Wine Down Eugene


Wine Down Eugene February 19-25

It’s been an exciting few weeks in my wondrous world of wine.  First off, I am so completely thrilled about being invited to fill a position on the judging panel for the SavorNW Wine Awards.  This will be my first time judging, and I am truly honored to take part in such a prestigious event; one that focuses on the wines I love most of all – the wines of the Pacific Northwest.

savor nw wine awards medal
I am honored to fill a position on the judges panel for the SavorNW Wine Awards | photo: SavorNW Wine Awards Facebook page

Over the course of two and a half days (while lodging at the beautiful Hallmark Resort & Spa in Cannon Beach, Oregon), our group of judges will be sampling a whopping 550+ wines.  The winners will be announced during the Savor Cannon Beach Wine and Culinary Festival, taking place March 6-9, 2014.  Savor Cannon Beach is four days of wine tastings, culinary events and a wine walk that showcases the fabulous wineries of the Northwest.  Approximately 40 Northwest wineries will be pouring tastings during the Wine Walk on Saturday, March 8; in addition to many other special tastings, a 4 course winemakers dinner at the Stephanie Inn and multiple events that will be happening all around town at galleries, shops and restaurants during the four day festival.  For details on all of the events and to purchase tickets, visit

To add to the excitement of the monumental invitation to join the SavorNW Wine Awards judges panel, I also received a couple invites to participate in virtual tastings this week. And as I’ve said before, one of my favorite wine-writing perks is having the privilege to join-in on live virtual tastings with winemakers from across the globe.  Sampling and discussing featured wines during virtual tastings is the next best thing to actually being there – the learning is perpetually boundless.

lodilive tasting with cheese
An excellent line-up of Lodi wines paired with regional and international cheeses

Last night I was lucky enough to participate in a #LodiLive (check out this hashtag on Twitter) tasting that was broadcast live on featuring four, fantastic wines from the uniquely diverse Lodi wine growing region of California.  this was not your average virtual tasting, however.  Along with the box of four wines I received for the tasting, there was also a box containing four different cheeses – each one diligently chosen by cheesemonger Cindy Della Monica, owner of Cheese Central in Lodi, who paired each of the cheeses with a wine.  The wines ranged from a crisp and zesty 2012 Albaiño produced by Estate Crush wines to a lush and robust 2010 Petite Sirah from Viñedos Aurora – all of which I’ll be writing about in detail on

Beginning at 6 pm tonight, using the hashtag #tastekramerwine on Twitter, winemaker Kim Kramer of Kramer Vineyards (and those participating in the virtual tasting) will be popping the corks on four different vintages of Pinot Noir from the Kramer Vineyards Cardiac Hill block of vines – the steepest hillside of vines in their vineyard.

kramer vt vertical cardiac hill
Kramer Vineyards Cardiac Hill Pinot Noirs 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011

Topics of discussion during this very special virtual tasting will largely focus on the conditions of each vintage and how the Kramer’s winemaking has adapted and evolved to the unique circumstances of each year.  The vintages we’ll be sampling and discussing are 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 Cardiac Hill Pinot Noirs.

Back in early December, I wrote about a Kramer Vineyards virtual tasting I had participated in where we tasted the 2010 Cardiac Hill Pinot Noir alongside the 2010 Rebecca’s Reserve Pinot Noir.  Both were excellent, and I remember the Cardiac Hill had intensely alluring aromas and flavors of cherries, violets, earth and herbs that were highlighted by a hint of creamy caramel.  The balance was superb and I loved the subtle acidity and soft integrated tannins.  I am so looking forward to sampling the 2010 again.  But to sample it side by side with the 2007, 2009 and 2011 is truly a treat, and 6 pm can’t come quick enough.  Join me for some wine tasting fun!

Julia has been in the wine industry for nearly 20 years. First through creating European wine tours, then opening her own wine bar, Julia loves writing about food & wine on her website,

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