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. 


Cool post Clive! Keep climbing that pyramid man.

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