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Wine Down Eugene

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Wine Down Eugene January 22-28

I think it’s safe to say that everyone who has ever shopped for wine has, at least once, purchased a wine solely because of its packaging -I’m certainly guilty of it. Whether it has an eye catching label with beautiful artwork or boasts a name perfect for a special occasion or holiday, it’s too hard to avoid the urge to bring home a bottle that will undoubtedly be a conversation piece.

Legends Bubble best
Legends Estates “Love Potion” Sparkling Rosé – the ultimate Valentine’s Day wine

When I label shop, it’s usually around Valentine’s Day, Halloween and New Year’s Eve. For each occasion, I’ve found the ultimate wines that are not only high quality and outstanding, but offer packaging that couldn’t be more perfect.

Legends Estates Winery makes a delicious Sparkling Rosé that is affectionately known as Love Potion.  It’s the ultimate wine for Valentine’s Day with its gorgeous pink packaging that boasts a tattoo artists rendering of a heart with wings.  Aromas and flavors of cherries and raspberries are rounded out by lemon zesty crisp acidity, creating a well balanced, delectable bubbly.

For years, I’ve been making the most out of Halloween with a bottle of Ghost Hill Cellars because of the name, of course.  Best of all, however, is whether it’s Ghost Hill’s Pinot Noir Blanc or Pinot Noir – the quality is consistently outstanding and the wine is thoroughly enjoyed to the last drop.

Excellent Riesling with a label that makes a great gift for someone retiring
Excellent Riesling with a label that makes a great gift for someone retiring

For New Year’s Eve, there’s nothing like celebrating with a sparkling wine that has the word “celebrate” on its label.  Kramer Vineyards makes a couple different outstanding Sparkling Wines that both made my best of 2013 list on WineJulia.com: Celebrate! Muller Thurgau Sparkling and a one-of-a-kind Celebrate! Rosé of Carmine bubbly.

I recently came across a few distinctively enjoyable wines that also offered befitting labels for occasions other than Valentine’s Day, Halloween and New Year’s Eve.

For instance, Mercer Estates Winery in Washington, under their Wine Out West label, has a palate-pleasing 2010 Riesling named Gone Fishin’ – perfect for someone who is retiring or going on a long vacation.  Aromas and flavors of peach, pineapple and honey are highlighted by lovely minerality and a touch of acidity.

Know someone who's accomplished something great? Rock Star Red is the perfect gift and is down-right delicious
Know someone who’s accomplished something great? Rock Star Red is the perfect gift and is down-right delicious

A wine perfect for a college graduate or someone celebrating a promotion is Alexandria Nicole Cellars (also out of Washington) 2011 Rock Star Red.  Coined after the collaboration of three “rock star” winemakers, this big, bold beauty is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre and has a silky, lush palate of dark fruit and licorice – delightfully mouthwatering.

For someone who is turning a new leaf, starting over, or on the up and up from sickness, Clean Slate 2012 Riesling out of Mosel, Germany, could not be more appropriate – in name and taste.  Rich tropical fruits and and freshly sliced lime are the highlights of this beautifully balanced wine that refreshes the palate with every sip. It’s fresh, clean and focused.  Ironically, the story behind the name of the winery is somewhat uplifting, as well:

The thin slate stones of our vineyards in the Mosel River Valley are a critical factor in crafting a Riesling of exquisite balance.  So precious are these stones that those which slip into the river are carefully carried back up the treacherously steep vineyard slopes and returned to place.  Reflecting and retaining heat, the slates are essential in riperning grapes in this cool climate, developing the wine’s peach, crisp lime and subtle mineral flavors.

For someone turning over a new leaf, Clean Slate is not only refreshing but boasts a name that is quite relative
For someone turning over a new leaf, Clean Slate is not only refreshing but boasts a name that is quite relative

Keep up with me on WineJulia.com for a soon-to-be published featured piece on the best Sparkling Rosés for Valentine’s Day.

Just getting into wine and want to learn more? Check out these two upcoming local classes:

January 23, 6:30-8 pm, Wine Exploration for Women: Demystifying Wine Tasting

In this inaugural class, students will learn how to use language to describe their personal experiences with wine. The goal of the class is to guide students toward building a personal, reflective wine memory to enhance their future wine tasting experiences. Taking place at the Oregon Wine LAB, 488 Lincoln Street, Eugene 97401. Explore how to develop your wine palate. Register here.  Only 2 seats remaining!

February 15, 5:30-7 pm. Wine Tasting 101 with Wine Events Oregon

Take the intimidation out of wine tasting with this interactive and informative class. Why do we swirl? Is it OK to spit? Why do they say they smell coffee and plums when I just smell wine? This class is for anyone who would like to learn more about wine and wine tasting. Join Denise Rossetti and learn that wine is not rocket science while enjoying some of the valley’s most fabulous wines at J. Scott Cellars tasting room, 520 Commercial Street, Eugene, 97402.  Register here.

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