Archive for the ‘Youngberg Hill’ Category

Should You Let Your Wine Age?

March 18th, 2014 by Rachel

Wine cellar with wine bottle and glasses

Wine cellar with wine bottle and glassesDo you “cellar” any of your wines? Almost 80% of wine that is purchased is consumed within 24 hours.  So, we can assume that most people might answer “no” to that question.  The main thing a lover of wine would normally have to worry about is keeping their wine in a cool-ish area (not in the trunk of their car in the height of summer) before opening and drinking it.

One of the reasons why folks don’t often cellar wine is they believe they simply don’t have the space for a wine cellar.  In fact, when many people think of a wine cellar, they often get images of a cavernous vault beneath a giant mansion.  This most certainly does not have to be the case.  Wines are best preserved by keeping them in a cool (55 to 60 degree), dark, relatively high humidity (60 to 80%) environment. It need not cost a lot. A perfect choice for all of us who do not own a mansion could be a corner area in the back of an unfinished basement, an old time root cellar or that old storage cave that your grandmother stored potatoes in.

This brings us to the question of: should you let your wine age, in other words, cellar your wine?

This really is a matter of personal taste – the “yum or yuk” factor we have mentioned in previous blog posts.

Do you most enjoy bright, flush, fresh fruit flavors that jump into your mouth and beg for the next sip?  You are more apt to find pleasure in drinking young, un-cellared wines for these characteristics. But, if you love the taste of bigger and softer tannins; if you enjoy fruit flavors integrated with savory components balanced throughout the time in your mouth – then lingering on long after the wine has trickled down your throat, you will like older (cellared) wines.  The more you enjoy the latter characteristics, the older (longer cellared) you will want your wines to be.

In the end, there really is not a “right” answer.  Should you let your wine age?  It’s all about your personal taste.

Holistic Farming: Our Approach to Growing Grapes

February 18th, 2014 by Rachel

Organic farming is inherent in the culture here in Oregon.  Our state is among the top five states in number of certified organic farms.  Even more farms utilize organic practices, but don’t go through the costly certification process.  Instead, they farm organically because it’s the right thing to do.

seriously organic winesGenerally speaking, organic farms are those which do not utilize synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.  At Youngberg Hill, we take it a step farther by using a biodynamic philosophy when growing our grapes.  This means we do not poison our soil with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.  Instead, we consider the farm from a holistic perspective.  We look at the balance of our ecosystem and work to generate health and fertility naturally – within the farm itself.

There are a number of grasses and other local plants growing on our farm.  These give a home to local insects, which feed local birds.  These plants give and take nutrition from the soil.  Their lives and their deaths enrich the ground in which our vines grow.

We don’t use chemical fertilizers to pump up tired soil.  Instead, we work to maintain the rich soil nature provided us with when we first came to Youngberg Hill.

Why do we take so much care to create a natural environment in our farm?  There are two reasons:

1st: We want our wine to tell the story of the land in which the grapes were grown and how nature affected each and every grape.  We believe in letting nature speak for itself in the clarity and flavor of our wines.

2nd: Youngberg Hill is a family owned and operated farm.  Our girls are growing up here. We want to raise our grapes in the same healthy environment in which we are raising our girls.

Our philosophy and way of farming has kept our family happy and healthy – and has made us able to produce award winning wines year after year.

Have you heard of Holistic Farming? What are your thoughts on this with regard to wine? 

 

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…

Willamette Valley Geology 101 | Youngberg Hill

January 6th, 2014 by Nicolette Bailey

dirt 2As farmers, we wine grape growers have a strong interest in the soils our vines are planted in. When we explain to guests the different characteristics of our soils, we are often asked how the soils got there and why they are so different from one another. During such a discussion with some recent guests, we were fortunate to have among them a geologist who was visiting.  He not only took a strong interest in our explanation, but had additional information to share as well.  For all of our “dirt-geek” readers, and for those who just want to learn more, his research points can be read in the following pdf .  We are thankful to have such interested and passionate guests who want to join the discussion about wine farming, and welcome your comments on the topic of soil in the Willamette Valley!

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2013 Oregon Wine Vintage in Review

December 16th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

Harvest 2013 104Oh what a beautiful October we had!  Many wine grape growers in the area say that September weather determines how good of a year we have for the vintage. I believe that October tells a good story of vintage quality but its not the whole story. While much of the ripening takes place in September, October is when everything comes together.

2013 Oregon wine vintage was no exception. The growing season started early with an early spring, and that timing continued throughout the season. The summer proved to be a little warmer than normal which also had things moving along a little faster. The combination resulted in ripening happening in warmer conditions, moving sugars and acids ahead of other ripening factors, which may throw the resulting wines out of balance. This caused some farmers to become concerned that the grapes were going to need to be harvested early and that the resulting wines would be high in alcohol.

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Winter Wine Tours

December 2nd, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

winter wine tourEach season in Oregon’s wine country is as special and magical as the last.  While winter may not be your first choice when it comes to taking a tour through Oregon’s beautiful wine country, some would consider winter one of the best times to visit Oregon wineries.  Give us a chance this year to show you how beautiful and magical a winer in Willamette Valley truly is with a winter wine tour. Harvest is wrapping up and things are quieting down, bringing fewer visitors to Oregon’s wine country.  It an ideal time to enjoy the slower, quieter side of wine country.   Many of the wineries found throughout the Willamette Valley, including Youngberg Hill Vineyards, are open to visitors year-round.  Journey in to the many tasting rooms that dot the Willamette valley, and you’re likely to have the chance to sit down and talk in depth to the winemakers themselves; something that occurs less frequently during the peak travel seasons.

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Wine Country Thanksgiving

November 14th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

Wine Country ThanksgivingMore than 300 wineries and tasting rooms call the big and beautiful Willamette Valley home.  Find yourself surrounded with beautiful vistas of the Cascade Mountains and the Willamette Valley as you wind through the scenic backcountry roads on a tour of Oregon’s expansive wine country.  Fall is quickly coming to an end, and the holidays are fast approaching.  In wine country, that means another year of harvesting is done, and it’s time to kick back and celebrate wine country style.  November begins a special season in Oregon’s wine country; it ushers in a season of magical, quiet beauty to the Willamette Valley.  For the Willamette Valley wineries, November is a time to gather with friends, family, and guests alike, when they open their door to celebrate  another wine country Thanksgiving.  This year, kick off the holiday season right, and join Youngberg Hill Vineyards and other Oregon wineries in celebrating the 31st annual Wine Country Thanksgiving with special tastings, food pairings, live music, and more.

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Hostesses with the Mostesses

November 3rd, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

InnkeepersMost of our guests and everyone in the Willamette Valley will agree that our most distinguishing feature is our extraordinary panoramic views from atop the Hill. However, I suggest that our Innkeepers, Becky and Colleen, may be our most distinguishing feature. While our guests always leave mesmerized by their experience with us, it is the personal care that Becky and Colleen take with each and every guest that truly sets us apart.

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Willamette Valley Getaway: Romance in McMinnville

October 28th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

willamette Valley getawayNestled at the heart of Willamette Valley’s thriving wine country is the charming and historic town of McMinnville.  On the surface, McMinnville may appear to be a sleepy little town without much to offer for a weekend getaway to the Willamette Valley.  If you make that assumption, however, you’ll be wrong. McMinnville is actually a fascinating mix of ambition, community spirit and passion about the businesses that populate its streets, giving it the feel of a large city, complete with the all the charm you want from a small town.  In fact, it is this unique combination of attributes that makes McMinnville a great place for couples to take a Willamette Valley getaway.  Join us in McMinnville, and savor in our fantastic wines, gourmet foods, beautiful surroundings, and the fresh air you expect out of an Oregon retreat.  Stay in our luxurious accommodations at Youngberg Hill Vineyards, where you’ll experience a romantic gem nestled atop a hill in Oregon’s Wine Country. Experience what it feels like to be pampered by our exceptional staff as you relax, unwind, and enjoy the views of our 22 acre organic vineyard, the Coast Range, Mount Jefferson, Mount Hood and the Willamette Valley.

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Wine Country Lodging Getaway – Jura Suite

August 12th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

JuraRm-01The Jura Suite was originally two, small, separate guest rooms in the Inn that were combined in 1994 to make a larger suite.  Although it was always a beautiful room, we knew that we could improve it, and in late December of 2012 we took on the challenge of welcoming in the coming year by giving the Jura a complete makeover!

There were four main focus areas for design; the view, the headboard, the larger bathroom with glass wine sinks, and the fireplace.  Everything else fit around these elements.   The beautiful original panoramic windows always filled the room with light and gave guests a full view of the valley, so we decided to keep them.  It felt great to kick off the Jura remodel by making an energy efficient update that corresponded with our convictions to uphold good environmental practices here at Youngberg Hill .  Although we loved the original trim, the chance to change the trim color throughout the entire room in order to give the room some special flare that set it aside from all the rest was simply too fun to pass up.  We now enjoy a dark chocolate trim that picks up the tones of the other new additions in the room – the headboard and the wood grains in the exposed beams above.

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