Champagne Tasting Results presents…

Jeepers, look at all the keepers!

Been searching for the perfect sparkling wines to make the holidays a little more interesting?  Let us help you take the guess work out of your choices!

Our small wine tasting group recently tried some tasty sparklers, for our November 2013 meeting, that we can actually afford!  OK, not ‘drink them every day’ afford, but the holidays are closing in on us people…so come on and live a little!                                                                                                                     

Champagne with just the right amount of acidity and creaminess, would really pair well with Oyster Bisque.  The minerality in most Champagnes can really emphasize the briny oyster flavor in the bisque. What a way to start a holiday dinner, right?!  

There were (10) of us tasting and commenting at this sparkling wine event.  When the consensus was reached at the end of the evening, the numbers were all very close.  After averaging the scores, the following results were posted…

#1)  Champagne De Margerie, Bouzy-France Region, Grand Cru, Brut, was a crisp and refreshing champagne with medium body.  The nose was interesting to us with some fruit, toast and bread yeast. The flavor held on well with fruitiness and some toast, and then a nice lingering finish.  The average score on our (20) point scale was (18.5) points.  If you are using a (100) point scale, it would be (92.5) points.  Price is $37.99.

#2)  Champagne De Margerie, Bouzy-France Region, Grand Cru, Cuvee Speciale, Brut, was another interesting champagne with a much more complex nose.  We found some pear, lemon zest, mushrooms and bread yeast in the nose followed by crisp, acidic minerality on the palate.  There were also flavors of lemons, apples and yeast, with a medium/light body.  No, you are not crazy, these two champagnes are related and apparently preferred by most everyone.  The average score on our (20) point scale was an (18.25) points.  If you are using the (100) point scale, the score would be (91.25) points.  Price is $49.99.

#3)  Champagne Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, Reims-France Region, Brut, was a very full bodied, approachable champagne with a pleasant nose.  Most of us focused on the citrus and toast, while a few mentioned that they found some spicy aromas present.  Upon tasting this lively champagne, many found the minerality of the bone dry champagne very refreshing, especially with the apparent lemon zest flavor.  The average score on our (20) point scale was (17.8) points, or an (89) on a (100) point scale.  Price is $40.00. 

#4)  Champagne Pertois-Moriset, Grand Cru, Grand Reserve, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, France Region, Brut, Blanc de Blancs, which is made from Chardonnay, was a lighter bodied champagne with citrus, toast and floral notes.  It was a flavorful champagne, with hints of toast, honey and peach flavors and a lingering toasty, almost creamy finish.  The average score on our (20) point scale was (17.6) points, or an (88) on a (100) point scale.  Price is $39.99.

#5)  Champagne Robert Moncuit, Grand Cru, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, France Region, Brut, Blanc de Blancs, may have come in last, but it was a great contender!  Here’s another champagne made entirely from Chardonnay.  It was a medium bodied champagne with hints of lees, toast and mushrooms.  On the palate it was creamy with ample minerality, with hints of citrus.  The average score on our (20) point scale was (17) points, or an (85) on a (100) point scale. The price on this one was $44.99.

So go ahead and live a little!  Don’t be scared… serve some Champagne for the holidays! 

Oregon Wine Tours


What Makes A Perfect Day?

We think an Oregon winery tour, or a Washington Winery tour, in our beautiful wine country, right outside our door in the great Pacific Northwest, makes a perfect day!

Oregon Wind offers winery tours to the vast Columbia Gorge winery area and the luscious foothills of the Willamette Valley winery area.

While visiting here you will discover why visitors agree this area is one of the most unique places on earth!

Checking out an Oregon winery tour with a visit to the Willamette Valley, will introduce you to wineries such as Rex Hill, Sokol Blosser, Trisaetum, Argyle Cellars and Colene Clemens.

Starting at the entrance to the Northern Willamette Valley, in the Chehalem Mountain AVA, you will find the historic RexHill Winery. It has been family owned since 1982, is dedicated to small lot, hand crafted Pinot Noir, and practices biodynamic farming.

Over the years, they have been leaders in Oregon’s sustainability movement. Their historic tasting room offers unique and entertaining wine education classes and tours. Their tasting room is open from 10am-5pm daily.

While continuing south through the Willamette Valley, you will find Sokol Blosser Winery. It is run by the Sokol Blosser family and produces wine from its 85 acre organically certified estate in the Dundee Hills AVA. Sokol Blosser is one of Oregon’s pioneering wineries, producing Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and their immensely successful Evolution white and red blends, as well as many other white wines.

Maybe you’ll take a tour of the Sokol Blosser vineyard and LEED certified winery when you book a tour with Don’t forget about their beautiful tree covered deck, a wonderful place to meet with friends to have a glass of Sokol Blosser wine. Sokol Blosser tasting room is open from 10am-4pm daily.

Oregon Wine Tours – We visit the top Oregon Wineries

Columbian Gorge Oregon Wine ToursTrisaetum Winery is located in the heart of the Ribbon Ridge AVA. They produce beautiful Pinot Noirs and award winning Rieslings, and offer these wines at their tasting room from 11am-4pm Wednesday through Monday.

The comfortable venue also serves as a contemporary art gallery displaying some amazing creations by owner and artist James Frey. Their back deck, with a view of the vineyard, is an excellent spot to have your lunch, relax and enjoy some sunshine, while sipping on a glass of Trisaetum’s wine!

Argyle Cellars is located in the heart of downtown Dundee producing highly acclaimed sparkling wines, Rieslings, barrel fermented Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.

The expansive tasting room is located in a Victorian era house that once served as Dundee City Hall! Their vineyards, however, are located in the Dundee Hills AVA as well as the Eola-Amity Hills AVA.

Be sure to check out the winery operations area which is housed in a former hazelnut processing plant just behind the tasting room.

Argyle has been owned by Brian Croser and Rollin Soles since 1987. So ‘belly up to the bar’ and have some fun tasting some of the best sparkling wine in the Willamette Valley (or elsewhere!) in the Argyle tasting room. They are open to the public daily (except major holidays) 11am-5pm.

Colene Clemens is one of the new comers to the Willamette Valley area. They have only been open to the public for a year and a half, and have already carved a spot in the heart of anyone who enjoys great views!

From Bald Peak to the north to the Coastal Range in the west, the panoramic view goes on and on. Their high ranking line of estate grown Pinot Noirs is already winning over anyone who goes there to taste and relax. Colene Clemens is family owned by Joe and Vicky Stark and is beautifully located where the Chehalem Mountains converge with Ribbon Ridge.

You may visit and taste the Pinots in the tasting room or outside with the view from 11am to 5pm Wednesday through Sunday, May through October (or 11am to 5pm Friday to Sunday, November through April).

If you are now craving the big, mouth filling richness of varietals such as Syrah, Tempranillo, Merlot and Sangiovese, then pack your camera and prepare your senses for a great experience, while enjoying the stunning beauty of the Columbia River Gorge.

Oregon Wine Tours – Washington Wine Tours

Willamette Valley Wine ToursThe Columbia Gorge winery area is located on both the Washington State side and the Oregon State side of the Columbia River Gorge. While touring this beautiful terrain with, you will discover “a world of wine in 40 miles.”

Located just 60 miles east of the Portland/Vancouver area, the region is defined by the Columbia River Gorge. This narrow river passage marks the dramatic transition from eastern high desert to a cool maritime climate, as the Columbia River. provides you with a catered lunch from the Gorge Hotel. How about sipping a great glass of wine with that lunch?

Their tasting room is open daily from 11am to 6pm. cuts through the Cascade Mountain range on its way to the Pacific Ocean. Breath taking views await you at wineries such as Cathedral Ridge, AniChe Wine Cellars, Syncline Winery, and Naked Winery.

Don’t forget to stop along the way to snap a picture of the ever impressive, 630 foot, Multnomah Falls.

Cathedral Ridge Winery, 5 minutes from downtown Hood River, produces a variety of delicious red and white varietals. Owned by Rob Bell since 2003, the vineyard and winery are located on a ridge overlooking the beautiful Columbia River Gorge.

While visiting Cathedral Ridge Winery, you may want to relax at their famous picnic grounds, while provides you with a catered lunch from the Gorge Hotel. How about sipping a great glass of wine with that lunch? Their tasting room is open daily from 11am to 6pm.

AniChe Wine Cellars offers unique wines, warmth and hospitality from the family run business plus views of the Columbia River second to none. Their red blends such as “Moth Love”, “Atticus” and “Orlando”, deliver their fabulous flavors every time you drink a glass.

Owners Todd Mera and Rachel Horn , personally plant, harvest, and sell their wines. Occasionally they repair forklifts, crusher/destemmer machines and heating units and whatever else it takes to produce their wonderful wines.

AniChe specializes in traditional blends and offers wonderful food friendly wines. So while you sit at the picnic table out front, sipping on a glass of AniChe Wine, don’t forget to take a picture of the gorgeous view of the Columbia River. Their tasting room is open from 12pm to 6pm, Wednesday through Sunday.

Syncline Wines, tucked away in the hills of Washington state, just west of Lyle, features their biodynamically farmed fruit, with the emphasis on, “great wines are made in the vineyard”. James and Poppe Matne are the owners and operators who craft increasingly popular Rhone varietals.

The single vineyard Syrah and Mouvedre are exceptional wines indeed. Enjoy a sunny day in Lyle high above the Columbia River at Syncline and taste their wines for yourself. Open Thursday through Sunday from 11am to 6pm.

They say they aim to tease you! A winery, yes! A fun place to taste, yes! It is a unanimous decision that Naked Winery is one of the most unique places to taste wine! Vintage Oregon and Washington wines with exotic brand names and very provocative back labels combine for a great tour pleasing venue.

Locally crafted brews are also on tap and music takes center stage on Friday and Saturday nights. They are open daily from 10am to 7pm. But on weekends when they add music, they tend to stay open later!

These wine companies are just a few of the exceptional wineries to visit when booking a tour with

It is so interesting to plan tours when you realize that there are over 300 wineries in the 150 mile Willamette Valley and over 30 wineries in the smaller 40 mile Columbia River Gorge area. So come join on our exploration of wine from the great Northwest and “get the real dirt on wine.”

Please contact us at for more information on our Washington, Oregon, Columbia Gorge, Willamette Valley, and Oregon Wine tours. We absolutely guarantee you and your friends will have a great time!



Sunshine and Fine Wine!

Once again I was feeling very fortunate to leave the Pacific Northwest and visit the sunshine state of Florida the first cold week of February.  Of course, as soon as I boarded the plane for Florida, the temperature of Portland, Oregon rose to a record high of over 50 degrees, with sun shining!                                                                              

No worries…I was on my way to the Florida State Fair International Wine Competition where I would be surrounded by over 3600 bottles of wine from around the world!  Yes, the wine gods were smiling down on me and the sun was shining in Florida!                                                                                                                                         Not only do I get to meet with my old wine friends, but I get to meet some new ones every year.  There will be new volunteers to help us run the back end of the competition and there will constantly be a rotation of new judges each year.

As the 24th year of this wine competition got underway, we observed the wines from 10 countries and 34 states.  The setup for a competition of this size takes its toll on the backs and feet of many volunteers for 3 long days!  The array of bottles on tables, tagged with computerized numbers and placed in order of their varieties, is simply astonishing!  We will always give special thanks to BJ Paulish for her never ending work of organizing, as well as handling the computerization of this huge competition.                                             

Amateur wines also arrived in vast amounts this year.  (182 entries to be exact!)  The multitude of wines then goes to the palates of many wine judges for 3 days of tasting, spitting and talking over the results.  At the end of the competition it’s always exciting to see the results that were awarded to each deserving winery.  (To view the entire breakdown of results visit

So in the end, after viewing all the results, it is always enlightening to realize that you really don’t have to be a Napa Cabernet, a New York Riesling, a Canadian Ice Wine, or an Oregon Pinot Noir to enter competitions.  You can be a Baco Noir from Pennsylvania, a Stover from Florida, or a Brianna from Nebraska.  There seems to be a grape for every climate and soil that can exceed expectations and become a contender!  These wines exist to be loved and consumed by someone, somewhere.

So here’s to another year of great wines to be found by all of us!  Cheers!