Friday, April 23, 2010

Guest Blogger Rates Four Oregon Wines… Another Rating System?

I'm delighted to extend a very warm welcome to Bernard and Eva of Portlandoregonwine on the very first ever guest blogpost for Sip with Me. My first connection with the couple was during a Twitter media lunch for St. Francis's winemaker Tom Mackey, where I was immediately impressed by the presence they commanded. I was very pleased when Bernard reached out to me to guest blog about my Top 10 Oregon Value Wines and I am honored to have been able to participate in such a great partnership; I hope you enjoy their piece. Until we sip again… cheers!

We met Tamara at a clandestine affair, a top-secret "need to know" status (unknown even to us!) event, otherwise known as the infamous "Meet the Winemaker Lunch." We received the cloak and dagger email from a New York PR firm requesting our presence at lunch for an unknown wine tasting itinerary. Fortunately, we had great company, and the St. Francis wine tasting was well documented in great reviews by Tamara here, The Wine Cyclist, and Mary Cressler from Vindulge.

This guest blog features four of our favorite Oregon "QPR" (Quality-Price-Relationship) from the winter of 2009-2010. We have rated the wines on a hybrid system consisting of a standard 100-point rating as well as a rating relative to price. For example, if we felt a wine was a "90", and it cost $10 less than it tastes, we gave it a "90/+10", which is a great QPR score and ranks in the top right of the QPR chart:

We love to find wines in the upper right quadrant

Now, for the Wines!

Haden Fig 2008 Pinot Noir - You are hard pressed to find an under $20 Oregon Pinot that you would feel proud serving at a dinner party full of wine geeks, and the inaugural vintage of Haden Fig tastes much more expensive than $18. They are getting tons of press, so the secret will be out soon. Plus, they have a very cool label.

Score: 90/+10, retails for $18

Ferraro Cellars 2006 Mista Rosso - Perhaps the first wine with grapes grown in the Dalles, Oregon that we have enjoyed. It is very Italian in style, easy drinking with finesse, perfect for pizza or any pasta dish. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and held it's own compared to the Sineann and Medici wines at the Dark Horse Tasting Room in Newberg.

Score: 90/+6, retails for $20

Arterberry Maresh 2007 Pinot Noir - Jimmy Maresh, the "prodigy" winemaker from Dundee is the next west coast wine superstar. Yes, you heard it correctly, not just in Oregon, but perhaps Washington and even California. His chardonnays will be released within weeks, and will be priced around $75. Guess what? They are worth it! So, no surprise here at his second label Pinot Noir retailing around $22, a light, perfumy pinot with great finesse and a $45 taste. Enough said. This is the "Great Find" of the year, snap it up if there is any left.

Score: 91/+13, retails for $22

Soter Vineyards 2006 Mineral Springs Pinot Noir - It's challenging to call a $45 wine a "QPR" wine, but the Soter Pinot qualifies due to the spectacular "This is really great wine" impression you get with the first taste. Strong bouquet of Burgundian Pinot Noir, full-bodied, complex, with a looooong finish. I originally thought it was too expensive for a QPR wine, but I've revised the early review since it tastes like a $75 wine.

Score: 93/+5

Bernard and Eva love wine tasting and finding wines that taste more expensive than they cost.

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