Posts Tagged ‘Oregon Pinot noir’

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…

3 Reasons to Visit Willamette Valley

January 27th, 2014 by Nicolette Bailey

Willamette ValleyThe Willamette Valley is arguably one of the best known regions in Oregon.  The fertile soils of the Willamette Valley are known to produce some of the world’s most exquisite Pinot Noir wines, and it is Oregon’s leading wine-producing region.  Willamette Valley is home to two-thirds of Oregon’s wineries and vineyards, making it an ideal wine tourist destination.  Enjoy a day spent touring a select few of the more than 150 Willamette Valley Wineries with our wine driving tour.  At Youngberg Hill Vineyards & Inn, we have 20 total acres with three distinct blocks of Pinot Noir and one block of Pinot Gris, all of which are organically and sustainably farmed.  The wonderful combination of soils and weather found in the Willamette Valley are perfectly suited for the growth of Pinot Noir, resulting in high quality fruit with rich, intense black fruit flavors, earthy minerality, and high acidity.  We take immense pride in the wines produced here.  Stop in to our tasting room, which is open 7 days a week, and experience the delicious complexity of Youngberg Hill wines.

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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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Wine Club at Youngberg Hill

November 25th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

Thanksgiving 2013 edit 001It is release time for the 2011 vintage, and the perfect time to join our Wine Club!

Wine clubs are a great way to keep in touch with wineries that you enjoy, to keep your wine cellar stocked, to try new vintages before the general public gets to, and to receive and/or purchase wines or vintages that are only available to wine club members. In fact, there are some entire vintages that are only available to wine club members.

A Wine club membership provides discounts on purchases for semi-annual shipments and on other orders. Members are also invited to participate in special events throughout the year including winemaker’s dinners, free tastings, wine tours, barrel tastings, club pickup events, blending parties, and more. Wine clubs also provide opportunities to enjoy wines that are not released to the general public or stores.

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Celebrate Fall in Oregon Wine Country

September 9th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

Oregon Wine country fallIf you’re interested in sampling some of the country’s finest Pinor Noir wines, then fall is a wonderful time to plan a trip to Oregon Wine Country. Throughout the fall months, the hillsides across the Willamette Valley are radiant with the colors of fall.  Deep purple grapes are set against a backdrop of the brilliant oranges, bright yellows, and deep reds associated with the harvest season.  Driving through the valley is stunning, only made better when you stop in our amazing tasting room to sample the wines produced here.

As we head into the fall months, Willamette Valley Wineries are busy getting ready for the harvest season.  If you’re looking for some harvest-related fun, then head to the 23rd annual Grape Stomp and Harvest Celebration at Willamette Valley Vineyards on September 21st and 22nd.  Visitors from all over the country compete in teams for the title, as well as to earn a trip to Santa Rosa, California for the World Grape Stomp Championships.  Come dressed in costumes, enjoy the live music, and get ready for some great family fun in Oregon Wine Country.  On Saturday, October 5th, spend the day with the North Willamette Vintners as they prepare for the 2013 Oregon wine harvest during the North Willamette Harvest Trail and Grand Tasting.  Here, you’ll learn all about the wine harvest, and enjoy a guided bus tour to three different Willamette Valley wineries for tastings and other harvest-related activities.  At Youngberg Hill Vineyards, we’re always looking for volunteers to help us with sorting during the fall harvest.  If you’re interested, please email us for more information.

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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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Veraison! Oregon’s Wine Country Changing Colors

August 6th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

Veraison blog

No, it’s not fall yet in Oregon Wine Country, but we are starting to see the first glimpse of Veraison in the Willamette Valley! Veraison is the ripening process as wine grapes change color from green to a deep blue purple for red wine grapes, autumn colors for grey grapes (or gris), and frosty light green for white grapes. This color change typically takes place in late August/early September. Bergström just facebooked that they are seeing the first signs of Veraison.  This is a month earlier than normal. California typically is going through Veraison at this time, and afterward Oregon follows suit, but every year brings something different! Specific to the Willamette Valley, the north end of the valley typically starts Veraison earlier. Since Youngberg Hill is located at a higher altitude, we are usually a couple of weeks behind the majority of vineyards.

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Growing Pinot Noir in Oregon’s Willamette Valley

July 31st, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

vineyard2013 has been a relatively good growing season so far for Oregon Pinot Noir. We had an early spring in terms of warmer temperatures and drier weather in April and May. Budbreak and bloom were on time or slightly ahead and we just concluded fruit set. The clusters are very full and berry size is even. We will be counting clusters and weighing clusters in the next couple of weeks to determine how much fruit to cut off to maximize quality.

We have raised catch wires to the top of the posts and hedged the vines. We have also removed leaves on the east side of the vines to open up the canopy and expose the fruit to cool morning sunlight. We are cutting and plowing under more cover crop to eliminate competition for water, as we are having a few more hotter days than normal and drier ground water. In fact, our number of hours hotter than 50 degrees is similar to California’s Sonoma County so far this year. We have had a few more days of higher than normal humidity, as well, that increases propensity for mildew pressure. Therefore, we have been more diligent in our spray program to ensure the vines are protected. The drier than normal conditions have made this easier to manage.

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Wine Travel

May 11th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

wine travel1smNot all wine enthusiasts have the opportunity to travel to Oregon’s wine country to explore the wonderful valley where grapes are grown and wine is made.  Therefore, it’s important for us as winemakers to travel to markets across the country to share our life’s work with others.  We have had the opportunity over the last couple of weeks to do just that.  You might ask: “why travel to the midwest this time of year?”  The answer is simple – right now is the slow period in the vineyard.  In April the vines will begin the new growing season and there will be work to do.  Most of us are farmers first, and without close attention to the vineyard, we are not able to produce the quality of Pinot Noir that is expected from the Willamette Valley.

So we found ourselves in Minnesota, Iowa, and Chicago during one of those late winter snow storms that reminds us that spring is still a ways off.  But fortunately the storm passed quickly and travel carried on.  We are very excited about the increased awareness of Oregon Pinot Noir in Minneapolis.  It seems to align with Minneapolis’ recognition as the “foodiest city” in the country and its new-found love of holistic culinary eateries.

Chicago continues to be one of the best restaurant cities in the country, and where there is good food, there is good wine.  Chicagoans are beginning to discover the great versatility of Pinot Noir with food pairing and that Oregon’s more elegant and higher acidic pinots are a perfect match for the foods they love.

 

We had great success in both markets, with new retail placements and glass pours at many of the top restaurants.  We look forward to returning next year, to rekindle friendships and cultivate new ones, over a glass of Oregon Pinot Noir.