Arts and Crafts Were Never This Fun

Sparkle and Fade

A Cabernet Experience

Exploring Terroir with Forgeron Cellars

Oregon's French Connection

Maison Louis Jadot's Résonance

The French Connection

Rhone to Columbia Valley: The Syrah Doctrine

C'mon Get Happy

New Growth at Matthews Winery

Who We Are

The staff of the Northwest Wine Anthem, we're good

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012, The Mayans Were Wrong!

The year is over folks, well, nearly, by the end of today it'll be all over. Most people are doing something, something Top 10 what have you on their blogs. We won't do that, if only because we know Jenny Mosbacher hates it.  Instead we're just going to reminisce a bit. The blog was dark last week as family was in town from the east coast, the kiddo was home from daycare and there was a whole lot of cycling to be done. 312 miles to be exact.

We're back with something resembling a vengeance.
I suppose we're all glad the Mayans were wrong. I mean it's possible that soon we'll discover a compound of people in black Nikes who were kinda hoping the world would end but for the most part everyone agrees. We at the Anthem are really excited that life gets to continue on earth for a number of reasons, and some of them even have something to do with wine.

If there is anything to be chomping at the bit about in the immediate future its gotta be the 2011 vintage from Oregon. One of our highlights from 2012 was certainly seeing the releases of the 2010 vintage. The vintage it turns out, despite some nay-saying and a bit of bird action was perfect for Oregon Pinot Noir. While some of the Bordeaux varietals that I've tried from Washington have been a little bit underwhelming the Syrahs have been absolutely outstanding. Wines from both Avennia and Rotie Cellars were standouts of the 2010 vintage and they were not alone.

2012 marked the blogs first birthday in May. In 2012 there were 134 posts on the Northwest Wine Anthem. That's one every few days. There were posts written by eleven different people. Our crack staff and two contributors, Charlotte Chipperfield and Lara Bain, we also added a new staff writer in Lucha Vino, aka Marty Sparks to try and bring a bit of gender balance to the blog. We brought you 49 Friday Finds, that's 49 weeks with a Northwest wine under $20. That's a lot.

The highlights for me were all of the new content and new writers we were able to get out there. Two different trips I was invited to take to Oregon this year also provided opportunities for rubbing elbows with really invested Pinot Noir producers. The first trip in March was sponsored by The Oregon Wine Board. Stops in the Gorge, Portland and Dundee made for a great trip.   My first crack at some of the best vintages of Oregon Pinot Noir with some of it's founding families was probably the icing on the cake.

I just recently got back from a trip to McMinnville's Youngberg Hill. We'll have a feature on the B&B and winery just outside of McMinnville soon; but the vertical tasting we did of the site's Jordan Block was a unique opportunity and one that came with outstanding scenery.

Another huge highlight for me of 2012 was spending a day with Dick Boushey touring around his vineyards outside of Grandview, Washington. The man is a legend within the Washington Wine industry and rightfully so.

As we get set to enter 2013, we'll be looking forward to celebrating 30 years of the Yakima Valley AVA, taking a look at a mini vertical of Van Duzer and a fantastic cool vintage Syrah from Waters Winery in Walla Walla. And that's just January.  Stick around.

As is customary, as in it's happened once, we're going to pick a wine of the year only this year we'll be picking one from Oregon and one from Washington, in an effort to please everyone. Which is impossible.

My 2012 wine of the year from Washington was the 2010 Northern Blend from Rotie Cellars. It's amazing. I tasted it at Taste Washington and was pretty sure it was my top wine of that event and then got to taste it a few days ago yet again.  It's Syrah with just 5% co-fermented Viognier, resulting in a wine with an Old World charm, while also being earthen, funky and deep and savory. The earthen and dark fruit flavors and finish last forever. A Syrah that is exactly what I love about Syrah. Amazing, I know, I said that already.

My 2012 wine from Oregon is the 2010 Zenith Vineyard Pinot Noir from Grochau Cellars. John has created a humdinger in this wine from the Eola-Amity Hills. I tasted it with him recently and was really wowed. John likes to play with whole cluster fermentation quite a bit and whatever he did to this wine it's gorgeous. The elegance that 2010 is developing a reputation for is all over this wine but what nailed it for me was the super long finish that feels a tad like a candied blueberry is just sitting there on your tongue. It's got great acidity, classic bramble-berry flavors and a bit of savory spice. It's pretty plain and simple.

Happy New Year everyone from your friends at the Anthem, see you next year. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Find, December 21st

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.

A Tale of Two Brunos

I grew up in a boxing family in the sense that my grandfather was a former professional boxer in the 30s and 40s and I learned at a young age to both appreciate the sport for it's finesse and to throw a punch. The sport of boxing however has gone the way of the dodo bird in terms of it's former grace and beauty. This might be a product of all the barbaric MMA spectacles which I absolutely abhor. 

Boxing's golden age is debatable of course particularly in terms of the heavyweight division. The earlier years of Jack Johnson, John L. Sullivan and during the World War era fighters like Harry Greb, Gene Tunney and the German Max Schmeling. In my opinion America's greatest athlete of all time is Muhammed Ali. His combination of physical ferocity, political activism and entertainment has never and will never be equaled again. Ever. Ali at the prime of his career sacrificed millions of dollars and mainstream American admiration to protest the Vietnam War. It's his greatest act of heroism but one that most are unaware of. 

The heavyweight division steered clear of boxing and became about punching when the young Mike Tyson arrived on the scene. Tyson's fights were typically short and brutal. Usually all Tyson needed was one good shot to end it and it was in that era that the sweet science gave way to bulky stone jawed men that could take and land punches with ferocity. Ever the tragic end to Tyson's reign the Heavyweight World Championships became boxing's most ignoble division. 

Names of has-beens and never-weres. Frank Bruno is one such fighter. His impressive fight record of 40-5, 38 by knockout aside, Bruno was not a star. He lost to Tyson both times they fought, taking the title from another name you never heard, Oliver McCall. His reign as the WBC champion was only 6 months and he lost it in his first defense. 

A real Bruno worthy of our talk, is the namesake of today's Friday Find, the Bruno's Blend from VaPiano Vineyards. The wine is named for a former fixture at Gonzaga University Father Bruno Segatta, his story is here

Typically, this heavyweight bargain, is a blend the has been non vintage but in 2009 the fruit was such that winemaker Justin Wylie made it a vintage wine. (It should be noted that 2010 is a Cabernet as opposed to a labeled blend.) The blend of mostly Cabernet, Merlot, and smaller parts Syrah and Cabernet Franc along with a fair bit of new oak result in a smoky and spicy wine. Lots of blackberry on this one in terms of aromatics and flavors. Very enjoyable wine for the price at $20 most places and usually fairly available.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Troon Vineyard: The Founding & the Future in Southern Oregon

Lucky for us there are those with a sense of imagination and adventure who often times will do what was, until they thought of it at least, the unthinkable. Pioneers are visionaries, whom at the time seem a little bit crazy but whose vision and hard work make it possible for those who follow them to build upon their success. Right around the time when Oregon's most well known wine pioneer, David Lett was planting Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley, Dick Troon was helping to break similar ground in Southern Oregon's Applegate Valley. (To cut you off at the pass I am fully aware that Richard Sommer was the first to plant Pinot Noir in the Umpqua Valley circa 1960.)

Where Lett came to Oregon with a plan, and the very express purpose of planting Pinot in a place that seemed much more like Burgundy than California. Dick Troon just thought that the Grant's Pass area seemed like a nice place to live. Having grown up a farmer and an engineer by trade Troon's turn toward wine was spurred by a visit to Healdsburg. Having come away impressed with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zifandel and given his agricultural roots Troon thought that this could be done in Southern Oregon. And is often the case with pioneers, Troon firmly believed he could do it better. He planted Cabernet and Zinfandel in 1972 and the vineyard operated as just that until he began a winery in 1993.

While Southern Oregon has yet to develop the reputation for those varietals the way that California has, Dick Troon helped to found what is fast becoming an accomplished and recognized wine region. The potential of the region is undeniable. Wines from Cowhorn, Folin Cellars, God King Slave and Quady North, along with those from Troon Vineyard demonstrate what the Rogue and Applegate Valleys have to offer in terms of variety and diversity, but  it may be an American sweet spot for Zinfandel, Syrah and Tempranillo. Particularly in terms of the preservation of acidity within the wine given their cooler climate.

Troon Vineyard was sold by it's founder to other owners, the Martin Family in 2003. Dick Troon passed away in 2011, but the winery has taken seriously it's namesake and the responsibility it has to the region. The vineyard holdings have expanded and a new and visually stunning facility was built in 2005. True to Troon's pioneering spirit experimental varietals new to Southern Oregon like Tannat and Vermentino have been planted. Herb Quady is the obviously talented winemaker for Troon and he has at his disposal a seemingly endless number of varietals and blends, I counted some 23 wines on their website.

The label however has built and grown it's reputation largely on two wines. Dick Troon's beloved Zinfandel (they make various iterations) and Troon's happiest mistake. The Druid's Fluid red wine is a blend that has long included Syrah, and one particular year Dick had harvested some Syrah with insufficient nitrogen. This lead to a stuck fermentation, the wine as a result was fruity, and just a touch sweet. Reminiscent of a German Dornfelder. This easy drinking red wine has become hugely popular. The wine was a previously published Friday Find.

What's clear is that Troon's importance does not just lie in the founding of Southern Oregon but in it's future. With Herb Quady at the winemaking reigns the winery has demonstrated that is not simply satisfied as a destination with impressive views. The wines are very good, the focus (at least in the wines I've tried) is on their fruit, the estate site and the special climate the region grants them. The winery continues to push boundaries and demonstrate a willingness to try new things. That is good for Oregon and for those interested in what its potential might really be.

Zinfandel seems to have found a home in Southern Oregon and Troon Vineyard makes a few of them. Their 2010 Kubli Bench Zinfandel $25 doesn't clobber you with ripeness, raisins and booze. Instead you get blue fruits, savory spice and a fleshy quality that is classically Zinfandel. The acidity that this wine was able to retain takes it to another level in terms of vibrancy. The cooler climate of the Applegate Valley delivers a Zinfandel worthy of anyone's consideration, particularly those who don't think of themselves as fans of the wine. Outstanding.

Reserve Syrah 2008-This is a serious big britches Syrah. The word on the street is that this was a bit of a private project wine for the Martins but it was too good not to share with Troon fans. The wine is comprised of the best Syrah to come off the estate vineyard, selected from only three rows of vines. A tiny 45 cases was made. Overt dark fruit and spices hum in this Syrah.  Flavors of black plum draped in a purple velvet mouth-feel courtesy of the the substantial time spent in new French oak. The aromatics are dusty black cherry and hints of earth. $50

The Old Vine Meritage 2009 is a wine that I felt really bad opening. I say that only because it was clear that this wine is built for longevity, and will only get better. Super structured with flavors of raisin, dusty cherries, chocolate, and baking spices balanced with a stony minerality and lots of tannin. There were moments when flavor elements reminded me of an Amarone. The aromatics are a little closed up right now, but like everything else about this wine it screams try me again in 4 or 5 years. $32 sold out

2011 Foundation '72 Vermentino, I know, right? ANOTHER Northwest Vermentino? Yawn. And by another, I mean the only one, period. At least that I'm aware of, and perception equals reality.  This wine was a blast to drink. This wine is mostly Vermentino with a small percentage of Viognier blended. It’s a crisp white wine with aromatics of crushed stone, lemon zest and wild flower. The stainless steel fermentation preserves the  wine’s great acidity and bite. Flavors of green apple, citrus fruit and mineral finish complete a perfect food
wine. $18

These wines were provided as samples by the winery.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Zen and the Art of Winemaking, Portland's Enso Winery

From Lucha Vino

At Enso the name of the game is experimentation.  Ryan Sharp is boldly going where he has never gone before.  He wants to continually try new things and introduce people to things they have never experienced before. When Ryan talks about the wine he is making many of his descriptions begin with the phrase “This is the first time I am trying this...”

The name of his winery reveals much about Ryan’s wine making philosophy.  The Enso is a Zen concept related to expressing a moment in time.  At the completion of a meditation, a person draws a circle to represent their frame of mind at that particular moment. Ryan’s wife is an artist and circles are a significant part of her art.  When researching circles and cultures they discovered the Enso circle.  Ryan felt this was a perfect representation for his winemaking philosophy which lead to the name for his primary label.  Each wine has its own Enso to represent that wine’s moment in time from one vintage to the next.

The Enso Winery and Tasting Lounge opened on the East side of Portland about a year and a half ago. Just two days before the start of production for the 2012 vintage Ryan’s landlord approached him with an offer to expand into 1500 square feet of space adjoining the back half of his Tasting Lounge and production facility.  The timing was tight, but the space means that Ryan has more room to grow (and experiment).  He produced 600 cases of wine in 2011 and plans to triple his production to 1800 cases with the 2012 vintage.

As we walked through Ryan’s new barrel room we tasted through a number of his wines that are still in the barrel and fermenters.

We tasted a 2012 Pinot Blanc that was just done fermenting.  It showed character of grapefruit and pear with some nice tartness.  This wine is destined for the bottle in either February or March.

Next up was a 2012 rose blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Gris and 20% Pinot Blanc.  The nose on this one was super funky (I think Ryan described it as baby poop).  The palate belied the olfactory sensations with robust notes of ruby red grapefruit.

Climbing up into his rack of barrels, Ryan pulled a sample of his Mourvedre that has been aging for about 14 months now.  This wine is already showing an awesome dark and spicy profile.

Then I heard that magic phrase: This is the first time I am trying this... a blend of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay.  The wine was uniquely smooth and luscious.  This will be a wine to seek out when it is released.

We tasted another first for Ryan, a Pinot Gris Orange Wine (a first for me too).  I learned that an Orange wine is produced by applying red wine making concepts to white grapes.  Instead of limiting the wine’s exposure to oxygen, Ryan is increasing the oxygen contact by oxidizing in oak barrels that are only filled to 80% capacity.

Next we moved up to the tasting lounge and tasted through Ryan’s current releases.  He makes wines under two labels: Enso and Resonate.

The Resonate label is negociant wine he makes with an eye toward unique varietals and blends.  Ryan will taste through up to 30 wines looking for a combination that will make an exceptional table wine at a stellar price.  He has done unique combinations in his blends like Grenache and Pinot Noir or Sangiovese and Barbera.  Part of the plan for the increase in production is the ability to offer the Resonate wines at local markets. I tried the Resonate Rose #2 and Red #6.  Ryan numbers each Resonate wine sequentially.  Once that particular offering is gone it is gone!  So, make sure you stock up if you taste something you like.

The grapes for Ryan’s Enso white wines all come from the Willamette Valley.  Red wine grapes all come from the Horse Heaven Hills in Washington.

The tasting lounge is comfortable and inviting.  It features a large bar and a sitting area.  Ryan supports his neighbors on Stark street by offering local food, wine from fellow Portland Urban Wineries and a couple of local beers on tap too.  You can also order a sandwich from one of the shops down the street and bring it in to enjoy with a glass of Enso or Resonate.

If you live in Portland, or are in town visiting, you definitely need to make time to drop by the Enso winery and tasting lounge.  They are open seven days a week and you are sure to experience something new.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Listomania... Top 100 Wine List Insanity Ensues

Each year at this time there are two  kinds of lists that people are thinking about, the one cobbled together by Ol' Saint Nick and then the copious top 100 lists put out by all the wine publications. The most awaited list comes from Wine Spectator but additionally, Wine Enthusiast and the San Francisco Chronicle also produce their Top 100 lists.  Here at the Anthem we do not.  That's okay though because just about everyone else does. Instead we cherry pick those lists and give you the run down on how the Northwest fared.

The Wine Enthusiast
The Wine Enthusiast produces a bevy of lists, Top 100 Best Buys, Top 100 Cellar Selections and just Top 100 "Regular" I suppose. Here we go:

As appears to be tradition The Wine Enthusiast doesn't really seem to appreciate Oregon Pinot Noir but as has often been the case Washington's established producers have made a good showing. The biggest surprise is how well Oregon Chardonnay and Pinot Gris and Washington Riesling fared on this list. Also of note, only one of these Northwest wines is under $20.

97: Archery Summit 2010 AB OVO Pinot Gris $42
92: Evening Land 2010 La Source Chardonnay $60
89: Abeja 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley) $44
68: Corliss 2007 Syrah (Columbia Valley) $55
55: Nefarious 2011 Stone's Throw Vineyard Riesling $18
47: J Bookwalter 2009 Conner Lee Vineyard Conflict (Red) $55
40: Tamarack Cellars 2008 Du Brul Vineyard Red $50
38: Quilceda Creek 2008 Cabernet $125
35: K Vintners The Hidden Syrah $70
26: Figgins 2009 Estate Red Wine $85
12: Dunham 2010 Lewis Vineyard Riesling $20
9: Scott Paul Dix Pinot Noir $40
6: Rulo 2010 Chardonnay $20

The knock on Oregon wines here in the Northwest is that they're too expensive compared to the wines of Washington but this list seems to turn that reputation on it's head, the only red wine selected from Oregon is cheaper than any of the Washington red wines.

The Top 100 Best Buys include a lot of Northwest whites, from standard bearers Chateau Ste Michelle (#2) and Pacific Rim as well as wines from Eyrie (Pinot Gris #7), Foris and a great Oregon riesling from Willamette Valley Vineyards.

The San Francisco Chronicle 
Perhaps no one appreciates Oregon Pinot Noir like Jon Bonne and the staff at the SF Chronicle. The Chronicle does not rank their wines, they merely list the 100 best wines they sampled that given year. The list is of American wines and so it's pretty much about the wines made on the West Coast. The list is broken up by "genre" which comes off as a little strange. The Chronicle also lists the alcohol percentage of each wine. It's something they're concerned about in terms of rising alcohol levels in New World wines. The big surprises for me were that in the non-Pinot  red wine categories Washington generally had alcohol levels higher than those from California. I was also surprised to see none of the Oregon chardonnay producers make this list considering how incredible it is.

Cabernet & Merlot
2009 Andrew Will Two Blondes Columbia Valley Red 14.5% $55
2009 Betz Family Clos de Betz Columbia Valley Red 14.6%  $52
2009 Covey Run Quail Series Cabernet Sauvignon 13.5% $9 NINE DOLLARS!
2010 Leonetti Cellars Merlot 14.3% $70
2009 Scarborough Wines Royale Columbia Valley Red 14.3% $30

Pinot Noir
2010 Beaux Freres The Beaux Freres Ribbon Ridge AVA 13% $80
2010 Bergstrom Temperance Hill 13.5% $60
2010 Chehalem Stoller Vineyards 13.1% $48
2010 Evesham Wood Le Puits Sec Vineyard 13 $36
2010 JK Carriere Vespidae 13% $42
2010 Stoller JV Estate Dundee Hills 13.2% $25

Rhone Style Reds
2010 Gramercy Cellars Walla Walla Syrah 13.9% $55
2009 Buty Redivia of the Stones Walla Walla Valley Red 13.8% $60

2011 Luminous Hills Aura Pinot Noir Rosé 12.8% $21
2011 Ponzi Rosato Pinot Noir Rosé 13.5% $15

Sauvignon Blanc & Other Whites
2011 Adelsheim Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Gris 13.2% $19
2011 Brooks Oak Ridge Vineyard Gewurztraminer 13.2% $18
2011 Poet's Leap Columbia Valley Riesling 12.3% $20
2011 Teutonic Wine Co. November Harvest, Maresh Vineyard Pinot Gris $23

The Wine Spectator
In terms of the high profile Top 100 list that honor begins and ends with the highest profile magazine, Wine Spectator. I for one do not find life to be a spectator sport but none the less "the Spectator" as it is known is the biggest of big dogs.  Interestingly they actually roll their Top 100 out over the course of a week, revealing a few each day and on the last day numero uno gets unveiled.  Overall the Northwest did fairly well including 5 wines in the top 25.

79: 2010 Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir $45
71: 2009 Waterbrook Reserve Merlot Columbia Valley $24
60: 2009 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon $135
42: 2011 Charles & Charles Rosé $11
22: 2009 Cayuse Cailloux Vineyard Syrah $75
18: 2002 Argyle Extended Tirage Sparkling Wine $70
14: 2009 Maysara McMinnville Estate Cuvee Pinot Noir $32
11: 2009 Pedestal Merlot Columbia Valley $55
7: 2009 Shea Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir $40

And with that we close out another list season, except for the whole Santa Claus thing. Many of these wines, because of where they landed on these lists will be difficult to come by.  Many of them already are. If anyone knows where you might find that $9 Covey Run Cabernet, let me know. We leave you with the song Lisztomania from the band Phoenix.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Friday Find, December 7th

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.

There's something about "classified" information that we just can't get enough of, but the irony there is we're not allowed to see it.  There's something about exclusivity, that's why people love VIP rooms. There's nothing "VIP-er" than the highest security clearance you can get. That's what you need to see "classified" things. Whether your a paranoid David Duchovny, or Pamela Landy it's inevitable that you can't get to the bottom of things without classified information.

 Are there aliens being held in Area 51? Who shot JFK? How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop?  Important questions without a doubt, but the government doesn't want us to know these things, at least not now. There has been some talk that the JFK files would eventually be opened but I think we all agree that the mindblowing that would take place if either the Area 51 or that tootsie pop information became public would be just too much to bear.

In the wine world, declassifying wine is typically a result of either too much fruit from a particular vintage that can make it challenging if you're trying to keep the production low on a specific label, or vineyard designate wine. It can also be a quality issue. If the wine isn't quite what you were hoping for to represent your top tier you might declassify it. This happens often in Bordeaux and Burgundy where a wine may not quite make it to their Grand or Premier Cru status. Typically these are still very good wines that can often be found at a bargain.

Today's Friday Find is declassified. So even someone with your security clearance can get a crack at it.  The Declassified Pinot Noir from Patton Valley Vineyards is only $20 and it offers you an opportunity to try a quality Pinot and a nice price. The 09 is what I tasted from Esquin in Seattle and it's got a lot of bright raspberry and cherry flavors, and hints of barrel spice or faint chocolate. The offering is no longer available from the winery but  you can track down the 2010 here. As Patton Valley proclaims not all wine  has to be serious, even though top secret government programs probably should remain that way.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

A New TWIST on Aerating Wine

From Lara Bain

I just returned from two weeks touring Argentina's wine country, notable waterfalls< and big cities - my belly is full of ojo de bife jugoso (medium rare rib eye) and bold malbec. Surprisingly, the food there is quite bland. You're lucky if the saltshaker on the table at the parilla (steakhouse) is accompanied by a pepper grinder. Needless to say, my husband and I have been craving some spicy cuisine. Tonight we made tortilla soup: the perfect excuse to pair some new and interesting wines with our meal and hibernate from the Northwest weather. Also a great opportunity to test and review the TWIST Adjustable Aerator that's been waiting for me at home.

Tonight's wine pairing is tricky. I actually think pairing with soup is tricky in general. I've heard you should compare your soup to a pasta sauce in order to conduct your pairing. I like my tortilla soup especially spicy and hearty, but alas, the cupboards were bare of rioja reserva. Instead, we're putting the TWIST aerator to the test with the following:

 We're sending a 2008 Latah Creek Wine Cellars Vinosity* blend through the TWIST machine. The Vinosity is a blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvinon, 30% Syrah and 23% Zinfandel. Will the TWIST improve one of our beloved favorites? And since variety is the spice of life, we're adding in another element: a head-to-head road test with our proven Vinturi. We'll also use a control glass with no aeration. Reidel glasses for all pours. Now, onto the main course. The TWIST aerator markets itself for red and white wines alike. The Vinturi still brought out a more oaked and smoother wine. The TWIST aerator did make a large difference from the sharp control glass and brought out more of the spicy, smoky aromas in the red blend.

Overall Score: We preferred the Vinturi. The husband and I both did blind tests with the three glasses and the Vinturi came out on top each time. My palette prefers the richer, oaky notes and finish brought forward by the Vinturi.

To be fair, we also tested another Latah Creek red – this time a very young and lighter red that we could test a medium setting with. We tasted Latah Creek’s 2011 Ellena Ellena Cab Franc. Despite being so young, this wine is very drinkable. We’re excited to see what some years in the cellar will do to Ellena Ellena. We adjusted the TWIST to a level 3 for a younger, lighter wine. We tasted a difference from the acidity of the fruit-forward control glass, and it's certainly a different experience than the Vinturi.

Overall, we like what we see from the TWIST aerator. We’re always open to new options on the market. For the expert who regularly decants wine for scheduled amounts of time based on the bottle and vintage, the TWIST would be a good option. For the Pinot Noir drinker, the TWIST is nice as it allows you to give it very moderate to low amounts of oxygen. For the rest of the wine drinking community, it would be helpful to have more instruction for what types of wine to use with each setting. Nonetheless, the TWIST provides guaranteed fun with experimentation for any wine drinker.