About UsWine ReviewsArchivesAdvertiseContact Us

Mt. Hood Winery, Columbia Gorge (Oregon) Pinot Noir Estate Bottled 2019 ($38)
 Grown on the estate and made by veteran consulting winemaker, Rich Cushman, this Oregon Pinot has its own subtle but distinct personality.  It is not, in other words, a Willamette Valley wanna-be.  On the nose it shows plum and pomegranate aromas with secondary notes of earth and dried mushroom.  On the plate it comes alive with ripe plum presented in a plush, slightly velvety package.  The pleasing youthful finish again emphasizes earthy notes along with refined tannins.  Youthfully closed-in, it should be decanted now.  And it will be interesting to taste after a few years of bottle age.        
92 Norm Roby


Posted by Marguerite Thomas on August 1, 2021 at 1:50 PM

Winegrowing Isn’t for the Faint of Heart

The Tannat grape, a notoriously robust variety whose origins lie in the rugged mountainous region between France and Spain, has adapted very well to Virginia’s relatively tame landscape and climate.  However, no one in the world who works in viticulture—including those in Virginia—would be foolish enough to suggest that winegrowing was a worry-free enterprise.  Fires, floods and frost: these “F words” conjure up a meaning that is similar to the most famous “F word” in resonance but more tangible for people whose livelihood depends on the fruit of the vine.

In the spring of 2020 a far-reaching incursion of cold, Arctic air was responsible for major frost events that hit vineyards in Virginia, reaching as far south as northern Georgia and severely impacted vineyards in North Carolina and Tennessee as well.  On the morning of May 9, 2020, the frost hit Crozet, Virginia, wiping out almost all of Stinson Vineyard’s production.  The good news is that Stinson was able to source fruit from nearby Horton Vineyard, which fared somewhat better than many of its neighbors that spring.  One result of this is Stinson’s 2020 Rosé of Tannat.

Stinson Vineyards, Monticello (Virginia) Rosé of Tannat 2020 ($23):  With its alluring rosy/orange color, delicate flavors and lively acidity this is a refreshing summery wine.  Unlike the overt tannins typically found in Tannat red wines, this rosé is relatively smooth and succulent on the palate.  While it has distinctive fruit flavor the wine is nonetheless perfectly dry, and offers hints of floral in the aroma.  A tasty wine on its own, Stinson’s Tannat is a good companion to summery food, from Vichyssoise to cold meat and cheese plates. 
90 Points

Dr. Michael
This Issue's Reviews
Catena's Adrianna Vineyard: An Argentine Grand Cru?
Jim Clarke

There's an old real estate saying about the value of owning the cheapest house in an expensive neighborhood. An analogous truth shows up in the world of winegrowing, one concerning not price but temperature: seek out the coolest sites in a warm growing area. It's a premise that led the Catena family high into the Andes and the creation of what became their flagship site, the Adrianna Vineyard. Named for Nicola Catena Zapata's youngest daughter, the vineyard, situated in the Gualtallary sub-region of the Tupungato region (which in itself is part of the Uco Valley) lies at almost 5,000 feet in elevation. There are a few vineyards stretching a bit higher up into the Andes, but not many, and even then, only by a few hundred feet.
Wine on the Ledge: Investigating the Wisconsin Ledge AVA
Wayne Belding

Wisconsin, although justifiably famous for agriculture, is not well known for wine production. The state does have an intriguing wine history, though. Agoston Harazthy planted his first vineyard in the USA along the Wisconsin River in 1846. Harazthy turned his focus westward two years later, but his initial vineyard site is now part of the Wollersheim Winery vineyards north of Madison. Tucked in amongst the many corn and soybean fields of the Badger State, there is a growing wine industry. There are only around 100+ wineries now operating in the Wisconsin. Compare that to the seven thousand registered Wisconsin dairy farms. Although very small in numbers, these pioneering wineries show that fine wine can be produced here.
Wine With
WINE WITH…Tuna Niçoise

When we hear the word 'Niçoise,' we tend to think of the classic Salade Niçoise, but in this instance I'm suggesting a warm dish, not a salad. In both cases the word 'Niçoise' is a reference to the ingredients of the cuisine that has been long associated with Nice, the culinary star of Provence. Traditional Salade Niçoise includes seafood, notably tuna (canned or fresh), along with tomatoes, local black olives and olive oil. Potatoes, green beans, hard-boiled eggs, and lettuce are frequently included in the salad with everything tossed in a classic oil-and-vinegar dressing. Tuna Niçoise borrows a handful of the salad's ingredients although lettuce has no place here. The dish is quick and easy to assemble. The tuna is seared, then immediately sliced and paired with the mildness of steamed or simmered potatoes, plus glossy, briny black Niçoise olives to add their pungent note.
On My Table
A Great-Value Tuscan Red, Beyond Sangiovese
Mary Ewing-Mulligan

I tasted this wine on a muggy July afternoon as part of a tasting of Tuscan red wines, the others of which were based heavily on the Sangiovese grape. Whether due to mood or weather - or the absence of food - this Bordeaux-blend wine stood out as the most appealing and the most impressive. ia Vecchia is owned by the Pellegrini family, who for several generations were grape growers in and around Tuscany's Bolgheri area, where they sold grapes to established local wineries. In 1996, the family founded its own winery, naming the business after an old building called Aia Vecchia. The Merlot-based Lagone, the winery's first release and its flagship wine, debuted in 1998.