Last week I was able to taste through some delicious Biodynamic wines at a “Taste of Place” tasting in Portland. Wow. I am constantly amazed at some of the quality coming out of these style of wwines and it really makes you think about where a wine comes from and how the grapes are treated. I’ve come to the point that I can easily tell a “manufactured” wine from an artisan wine in a blind tasting much faster than I can nail down a varietal. Possibly because when you have what I like to call factory-made wines, they don’t always have true varietal character!
But back to the tastings. The wines that impressed me most were those from Bonny Doon (well, not impressed because I KNOW those wines are amazing), Cooper Mountain and Qupe.
I sold Cooper Mountain wines when I worked at Best Cellars in NYC. It was the only “organic” wine we carried and it was way before organic was cool. Great Pinot Gris, but it’s gotten better. All of their wines, actually, have character and depth. They don’t taste contrived, but rather multi-dementional – which is what I want in my wines. And the winemaker was a kick. Very French, very opinionated (then again, which winemakers are not?). He finds the Pinot Gris grape boring (though the wine is anything but). What I loved about the wines – the Pinot Gris, the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir was their finish. Quality wines deliver a strong finish and all three of these had lingering, balanced finishes. Can’t wait to stock our shelves with these wines.
There was also Qupe. And while I love their Syrah (so does Eric Asimov!) and have for some time, I tasted their Grenache for the first time. Notes I wrote down: OMG! Yep, that was it. Fantastic wine, with berry and spice and just all over deliciousness…
And then there was the Cow Horn. How can you not love this wine? They named it after the cowhorn that is used for aging manure in biodynamic practices. They make Syrah in Southern Oregon that is just fantastic. It’s peppery and complex and shows what Syrah is all about.
I did not get to taste all the wineries represented, but was again impressed with what I was able to experience. My thoughts in general are that good grape growing and good winemaking techniques make really good wine.