Posts Tagged ‘Youngberg Hill Wine’

How Does Grafting Wine Grapes Work?

July 1st, 2014 by Rachel

July Blog 1 - Pic 1Many wine grapes in the US are grafted on – meaning the root of the grape plant isn’t the exact same strain as the top of the plant.  This is often a way of strengthening delicate grape types by giving it a hardier or more pest resistant root system.

Grafting wine grapes can also be used by winemakers to replace existing grapes with a new type.  So, if a winery wanted to grow Chardonnay where they were growing Pinot Noir, they would only have to graft Chardonnay grapes onto the existing roots.  This means a winery can begin producing the new grapes much more swiftly than if they had dug up their previous grapes and planted a whole new grape plant.

Why do Many Wineries Graft?

The majority of wine grapes you hear about are grafted onto rootstock due to an American pest. Back before we had officials to check whether certain plants carried disease or bugs that the ecosystem of other countries can’t handle, American vines were important to England and Europe.

Unfortunately, these vines came with a little pest that attack grapes.  The wine grapes in these areas had no natural resistance to the pest – so wine production was almost halted in Europe for a time. After the pest was discovered, winemakers developed a work-around.  They grafted their grapes to American rootstock, which has a resistance to the pests.

The practice of grafting in order to improve a grape varieties’ chance of survival continues to this day.

How to Graft

The process of grafting is pretty simple, but requires a lot of skill and expertise. Basically:

1. The root onto which the plant will be grafted is planted and allowed to establish itself.

2. Any trunks growing from the root are cut down to the ground at a spot which is approximately the same size as the trunk of the plant to be grafted.

3. A cut is made both in the trunk and the plant which is to be grafted on.  The plant and trunk are notched together.

4. They are then tied together with a material to keep the graft in place.

5. Soil is used as an additional support and as a moist surface which will help the plant heal more swiftly.

In the end, you have the varietal you want to grow attached to a root which will give it the protection and nutrients it needs to produce fantastic wine.  We can all raise a glass to that!

 

Do You Have to Let Your Wine Breathe?

June 17th, 2014 by Rachel

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Most of us opening a bottle of wine want to drink it right away.

 

Our faces might look like those of Marshall and Lily in “How I Met Your Mother” when they are told they have to wait 30 minutes to let their wine breathe.

 

 

So, the real question is – do you have to let your wine breathe?

First of all, it’s always up to your taste.  If you open a bottle, pour the wine into a glass and decide “Hey, this is delicious” then don’t let us stop you.  It’s that famous “yuck or yum” factor Wayne always talks about.

But, if you’re wondering why you’d let a wine breathe and how this action will affect taste, read on.

“Letting your wine breathe” is a pretty simple process.  The idea is that, a young red wine or even a mature red wine need to be mixed with air for a short period of time (meaning about 1-2 hours for a young wine and around 30 mins for a mature wine) in order to allow the wine to achieve its full aromatic and flavor potential.  Note that very old wine, whites, or champagne don’t need to breathe.  They can be drunk right away.

A common mistake made in letting your wine breathe is simply popping the cork and letting the wine bottle sit out for a while.  This doesn’t actually let the air mix in with much wine at all.  Your best option is decanting the wine in a decanter.  But you don’t have to get that complicated.  You can simply pour your wine into your glass, swirl it around, and then let it sit for a short period of time.

Finally – don’t let your wine sit too long.  If you’re planning on drinking one bottle over an entire evening, it may be a good idea to simply decant by the glass.  You don’t want your wine to turn vinegary.

As with everything in the wine world, letting your wine breathe is a choice that you should make only if it’s something that improves the taste of your wine to your palate.  It’s all about the yuck and yum.  Enjoy your wine in the way that tastes best to you!

 

 

 

 

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.

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!

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.

Looking for Youngberg Hill Wines?

February 26th, 2014 by Nicolette Bailey

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If you aren’t able to visit us at Youngberg Hill to enjoy our wines in person, here is a list of retail shops where you can find our wine.  If these shops are inconvenient to you, we are happy to ship direct to wherever you are.  If the store listed doesn’t have our wine in stock, ask them to order it in as it is available to them.

Of course if you are in the area, we would love for you to visit our tasting room on the Hill, and sample all of the vintages of Youngberg Hill wines we have to offer.  We’ve recently added a beautiful deck, and the view is outrageous!

 

Portland, OR ( and surrounding area) – Korkage, Primrose & Tumbleweeds, Lamb’s Stroheckers, Fred Meyer – Burlingame, Whole Foods – Bridgeport, Blackbird Wine Shop, Wine Up, Whole Foods – Tanasbourne, New Seasons, QFC -Stadium

Eugene, OR – Sundance

Jacksonville, OR- Corks, Jacksonville Inn, & Chateaulin-Ashland

Bend, OR- Rays-Sisters, Good Drop Wine Shop, Wine Shop next to 900 Wall

Salem,OR- Roth’s

Oregon Coast – Cellar on 10th in Astoria, Wine Shack in Cannon Beach

Seattle, WA – Wine World & Bottlehouse.

Minnesota- Byerly’s ( Burnsville, Golden Valley, Maple Grove and Ridgedale),  Excelsior Vintage, Lake Wine and cheese Shop, Lund’s Plymouth, Lund’s Wine & Spirits Downtown, Mike’s Liquor, North Loop wine and Spirits, Skyway Wine & Spirits, Mike’s Liquor, North Loop Wine and Spiritis, Skyway Wine & Spirits, Sorella Wine & Spirits, Thomas Liquors, Wine & Spirits at 7 & 41, Zipps Liquors.

Chicago – Wine Knows, Everetts Liquor, The Noble Grape (will special order), Five Forks Market All Wined Up, Select Beverages, The Tasting Room and City Winery.

 

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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