Tag Archive | Carlton Cellars

Carlton Cellars – Part two

The number three station on the marathon tasting tour was Carlton Cellars again, where we tasted their reds. We started out with the 2008 Seven Devils Pinot Noir, which at $20 is a great value. It was a great wine too, with a balance of cherry and tannin that we both really enjoyed. We tried their reserve Pinots as well, and they were very well done, but I couldn’t taste enough of a difference to warrant the premium price. We ended up with a couple of bottles of the Seven Devil’s Pinot Noir, for an everyday drinking wine.

Ghost Hill Winery was number four. Ghost Hill is relatively new to the scene – they seem to have just set up a tasting room out of their home right down the road from Annie Amie Vineyards. We thought about visiting there, but were detered by the long, pot-holed gravel road, so we were pleased to see that they had a presence at Carlton Cellars. We sampled their Pinot Blanc, a Pinor Noir Blanc, and a Pinot Noir. The wines were good, and I think they have a lot of potential. I didn’t walk away with any distinct memory of the Pinot Noir – in the shuffle of the day, it got lost in the other wines. I did get a couple of bottles of the the Pinot Noir Blanc – it was a well structured wine, and it was very reasonably priced at $20. Not many wineries do a Pinot Noir Blanc, which is made with the Pinot Noir grape with the skins removed at the beginning of the process, to avoid having them color the wine. In fact, the only other winery that I’ve had it at is Anne Amie, so when we saw it at Ghost Hill, I got excited about trying it.

Angel Vine was number five in the marathon tasting session. Angel Vine focuses on Zinfandels, although they do a Pinot Noir and a Petit Sirah as well. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Angel Vine, they were Three Angels Winery, but apparently had to change the name when they got sued by a large corporation over the trademark. I find it sad that the little guy has to cave when the big corporate lawyers come knocking, but we are here about the wine now, aren’t we? At any rate, their Morgster Pinot Noir was good, but nothing special. The Zinfandels though are amazing. We tried the 2008 Columbia Valley Primitivo, which is the Italian clone of the Zinfandel grape and it was very nice, which a strong, bold flavor. The 2008 “The Hellion” and the 2008 Les Collenes Vineyard Zinfandel were also very good. They source their grapes from Washington, in the Yakima and Walla Walla valleys, and it is nice to see a winery that focuses on some of the varietals that aren’t as widely grown in Washington. They have done a great job with all their wines – in fact, it was impossible to choose a clear favorite among these three Zins.

Are you tired yet? We were, so we took this opportunity to take a break and get our BBQ pulled pork sandwich, that was complimentary with our tasting fee. The chef is a Mississippi native, who ended up in Portland. The BBQ sauce was excellent, with the spicy sauce having a great kick, but not an overpowering spice. His coleslaw was delicious too. It gave us a chance to take a break and regroup before continuing our circle around the barrel room. I took a little break out in the sunshine as well, although it was really kind of overcast rather than sunny.

Carlton Cellars – a Multiphase Tour, part 1

Our last stop of the day was also the biggest stop of the day. We went to Carlton Cellars, which is a cooperative where several wineries share harvesting and bottling equipment. Carlton Cellars is the main winery there, and their custom crush wineries include: Youngberg Hill, Ghost Hill Winery, Angel Vine, Barking Frog Winery and J. Albin Winery. With so many wineries under the same roof, there is a lot to taste. You really have to pace yourself!

We started our tasting with the Carlton Cellars white wines, where they had Pinot Gris, a Sauvignon Blanc, and a Pinot Noir Rose. The Pinot Gris was good, but almost a little too dry for my taste. I wanted it to be a bit sweeter. The Sauvignon Blanc was excellent – crisp, with a lot of minerality, perfect for a hot summer day. The Pinot Noir Rose was just ok, I thought it lacked structure.

The second stop was Youngberg Hill. Youngberg Hill had four wines to taste – a Pinot Blanc, a Pinot Gris, and two Pinot Noirs. I liked their Pinot Gris quite a bit.  Crisp and sweet – without being overly so.  The two Pinot Noir’s, called Natasha and Jordan were good, with the difference in the taste due to the vineyard where the grapes were grown. The Natasha was grown in marine sedimentary soil, where the Jordan came from a vineyard planted in volcanic soil. You can taste the difference, with the Natasha being much more fruit forward, and the Jordan having a smoky, more earthy flavor. That said, I liked the Jordan Pinot Noir much better, it just had that something – it was richer, more solid.