Archive for the ‘Youngberg Hill Pinot Gris’ Category

The Post-Harvest Vineyard

November 25th, 2014 by Rachel

Post-Harvest VineyardHarvest is an extremely busy and exciting time in every vineyard. This is when we collect the fruits of our year-long labor. The keyword there is that our labor happens all year long. In order to set up next year’s harvest for success, we must prune the vines in the dead of winter.

Pruning takes place during the dormant months of the vines; December, January, and February when the vines will not bleed excessively when the cane is cut off. Pruning vines is similar to pruning roses, cutting off the past year’s growth in order for the vine to grow new shoots to develop an appropriate canopy and fruit.

There is more to pruning wine grape vines then simply cutting off old growth. We are also “training” the vine in the shape of a “Y.” This will provide balance, maximum energy flow, and strength to the vine.

The pruning process is done by selecting two of last year’s shoots to be the current year’s fruiting cane. These two shoots make up the top part of the “Y”; the stock is the bottom. The right shoots must be kept to provide the optimal energy flow through the vine and into the fruit. The fruiting cane is that from which the new shoots grow that develop the fruit.

Not only are we pruning for the current year’s crop, we are also pruning to leave spurs for the next year as well. In doing so, we are continuing to train the shape of the vine as it grows from year to year.

Pruning is the way we get a jump on next year’s harvest. What do you do each year to get your next year started out right?  Let us know in the comments below.

Wine Pairing with Classic Halloween Candies

October 21st, 2014 by Rachel

Wine pairing for Halloween candyIt’s almost Halloween!  It’s time to break out the candy corn, gummy worms, mini Kit Kats and all the other treats we love.  While we try to convince ourselves that only kids enjoy candy on Halloween, we can’t really get away from the fact that adults indulge too.  So, don’t fight it.  Just make it an adult dining experience by pairing your treats with wine.  That way, it’s not even an indulgence.  It’s a culinary adventure!

Here are some classic Halloween candies, with wine pairing recommendations:

  • Candy Corn is one of those Halloween treats that incites extreme reaction.  You either love candy corn, or you despise it.  There is no middle ground.  This (fortunately) is not the case with wine pairing. There are a few whites that would go well with this traditional treat.  Try a big, buttery Chardonnay, Viognier, Riesling or Gewürztraminer while gobbling these goodies.
  • Gummy Worms make your palates pucker in a delicious way. You can try Pinot Noir or Malbec with these sugar-encrusted treats.
  • Skittles and Starburst both pair well with the bubbles and freshness of Moscato or Prosecco.
  • Caramel Apple for those who want to feel as if they are being healthy, while still indulging in a delicious treat, the caramel apple is the way to go. There are also several wines which pair well with this treat-on-a-stick.  These include: Muscat, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauternes, or Pinot Gris.
  • Red Licorice or Red Vines pair perfectly with Pinot Noir.
  • Reeses Peanut Butter Cups or Peanut M&M’s go well with Port or Sherry.
  • Hershey’s Chocolate Bars, Kit Kats, and Milky Way Bars in those classic, individual sizes or in the lustworthy, family size can be paired with a jammy Zinfandel or Pinot Noir – or with a Merlot.

Feel like snacking on something a little more healthy?  Never fear!  You can still pair your roasted pumpkin seeds with Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Vert

Here’s to you and your Halloween wine pairing adventure!  Let us know in the comments below if you find any other fun wine and candy pairings.

The Elements of a Great Harvest

June 3rd, 2014 by Rachel

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The elements of a great harvest are both unique and vital to a successful vintage.  Harvest times depends upon many factors, including the year’s weather conditions, crop size, and ripeness.  The decision of when to pick the grapes has a huge impact on the wine’s complexity, flavor, and richness.  Grapes picked too young can fall short in these factors – while overripe grapes can add too much sugar and alcohol to the wine.  The perfectly ripe grape harvest is something every winemaker seeks.

Additionally, great harvest times for every type of wine varies – depending on where the grape is grown and the type of grape.  The grape of choice in many Pacific Northwest vineyards is Pinot, which is usually harvested anytime in fall – depending on the year’s weather.  This is true here in Youngberg Hill and is true for many wineries in the Willamette Valley.

Determining harvest time includes working out how sweet the grapes are.  Sweetness/sugar levels will affect the amount of alcohol in the wines.  Think back for a second…what are the sweetest grapes you have eaten?  If you thought raisins, you were on to something.  Dried fruit has more sugar in it than fresh, perfectly ripe fruit.  The last thing you want in your Pinot Noir or Pinot Gris is a oversweet, raisiny taste and an alcohol level that overwhelms the complexity and depth the wine could show if the grapes were ripe during harvest.

As sugar levels in wine grapes rise, acid levels fall. You want the perfect balance of these two factors to create a well-balanced wine.  With our wine, we want to showcase the land and the grapes – this means the wine itself must be balanced perfectly to allow these amazing factors to shine through.

Another important aspect in determining harvest time is the physiological ripeness of the grapes. This isn’t just tasting the grapes and deciding they taste good enough to eat – we have to take a look at the whole grape including the seeds, skin, and stems.  If those aren’t ripe, they will affect the wine flavor.

Deciding upon the perfect harvest time is a heart stopping procedure that causes plenty of excitement and anxiety each and every year.  But, I think you’ll agree that we hit the nail on the head with our 2013 harvest.  Our newest Pinot Gris is out and we think you’ll find it’s smooth and stunning.

 

Why Attend a Winemaker Dinner?

May 13th, 2014 by Rachel

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One of our favorite events here at Youngberg Hill is our winemaker dinners.  Why attend a winemaker dinner? This is where we invite guests up to our vineyard for food and wines paired in perfect harmony.  But the amazing food and wine is not the main reason we love this event.  Our greatest joy is sharing stories and knowledge with our guests.

Larger or corporate wineries may claim that a “winemaker dinner” is a simple pairing while someone speaks to you about their wines.  This is not the dinner party we throw.  Ours is a close-knit affair.  Wayne and/or Nicolette are right there, eating with you, answering questions about wine, their wine-making philosophy, sharing stories, and having discussions.

The conversation and exchange of stories and ideas is the real point of a winemaker dinner.  With new friendships forming and old friendships re-forging, it’s no wonder that food can become a secondary aspect of such a dinner.  That said, we could write lengthy articles dedicated to the food alone.  Here’s just one example – the menu from our Spring winemaker dinner:

We began with a glass of Champagne and olive and onion tarts as the hors d’oeuvres. After meeting everyone who came, we moved on to the first course: grilled shrimp and creamy polenta paired with our 2013 Pinot Gris. The next course was a spring salad with strawberries and cheese paired with the 2011 Cuvee.  After that, the herbed rack of lamb with a Pinot demi-glace, asparagus, and black potatoes paired with the 2011 Jordan filled everyone up.  With so many courses, we were able to take time to enjoy the food and our guests could ask questions and share stories.  Good conversation always follows great wine, and this dinner was no exception.  The meal was topped off with bread pudding with Pendleton sauce and Pinot Port.

With intimate dinners like this one, we are able to make new friends and impart a deeper understanding of wine to our guests.  Youngberg Hill is a family owned and operated winery and we hope to make guests feel like family.  Come dine, drink, and laugh with us at our next winemaker dinner on June 7th.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Why is May so Ah-May-Zing?

May 6th, 2014 by Rachel

May is a special month to many people.  Ancient Romans went wild for it.  Mexican Independence Day is May 5th.  It’s the last official month of Spring.  May is considered a time when flowers are fully in bloom, the bikes come out of the garage, and the snow has fully melted in most of the coldest states (sorry Alaska).  But, there are several very exciting reasons we at Youngberg Hill love this month.

May is Oregon Wine Month

We in Oregon are serious about our local wines, and we feel that everyone should discover or re-discover our fantastic wines.  You can come visit us all month long for a quick tasting or for the full, Youngberg Hill experience at our Inn and winery.  Either way, enjoy the wine, watch the spring flowers blooming up and down our hill, see the vines as they branch out for another great wine year, and cast your eyes upon the best views in the valley.

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Wine Flies Free      

As if you needed more incentive to come to Oregon for our wine month, Alaska Airlines is hosting another year of Oregon Wines Fly Free starting this month.  This means, when you visit participating wineries (and you better believe we’re participating) you can taste wines for free as long as you:

a) Are an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan member and

b) Have an Alaska ticket from a participating airport that is in use for travel.  

PLUS, when you want to bring a case of our lovingly made wines home with you, you can check it for free as baggage.

The McMinnville AVA Passport Weekend

The first weekend of May is the McMinnville AVA Passport Weekend.  This is our town’s way of really kicking off Oregon Wine Month.  Visit all participating locations over the weekend and enjoy a tasting.  We’ll stamp your passport – and once all five stamps are collected, you will enjoy free tastings and receive 10% off purchases for the whole month of May.  Additionally, you will have a chance to enter for five premium bottles.

Mother’s Day

Our winery is family-owned and operated.  This means that Mother’s Day holds a special significance for us.  We know how hard you moms work, the struggles you must overcome, and the bountiful rewards of motherhood.  That’s why we are inviting you to come and take a load off for Mother’s Day.  If you’re a mom, come to our tasting room and enjoy a complimentary wine tasting.  Our glasses are raised to you!

Memorial Day Weekend

We are wrapping up the month with a three day weekend that will feature our new release!  The 2013 Aspen Pinot Gris will be in our tasting room for your enjoyment.  Not only that, our new deck will be open so you can sip wine and enjoy the best views in the valley.

So, as you can see, May is a big month for wine in Oregon.  We hope you can make it out and discover the fantastic wines available here in wine country.  Cheers!