Friday, October 04, 2013

Friday Find October 4th

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.

You can call me lazy today if you'd like, but I was reminded of the sheer genius of this Friday Find from last year by one of our readers, and given the "pumpkin creep" we're currently experiencing. That is to say, all the pumpkin beverage displays and cute little "pumpkin spice salvation" coffee tweets I'm seeing, it's time to dig in my heels and make my stand against this madness. To that end I bring you today's Friday Find, updated from about this time last year. Enjoy.

The pumpkin craze has gotten out of hand.  Pumpkin is good for bread, and pie, oh, and for pumpkins.  There are probably some other satisfactory uses of pumpkins, I know for example that people use them in catapults. These people are probably unemployed and so they've found this relatively harmless way to occupy their free time, to them I say, VOLUNTEER!

I have been accused of being curmudgeonly before, and frankly, I believe that I'm probably too handsome to be a curmudgeon but I do not care for the pumpkin beverage craze.  By that I mean the coffees and the beers. Pumpkin beer was a novelty ten or so years ago. At the time I lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan and there were three small craft breweries in the vicinity, Kraftbrau, of course Bells Brewing and New Holland Brewing. Only one of them, New Holland, made a pumpkin beer. These days if you were in a town with three microbreweries, you'd likely have 12 pumpkin beers between them. It's not funny anymore folks, it's not cute and the fact is there's so damn much pumpkin beer being made that you can drink it in April.

Pumpkin coffee? Sick. I love coffee, you know what I like my coffee to taste like? Coffee.  When I go off on one of these rants people say, "But Clive, you love pumpkin, and you love coffee." Yeah, you know what else I love? Mushrooms.

To further complicate this tirade I've got to get into a bit of full disclosure. I love pumpkin pie, but actually, just the cheap frozen kind.  I know what you're thinking. "Okay mister pumpkin beverage hater, what gives?"  I'll tell you, first, as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," but to further explain, I came from a small blue collar neighborhood in Pittsburgh. Meat and potatoes, and at Thanksgiving, that meant frozen pumpkin pie. To me, that's what pumpkin pie is, and that's what it tastes like and that's how I like it.

To that point, it's pumpkin season, we know not because of the awesome jack o' lanterns we're all carving but because Big Box Coffee and every micro and macro brewery in America has unleashed their damned pumpkin beverages upon us. But, I'm here to save the day with an actual wine that pairs nicely with pumpkin pie. Riesling is probably the single best pumpkin pairing but a Pinot Blanc from Oregon will also do the trick. Today's Friday Find is the 2012 Pinot Blanc from Youngberg Hill.

The wine is very pretty and while less well known than the other two wines produced in the Willamette Valley that also begin with Pinot, it's a wine more folks oughta get to know. The aromatics are floral, fresh white flowers mostly, peach skin and lime zest. Flavors dig a bit deeper into that peach skin, with a fair amount of pronounced stone fruit, grapefruit makes the scene and there is a rounded spice note as well, maybe that's coriander. That could be attributed to the warmer vintage or perhaps it's a result of the neutral oak used in the wine. The acidity is there, but it's tame, balance achieved. It's a nice pumpkin pie wine, but frankly, it's just a nice wine period, even if you decide to skip the pumpkin all together. Youngberg Hill produces small lots so if you're into trying this out, you should contact them at the winery to find out where you might be able to score some. Consider it the anti-dote to all the pumpkin insanity that has been loosed upon the world.

You could instead continue down this road to ruin of pumpkin flavored beverages, but don't say I didn't warn you.


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