Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Smackdown, August 31st

Each Friday we highlight a wine from the Northwest that we think is a real "find." By find we might mean that it's a steal, as all of these wines we'll feature weekly are at or under $20. We might also mean "Hey, you really need to go find this" and it might be a wine that we feel not enough people know about. In any case, with the weekend pending we're hoping to help you "find" a wine to kickoff the weekend right. We'll tell you a little bit about the wine and try to help you track it down here in the Northwest.

This week we're doing something a little different.

For the past year and a couple months, we have brought you a Northwestern wine bargain each and every Friday, except maybe 1 or 2 weeks.  But frankly, when you consider how much I get paid to write this wine blog, exactly zero dollars, missing 1 or 2 over the course of a year and a couple months, that's way reasonable. At least I like to think so. Hell, I even know people who read this blog and buy these wines we recommend. It's almost like it's working.

Next week on Thursday, September 6th we're throwing a bit of a party. It's called #PinotSmackdown and I cannot take credit for it. It was started 3 years ago by two guys from, Georgia or someplace, Ed Thralls and Joe Herrig, two famous wine "twitterers."  The idea was to put a spin on the very popular "virtual tastings" and make it into a regional competition.  The victor for the first ever #PinotSmackdown was the #WillametteValley. Last year Oregon Pinotphiles were a bit surprised by the up and coming New Zealand Pinot Noir taking the title.  Which brings us to this year.

This year it's about taking back what rightfully belongs to Oregon, the greatest Pinot Noir producing region in the New World.  The greatest Pinot Noir producing region without peer is Burgundy.  If you have not splurged on a Grand Cru or Premier Cru from Burgundy, save up your pennies, it is worth it my friend.  If only just once.  The combination of soil, climate and very, very old vines produce some of the most profound wine experiences that can be had on the planet (particularly white Burgundy).

This party I mentioned, it'll be a Pinot Noir tasting, and we'll be pouring 3 Oregon Pinot Noirs as well as 3 from Burgundy at Bin 41, perhaps the greatest neighborhood wine shop in Seattle.  You're not going to want to miss this.  A $5 tasting fee, refunded with the purchase of one of the featured wines will grant you access to what Oregon and Burgundy do best.  Bring your twitter machine, your phone that is, and tweet away, using the hashtags #OR and #PinotSmackdown will help Oregon reclaim it's rightful place at the top.  I'll be there and will be giving out high fives like they're candy. You'll get to sample wines from Amalie Robert, Anam Cara Cellars and Boedecker Cellars in Oregon, and the Burgundy wines are still being selected. If you're a wine geek, or even a burgeoning one, you gotta do this.

Today's Friday Find is a bit of a reach for us, it's not from Oregon, and it's not from Washington, our two usual suspects. Negative, it's from Burgundy.  Yes, a Burgundy Pinot Noir for under $20. Get on outta here you say.  Nope.  From a serious producer, the negociant, Albert Bichot comes the Vielles Vignes or "Old Vines" a blend of wines with a Bourgogne designation.  For $15? Seriously folks.  This wine is a blend of lots of vineyards that are 25-35 years old from both major the major growing areas within Burgundy the Cote de Beaune and the Cote de Nuits.  The wine is a reflection of that region's secret, elegance in the aromatics, with lots of dark fruit and a hint of spice, the wine comes through on the palate with gun powder minerality, black currant and a touch of the oak that was used.  You can find a better Pinot Noir than this, but for $15? You'll be looking real hard. I got mine at the Magnolia Thriftway but with Vinum Distributing carrying this wine you can probably track it down with some ease in Seattle and Portland, shoot them a note on twitter. See  you at the Smackdown.


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