just consider the type of food – also look at how it’s cooked.  A rule we all hear is to pair fish with white – but if you’re eating a hearty fish stew, a Pinot Noir might be a better match than a Chardonnay.  Additionally, beef is normally paired with a big red wine, but a super spicy beef chili may work better with a Pinot Grigio or other white wine.

Tip #6: Don’t make things too complex.  If you know you have a wonderful, complex bottle of wine that you really want to enjoy, keep the food simple.

In the end, it’s always about the “yuk or yum” factor.  Meaning, if you like the wine pairing – that’s what really counts.  These tips are just a way to help you get to the “yum.”

The Oregon Difference

April 22nd, 2014 by Rachel

April 2014 - Blog 3 - Pic 1Pinot Noir was first planted here in the Willamette Valley since 1965.  Oregonians have been taking care of their land and keeping family wineries going ever since.

As custodians of the land, we hold ourselves to a very strict standard.  We work to follow holistic and biodynamic farming practices which allow the soil, the grapes, and nature to work in perfect harmony.  This produces a higher quality grape and wine.

Not only do Oregon farmers in general and Youngberg Hill in particular take environmental stewardship seriously – the state requires our wines be the best in the country as well.  Oregon’s wine labeling regulations are the strictest in the US. There are many reasons we work so hard to preserve our land while making some of the best Pinot Noir out there.

The Oregon Difference

1st: The Willamette Valley is not just a place to live.  It’s a slice of Tuscany transplanted into America.  With proper stewardship of our land, we will be able to enjoy this land for generations to come.

2nd: We are passionate about wine.  The beauty of young grapes ripening into that perfect harvest.  The joy harvesting our grapes at just the right moment.  The shared excitement of shaping that harvest into a reflection of our land, the seasons, the weather, and the year.  These are what we love – and it’s a passion we want to share with you.

3rd: Our home is a part of a greater heritage.  That of the Oregon wine country.  We share it with you in the form of our wine and in the hospitality of our Inn.  We want that heritage to continue through our family and this winery for many, many years to come.

The wines produced here at Youngberg Hill are a reflection of our home and the land on which we live and grow.  Here’s hoping you have a chance to enjoy a little slice of Oregon.  Cheers!

Does the Order You Taste Wine in Matter?

April 9th, 2014 by Rachel

how to taste wine

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There are many methods of wine tasting, so does the order you taste wine in matter? Generally, when you go to a vineyard for a tasting, the winery will provide wine from their latest bottling. This is a great way to get a feel for the variety of wine provided by the winery as well as a feel for the terroir (meaning soil, climate, and area in which the grapes were grown.)

Another fantastic way to get an in-depth understanding of a vineyard and its wines is a vertical tasting.  This is the process of tasting the same wine from the same winery, but from successive years.  For example, you could taste our Jordan Pinot Noir from 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008.  This type of tasting allows you to identify the thread that ties the wines together.  As you taste progressively older wines, the tannins mellow, which can help you understand the evolution of the wine itself.

Finally, there is a horizontal tasting.  This is often not something you will do at a winery, but is something you may participate in at a wine bar or wine shop.  A horizontal tasting involves trying similar wines from similar regions – all of the same year.  For example, you could do a horizontal tasting of Pinot Gris produced in the Willamette Valley.  This type of tasting gives one a concept of how the wine in the area can vary due to the style and relative location of each winery within one region.

A fun way to spice up a horizontal tasting is to do a “blind” tasting.  You could blindfold yourself and taste each type of wine – but we think that way may lie accidental spillage – and no one wants to waste good wine.  Instead, the server providing you with the tasting simply puts a bag over the label of each bottle.  Once the tasting is over, they reveal the wineries you tasted.  You may want to try a second round of tastings after the wineries are revealed, just so you know which producer’s wine you enjoyed the most.  The answer may surprise you, which is the point of a blind tasting.

No matter how you go about tasting wine, the point is for you to enjoy the experience.

What are the Benefits of Joining a Wine Club?

March 25th, 2014 by Rachel

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Youngberg Hill Wine Club

You love wine.  Perhaps you purchase a few bottles whenever you are at the grocery store, buy a case of your favorites each month, or just sip it at restaurants.  Wine clubs exist specifically for people like you.

The main feature of any wine club is receiving great wines at your doorstep on a regular basis. Clubs usually send bottles on a monthly, quarterly, or biannual basis.  This is a great feature in itself, as it allows your pallet (and wine cellar) an extra boost consistently.

However, when you sign up with a specific winery – rather than a “wine of the month” club that features several wineries – you get additional benefits.

So what are the benefits of joining a wine club?

New Releases Delivered: The first thing any good wine club does is deliver great wine from our vineyard to your doorstep.  We send our new releases each May and November.  The number of bottles sent depends upon the type of club the member has signed up to.

Discounts: Youngberg Hill has a very unique set up.  We aren’t just a winery – we are an Inn as well.  This gives us the opportunity to offer our members discounts on stays in our Inn.

Free Tastings: Renewing old acquaintances and meeting new friends is among our favorite things.  So, of course, we offer club members and their guests’ free wine tastings.

Member’s Only Events: It’s true!  We enjoy staying connected with our members – which is why we spoil them with member’s only events.

Exclusive Access: Our Pinot Club members have an opportunity which we reserve for no one else.  They are able to purchase older vintages from our library.  Additionally, the Pinot Club members can schedule a private tasting with food pairing and a 2 hour vineyard/winery tour each year.

Signing up for a wine club with your favorite winery allows you first class access to both the wines and the winery.  Youngberg Hill is unique in that we also have an Inn, so even those who sign up to our clubs that live in other states can always visit and enjoy discounts, free tastings, and more.  Additionally, wine clubs give the wine lover (that’s you!) the opportunity to build up a collection of their favorite vintages, and to explore wine and their own pallet more deeply.

 

How to Taste Wine Properly

February 4th, 2014 by Rachel

youngberg hill tasting roomWe have all heard that wine tasting is a complicated process.  You have probably been given advice on how to taste wine – usually this includes:

a)     Look at the color of the wine to discover its clarity, depth, and saturation.

b)     Smell the wine

c)      Swirl the wine in your glass.

d)     Note how slowly it runs back down the side of the glass while you’re swirling.  This is called viscosity.

e)     Smell the wine again.

f)      Take a sip of the wine and roll it around your mouth so as to expose it to all of your taste buds.

g)     Note the aftertaste.

There can be more steps involved for the professional wine taster, but those are the basics.

However, when going wine tasting, the most important thing to note is what we like to call the “yuck” or “yum” factor.  That is: do you like it?  If so, what do you like about it?  If not, what don’t you like about it?

The first part is easy.  Just taste the wine and discover if you enjoy the texture, smell, and flavor.

The second part is more difficult.  Discovering what you specifically like or dislike about the wine can be tough to describe.  Taste is a deeply personal experience and how one person describes a taste can be completely different from the description of another person who is sipping the exact same wine.

So, how do you describe your taste in wine to a store, restaurant, or winery? Here are four tips:

  1. When you taste a wine you like – find out how the winery described it.  You can do this in the tasting room by speaking with the person who is conducting the tasting and asking them for tasting notes, discussing specifics of the year the wine was produced, and finding out how it was aged.However, you aren’t always in a tasting room when sipping a glass of wine.  You may be at home or out at dinner.  You can check the bottle for descriptions or note down the wine you ordered and Google the tasting notes later on.
  2. When you taste a wine you don’t like, do the same thing.  No one really wants to remember the wine they didn’t care for, but understanding why you didn’t care for it will help you buy wines you enjoy more in future.  So, find out about the wine, discover how the taste or smell you didn’t care for is described, and don’t buy wine with those characteristics in future.
  3. Consider what it’s paired with.  The way you perceive taste changes as you eat and drink wine.  You might be enjoying your food and wine more than you would if they were not paired.  On the flip side, you may really dislike your wine because of a bad pairing. 
  4. Find out what certain descriptive terms mean.  Some very common terms used when discussing wine are:

Rich – Wine which shows ripeness and viscosity.  This is something you can discern from the legs which form when you swirl your wine and from the depth of color.

High Acidity – This describes a tart and zesty taste.  When describing reds; “high acidity” usually means it’s lighter in color and tastes tart.  When describing whites; this often means a lemon or lime taste.

Oaked – This means the wine was aged in an oak barrel.  The type of oak used in the barrel itself can have a huge impact on the taste of wine.  But, when you’re talking tastebuds, the “oak” tastes in wine are the non-grape related tastes.  Common “oak” tastes are vanilla, butter, and coconut in whites and spice, vanilla, and dill in reds.

UnOaked – Wines are not always aged in oak.  Wines which are unoaked are often more zesty and tart.

Buttery – Often describes a white that has been aged in oak and has low acidity. It has a creamy texture and a smooth finish.

Floral – A smell or taste of flowers or blossoms.  This is opposed to a fruity taste or smell.

We could go on and on talking about terms used to describe wine, but these are some of the basics.

Just remember, when tasting wine, it’s all about your very personal taste.  Be sure to keep that in mind when you next go out for a wine tasting or sip on a glass of wine at a restaurant.

What are your personal wine tastes? COMMENT below and share with us…

27th Annual International Pinot Noir Celebration

July 20th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

International Pinot Noir Celebration

With the end of July just around the corner, it’s time for Pinot Noir lovers to rejoice!  The 27th annual International Pinot Noir Celebration is upon us, from July 26th-28th at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.  The three day event that makes up the International Pinot Noir Celebration, or IPNC for short, is a must-do event for new Pinot Noir lovers or master winemakers alike.  Join a variety of people from across the globe, including winemakers, northwest chefs, media, and other wine lovers as you explore the intricacies of Pinot Noir wines, savor unforgettable meals, and learn and celebrate with the biggest stars of the wine world.  Throughout your time at the International Pinot Noir Celebration, you’ll have a chance to taste Pinot Noir from Grand Cru Burgundy, Oregon, New Zealand, Australia, California, and other areas around the globe.  But this event is about more than just tasting great wines.  Here, you’ll have the chance to walk through Oregon vineyards with the grower who planted them, and unwind in the picturesque wine country of Willamette Valley, Oregon.  This surely is one of the most enjoyable weekends for wine lovers from all walks of life. Youngberg Hill Vineyards is located just 15 short minutes away from Linfield College and the IPNC venue, making this your perfect opportunity to stop in and tour one of Oregon’s premier wine country estates.

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Sustainable Farming

September 26th, 2011 by Nicolette Bailey

In Youngberg Hill’s last blog on farming we discussed organic grape growing and the difference between growing grapes organically and making wine organically.  Today, we will talk about the difference between organic and sustainable farming.

Organic farming is basically a building block to sustainable farming. Sustainable practices are a little more arbitrary in that in most cases there are many different certifying organizations and you do not have to be certified organic to get sustainable certification. I like to compare sustainable farming to maintaining and improving the health of your own body. Every year, you go to the doctor, get an exam, and have tests done to find any deficiencies or excesses in your body. Then you take appropriate action to correct those deficiencies or imbalances. Youngberg Hill does the same with the vines and the soil. We test each year to determine any deficiencies or imbalances the vines or soil have and then we take corrective action via composting, cover crops, and other organic measures  to improve the health of both the plants and the soil. Our goal is for both to be healthier in the future than today and we are doing it systemically.

Youngberg Hill uses these practices because we believe that by improving the health of the soil and the vines, that health will translate into healthier vines that will live much longer, hopefully hundreds of years. Under current “standard practices” vines are typically replaced after 30 to 40 years, if not earlier. Older vines continue to draw more deeply on the terrior of the vineyard and the fruit will develop more character and sense of place. That transitions into wines with more vitality, more unique qualities, and more life and vibrancy.

Farming with these practices will produce wines that have different characteristics than the average commercial bottle of wine. By taking the opportunity to taste these wines, you will be able to identify with those characteristics that most appeal to you. Do you know how old the vines are of the wines you are drinking? Do you know where the fruit was grown? What qualities do you identify with?

Grape Veraison in Oregon Pinot Noir

September 9th, 2011 by Nicolette Bailey

Veraison is the ripening process as wine grapes change color from green to a deep blue purple. This color change typically takes place in late August/early September, but with this year’s late spring, we have not yet seen much change. There are many other changes taking place in the grapes as they are ripening and all are important to the development of the fruit and the resultant wine.

As the color is changing, we are able to identify fruit that is most likely not going to ripen or will not ripen when a majority of the fruit will and best to cut off so it is not picked at harvest time. During this time the sugar content (brix)of the grapes is increasing, ph (acidity) is decreasing, and tartaric acid is going down. These three quantifiable measures help gauge the ripening of the grapes. We are also looking at more subjective measures such as the seeds to see how they are turning from green to brown, the consistency of the pulp to see that it is losing its firmness and adherence to the seed, and, of course, the flavors. Every vintage is different. Some years, the flavors tend to set in earlier during the ripening of the grapes and then there are years when the flavors do not begin to show up until the very end. Even if all other elements are where you want them, if the flavors are not there, they will not be in the wine.

So as the grapes are starting to ripen, everything is dependent on Mother Nature, specifically the weather. It is very important to have dry sunny days that are not too hot. October makes or breaks a vintage in the Willamette Valley, especially for Pinot Noir. We need that time on the vines to ripen the fruit to its full potential. At the same time, the weather is changing.  Rain showers start to come in from the ocean. They may be just a short drizzle or a day long pouring. If it only lasts a day or so, it will be fine as long as we have some sunny dry weather following. We are constantly watching the weather patterns out in the Pacific to determine what to anticipate for weather and whether to hold tight and hope that the weather passes, or decide to harvest fruit while it is dry.

It is an anxious time, waiting. When the decision is made to harvest and the day arrives, it is very exciting to bring the fruit in from the vineyard into the winery. To see and feel the the fruit of your labor since January come safely into the winery, is both a relief and pride. When driving back to the vineyard at the end of the day, however, while it has been filled with anticipation and excitement, there is a little let down when I see the vines naked of fruit that I have nurtured all summer long.

Pinot Noir Pears and Smoothies

August 9th, 2011 by Nicolette Bailey

If your looking for options for getting your daily intake of Youngberg Hill Pinot Noir we have two great solutions for you.  Make Pinot Noir Pears and smoothies!  Take a bottle of Pinot Noir, whole peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, and sugar and simmer for 30 min.  Peel and core fresh pears and set them aside. Next, strain the Pinot sauce and place the pears in the Pinot sauce and cook for 30 min. Let them cool and refrigerate over night. In the morning either serve the Pinot Pears for breakfast or freeze it for smoothies. For Pinot smoothies take them out of the freezer and let it start thawing, pour a bottle of Pinot Gris in with it and blend.  And there you have my famous Pinot Noir Smoothies!! We can serve them for breakfast and during events at Youngberg Hill.  They are SO good that I have decided I am going to patent them!!

 

Oregon Pinot Noir and Resveratrol

August 8th, 2011 by Nicolette Bailey

Pinot Noir grapes are grown around the world and remain a difficult variety to cultivate and transform into wine. The grape is chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France and in more recent years, The Willamette Valley of Oregon. Willamette Valley is at the same latitude as Burgundy, and has a similar cool, damp climate in which the finicky Pinot Noir grapes thrive. Both regions are widely considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world.

Oregon Pinot Noirs are the ultimate food wine – complex, sleek, smooth and elegant with moderate degrees of tannin (the substance derived from the skins and seeds of fermenting grapes). It is an all around easy drinking wine that goes just as well with vegetables, pasta, cheese, and fruit as it does with chicken, pork, fin- and shellfish. If you’re wondering where all this wine talk is coming from, it’s because I’ve just returned from an indulgent wine-tasting trip to the abovementioned Willamette Valley. But don’t worry, there is a method to my madness…and it’s not just to soothe my gluttonous conscience.

Thanks to the French Paradox study of the early 90′s, we all know that red wine is the “healthy” alcoholic drink of choice, but did you know that only one varietal of red wine has been shown to possess often exponentially higher health properties than other kinds of wine? Yep, that’s right, the Pinot Noir grape has been said to produce the highest amounts of the antioxidant resveratrol than other red wines, which (like most other red wines besides Pinot Noir) already contain about 10 times the amount of resveratrol as white wines.

As noted by Cornell researcher Leroy Creasy, Pinot Noir’s high resveratrol content is due largely to the fact that this temperamental, thin-skinned grape (which remember, thrives in cool, moist climates) is often stressed by a combination of pathogenic organisms, temperature and fungi that typically attack in cool damp climates, resulting in the Pinot Noir grape producing resveratrol to defend itself against such attacks. The same chemical defense that extends the life of these grapes also appears to have similar benefits for us. Just as a refresher, here are a few of the claimed benefits:

  • Regular red wine consumption has been said to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems due to a class of compounds known as catechins (flavanoids). Like resveratrol, which aids grapes in fighting fungal infections, they act as anti-oxidants and anti-coagulants.
  • Lowers risk of Alzheimer’s: several studies show that resveratrol lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, by reducing the levels of amyloid-beta peptides, which are responsible for the disease.
  • Regulates Cholesterol: Studies of wine and health suggest that red wine can raise HDL cholesterol (the ‘good’ kind) and discourage LDL (the ‘bad’ kind) from forming.
  • Anti-carcinogenic/anti-cancer properties: inhibits cellular events associated with the initiation, promotion, and progression of tumors
  • Contains powerful antioxidant polyphenols, which contribute to anti-cancer, anti-aging benefits including helping to fight heart disease, vision disorders, allergies, viral infections, and more.

If you’re a Pinot Noir fan, you probably already appreciate the qualities of a great complex Pinot. And although the resveratrol content can vary widely from winery to winery, year to year, crop to crop, different fermentation processes, and other factors, it’s a generally safe bet to say that choosing a glass of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is likely to contain a far higher resveratrol content than your typical glass of red wine. And that’s just one more reason to adore an Oregon Pinot.  Youngberg Hill’s organic farming is a perfect match to the health benefits for you to enjoy.  As a daily consumer of Youngberg Hill’s Pinot Noir I can honestly say that I have all the benefits and am loving life.

Article posted at Wellness Made Natural

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