PV365 Winery is GOLDEN at the 2023 American Fine Wine Competition

Gems in MY Glass . . ., Napa, Tasting Notes

PV365 Winery, co-owned by Pradip Patel and Vinanta Mundra, is capturing attention across the country with their beautifully crafted wines.  The savvy owners, together with skillful winemaker Patrick Saboe (a 2002 UC Davis Viticulture and Enology graduate), have developed a creative, thoughtful approach to successful winery management, and top notch winemaking.  An engaging tasting with this dynamic duo uncovered the extraordinary wines Saboe has crafted here of top quality Napa Valley fruit.  Quite taken with the wines, I asked if they had ever entered a wine competition.  No, they had not, but that would soon change.

This year I invited PV365 to enter their wines into the 2023 American Fine Wine Competition (AFWC).  This prestigious competition is one in which invitees feel honored to participate.  All wines entered here must be vetted and invited by a small acquisition team that deems the wine to be Gold Medal worthy.  Pradip and Vinanta entered three red wines, each of which the professional judges (consisting of Sommeliers, Wine Journalists, Retail buyers, and Wine Educators) awarded high scores.  PV365’s Cabernet Sauvignon scored a Double Gold Medal (all four judges rating it Gold), the Cabernet Franc also earned the winery a Double Gold Medal, and PV365’s Red Blend “Sajana” scored a Gold Medal. 

Here are my impressions of PV365’s winning wines:

2019 Broken Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley:  A compelling aroma of this classy Cabernet Sauvignon wafts from the glass.  The multilayered and complex palate unveils delectable flavors of black cherries, red and black currants, a touch of tobacco,  cassis liqueur, earthiness, and underlying barrel spice (from 22 months in French oak) sitting ideally in the background.  Intense and well defined, with a firm backbone of tannins, and the finish just keeps on delivering well past the final sip.  Decant if drinking now or hold for future enjoyment.  This gem is cellarworthy, promising a long life ahead.   ($118) Double Gold Medal, 94 points

2018 Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley: This divine Cabernet Franc has a bit of Petit Verdot, Malbec, Merlot and Cab Sauv giving it added depth and complexity.  Violets and dark berries on the nose engage the senses.  Beautiful purity is showcased on the palate as blackberries, black currants, graphite, hints of roasted red pepper puree, blueberries, well integrated oak (26% new French barrels), and subtle earthiness meld seamlessly. It is varietally spot on and perfectly balanced with refined tannins, and the finish is everlasting.  Approachable now, and ageworthy.  ($108) Double Gold Medal, 93  points

2019 PV 365 “Sajana” Red Blend, Napa Valley:  This velvety smooth blend, composed of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot is compelling at first swirl. Unveiling dark berries and anise seed on the nose, it bursts with flavor upon entry.   A deep, dark, delicious mouthful of cassis, dark plums, tobacco, hints of spice, and fresh leather flows seamlessly across the palate. Balancing acidity, supple tannins, and a nice core of fruit keep it well balanced through the lively finish.  ($90) Gold Medal, 93 points

PV365 wines also include a snappy, lively 2021 Sauvignon Blanc which opens with a citrus blossom aroma leading to flavors of juicy melon, Meyer lemon, crisp pear, hints of pineapple, and lemon verbena that persist through the bright, nervy finish.  I look forward to tasting their 2021 “So Be It” Riesling, too.  And stay tuned for a sparkling wine to be released later this year.  For further information and to order wines for your enjoyment, visit PVC’s website at www.pv365winery.com.

Congratulations to owners Patel and Mundra, and winemaker Patrick for the impressive results at this competition. And I envision their continued success ahead.

Sonoma County’s De La Montanya Winery in the Spotlight

Gems in MY Glass . . ., Sonoma, Tasting Notes


This charming family-owned boutique winery located in Healdsburg has a history of multiple generations of dedicated farmers.  I first met President/Owner Dennis De La Montanya several years ago. My recent visit with Dennis, brother Steve, GM Jarod Kline, and the winery’s competent serving staff, including son Dylan De La Montanya, reaffirms my appreciation for what the team accomplishes there. They have 185 acres planted to wine grapes, and all their wines come from their own sustainably farmed vineyards. A visit to the winery offers a relaxing tasting of wines in their delightful tasting room, comfortable patio and surrounding beautiful gardens.  And here is a preview of their well-crafted wines: 

A nice start to any evening is their Sparkling Brut Rosé, composed of classic sparkling grapes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. It’s an upbeat, lively quaff.  And be on the lookout for their upcoming fresh, vivacious Sauvignon Blanc, and classic Gewurztraminer that brims with a floral aroma, lychee fruit and bright citrus accents on the palate. 

2021 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley:  An engaging aroma awakens the senses with this juicy, pure Chardonnay.  Rich and full bodied, while being precisely balanced with lively acidity.  Honeycrisp apples, a touch of butterscotch, lemon zest, hints of oak and savory spice unfold on the palate.  Creamy in texture, and the finish persists on and on. ($45)

2020 Christine’s Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast:  The gorgeous fragrance will have you lingering over the glass.  Layers of Bing cherries, raspberries, black tea, anise seed, and exotic spice tantalize the palate, while oak nuances sit nicely in the background.  Elegance in the glass, with savory elements weaving from the bright first sip to the lingering last one. ($60)

2020 Sharli Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley:  Red and black fruits on the nose are compelling with this finely tuned Pinot Noir, made from Pinot Noir clones 115, 667 and Calera. Fresh black raspberries, dark cherries, a touch of earth, pomegranate, Asian spices, cranberry chutney, and cherry-cola notes wrap around silky tannins, and the finish is heavenly. ($55)

2021 Pinot Squared, Russian River Valley/Sonoma County:  This stylish Pinot Noir, crafted from 50% Pinot Meunier and 50% Pinot Noir is highly aromatic. Fruit driven up front, it delivers juicy red cherries, forest raspberries, cranberries, summer strawberries, Sunkist oranges, and a gentle touch of earthiness.  Fresh and delicate with good balancing acidity, and a pop of Rainier cherries on the bright finish. ($45)

2021 Felta Creek Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley:  At first swirl, strolling through a field of fresh blackberries comes to mind.  Deeply flavored with succulent blackberries, red plums, warm baking spices, boysenberries, hints of pink peppercorns, and a suggestion of cocoa melding harmoniously.  Well-structured through the lip-smacking spicy finale.  ($55)

2019 Petit Verdot, Russian River Valley:  A deep hue and expressive aroma of violets and Chinese Five Spice lead you into the glass.  There you’ll find a mighty display of black plums, spiced blueberry compote, a pinch of sage, savory blackberry sauce, and well managed oak nuances.  Intense while remaining lively and juicy all the way through. ($55) 

2019 “5” Bordeaux Style Blend, Sonoma County:  This blend of Cab Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cab Sauvignon and Malbec is intensely expressive as notes of cassis and earthy elements rise from the glass and burst forth upon entry.  Blueberries, aged leather, black plums, and graphite add dimension as the wine builds on the palate, and the finish shows off plenty of strength and length.  ($65)

2018 “Sybil” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley/Sonoma County:  Here’s a powerhouse Cab Sauv that leads with a captivating aromatic.  Sweet Black Splendor plums, blackberries, fresh pipe tobacco, savory mixed berry compote, cassis, and leather entwine seamlessly. Complex and well defined with skillfully managed oak adding depth through the memorable, everlasting finish; approachable now and ageworthy.   ($85)

Barrel Sample 2021 Tiza Colina Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley:  Deep, dark and delicious is this bold, densely flavor-packed wine.  Black currants, black plum jam, new leather, crème de cassis, allspice, and underlying barrel spices fill every nook and cranny of the mouth.  Decant if popping the cork now, or lay it down for a few years if you can wait, this wine is cellarworthy.  ($70)

Barrel Sample 2022 Sharli Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley:  Aromas of dusty earth and warm cherry pie start the party going with the sleek Pinot Noir.  Lively with bright acids supporting wild strawberries, anise seed, rhubarb, and a suggestion of cherry cordial as it traverses the palate, and nice oak integration prevails.  A pinch of dried herbs peeks through on the persistent finish.  ($65)

Barrel Sample 2021 Calandrelli Tempranillo, Russian River Valley:  Dense, black fruit and tobacco leaf on the nose gets the juices flowing with this sophisticated Tempranillo.  Sun-scorched earth, black cherries, saddle leather, black plums, and underlying oak interplay with lively acidity and nicely structured tannins.  Finishes with a touch of clove spice.  ($50)

Barrel Sample 2022 Primitivo, Felta Creek Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley:  A bowlful of berries aroma remains deliciously consistent on the deeply fruited palate.  Blackberry jam, vanilla bean, black licorice, sweet dark red Lambert cherries, a twist of black peppercorns, and roasted figs create a colorful mosaic of flavors in the mouth.  Lush and velvety smooth with a vanilla-scented finish.  ($48)

Barrel Sample 2022  “1776” Felta Creek Vineyard Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley:  Scents of fresh picked red and black berries waft from the glass at first whiff!  It’s bold and plush while being ideally balanced. Ripe black raspberries, boysenberry jam, and mulberry cobbler flavors accented by clove and cinnamon spice richly coat the palate.  Juicy and sumptuous with spicy red plum liqueur notes on the long  finish.  ($55)

For further info visit their website at www.dlmwine.com.  De La Montanya Vineyards & Winery is open daily from 11 to 4:30 pm.  Reservations are recommended, call them at 707 433-3711 to book your appointment.

Willamette Valley’s Domaine Drouhin Oregon: Linking Old World Tradition to New World Terroir

Gems in MY Glass . . ., Great Northwest, Oregon, Tasting Notes

The Drouhins believe in the family approach to wine in both Burgundy and Oregon. This speaks to how they live, the wines they make, and their respect for the land. They are farming sustainably and they are LIVE certified. Their team includes fourth-generation head winemaker Veronique Boss-Drouhin, Asst. Winemaker Arron Bell, Philippe Drouhin who is responsible for managing Drouhin vineyards in Burgundy, Chablis and Oregon, and David Millman, President and CEO of Domaine Drouhin Oregon.

Their Oregon wines link the family’s tradition of fine winemaking in France to the terroir in the Willamette Valley. The Oregon site was selected for its similarity to the climate, latitude and aspect of their renowned vineyards in Burgundy. Maison Joseph Drouhin, located in Beaune France, is one of the largest estates in the region. In addition to their 235-acre Domaine Drouhin Oregon estate (established in 1987) in the Dundee Hills AVA, they own Roserock Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, also contained within Oregon’s larger Willamette Valley AVA.

All Domaine Drouhin Oregon wines are made from estate fruit and are crafted by hand at their four level gravity flow winery in the Dundee Hills AVA. Here two incredible examples of their well-crafted wines:

Dundee Hills 2019 Cuvée Laurène Pinot Noir:  The enchanting aroma of rose petals and earthy tones is heavenly. Layers of Lapin cherries, underbrush, spiced plum, star anise, subtle oak nuances, and cherry cola gloriously fill very nook and cranny in the mouth. Pure, polished and divinely balanced with good tension and supple tannins. And the finish will have you reaching for more.  SRP:  $75

Dundee Hills 2021 Arthur Chardonnay: A  perfumed aroma of fresh turned earth and citrus blossom kicks off this complex, multilayered Chard. Flavors of an airy mushroom soufflé, lemon curd, minerality, almond paste, and creamy baked pears glide seamlessly across the palate. It displays wonderful depth of flavor and balancing acidity, and the finish lingers on and on.  SRP:  $42  www.domainedrouhin.com

Visit their website to schedule a tasting at their stunning 235 acre estate in the Dundee Hills AVA, overlooking the beauty of the Willamette Valley. The estate is open seven days a week from 10 am to 3 pm.

Chateau Chantal and Hawthorne Vineyards Gems from Michigan

Gems in MY Glass . . ., Michigan, Tasting Notes

Hawthorne Vineyards 2017 Gamay, Old Mission Peninsula:  An engaging aromatic of fresh spring flowers greets the nose with this spirited Gamay. It is light and airy with a burst of red berries on entry.  Elegant through the palate as juicy red raspberries, Santa Rosa plums, boysenberries, and strawberry jam join Valencia orange tones, shades of savory spice, and a tinge of cinnamon candy on the zesty finish.  SRP: $18  www.hawthornevineyards.com

Hawthorne Vineyards 2018 Semi-dry Gewurztraminer, Old Mission Peninsula:  The perfumed aroma of a fresh bridal bouquet of white roses is heavenly. This gem invigorates at first sip and sings with typicity on the palate, as the interlacing of lychee, mango, peach, and ginger creates a vibrant explosion of flavors.  Tingling acidity keeps the wine balanced and the finish is long and silky.    SRP:  $16    www.hawthornevineyards.com     

Hawthorne Vineyards 2016 Reserve Merlot, Old Mission Peni.nsula:  Here is another succulent, well-crafted Michigan Merlot.  This intensely fragranced wine struts forth with a concentrated black fruit, earthy aroma.  Well integrated and layered with blueberries, warm olallieberry pie, shades of earth, sandalwood, and savory notes rolling gracefully across the palate.  Smooth in texture and nicely structured with the fruit, approachable tannins, and acids in balance all the way through. SRP:  $35 www.hawthornevineyards.com

Chateau Chantal Proprietor’s Reserve 2018 Chardonnay, Old Mission Peninsula:  An engaging aroma of sauteed apples and spice wafts from the glass at first swirl.  The entry is rich yet well balanced and luminous, and the wine broadens with tasty flavors of caramel apple, toasty oak, lemon curd, roasted nuts, and a pinch of nutmeg on the palate.  Full bodied and gratifying through the lingering close.  SRP:  $30   www.chateauchantal.com

Chateau Chantal 2019 Pinot Blanc, Old Mission Peninsula:  Fresh white fruits and lemon herbs on the nose are tantalizing and remain focused on the smoothly textured palate.  Layers of nectarine, star fruit and crisp apple meld in harmony with blanched almonds and lemon verbena, painting a bright display of flavors. The wine is well structured and boasts perfect balancing acidity as it heads to a luxurious last swallow.  SRP: $18 www.chateauchantal.com

Chateau Chantal Entice, Michigan: Here is an opulent after dinner drink, a magnificent blend of Chateau Chantal’s Riesling Ice Wine and their own aged brandy. Highly aromatic with notes of honeysuckle nectar and brandied apricots. Flavors are heightened on the palate with the brandied apricot notes joining stewed peaches, lemon custard, lime-flecked nectarines, and cinnamon-sugar roasted pecans, all framed by nice acids, and the decadent finish lingers. SRP: $35 www.chateauchantal.com

Michigan’s Black Star Farms 2018/2019 Treasures

Gems in MY Glass . . ., Michigan, Tasting Notes

Winery at Black Star Farms 2018 Sparkling Riesling, Leelanau Peninsula & Old Mission Peninsula:  The alluring citrus blossom aroma paves the way for a zesty effervescent entry.  The lively composition of Honeycrisp apples, sweet summer peaches, a whisper of minerality, Kaffir lime, and floral undertones invigorates the palate.  Crisp and fresh with a pinpoint bead, and lovely note of honeysuckle on the uplifted, energetic finish.  SRP:  $18 www.blackstarfarms.com

Winery at Black Star Farms 2019 Arcturos Pinot Gris; Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau Peninsula:  Here is a sumptuous, richly textured Pinot Gris that simply shines.  An expressive aroma of lemon-sprinkled pears wakes you right up and leads to a delectable entry.  The swirling flavors of Granny Smith apple, D’Anjou pear, citrusy elements, tropical fruit, minerality, and lemongrass are divine. Crisp acidity keeps the wine ideally balance beyond the final lip-smacking drop. SRP: $18  www.blackstarfarms.com

Winery at Black Star Farms 2019 Gamay Noir, Leelanau Peninsula:   Aromas of strawberry rhubarb pie lead the parade for this elegant dry red wine. Montmorency cherries, a gentle dusting of herbs, candied raspberries, shades of forest floor, and a whisper of oak wrap around graceful tannins. Well balanced and ethereal on the palate through the dreamy finish. SRP:  $17.50 www.blackstarfarms.com  

Winery at Black Star Farms 2019 Gewurztraminer, Michigan:  Here is a brilliant example of a dry Gewurztraminer. The expressive aroma draws you heartily into the glass. Zesty layers of tropical guava, lychee, lemon zest, and fresh ground ginger unwind seamlessly onto the palate. Beautifully textured and pristinely balanced as it heads to the grand finale. SRP:  $18 www.blackstarfarms.com

Winery at Black Star Farms 2019 Arcturos Dry Riesling, Leelanau Peninsula/Old Mission Peninsula:  This dry, streamlined Riesling earning a Double Gold (94 pts) medal shows off an inviting perfumed aroma of Japanese honeysuckle. Silky in texture with fine balance, it decorates the palate with energizing flavors of Honeycrisp apple, Asian pear, a suggestion of lemon verbena, seashell minerality, and lime zest lingering beyond the last sip. SRP: $15 www.blackstarfarms.com

Winery at Black Star Farms 2018 Dry Riesling, Michigan:  Here is a savvy dry Riesling with a classic wet river rock, citrus blossom aroma at first whiff; no question what is in this glass.  River rock and citrusy notes remain focused on the entry, and marry harmoniously with fresh white peach, apricot, lemon-lime soda, melon, and a solid thread of minerality on the palate. Stylish and refreshing with a blast of lime zest on the sleek, enduring finish.  SRP:  $16 www.blackstarfarms.com

Black Star Farms 2018 Gruner Veltliner, Old Mission Peninsula: Here is a fine example of one of my favorite white wine varieties. The entrancing aroma welcomes you into the glass. There you will find vivid flavors of exotic Mirabelle plums, a touch of lychee, lemongrass, tangy star fruit, and crushed herbs joining classic white pepper accents. Silky in texture, lively and well balanced, it vitalize s the palate as it heads to the long, zesty finale. SRP: $14 www.blackstarfarms.com

Michigan’s Good Harbor Vineyards and Aurora Cellars Lively White, Rosé and Sparkling Wines

Tasting Notes

Aurora Cellars NV Brut Rosé, Leelanau Peninsula:  Boasting an aroma as fresh as a summer ocean breeze, this vivacious bubbly is lively, pure, and expressive with lovely effervescence and fine balance.  Fruit focused and creamy in the mouth, think orange creamsicle, cranberry compote, and cherries jubilee in a glass, delicious all the way through the spirited finish.  SRP:  $24 www.auroracellars.com

Aurora Cellars 2020 Gruner Veltliner, Leelanau Peninsula:  This highly aromatic, nicely balanced Gruner Veltliner entrances the senses with its pleasing tropical fruit and citrus undertones on the nose and entry. Lively and full of personality as juicy layers of passion fruit, Kandy Lemondrop melon, peach, fresh crushed herbs, and lemon sorbet traverse brightly across the palate, and culminates in a vivid pop of lingering flavors.  SRP: $19 www.auroracellars.com

Aurora Cellars 2020 Gewurztraminer, Leelanau Peninsula:  The fragrant bouquet of freesias and roses on the nose is awakening. On the palate, this medium sweet wine offers up delicious elements of lychee, passion fruit, orange marmalade, hints of spice cake, and grilled pineapple. It boasts fine balance, and the finish lingers on and on. SRP:  $19 Food pairing:  www.auroracellars.com

Aurora Cellars 2020 Dry Riesling, Leelanau Peninsula:   Broadcasting classic Riesling characteristics, here is an uplifting, well-crafted dry Riesling. A bowlful of juicy summer peaches and nectarines join fresh squeezed lime, minerality, a trace of salinity, and citrus blossom accents. Bracing acidity keeps it brilliantly balanced through the lively finish. SRP:  $19 www.auroracellars.com

Good Harbor Benjamin’s Vineyard NV Blanc de Noirs, Leelanau Peninsula:  The beautiful mousse and aroma of fresh red and black berries of this refreshing bubbly are scintillating. Red raspberries, fresh just picked strawberries, hints of pie crust, a twist of orange peel, and blanched almond flavors unfold in harmony. The creamy texture carries the wine to a vibrant finish. SRP: $24 www.goodharbor.com.

Good Harbor Vineyards 2018 Pinot Grigio, Leelanau Peninsula:  The mouthwatering citrus-tinged aroma will turn you into a fast fan of Pinot Grigio, it soundly leaps from the glass.  Flavors of lemon sherbet, crisp Bartlett pears, subtle herbs, and feather-light meringue wrap around a brisk core of acidity. This wine is immaculately balanced and the lime-scented finish tops off the bright package with zestiness.    SRP:  $15    www.goodharbor.com

Good Harbor Vineyards 2020 Pinot Noir Rosé, Leelanau Peninsula:  A delicate peachy-pink hue catches the eye, and a basketful of fresh picked strawberries on the nose invites you into this snappy Rosé.  It’s vitalizing on the palate with layers of Rainier cherries, juicy Black Beauty plums, Valencia oranges, and a pinch of herbs.  Lively with crisp acidity carrying the wine to an upbeat, thirst quenching finish.    SRP: $19 www.goodharbor.com


Stimulating New Releases from Willamette Valley’s Bells Up Winery

Tasting Notes

2021 Prelude Rosé of Pinot Noir:  The sparkling light-to-medium ruby hue shows off brilliant clarity, and the wine kicks off with an alluring spiced cherry nose. Juicy, bright and well balanced on the palate as Sweetheart cherries, red raspberries and savory berry compote notes are joined by brisk acidity. Hints of mandarin orange linger on the energetic finish.

2021 Rhapsody Pinot Blanc:  This floral scented gem gets your motor running at first whiff. The entry leads off with creamy pears and citrus blossom, and the wine broadens as it hits mid-palate with juicy McIntosh apples, gentle spice, and blanched almonds melding in harmony. Lovely textural qualities and fine balance carry the wine to a spirited finale.

2020 Jupiter Pinot Noir:  The fragrance of a bowlful of red and black fruits, and hints of earthiness provide a perfect segue to the elegant wine that follows. Smooth and mouthfilling as flavors of fresh picked Lapin cherries, black raspberry coulis, anise seed, mushrooms, and well managed oak notes create a finely tuned melody on the palate. Silky tannins and bracing acidity keep the wine in ideal balance. And the finish, well it just keeps on delivering, long after the last sip!

Bells Up Winery is located in Newberg, Oregon, in the heart of the Willamette Valley. Tastings can be booked by calling the winery at 503 537 1328. Winemaker/owner Dave Specter, and his wife Sara Specter, marketing expert/co-owner, look forward to welcoming you. Visit their site at www.bellsupwinery.com for further information.

Russian River Valley’s Bricoleur Vineyards

Tasting Notes

Russian River Valley’s Bricoleur Vineyards has been a Sonoma County favorite of mine for years, and I am not alone, many consumers and professionals agree. Those of you who frequent this stunning property know the wines crafted by Bricoleur showcase purity, precision and varietal typicity. And their food and wine pairings are not to be missed!

The unique events at Bricoleur Vineyards are also very impressive. Take for example the Chef Paulée Dinner held here in September. Thanks go out to Bricoleur’s chef Evan, renowned James Beard Award winning chefs Charlie Palmer and Nate Appleman, and additional local chefs for this fabulous dining experience. To kick off the beautiful evening, guests were warmly welcomed by Bricoleur owners Mark and Elizabeth Hanson, daughter Sarah, and their competent staff with a glass of Bricoleur’s sparkling wine. It’s a perfect sipper for any time of the day or night. Fresh, bright and yeasty with engaging notes of citrus blossom, honeysuckle, McIntosh apple, Bartlett pear and a thread of minerality dazzling the palate. Guests meandered through the picturesque landscape while tasting delicious pre-dinner bites and sips from several nearby Russian River Valley vintners. Other delightful sips at the reception included:

Medlock Ames 2018 Chardonnay ($48):  This rich and stylish Chardonnay opens with aromas of baked apples and subtle oak. Filling the palate are layers of citrus blossom, warm apple cobbler, a snip of lemon verbena, creamy pears, and well-integrated oak. Crisp acidity balances the deep fruit, and the wine sails to a magnificent finish.

Merriam Vineyards 2017 Chardonnay ($45):  Stone fruit and hints of earth on the nose remain consistent on the palate, joining minerality, pear chutney, and lively citrus accents. The texture is silky smooth, and the bursting flavors traversing the palate linger nicely through the long-lasting close.

Landmark 2017 Lorenzo Vineyard Chardonnay ($55):  This multilayered Chardonnay boasts an expressive aroma. Colorful layers of Honeycrisp apples, hints of butterscotch, lemon bars, and a gentle suggestion of fresh cut herbs coat the palate. Bright acidity keeps it finely balanced and energetic as the wine traverses to a memorable finale.

Gamba Vineyards and Winery 2019 Family Ranches Zinfandel ($40):  This deep dark and delicious wine screams Zinfandel with its concentrated black fruit aroma. The rich texture and flavors intensify on the palate as wild raspberries, savory spice, boysenberry jam, and black plums interlace with vanilla bean and hints of cocoa, and the lip-smacking finish is lively.

DRNK Wines 2019 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir ($50):  A bowlful of cherries and berries and hints of earth on the nose are engaging and the entry is silky smooth. Succulent cherries join underlying spice, black raspberries, anise, and forest floor notes swirling across the palate. Well balanced and juicy with plenty of depth and length.

Additional impressive wines offered by Bricoleur include:

2020 Kick Ranch Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc ($32):  Highly aromatic, this Sauv Blanc kicks off with a tantalizing aroma of citrus blossom and fresh cut limes. The vivacious palate unveils green apples, grapefruit, gooseberries and lemon verbena interlacing with a thread of minerality and lively acidity. This wine is well defined and sophisticated with a lovely mouthfeel and zesty finish.

2020 Flying By the Seat of Our Pants Sauvignon Blanc ($32):  The bright citrusy, lemongrass aroma speaks clearly of the variety, there is no question what is in this glass! Nectarines, passion fruit, lemon meringue pie and a hint of salinity entwine with subtle fresh chopped herbs. Perfect balancing acidity keeps the wine refreshing from first sip to the last, lingering drop.

2020 Unoaked Chardonnay ($32):  A heavenly aroma of fragrant freesia flowers leads to a tangy entry of sweet Meyer lemon and tree fruits. Broadening on the palate are layers of Granny Smith apples, minerally notes, citrus peel, understated gingered pineapple, and lemon tarragon. This gem is streamlined with brisk acidity carrying the wine to a vibrant long-lasting close.

2018 Special Selection Kick Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($110):  This complex Cabernet Sauvignon is tightly wound and multi-layered. Decanting will give it time to further open up if popping the cork now; with aeration it soars! The classic Cab Sauv characteristics of sweet tobacco, black currants, fresh earth, dark plums, savory elements, and spicy barrel nuances (aged 28 months in 50% new/50% neutral oak) are captivating. Intense fruit, deep structure and firm tannins suggest a long life ahead, your patience will be rewarded.

Check out their website at www.bricoleurvineyards.com, where you can book tastings, food pairings, winemaker dinners and other special events online. They are open Thursday through Monday from 11 am to 5 pm. The picturesque property offers both indoor and outdoor tasting venues. Having tasted their complete lineup, I feel confident you’ll find a wine suited to every palate at Bricoleur Vineyards.

The Rogue Valley AVA’s Biodynamic and Organic Certified UPPER FIVE VINEYARD

Great Northwest, Tasting Notes

Upper Five Vineyard, located in the Rogue Valley AVA in southern Oregon, is perched at an elevation of 1,920 feet. The vineyard is both Demeter Biodynamic Certified (since 2018) and Organic Certified (since 2005), and their wines are pure and impressive.

In was in 1999 that Owner, Grapegrower and Vineyard Manager Terry Sullivan and co-owner, grapegrower Molly Morison purchased the upper five acres of the historic Bagley pear orchard in southern Oregon. In 2003 Terry and Molly planted grapevines in the Rogue Valley AVA. Each came from a scientific background. Terry secured his MS in Ocean Engineering, and Molly earned her MS in Botany/Plant Biology. Terry spent years in the business and remains a consultant in the oceanography industry today, and Molly has worked as a botanist for several years. They became serious about the wine world in the 90’s which led them to acquiring the property. Their passion for organic farming and biodynamics is almost palpable, and their diligence is clearly evident.

Upper Five’s panoramic 3.5-acre vineyard is planted to Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Tempranillo and Grenache. Sullivan and Morison have been organic minded from the onset of establishing Upper Five Vineyard. Theirs was the first vineyard to be certified organic in southern Oregon. Their motto, “The best fertilizer is a farmer’s footsteps, and wine is made in the vineyard,” portrays Upper Five Vineyard’s biodynamic farming and natural winemaking way of life.

 At Upper Five Vineyard, fully engaging in biodynamic practices while employing a minimal manipulation, natural winemaking philosophy is paramount. They strive to achieve honest expression of their fruit and unique site in their wine and fully embrace each vintage. Some of my favorite Upper Five Vineyard wines include:

2019 Grenache:   Rose petals and forest berries on the nose are inviting. It speaks true to variety on all fronts. Layers of raspberries, hints of savory herbs, wild berries, and red plums backed by lively acidity exhilarate the palate.  The texture is silky, and it finishes with brightness and elegance. SRP:   $26.50

2020 Sauvignon Blanc:  An expressive nose leads to a mouthful of passion fruit sorbet, lemon curd, jasmine green tea, and hints of fresh cut herbs. Beautiful textural qualities and crisp acids transport the wine to a vivid, fresh lime-scented finish. SRP:  $20

2017 Tempranillo:  The brilliant ruby hue and warm berry pie aroma sets the stage for olallieberries, Black Beauty plums, a minerally edge, black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and savoriness filling the mouth. Elegant and pure with refined tannins and a lingering finish. SRP: $28

2017 Syrah:  The engaging floral nose with hints of spice awakens the senses. Deep, dark, delicious layers of blackberries, blueberry compote, roasted meat, subtle oak (from neutral barrel aging), and fresh ground multi-colored peppercorns flow seamlessly across the palate. Pure and brilliantly balanced with a finish that never gives up. SRP:  $28

Walking the property is a delight. You’ll feel immersed in eco-friendly living while surrounded by the vineyard, pear and apple trees, diverse gardens, birds overhead, praying mantis and other insects, their sweet pup Bud, and other animals gracing the property. It’s a breath of fresh air, and their practices offer significant benefits not only to our environment today, but that of future generations.

Visits (by appointment only) are held in their charming outdoor setting at the vineyard (located at 1125 Morey Road, Talent OR 97540). To schedule, visit their website, www.upperfivevineyard.com, click on contact and visit, complete and submit their simple form, and they will be in touch.

Willamette Valley’s Et Fille Wines in the Limelight

Tasting Notes

The Et Fille (French for “and daughter”) Wines story is a heartwarming one, about the Willamette Valley father and daughter winemaking team Howard Mozeico and Jessica Mozeico.  Howard’s winemaking began as a hobby in his garage in 1984.  Jessica enjoyed helping her dad with his hobby, which led them to developing a joint passion for the world of wine.  In 2003 they launched their winery, Et Fille Wines, and their first vintage from that same year was released.  The family sources grapes from L.I.V.E. Certified sustainable vineyards in multiple Willamette Valley sub-appellations including Eola-Amity Hills, Yamhill Carlton, Dundee Hills, and Chehalem Mountains. 

The father-daughter co-winemaking pair worked side by side running the winery, and Jessica gained tremendous knowledge and valuable skills from her father until Howard’s passing in 2017.  Today, Jessica carries on her dad’s legacy with honor. She continues to build the business for her young daughter, who Jessica hopes one day will hold the torch in her hands, to keep alive the dream, passion and hard work of her mother and grandfather. 

The wines are expressive and well crafted:

Et Fille 2019 Deaux Vert Vineyard Viognier ($28), Willamette Valley, OR:  At first whiff, the fresh stone fruit and tropical aroma drives you into the glass.  This 100% stainless steel fermented wine is silky smooth in texture and perfectly balanced with a nice structure, and it oozes purity of the variety.  Fresh cut summer peaches and nectarines, star fruit, hints of Meyer lemon, and a suggestion of crushed herbs join tingling acidity that transports the wine to a vivacious and persistent finish. 

Et Fille 2020 Rosé of Pinot Noir ($28), Willamette Valley, OR:  The luminous pinkish-salmon hue catches the eye, and the aroma of a fresh-picked summer bouquet engages the senses.  Vivid fruit-focused flavors of Rainer cherries, tangerines, a touch of lemon verbena, and tiny wild strawberries meld in harmony as the wine floats across the palate with ease. Delicate and well-balanced with crisp acidity, it is refreshing and vitalizing all the way through.

Et Fille 2018 Pinot Noir ($28), Willamette Valley, OR:  This zesty and elegant Pinot Noir greets the nose with a cherry blossom aroma.  The texture is satin-like, and brisk acidity enlivens the palate as notes of fresh red raspberries, cherry cola, subtle herbs, berry tisane, and savory spice interlace, while hints of understated French oak add further dimension. Fresh and brightly flavored as it heads gracefully to an upbeat finale.

Et Fille 2018 Kalita Vineyard Pinot Noir ($54), Yamhill Carlton, Willamette Valley, OR:  Crafted of Pommard and Wädenswil clones, this deeply hued Pinot Noir is irresistible.  The black fruit and fresh-turned earth aromas captivate the senses.  Full bodied and lush on the palate, where layers of juicy plums, black raspberries, exotic spice, wild mushrooms, Bing cherries and underlying toasty French oak (from 11-month aging in new and one year French barrels) unfold and lead to a memorable finish.

The winery, located at 718 E. First Street in Newberg Oregon is open by appointment Friday thru Sunday 12 noon to 6 pm. A tasting of five wines at $20 per person is waived for club members, or with a minimum purchase for other visitors. You can book online at www.etfillewines.com or call the winery at 503 538 2900 to schedule your visit.

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