Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Serenly Sokol Blosser

Step back a few years to the London International Wine Fair. As a California resident, wine is at my fingertips at an instant so my main objective was to taste anything and everything beyond the United States. My one exception, where I was truly curious to taste more of
(as I am a fan of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris) were the wines of Oregon. Enter Alison Sokol Blosser and the Sokol Blosser booth.

Alison was warm and friendly and began telling me the story of her parent's Bill Blosser and Susan Sokol Blosser's journey to become pioneers in Oregon's wine industry. It all began in 1970 with their discovery of an abandoned prune orchard, some basic wine making knowledge and a passion for Pinot Noir. By 1979 Sokol Blosser was now winning international recognition at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London. In 1996 Sokol Blosser is the first winery to be "Salmon Safe". In 2002 they were the first US winery to receive LEED Certification and began their organic transition in 2004.

Now back to present day I am reconnecting with Alison at the winery after a fantastic weekend in Portland for the Wine Bloggers Conference. Among their achievements and certifications the thing that Alison and her family feels is of the utmost importance is to keep as little as possible between the vine, the grape and us the consumers. She leads my friend and filmmaker Chrissa and I through the serenely picturesque 100 acres (80 of them planted) vine-scape that is Sokol Blosser with Twix the resident Wine Poodle (official title) in tow.

While we walk she shares tastes of their crisp and mineral rich 2010 Pinot Gris (ideal for the current heatwave!), their dry and elegant 2011 Rose of Pinot Noir ( a perfect ballerina pink color ) and then we move into the explore the barrel room and the Pinot Noirs.

We begin with their 2009 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir grown in the amazing red Jory soils of Yamhill County's Dundee Hills. As a winery's "entry level" Pinot Noir it's stunning and one I could easily drink on a daily basis. Besides their Dundee Hills Sokol Blosser also makes 4 other "block" designated Pinot Noirs. To get a better vision of where the blocks are located on the property they have a great map on their site; Sokol Blosser. These four are Peach Tree (delicate, roses and violets...pair with seared salmon), Big Tree (Asian spices, coffee and cocoa...pair with a coffee and cocoa rubbed lamb chop), Orchard Block (savory, plum and purple flowers...pair with duck breast with a plum sauce) and my absolute favorite the Goosepen Block (earthy, sour cherries and black truffles...pair with black truffle risotto or even a roast turkey!). 

Alison herself favors the Goosepen Block but said she has fond memories of the Big Tree that once stood on the Big Tree Block. Whatever Pinot Noir you may decide upon the theme I savor in all their wines is that seductive, feminine, but strong character that they possess (and at a fantastic value!).

As a fan and a friend to the Sokol Blosser Winery I highly recommend a visit to them. Their wines are also available online and would make a great addition to the table for the upcoming holiday season.

Thank you again Alison for a fantastic tasting and visit!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sparkle in the Hamptons

One of my greatest pleasures in life is exploring the wine regions of the world. Champagnes and Sparkling wines are my passion and I was absolutely enchanted by my recent visit to Wolffer Estate in Sagaponack, Long Island, NY. Sandy loam soil in combination with an Atlantic breeze (2.6 miles away) create ideal conditions allowing them to achieve their signature Wolffer style; European elegance married to the terrior of Long Island.

I attended a Sunset Friday event that the Winery offers from May - October from 5pm-sunset at The Wine Stand. (The Wine Stand is just around the corner from the Winery.) It's the perfect way to relax among the vines, soaking in the setting sun with a music and a glass of their sparkling wine.

What did I taste?

 I began with the 2007 Wolffer Estate Blanc de Blanc made with 100% Chardonnay from their oldest vineyard block planted in 1988 and is made Methode Champenoise. On the nose it's fresh with notes of lemon zest, pear and also a hint of toasted sweet brioche. On the palate it's rich and creamy and welcomes the green apple and apricot to the party! As a New England girl (besides sipping solely) this would just be beautiful paired with Lobster freshly kissed with a squeeze of lemon.

I also had to try the 2008 Wolffer Estate, Noblesse Oblige, Sparkling Rose. The Noblesse Oblige is comprised of 65% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay and 1% Merlot. On the nose peaches and strawberries invite you in for a taste. As the Rose's sparkle tickles your tongue you taste strawberries, orange, white peach and rose petals. It's refreshing and sophisticated and would be oh so pretty with fresh lump crab meat tossed lightly in pasta and olive oil and finished with orange zest or for a more casual dish on occasion I can't resist a rich juicy beef burger and a glass of sparkling rose!

I cannot wait until my next chance to revisit Wolffer and
savor a glass of their beautiful sparkling wine under a pink sunset.