Archive | July 2011

Dobbes Family Estate – Still a Winner

The other night, Jon and I opened a bottle of the 2006 Dobbes Family Estate Syrah.  Dobbes is a Willamette Valley winery that specializes in Pinot Noir.  Their winemaker also has a second label wine called Wine by Joe.  We first visited Dobbes Family Estate in November 2009, on our first Willamette Valley wine tour.  It is located right on Highway 99, and it is a rarity in the world of Willamette Valley wineries, in that it is open until 6 pm.  It was our last stop of the day, and kind of an impulse stop.  The tasting room is accessed after walking through a little Japanese style garden and over a little bridge.  It gives the front of the winery a nice ambience, but I couldn’t help but wonder how tricky that bridge would be to navigate for my 93 year old grandmother.  She doesn’t drink anyway, but I’m sure there are other people with limited mobility who might want to go tasting.  I bet that little bridge gets pretty slick in the winter too (this is probably coming from being responsible for the corporate safety program for too many years).  You should probably ignore any further safety comments coming from me.

So the inside of the tasting room is very spacious, and there is plenty of room at the bar.  At this point, I don’t remember exactly what we tasted, but I do remember the standouts weren’t the Pinots.  It was this Syrah.  It is a balanced fruity Syrah, not heavily oaked, one that Jon and I can agree on.  When I saw that he had pulled it out the other night, I wondered if I would still like it, since it was one that we chose very early into our Willamette Valley experience.  Upon tasting it again, I realized I should trust myself more.  I do choose good wine.  And when we are down there in a couple of weeks, I hope we find the Dobbes Family Estate Syrah again, because I will buy another bottle. 

The Recommendation….

Yesterday we went to a new grocery store in town for the first time. It has touted itself as having an extensive selection of high quality wine, so I wanted to see if they had the goods. Whenever I check out a wine store, I always want to know if it has wines that I can’t find other places. Wines I haven’t already seen in every other shop in town.

The layout is a little unusual – when you go into the wine section, there is a small walled off entrance with one way in and out. Good thing I’m not severely claustrophobic, because that might pose a problem. After he helped another customer, Mark the Wine Steward came over to Jon and I to see if we needed any help. So, I decided to try him out. I asked if he had any single varietal Chenin Blanc. He pointed to an empty spot on the shelf and explained that the previous customers had just purchased the last bottle. He told me that it is a French Vouvray, and told me that Vouvray is the French name for Chenin Blanc. Off to a pretty good start, but when I looked it up online I learned that Vouvray is actually the region in France – but it is planted almost exclusively with Chenin Blanc.  So… he was close enough. Mark also showed me a couple of run of the mill Chenin Blancs from Sutter Home and Hogue, but told me that they were known for being sweeter wines. He didn’t say it out loud, but you could tell he wasn’t a fan – and neither are we.

Jon and I usually know what we are looking for, but we know far more about domestic wines than European ones. Mark mentioned that he lived in France for a year, so I asked him to recommend a nice dry Rose. He showed me three French Roses with price points of $10, $11 and $20. I picked the $11 wine, the 2010 Recolte Rose by Domaine Sainte-Eugenie, because it is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Mourvedre. When we tried it last night, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a little light, but the perfect end for a very hot day.   For $11, I will certainly take Mark’s recommendation again.

Get Ready to Getaway

It’s been awhile since I’ve been on vacation. Jon and I took a Memorial Day wine trip down to the Willamette Valley, and I went to Portland to see my family for a weekend in early July, but that’s been it. I’ve been completely aching to go on vacation, and it has been so difficult to stay home.

Jon is finishing up summer classes next week, and his courses have been tough, to put it mildly. Thursday night he got two and a half hours of sleep, because he had to finish up a project before heading to work at 7:30 Friday morning. He needs a break as badly as I do.

We are taking a long weekend off in a couple of weeks to head to Medford, Oregon and the Rogue River Valley. It is a long drive for us, but we are really looking forward to the trip. We are planning to take some time doing a few different activities. One day, we will head up to Crater Lake, one day we will do some wine touring, and one day we will head over to the coast for some time near the Pacific Ocean. Jon has driven through this area of Oregon several times on his way back and forth to California, but has never stopped.   I haven’t been in the area (unless my parents took me as a child and I don’t remember). The weather is forecast to be in the 80s and 90s, which will be hotter than I have experienced all year at home. I’m thrilled about the idea of swimming in a pool, and not wearing my jacket in July (to give you an idea of how cold it is around here – on Friday morning at work I was wearing a fleece jacket over a light sweater).

I have heard good things about the wineries down in the Rogue River Valley, and I’ve heard that Crater Lake is amazing. I’ve been to the Oregon Coast and thoroughly enjoyed myself, but I have never been that far down the Coast. I’m excited for the photo opportunities too – I need to start a new photograph collection since I sadly lost a lot of my photos when my hard drive crashed last week. As much as my husband makes fun of me for posting so many photos on Facebook, I’m glad I do. They are ones that I still have a copy of now.

So the next couple of weeks will be devoted to finding info on restaurants and side activities. Shopping, wine bars, music, parks that we can enjoy in our much deserved down time. If you know the area and have any ideas, please let me know.