Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Ashland Wine Tasting Party

I have a motto: "Everyone knows how to Drink wine; Very few people know how to Taste wine."

It's really very simple, if no one ever taught you how to taste wine, then likely you learned by watching others that never learned how.

So what's the big deal you say?  The short answer is: if you are simply "downing" your wine, then you are missing so much of the pleasure of wine that comes from the thoughtful tasting of wine.  The pleasure comes from the aromas and hundreds of compounds found in wine.

I am offering to come to your home to share my "Wine Tasting 101 Seminar" that I have developed over the many years of exploring the world of wine and guiding hundreds on my tours.  These "parties" are offered in the Rogue Valley AVA surrounding Medford, Oregon.

The seminar consists of the how and why of tasting, "practice" with a local red and white wine, history of Oregon wine and a Q & A session.  The class takes approximately one hour and costs $200, including two bottles of local wine.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

France wine tour this Fall

I am putting together a wine tour to the South of France this Fall.

Are you thinking you can't afford a wine tour to France? Take control of your visit to French wine country. Join other budget minded wine explorers for a memorable week in the South of France! You pay $700 per person for your lodging, transportation while in France, a local professional scheduled wine tour and me acting as your personal wine guide for the week.

You save by paying for your own airfare, food, and wine. This brings the cost to within your "normal" budget. What you pay for food and wine at home can equal what you pay on vacation. Food and wine can cost you less by shopping local. With a full kitchen available, you decide what meals to create and when your group eats out. 

This tour includes a local pre-travel seminar on the wines of the Languedoc region. The group will travel together to France.

This tour is sponsored by Splash Wine Tours of Ashland. Visit the website: www.explorefrenchwine.com

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Applegate Uncorked

Joining other wine enthusiasts is a great way to get to know a wine region.  Here in the USA we use a system called AVA, or American Vitacultural Area to define specific wine growing regions.

The Applegate AVA is a sub-AVA of the Rogue Valley AVA.  In other words, the Applegate sits inside the larger Rogue Valley.

In the part of the country these names are referring to the watersheds that feed the two main rivers of the area, the Rogue and the Applegate.

Understanding these boundaries helps pinpoint the many meso-climates that affect the production of grapes.  Grapes are said to reflect the land (terroir) that they grow in.  On a broad scale this means that you won't find many Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in the Willamette Valley (cool and wet) like you can here in the Applegate (warm and dry.)

Knowing the place your wines comes from adds to your enjoyment.  It reflects the land and brings to mind your visit to the local wineries.

Join me for the Applegate Uncorked event on May 21st.  You can book my van for the day via my website: www.splashwinetours.com

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Eeny Meeny Miny Wineo

We've all been there...just staring at the wines on the shelf, having no clue what to get.  Yet with a few simple guidelines you can narrow the quest down and get out of the aisle in record time.

Start with what you have in mind for this wine: dinner, patio, conversation.  Now pull up those positive experiences which worked well.  For example, say I am thinking of some wine and cheese on the patio.  In this case, I may choose a Savignon Blanc, remembering how good it tasted the last time. 

Ok.  So that's a white wine.  You just narrowed your selection down.  Next recall where that wine was produced.  New Zealand in this case.  Great, look for New Zealand on the label of any Sav Blancs.

While you don't often know what a particular wine will taste like, yet if you recall what region or town your last Sav Blanc came from, you can look for that on the back label.

All of this means that you continue to accumulate knowledge of certain wines you like.  Basically, you look for the varietal (grape) you like and your favorite region that produces that wine.  Mostly, be bold and try new wines...who knows you may find your next favorite wine.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Small is Beautiful

The saying goes that wine is "about place."  The French call this terroir.  It's about where the vines grow and what characteristics come thru in the wine.

For some "place" becomes an impressive chateau with formal gardens and fountains.  This shifts the focus from the vineyards to the "image" of fine wine.  Unfortunately, the "image" is often better than the wine!

When you drill terroir down to the vineyard and the people that tend it you will find an honest relationship between vine and wine.  Here in Oregon we are fortunate to have a healthy culture of family-owned wineries.  At this level the "place" is often a small vineyard tucked in a little river valley surrounded by mountains.

This photo is of  Cricket Hill Winery, pretty much on the edge of wine country.  These are the wineries that I seek out to discover the true character of Oregon wine.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Look into the Wine Crystal Bowl

Yes. You can drink your wine from a plastic cup, if you must.  But if you want to actually taste the wine then you need a crystal glass.

Before you dismiss me as another wine snob, there are very practical reasons why you need a proper wine glass to get the most from your wine purchase.  A nice crystal stem runs $10 a stem.  When tasting, opt for the stem.

The secret of crystal (and you can get lead-free crystal) is that it is not smooth inside the bowl. It actually as tiny little "crystal" edges that the wine bounces off when you swirl the wine in the bowl.  This releases the aroma esters that we perceive as wonderful fruit smells.  So now you know.  If you paid more than $2 for that wine, enjoy it in a crystal stem.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wine: More than a Beverage

Spring is coming, at least it has in the past.  And with the Sun returning to our vineyards, the vines are anxious to get started on this year's vintage.

The vines understand this cycle of replenishing the supply of wine for the fortunate humans who discovered long ago that wine is more than a beverage.  Wine is a gift from the God's.

Dionysus was the name that the early beneficiaries of wine gave to the idea that something grand was happening with this juice.
It's hard to say which came first; the idea of the elevated status of fermented grape juice or; the effects of drinking said juice.

Consider the fact that whole cultures thought enough of what they were drinking to relegate the mysterious effects to the Heavens.  It was good to know that you had your own God looking out for your welfare.

Today we must be careful not to lose the passion that surrounds wine.  If you can see the work Nature in that glass of wine you had for dinner, you can belong to the long tradition of seeing the hand of God in the bottle.