Sweet Cheeks

The Frugal Wino: Come Here Sweet Cheeks

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On a rainy thursday afternoon while picking up my groceries at my nearby grocery store, I found a local wine that not only was in my price range, but fantastic as well. Sweet Cheeks 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir was the gem I found. This wine is as local as it gets, located just a few miles outside of Eugene.

2009-sweet-cheeks-vintage

Sweet Cheeks opened its doors in 2005 and has been creating a wide selection of wines ever since. This wine was a great example of just how versatile Sweet Cheeks can be. They produce everything from Viognier to Malbec! This Pinot however, was a perfect example of local goodness. I savored every sip.

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Upon my first sniff I knew I was in for a treat. It had a crisp acidity with a hint of black pepper. It smelled like a crisp fall day; full-flavored with a note of blackberries, and was just slightly tannic which puts it a little on the dry side. It has a very smooth mouthfeel though, and left lingering flavors of vanilla and fall spices on my tongue.

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This wine is in its prime and is perfect for a chilly fall evening. It would be great with some grilled salmon or even something slow cooked in the crock pot. I picked up this wine at my local grocery store for only $13.99 a bottle! If you are looking for a great wine at a great price – this wine is a steal. Cheers!

Wine Down Eugene

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–Julia Crowley, EDN

February 22-28

This can be a tough time of year for me – I’m a lover of all things sun and blue skies, so in order to keep my sanity here in the Willamette Valley during the winter, I enjoy spending time in wine country while sipping some of Oregon’s winter-warming red wines.

About 20 minutes out of the city of Eugene, there are two wineries located in the Briggs Hill Valley that sit right across from each other that both offer big, bold red wines: Silvan Ridge and Sweet Cheeks. On these cold and grey days, an afternoon in wine country is sure to chase the winter blues away.

Silvan Ridge’s 2008 Reserve Syrah is one of my favorite warm-me-up reds in the southern Willamette Valley. The fruit for this Syrah is sourced from the Rogue Valley, and its color in the glass is very dark purple – almost black. Plums, blackberries and smoke on the nose lead to dark fruits, toasted oak and leather. From first sip, the body is warmed and thoughts of a cold long winter quickly dissipate.

From the patio at Silvan Ridge, you can see Sweet Cheeks Winery perched on a hill that overlooks the valley. Sweet Cheeks has a luscious Tempranillo that warms the body and soul. Like the Syrah from Silvan Ridge, the Tempranillo is very dark purple in color. Aromas of black fruit, cedar and fresh tobacco lead to a medium bodied wine brimming with ripe fruit along with a hint of maple syrup on the long lasting finish. If it’s too cold outside to sit by one of the outdoor firepits, the fireplace inside the winery is equally enjoyable when sipping Sweet Cheeks Tempranillo.

After this cold and wet week we’re having, a little dose of wine country and winter warming reds will no doubt bring some much needed warmth and contentment.

 Wine Bars & Wine Shops

Territorial Vineyards and Wine Co.: Thu. 5-11 pm, music starts around 7 pm with Upstate Trio; Fri. 5-11 pm, music starts around 7 pm with Manouche Noir; last Friday Art Walk; February art by Heather Marie Michaud. 907 West Third Ave., Eugene.

Bier Stein: Wed. 4-11 pm, Food For Lane County Benefit; Sat. 5-8 pm, Tasting with Good Life Brewing from Bend – meet the brewer. 345 East Eleventh Ave., Eugene.

Creswell Coffee Company: Fri. 7pm, live music with John Jarvie; Sat. 7 pm, live mjusic with Acoustic Etouffee; Nice wine selection here and occasional wine tastings. 116 Melton Rd., Creswell.

16Tons (Supreme Bean): Wed. 7-10 pm, Trivia Night; Thu. 5-7 pm wine tasting; Every Sun. and Mon. 4-10 pm deals on growler and mason jar fills. 2864 Willamette St., Eugene.

16Tons (Taphouse): Sat. 4-6 pm, Logsdon Meet the Brewer and Tasting. 265 East Thirteenth Ave., Eugene.

The Side Bar: Wed. Ladies Night, $1 off any glass of wine and $5 off a bottle of wine, great Oregon wine selection. 1680 Coburg Rd., Eugene

Excelsior Inn & Ristorante Italiano: Fri. and Sat. 7-9:30 pm, live music, no cover; Mon.-Thu. 3-6 pm, Happy Hour. Extensive local wine list with wines from King Estate, Silvan Ridge, Adelsheim, Benton-Lane & Domaine Drouhin to name a few. 754 East Thirteenth Ave., Eugene.

Ring of Fire Restaurant: Mon. 5 pm Wine Night Mondays-35 percent off all bottles of wine; Daily Happy Hour 4-6 pm. 1099 Chambers St., Eugene.

Sundance Wine Cellars: Fri. 5-7 pm, Frugal Friday wine tasting with Mario; Sat. 5-7 pm, wine tasting featuring local and regional wines; 2441 Hilyard St., Eugene.

Café Soriah: Wed. starting at 5 pm, *last Wednesday of the month only* Celebrate Wine Wednesday. Half off bottles of wine, including local notable names such as BrickHouse, Capitello, King Estate and Broadley. 384 W. 13th Ave., Eugene.

LaVelle Club Room at 5th Street Market: Wed. 5-8 pm, half off glass pours for ladies; Thurs. and Fri. 6-8 pm, live music. 296 E. 5th Ave., Eugene.

Authentica Wines: Tue. – Fri. 11 am – 6 pm, and Sat. 10 am – 5 pm. Wine tasting available every Saturday at the Wine Bar, and on the first Friday of each month during the Art Walk. With a focus on artisan, small production wines for every budget, you’re bound to find something you love at this wine shop. 766 W. Park St., Eugene.

The Wine Place (Yachats): Fri. 4-7 pm Beer Tasting with Caldera Brewing Co.; Sat. 1-4 pm, wine tasting-Spanish Wines; 373 N. Hwy. 101, Yachats.

Ambrosia Restaurant and Bar: Mon. – Fri. 4-6 pm Happy Hour, tap beers $2 and house wines $4.50. 174 East Broadway Ave., Eugene.

Broadway Wine Merchants: Wed. Tasting 5-6 pm followed by Corte Alla Flora Dinner with chef Glen – reservations required 541-685-0790; Fri. 5-7 pm, Free Friday Wine Tasting. 17 Oakway Center, Eugene.

Steelhead Brewery: Sun. – Sat. 11:30 am – 11 pm, open later on Fri. and Sat., In addition to their own wine, Steelhead Red, you’ll find almost 20 wines by the glass, including 5H, Hinman, Erath and King Estate. 199 East 5th Ave., Eugene.

Le Bar at 5th Street Public Market/Marché: This new bar has a nice wine list. 296 East 5th Ave., Eugene.

Marché Provisions: Fri. 5-7 pm, Free weekly wine tasting. 296 E. 5th Ave., Eugene.

Mac’s at the Vets Club: Wed. 6-9 pm, Wine, Jazz & Variety Show with Gus Russell & Paul Biondi. A different Oregon winery is featured each week. $8 Burger and Brew night, too. 1626 Willamette St., Eugene.

Café 440: Wed., all day. Wednesday Wine Flights, taste three whites or reds for $10.50. 440 Coburg Rd., Eugene.

B2 Wine Bar: Tue. 8 pm live music with the Blue Valentine’s; Happy hour Mon.-Fri., 4-6 pm, and 9-10 pm. Loads of Northwest wines offered here. 2794 Shadow Dr., Eugene.

Red Agave: Excellent wine list, including Oregon’s finest from King Estate, Territorial, Evesham Wood and Cristom, to name just a few. ’06 Territorial Capital T Reserve can be found here. 454 Willamette St., Eugene.

Cork and Bottle Shoppe: Fri. 4 pm, free weekly wine or beer tasting. The Cork & Bottle Shoppe is one of Oregon’s only liquor stores that carries a large selection of local and international wine and craft beer, in addition to liquor. 812 Beltline Rd., Springfield.

Jiffy Market: Fri. 5-7 pm, free wine tasting, house picks and pours; Sat. 6-10 pm, purchase a whole sandwich from the deli and receive a Ninkasi pint for $2. 3443 Hilyard St., Eugene.

Café Zenon: Tues., Fifty percent off bottles of wine; Mon-Fri. 5-6:30 pm, $1 off glasses of wine and pints of beer. Find King Estates’ Domaine Pinot Gris and Capitello’s Sauvignon Blanc here at half off on Tuesdays. 898 Pearl St., Eugene.

Izumi Sushi and Grill: Izumi has great sushi and they offer local wine and beer from Hinman, King Estate, Ninkasi and Oakshire. 2773 Shadow View Dr., Eugene.

Sam’s Place Tavern: Sports bar with a wine list featuring excellent Oregon wines between $4 and $7 a glass – Henry Estate, 5H, Eola Hills and King Estate. 825 Wilson St., Eugene.

Sabai Café and Bar: Wines by the glass, $6 and under; excellent local wines from Territorial, King Estate, Capitello and Benton-Lane. 27 Oakway Center, Eugene.

Agate Alley Laboratory: Sat. 10 pm, Late Night at The Lab with $1 off glass pour wine, $3 well drinks and pints, $9.50 pitchers & appetizer special. Twenty-five varieties of wine for $25 dollars. 2645 Willamette St., Eugene.

Kiva Grocery: Wine department focuses on affordable Northwest wines, small European wines and organic wines. Ten percent off mixed cases, 15 percent off unbroken cases. 125 W. 11th, Eugene.

Café Lucky Noodle: Tue. 5:30-7:30 pm Wine Night – all bottles 35 percent off; complimentary wine tasting in the lobby; excellent wine list. 207 East 5th Ave., Eugene.

Granary Wine Bar: Wed., all day, $5 glass pours of house white or red. Nice selection f Oregon wine here. 259 E. 5th Ave., Eugene.

Cornucopia Maize Lounge: Daily happy hour 3-6 pm – “3/3/3 at 3″ special, three-dollar micros, wells and wine. 73 E. 13th Ave., Eugene.

Wineries and Vineyards

Sarver Winery: Winter hours: Mon.-Thu. by appointment, Fri.-Sun., 12-6 pm. Sample the different styles of Pinot Gris produced from their 25-year old estate vines, along with full-bodied reds like Cabernet, Syrah and Petite Sirah while taking in an unobstructed view of the Cascades. 2600 Mayola Ln., Eugene.

Pfeiffer Vineyards: Open Mon.-Thu. 11 am – 5 pm and Fri./Sat. 11 am – 9 pm, Keep warm while sipping Pfeiffer wine by the fireplace. 25040 Jaeg Rd., Junction City.

Capitello Wines: Another local winery without walls, so keep an eye out on Capitello’s Facebook page for upcoming events and tastings.

Silvan Ridge Winery: Open daily 12-5 pm, Complimentary taste of five wines in addition to several limited wines that may be tasted for a fee. 27012 Briggs Hill Rd., Eugene.

Spencer Creek Cellars/McBeth Vineyards: January through March, by appointment only,
Wine Tastings in the Barn. 541-521-4381. 85162 McBeth Rd., Eugene.

Sweet Cheeks: Fri. 6-9 pm, Twilight Tasting, sample pairings of Sweet Cheeks wine with Oregon-made artisan cheeses while listening to live music with Tyler Morin; Sun. 12-6 pm, Mimosa Sundays, Fine sparkling wine and live music from 2-4 pm with Jen Sennett; 27007 Briggs Hill Rd., Eugene.

Domaine Meriwether: Daily 11 am – 4 pm, world renowned Meriwether and Capitello wine can be sampled in the tasting room. 88324 Vineyard Lane, Veneta.

Benton-Lane Winery: Mon. – Fri. 11 am – 5 pm, enjoy one of the Top 100 wines of the world: Benton-Lane 2010 Pinot Gris. Available in the tasting room by taste, glass or bottle.; For a relaxed one hour wine tasting with the owner in a special wine room overlooking the vineyards, call the winery for details 541-847-5792. 23924 Territorial Hwy., Monroe.

King Estate: Open daily 11 am – 8 pm. Sample some of Oregon’s finest wine, dine on gourmet cuisine, and enjoy a valley view that’s unmatched. 80854 Territorial Hwy., Eugene.

Chateau Lorane: Open daily, 12-5 pm. Stop by and taste some of their multiple award winners: Melon De Bourgogne, Petit Verdot, Viognier, Asian Girl Merlot, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and their double award-winning Red Bordeaux blend, Entourage. 27415 Siuslaw River Rd., Lorane.

J. Scott Cellars: Tasting room located in The Wine Place in Yachats. Be sure to stop by and taste these excellent small boutique handmade Rhone varietals from the Pacific Northwest. Specializing in Roussanne, Viognier, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Cabernet…and a little Pinot Noir. 373 North Hwy. 101, Yachats.

Abbelone Vineyards: Another fabulous winery without walls; check back frequently to find out where you can sample their delicious Pinot Noir.

Brigadoon Wine Co.: Winter hours by appointment. Call 541-998-8708. Try Brigadoon’s three excellent wines: a Pinot Blanc and two Pinot Noirs, which can now be enjoyed on their lovely deck with a view, — or if it’s raining, you’ll be invited into their kitchen. 25166 Ferguson Rd., Junction City.

LaVelle Vineyards (winery in Elmira): Visit the winery daily, Mon.-Fri., 12-5 pm, and Sat.-Sun., 12-6 pm. 89697 Sheffler Rd., Elmira.

Saginaw Vineyards: Fri. 6-9 pm, Friday Night Live in the Barn with The Barkemeyer Brothers, 21 and over only; Open daily, 11 am – 5pm. Sample their traditional style wines in their tasting room located in the original building of a 1905 farmstead. They also specialize in farm fresh fruit wines. 80247 Delight Valley School Rd., Cottage Grove.

Stanton Vineyards: Another local “winery without walls,” so keep an eye out for events where Charlie Stanton will be pouring his delicious wines. Bottles sold at Sundance, Market of Choice, Wineries without Walls in the Fern Ridge Chamber of Commerce & Authentica, and in restaurants Marché and Eugene Country Club.

Kandarian Wine Cellars: Excellent local winery without walls, check back often for wine tasting information.

Noble Estate: Open 7 days/week, 12-5 pm. Tasting room with beautiful patio and gorgeous view,. 29210 Gimpl Hill Rd., Eugene.

Briggs Hill Winery: A winery without walls. Check back frequently to see where and when they will be offering samples of their wine.

Iris Vineyards: In the process of changing their tasting hours, will have more information soon. 195 Palmer Ave., Cottage Grove.

Patchwork Cellars: Christian Fox, owner of Patchwork Cellars, pours his excellent wine at certain events around town. Check back often for his schedule of tastings.

Dylan’s Run: Another winery without walls. Keep an eye out for tastings at the Fern Ridge Chamber of commerce, Wineries without Walls.

Save the Date or Reserve Now

Ambrosia Restaurant and Bar: Mar. 7, 5:30-7 pm. First Wednesday “All Italian” Wine Tasting & Sale featuring 10 wines from Small Vineyards portfolio. A taste of all wines plus appetizers is $25 per person of which $5 will be applied as credit on wine purchases. 174 East Broadway Ave., Eugene.

Silvan Ridge Winery: Mar. 18, 8:30 am – noon, Spring Winery Run & Brunch for women runners of all levels. Call 541-968-1362 for details. 27012 Briggs Hill Rd., Eugene.

Pfeiffer Winery: Mar. 17-18, 11 am – 5 pm Wine Tasting and Stella & Dot Trunk show in celebration of the 40th annual Daffodil Festival. 25040 Jaeg Rd., Junction City.

Wine Down Eugene

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Rainbow over King Estate Vineyards - Photo courtesy King Estate

I ended my post in last weeks Wine Down Eugene with, ” With only three days into the new year, blue skies, and an Oregon Duck Rose Bowl win; 2012 in the Willamette Valley has had a stellar beginning.” Yes, the first week was incredibly notable: Ducks won the Rose Bowl, beautiful blue skies graced a warmer than average Eugene January and Ninkasi Beer and Brooks Winery wines were immensely enjoyed during Cheese Wars III: Wine v. Beer.

Then week two of 2012 came along. It started with the sniffles and quickly turned into a high fever which later resulted in a dreaded visit to the emergency room. While nostalgically sounding a lot like Charlie Brown’s school teacher, the doctor lectured me as if I were a lazy Sally Brown for not getting my flu shot this season. He proceeded to tell me, “you need to take it easy, watch some TV and drink lots of fluids…wah, wah..wahhh, wah, wah.” I was tempted to ask him if I should go to beanbag camp, but declined to do so since he looked too young to be a Charlie Brown fan.


Since that visit to the emergency room, I’ve been wrapped up in my Oregon Snuggie for what seems like endless days. My laptop feels much like an extension of my ‘lap’ and my favorite mug, that’s been refilled a hundred times with hot tea, is now a permanent fixture on my nightstand. Even though I’ve been confined to the indoors, my laptop and access to the world wide web has given me amazing views of the outdoors.

Sweet Cheeks Winery posted a breathtaking picture of the sun rising above a fog covered Briggs Hill Valley. A friend stood on her deck in the morning to take a picture of the sunrise, and later took a picture from the same spot of the moon rising. Odell Cabincats posted a serene sunset captured above Odell Lake, and King Estate perfectly timed a shot of a rainbow cast above the vineyards.

Sunrise at Sweet Cheeks Winery

As I live vicariously through these snap shots of Oregon, I’m thankful I have a portal to the outside world and am able to witness the beauty unfold around me even though I can’t be there in person. Although my second week of 2012 hasn’t been nearly as active as my first, there’s still proof that, so far, it’s been pretty awesome around here in the South Willamette Valley.

Wine Bars & Wine Shops

June Restaurant and Bar: Wed. 5-6 pm, NEW~Wine Wednesdays featuring 25 percent off of all bottles from their Northwest focused wine list. Tue. – Sat. 5-6 pm Happy Hour. 1591 Willamette St., Eugene.

16Tons (Taphouse): Thu. 4-6 pm. Flat Tail Mustache Rye’d Release and Free Tasting. They will tap their last keg of Local’s Only Plum Wit and at least 3 other unique Flat Tail Beers. 265 East Thirteenth Ave., Eugene.

16Tons (Supreme Bean): Thu. 6-9 pm, Eugene Pinot Club, free wine tasting. Join Jessica and guests for free tasters of several great wines. Artisan cheese plates and specials. 2864 Willamette St., Eugene.

Wineries without Walls (wine shop & tasting room): Sat. 4-6 pm, wine tasting featuring a Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from seasoned winemaker Bill Kremer’s new venture with his very own label: Fractal Cellars. This wine shop and tasting room showcases local wines and is located inside the Fern Ridge Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center in Veneta. 24949 Hwy. 126, Veneta.The last tasting event and the last day the shop will be open for 2011.

Café Soriah: Wed. celebrate Wine Wednesdays. All day half off bottles of wine, including local notable names such as BrickHouse, Capitello, King Estate and Broadley. 384 W. 13th Ave., Eugene.

Territorial Vineyards and Wine Co.:
Thu. 5-11 pm, music starts around 7 pm with The Porch Band (Americana); Fri. 5-11 pm, music starts around 7 pm with Sean Peterson Jazz Experiment; January Art: Valisa Higman. 907 West Third Ave., Eugene.

LaVelle Club Room at 5th Street Market: Wed. 5-8 pm, half off glass pours for ladies; Thurs. and Fri. 6-8 pm, live music. 296 E. 5th Ave., Eugene.

Authentica Wines: Tue. – Fri. 11 am – 6 pm, and Sat. 10 am – 5 pm. Wine tasting available every Saturday at the Wine Bar, and on the first Friday of each month during the Art Walk. With a focus on artisan, small production wines for every budget, you’re bound to find something you love at this wine shop. 766 W. Park St., Eugene.

Capella Market: Fri. 4-6 pm. Beer tasting with Widmer Brothers (Portland). 2489 Willamette St., Eugene.

Ambrosia Restaurant and Bar: Mon. – Fri. 4-6 pm Happy Hour, tap beers $2 and house wines $4.50. 174 East Broadway Ave., Eugene.

Broadway Wine Merchants: Fri. 5-7 pm, Free Friday Wine Tasting; 17 Oakway Center, Eugene.

Sundance Wine Cellars:  Fri. 5-7 pm, Frugal Friday wine tasting with Mario; Sat. 5-7 pm, wine tasting featuring local and regional wines; 2441 Hilyard St., Eugene.

Steelhead Brewery: Sun. – Sat. 11:30 am – 11 pm, open later on Fri. and Sat., In addition to their own wine, Steelhead Red, you’ll find almost 20 wines by the glass, including 5H, Hinman, Erath and King Estate. 199 East 5th Ave., Eugene.

Le Bar at 5th Street Public Market/Marché: This new bar has an incredible wine list. 296 East 5th Ave., Eugene.

Marché Provisions: Fri. 5-7 pm, Free weekly wine tasting. 296 E. 5th Ave., Eugene.

Mac’s at the Vets Club: Wed. 6-9 pm, Wine, Jazz & Variety Show with Gus Russell & Paul Biondi. A different Oregon winery is featured each week. $8 Burger and Brew night, too. 1626 Willamette St., Eugene.

Café 440: Wed., all day. Wednesday Wine Flights, taste three whites or reds for $10.50. 440 Coburg Rd., Eugene.

B2 Wine Bar: Mon. 6 pm, live music with Second Mouse; Happy hour Mon.-Fri., 4-6 pm, and 9-10 pm Loads of Northwest wines offered here. 2794 Shadow Dr., Eugene.

Red Agave: Excellent wine list, including Oregon’s finest from King Estate, Territorial, Evesham Wood and Cristom, to name just a few. It’s impressive. 454 Willamette St., Eugene.

Cork and Bottle Shoppe: Fri. 4 pm, free weekly wine or beer tasting. The Cork & Bottle Shoppe is one of Oregon’s only liquor stores that carries a large selection of local and international wine and craft beer, in addition to liquor. 812 Beltline Rd., Springfield.

Jiffy Market: Fri. 5-7 pm, free wine tasting, house picks and pours; Sat. 6-10 pm, purchase a whole sandwich from the deli and receive a Ninkasi pint for $2. 3443 Hilyard St., Eugene.

Café Zenon: Tues., Fifty percent off bottles of wine; Mon-Fri. 5-6:30 pm, $1 off glasses of wine and pints of beer. Find King Estates’ Domaine Pinot Gris and Capitello’s Sauvignon Blanc here at half off on Tuesdays. 898 Pearl St., Eugene.

Izumi Sushi and Grill: Izumi has great sushi and they offer local wine and beer from Hinman, King Estate, Ninkasi and Oakshire. 2773 Shadow View Dr., Eugene.

Sabai Café and Bar: Wines by the glass, $6 and under; excellent local wines from Territorial, King Estate, Capitello and Benton-Lane. 27 Oakway Center, Eugene.

Agate Alley Laboratory: Sat. 10 pm, Late Night at The Lab with $1 off glass pour wine, $3 well drinks and pints, $9.50 pitchers & appetizer special. Twenty-five varieties of wine for $25 dollars. 2645 Willamette St., Eugene.

Kiva Grocery: Wine department focuses on affordable Northwest wines, small European wines and organic wines. Ten percent off mixed cases, 15 percent off unbroken cases. 125 W. 11th, Eugene.

Café Lucky Noodle: Tue. 5:30-7:30 pm Wine Night – all bottles 35 percent off; complimentary wine tasting in the lobby; excellent wine list. 207 East 5th Ave., Eugene.

Granary Wine Bar: Wed., all day, $5 glass pours of house white or red. Find Patchwork Cellars’  delicious Pinot Noir here. 259 E. 5th Ave., Eugene.

Cornucopia Maize Lounge: Daily happy hour 3-6 pm – “3/3/3 at 3” special, three-dollar micros, wells and wine. 73 E. 13th Ave., Eugene.

Wineries and Vineyards

Spencer Creek Cellars/McBeth Vineyards: January through March, by appointment only,
Wine Tastings in the Barn. 541-521-4381. 85162 McBeth Rd., Eugene.

Sweet Cheeks: Fri. 6-9 pm, Twilight Tasting, sample pairings of Sweet Cheeks wine with Oregon-made artisan cheeses while listening to live music; Sun. 12-6 pm, Mimosa Sundays, Fine sparkling wine and live music from 2-4 pm. Bring your own brunch. 27007 Briggs Hill Rd., Eugene.

Domaine Meriwether: Daily 11 am – 4 pm, world renowned Meriwether and Capitello wine can be sampled in the tasting room. 88324 Vineyard Lane, Veneta.

Benton-Lane Winery: Mon. – Fri. 11 am – 5 pm, enjoy one of the Top 100 wines of the world: Benton-Lane 2010 Pinot Gris. Available in the tasting room by taste, glass or bottle. 23924 Territorial Hwy., Monroe.

Pfeiffer Vineyards: Open Mon.-Thu. 11 am – 5 pm and Fri./Sat. 11 am – 9 pm, Watch the games on the big screen in the tasting room while sipping Pfeiffer wine by the fireplace. 25040 Jaeg Rd., Junction City.

Silvan Ridge Winery: Open daily 12-5 pm, Fri. 12-9 pm, Complimentary taste of five wines in addition to several limited wines that may be tasted for a fee. 27012 Briggs Hill Rd., Eugene.

King Estate: Open daily 11 am – 8 pm. Sample some of Oregon’s finest wine, dine on gourmet cuisine, and enjoy a valley view that’s unmatched. Their Acrobat Pinot Gris was recently Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Week. 80854 Territorial Hwy., Eugene.

Sarver Winery: Winter hours: Mon.-Thu. by appointment, Fri.-Sun., 12-6 pm. Sample the different styles of Pinot Gris produced from their 25-year old estate vines, along with full-bodied reds like Cabernet, Syrah and Petite Sirah while taking in an unobstructed view of the Cascades. 2600 Mayola Ln., Eugene.

Chateau Lorane: Open daily, 12-5 pm. Stop by and taste some of their multiple award winners: Melon De Bourgogne, Petit Verdot, Viognier, Asian Girl Merlot, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and their double award-winning Red Bordeaux blend, Entourage. 27415 Siuslaw River Rd., Lorane.

J. Scott Cellars: Tasting room located in The Wine Place in Yachats. Be sure to stop by and taste these excellent small boutique handmade Rhone varietals from the Pacific Northwest. Specializing in Roussanne, Viognier, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Cabernet…and a little Pinot Noir. 373 North Hwy. 101, Yachats.

Abbelone Vineyards: Another fabulous winery without walls; check back frequently to find out where you can sample their delicious Pinot Noir.

Brigadoon Wine Co.: Winter hours by appointment. Call 541-998-8708. Try Brigadoon’s three excellent wines: a Pinot Blanc and two Pinot Noirs, which can now be enjoyed on their lovely deck with a view, — or if it’s raining, you’ll be invited into their kitchen. 25166 Ferguson Rd., Junction City.

LaVelle Vineyards (winery in Elmira): Friday Night Flights is officially over for the winter season, but it will be back soon. Visit the winery daily, Mon.-Fri., 12-5 pm, and Sat.-Sun., 12-6 pm. 89697 Sheffler Rd., Elmira.

Saginaw Vineyards: Fri. 6-9 pm, Friday Night Live in the Barn featuring The Barkemeyer Brothers; Open daily, 11 am – 5pm. Sample their traditional style wines in their tasting room located in the original building of a 1905 farmstead. They also specialize in farm fresh fruit wines. 80247 Delight Valley School Rd., Cottage Grove.

Stanton Vineyards: Another local “winery without walls,” so keep an eye out for events where Charlie Stanton will be pouring his delicious wines. Bottles sold at Sundance, Market of Choice, Wineries without Walls in the Fern Ridge Chamber of Commerce & Authentica, and in restaurants Marché and Eugene Country Club.

Noble Estate: Open 7 days/week, 12-5 pm. Tasting room with beautiful patio and gorgeous view,. 29210 Gimpl Hill Rd., Eugene.

Briggs Hill Winery: A winery without walls. Check back frequently to see where and when they will be offering samples of their wine.

Iris Vineyards: Mon.- Fri., 11 am – 3 pm. Stop by their state of the art winery and tasting room in Cottage Grove. Three-dollar tasting fee includes free wine glass, cheese and crackers. 195 Palmer Ave., Cottage Grove.

Patchwork Cellars: Christian Fox, owner of Patchwork Cellars, pours his excellent wine at certain events around town. Check back often for his schedule of tastings.

Capitello Wines: Another local winery without walls, so keep an eye out on Capitello’s Facebook page for upcoming events and tastings.

Dylan’s Run: Another winery without walls. Keep an eye out for tastings at the Fern Ridge Chamber of commerce, Wineries without Walls.

Save the Date or Reserve Now

Silvan Ridge Winery: Jan. 19, 6 -8 pm. Evenings with the Winemaker- Quarterly educational and fun events with winemaker Jonathan Oberlander. Guided wine tasting will feature their Bordeaux varietals. Advance reservations required 541-345-1945. 27012 Briggs Hill Rd., Eugene.

Lane Events Center (Exhibit Hall): Feb. 10 & 11, Fri. 5-11 pm & Sat. 1-11 pm. KLCC Microbrew Festival. A microbrew tasting event to benefit KLCC 89.7 FM. 50 plus breweries serving 100 plus craft brews. 796 West thirteenth Ave., Eugene.

King Estate Winery: Feb. 14, Valentine’s Prix Fixe Dinner. Reservations required, call 541-9842-9874. 80854 Territorial Rd., Eugene.

Wine Down Eugene

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I love this time of year. The leaves on the trees are brilliant hues of orange, red and yellow, the air is crisp and refreshing, and the smell of burning wood lingers in the starry filled evening skies. It’s also when the South Willamette Valley wineries release their Pinot Noir’s and other decadent red wines that are sure to warm you up from the dipping temperatures.

On Saturdays in the Fall, Pfeiffer Vineyards is the ultimate place to drink premium Pinot Noir while watching Oregon Ducks running back LaMichael James run, say 257 yards or so, for another celebrated touchdown. Not only can you watch the game in their tasting room on a big screen television, but you can sit fireside with a glass of the Pfeiffer’s famed Blue Dot Reserve Pinot Noir. The 2008 Blue Dot Reserve is very well rounded and has a great depth of character. It’s a full-bodied Pinot Noir that is the perfect accompaniment with many of the comfort foods that are commonly enjoyed in the Fall, and it’s definitely a delicious beverage to delight in while watching the number 4 ranked team in the nation!

Another winery that offers comfortable fireside seating is Sweet Cheeks Winery. Here you can enjoy sitting outside at one of their fire-pit tables while looking over the gorgeous Briggs Hill Valley, or you can take advantage of the cozy wood burning fireplace that’s located inside the comfortable and inviting tasting room. Either way, you’re sure to appreciate their fabulous 2009 Vintage Pinot Noir. Silky smooth in the mouth, Sweet Cheeks Pinot Noir is earthy and full bodied with aromas of cherries, vanilla and pie spice.

King Estate Winery also has fireside seating both inside and outside of their exquisite tasting room, and their selection of delicious Pinot Noir’s will keep you coming back for more. I love to sit on the patio next to the large outdoor fireplace while savoring the luscious 2009 King Estate Bradshaw Vineyards Designate Pinot Noir. They also offer the King Estate Signature Pinot Noir, Domaine Pinot Noir, Acrobat Pinot Noir, and Next Pinot Noir. Ranging in price and flavors, it’s a given that at least one of these excellent Pinot’s will fit your budget while tantalizing your taste buds.

If you’re like me, and love the colors, scents and red wines of Fall, head out to one of these three exceptional wineries for some relaxing, fireside downtime while sipping choice locally grown and produced Pinot Noirs that will undoubtedly warm you up. Cheers! ~Julia


Wine Bars & Wine Shops

16 Tons (Union Cafe/Supreme Bean location): Sat. and Sun. 12-10 pm 2nd Annual Winter and Strong Ale Festival. 70+ beers featuring some of the strongest beers on the planet.

Le Bar at 5th Street Public Market/Marché: Thu. 6p Beaujolais Nouveau Celebration. Wine tasting in the bar along with Beaujolais bites. (Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine made from Gamay grapes grown in the Beaujolais region of France. Nov 17 is a worldwide celebration of this red wine.

Marché Restaurant: Thu. French Regional Dinner featuring Beaujolais & Lyon; Sun. 6:30 pm Family Style Supper with salad, main course and dessert for $25 per person. For reservations, call 541-342-3612

Marché Provisions: Thu. 4-6 pm Beaujolais Party in Provisions with wine tasting, live music and snacks.

Wineries without Walls (wine shop & tasting room): Fri. and Sat. all day Holiday Bazaar at the Fern Ridge Chamber of Commerce with extended wine tasting hours; Fri. 3-6 pm Lone Oak Vineyard; Sat. 2-6 pm J. Scott Cellars & Noble Estate. This wine shop and tasting room showcases local wines and is located inside the Fern Ridge Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Center in Veneta.

Long’s Meat Market: Fri. 4-6 pm Free Wine Tasting

McMenamin’s Breweries (all locations): Sat. all day Terminator Stout celebrates 26 years. $2 pints all day.

Mac’s at the Vet’s Club:
Wed. 6-9 pm. Wine, Jazz & Variety Show with Gus Russell & Paul Biondi. A different Oregon winery is featured each week.

Authentica Wines: Tue-Fri 11 am – 6 pm and Sat. 10 am – 5 pm Wine Tasting available every Sat. at the Wine Bar and on the first Fri. of each month during the Art Walk. With a focus on artisan, small production wines for every budget, you’re bound to find something you love at this wine shop. 766 West Park St., Eugene.

Territorial Vineyards & Wine Co.: Thu. Open 5-11 pm – music starts around 7 pm with John Shipe; Fri. 5-11 pm – Third Friday BBQ and music that starts around 7 pm with Jerry Zybach (Blues). November Art: original oils by Richard Quigley

Oakshire Brewing: Sat. 12-4 pm newly remodeled tasting room will be open and food is available for purchase from Delacata Food Cart.

Café 440: Wed. All day. Wednesday Wine Flights for the month of November: California Rodney Strong red Wines and Oregon whites from Erath, Montinore and Stone Wolf. Three pours for $10.50.

Bier Stein: Wed. 6-9 pm Hats off to Homebrewers – bring your best homebrew to Bier Stein and they will transport it to Bend for a thorough Deschutes Brewery Sensory Panel evaluation. Prizes will be awarded.

B2 Wine Bar: Happy hour is M-F 4-6 pm and 9-10 pm; Thu. and Sat. Outdoor BBQ. Loads of northwest wines offered here; Fri. 8pm live music with The Valentines

Broadway Wine Merchants: Fri. 5-7 pm Free Friday Wine Tasting

LaVelle Club Room
at 5th Street Market: Open during construction! Wed. 5-8 pm half off glass pours for ladies; Thurs. and Fri. 6-8 pm Live music.

Sam’s Place Tavern: Sat. watch Oregon and OSU games; Every booth has its own flat screen TV in addition to 22 plasma TV’s – Sports bar with a great wine list, 21 glass pours, all under $7! Wine list includes some excellent Oregon & northwest wines.

Red Agave: Excellent wine list including Oregon’s finest from King Estate, Territorial, Evesham Wood and Cristom to name just a few, It’s impressive.

Ambrosia Restaurant and Bar: Mon. – Fri. 4-6 pm Happy Hour wine and drink specials.

Cork & Bottle Shoppe: Fri. 4 pm free wine or beer tasting weekly. The Cork & Bottle Shoppe is one of Oregon’s only liquor stores that carry a large selection of local and international wine and craft beer in addition to liquor. 812 Beltline Rd. Springfield.

Sundance Wine Cellars: Fri. 5-7 pm themed Frugal Friday wine tasting with Mario; Sat. 5-7 pm featuring local and regional wineries – wineries announced the day of on their Facebook page.

Jiffy Market: Fri. 5-7 pm Free wine tasting, house picks and pours; Sat. 6-10 pm. Purchase a whole sandwich from the deli and receive a Ninkasi pint for $2!

Café Zenon: Tues. 50 percent off bottles of wine; Mon-Fri. 5-6:30 pm $1 off glasses of wine and pints of beer. Find King Estate’s Domaine Pinot Gris and Capitello’s Sauvignon Blanc here – half off on Tuesdays!!

Izumi Sushi & Grill: Like sushi & wine? Izumi’s got great sushi and they offer local wine and beer from Hinman, King Estate, Ninkasi and Oakshire.

Sabai Café & Bar: Wines by the glass $6 and under. Excellent local wines from Territorial, King Estate, Capitello and Benton-Lane.

Agate Alley Laboratory: Sat. 10 pm Late Night at The Lab with $1 off glass pour wine, $3 well drinks and pints, $9.50 pitchers & appetizer special. 25 varieties of wine for $25 dollars.

Capella Market: Fri. 4-6 pm Beer Tasting with Pyramid/Mactarnahan’s (Portland).

Kiva Grocery: Wine Department focuses on affordable northwest wines, small European wines and organic wines. 10 percent off mixed case, 15 percent off unbroken cases.

Café Soriah: Wed. Celebrate Wine Wednesdays! All day half off bottles of wine, including local notable names such as: BrickHouse, Capitello, King Estate, Broadley!

Café Lucky Noodle: Tue. 5:30-7:30 pm Wine Night – all bottles 35 percent off. Complimentary wine tasting in the lobby. Excellent wine list.

Granary Wine Bar: Wed. all day $5 glass pours of house white or red. Find Patchwork Cellars delicious Pinot Noir here.

Cornucpia Maize Lounge: Daily Happy Hour 3-6 pm – 3 3 3  at 3 special! $3 micros, wells, and wine.

Wineries and Vineyards

Benton-Lane Winery: Sun. 11 am – 5 pm Olive Oil tasting with Olive Grand; Open Daily 11 am – 5 pm Enjoy one of the Top 100 wines of the World: Benton-Lane 2010 Pinot Gris! Available in the tasting room by taste, glass or bottle.

Pfeiffer Vineyards:
Open Mon.-Thu. 11 am – 5 pm and Fri./Sat. 11 am – 9 pm Watch the Ducks and Beavers on the big screen in the tasting room while sipping Pfeiffer wine by the fireplace.

Silvan Ridge Winery: Open daily 12-5 pm, Fri. 12-9 pm. Complimentary taste of five wines in addition to several limited wines that may be tasted for a fee.

King Estate: King Estate is open Daily 11 am-8 pm. Sample some of Oregon’s finest wine, dine on gourmet cuisine, and enjoy a valley view that’s unmatched. Their Acrobat Pinot Gris was recently Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Week!

Sarver Winery: Winter hours: Mon – Thu. by appointment, Fri.-Sun. 12-6 pm. Sample their different styles of Pinot Gris produced from their 25-year old estate vines along with full bodied reds like Cabernet, Syrah and Petite Sirah while taking in an unobstructed view of the Cascades.

Chateau Lorane: Open daily 12-5 pm. Stop by and taste some of their multiple award winners: Melon De Bourgogne, Petit Verdot, Viognier, Asian Girl Merlot, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and their double award-winning Red Bordeaux blend: Entourage, just to name a few.

J. Scott Cellars: Sat. 2-6 pm wine tasting at Wineries without Walls in the Fern Ridge chamber of commerce; New tasting room located in The Wine Place in Yachats! Be sure to stop by and taste his excellent small boutique handmade Rhone varietals from the Pacific Northwest. Specializing in Roussanne, Viognier, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Cabernet…and a little Pinot Noir!

Abbelone Vineyards: Another fabulous winery without walls – check back frequently to find out where you can sample their delicious Pinot Noir.

Sweet Cheeks: Fri. 6-9 pm Twilight Tasting – sample pairings of Sweet Cheeks wine with Oregon-made artisan cheeses while listening to live music; Sun. 12-6 pm Mimosa Sundays – Fine sparkling wine and live music from 2-4 pm. Bring your own brunch!

Brigadoon Wine Co.: Fri.-Sun. 12-5 pm or by appointment. Call 541-998-8708. Try Brigadoon’s three excellent wines: a Pinot Blanc and two Pinot Noirs, which can now be enjoyed on their lovely deck with a view, or if it’s raining, you’ll be invited into their kitchen!

LaVelle Vineyards (winery in Elmira): Friday Night Flights is officially over for the winter season, but it will be back soon! Visit the winery daily, Mon. – Fri. 12-5 pm and Sat. – Sun. 12-6 pm.

Saginaw Vineyards: Open daily 11 am – 5pm. Sample their delicious traditional style wines in their tasting room located in the original building of a 1905 farmstead. They also specialize in farm-fresh fruit wines! 80247 Delight Valley School Rd, Cottage Grove. Just 15 minutes south of Eugene at Exit 176 off the I-5. Call 541-942-1364 for more information.

Stanton Vineyards: Another local “winery without walls”, so keep an eye out for events where Charlie Stanton will be pouring his delicious wines. Bottles sold at Sundance, Market of Choice & Authentica and in restaurants Marché and Eugene Country Club.

Noble Estate: Sat. 2-6 pm wine tasting at Wineries without Walls in the Fern Ridge chamber of Commerce; The winery is open 7 days a week 12-5 pm.Tasting room with beautiful new patio and gorgeous view.

Briggs Hill Winery: Fri. 4-6 pm tasting at the Wineries without Walls wine shop and tasting bar inside the Fern Ridge Chamber of Commerce.

Iris Vineyards: Mon.-Fri. 11 am – 3 pm. Stop by their state of the art winery and tasting room in Cottage Grove. $3 tasting fee includes free wine glass and cheese and crackers. 541-942-5993

Patchwork Cellars: Christian Fox, owner of Patchwork Cellars pours his excellent wine at certain events around town. Check back often for his schedule of tastings.

Capitello Wines: Another local winery without walls, so keep an eye out on Capitello’s Facebook page for upcoming events and tastings.

Save the Date or Reserve Now

Sam’s Party Shuttle: Nov. 25 11:30 am – 5 pm Black Friday Wineries Tour. Round trip transportation to Domaine Meriwether, LaVelle, Sarver and Sweet Cheeks, tasting flights at each winery, 2 logo wine glasses. $50 per person call Denise at 541-221-8592 to reserve your seat.

Saginaw Vineyard: Dec. 2, 6-9 pm Friday Night Live in the Barn featuring live music with Petri Dish. $10 cover charge includes wine tasting and simple hors d’oeuvres.

Silvan Ridge Winery:Dec. 3, 6:30-9:30 pm “Dead in the Sled” Murder Mystery Dinner.

Broadway Wine Merchants: Dec. 10, 5 pm to closing – 2011 Bubble Bash! Taste a wealth of delicious Champagne. Pricing will be at its best for Holiday enjoyment and gifting.

Sundance Wine Cellars: Dec. 10, 5-7 pm Wine Tasting with Benton-Lane Winery.

Saturday Night On The Town

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A cool, crisp autumn day like today, with sunshine you have to treasure in October, requires a perfect evening to cap it off.

Music and good vibes abound in our little city tonight.  Just People is back in town at Lucky’s, Kite’s and Crows are up from Ashland, and metal fans won’t want to miss the lineup at the McDonald.  Maybe start out watching the game at the Sixth Street Bar & Grill and catch a little Happy Hour goodness as the game winds down.  From there it’s an easy stumble to the music clubs and more good times to celebrate the victory.

Chimaira

If you’re revved and need to blow it out with a little hard driving metal, get in line at the McDonald and catch Chimaira for some brutal attitude straight out of the middle of the country. These Cleveland boys kick butt and show no mercy.   Video at the Chimaira website.

Impending Doom; Revocation; We Have Guns; & Audiophobia will open the show.

Need a little less piss and vinegar? Consider Just People firing it up at Lucky’s.  These guys originally haled from our fair city but then migrated north to Portland to find an audience and bake their sound into a tight rock and Indy alternative band.  A year and a half later, they’re back in town to show off.  They’re a direct opposite from the angry Chimaira, with positive lyrics that encourage goodness and friendship.  But don’t assume their sound is milk toast.  The guitar is searing rock and roll that is ultimately going to get the feet moving and head bobbing.  The show is a bargain at $5 and you won’t be able to catch this band for a price like that for long.  Rare Monk is also on the bill making this stop doubly sweet. Here’s a look at them in action.

Kites & Crows

For those who want it mellow tonight, Kite’s and Crows offers up soothing folk at Sam Bond’s.  Rubbing elbows with the neighborhood and old friends is the vibe from this Ashland band that’s been getting some press up and down the coast.  The trio met while working the Shakespeare Festival.  Blending together guitar, banjo (yes banjo) and viola is accomplished with the finesse of a jazz trio is worth a listen.  Betty & the Boy and Whiskey Spots share the bill.  A $5 cover leaves a little left for a couple of brews.

Video at http://www.kitesandcrows.net/videos.cfm

Worth a mention for folks wanting something way off the chart, head over to Cozmic Pizza and check out the belly dancers.  A local group called Soul Fire will be playing at 8:30 with no cover.  I imagine the dancers and costumes will be extraordinary for this grand finale public performance capping the 8th annual Fall Festival of the Middle Eastern Dance Guild of Eugene.  Definitely different and could be loads of fun.

It’s too nice out to just stay home.
– LA Thompson, EDN

Night on the Town sponsored by:
[ad#Will Call – Sponsor: Procrastinators 11/4]

Original Music

Timothy Patrick:acousticOakridge Brewer’s Union Local 180 – 7:00
Syke: rockGoodfellas – 9:00
Bad Luck/Blackouts:punkMaize Lounge – 10:00
Soulexploder/Security In Numbers:rock/punkOak Str. Speakeasy – 9:00
$5 – Green State w/ Scott Law:string bandAxe & Fiddle – 8:30
$5 – Just People/Rare Monk:glam/popLuckey’s – 10:00
$5 – Kites & Crows/Betty & The Boy:Indie/FolkSam Bond’s – 9:30
$15 – Barbara Dzuro:AmericanaThe Granary – 7:00
$20 – Chimaira : metalMcDonald Theater – 6:00

Cover & Tribute Bands

Coupe de Ville : cover/rockHappy Hours – 8:30
Door Number Three :partyrock/coversQuackers – 9:00
Hard Drive:rock/coverVillage Green – 9:00

Blues, Jazz & Country

Inner Limits:jazz/funkThe Loft – 7:30
Battle of the Blues Bands:bluesMulligans – 9:00
Pristine Blue:rock/countryWhiskey River Ranch – 9:00
$5 – Hardcoretet:jazzJazz Station – 8:00
$6 – T-Bone Weldon & The Prime Cut Band:Dirty BluesMac’s at the Vets – 9:00

Dance, DJ, Hip Hop, Other

Sup! w/Sassy Mouff:techno/houseCowfish – 9:30
Soulfire: bellydanceCozmic Pizza – 8:30
J-Will:Dance mixDoc’s Pad – 8:00
Comedy Showcase:comedyDowntown Lounge – 8:30
DCP-9/DJ J Philly:hiphopDowntown Lounge – 9:00
DJ Crown:hiphop/danceTaylor’s Bar – 10:00
Family Feud w/Tom Heinl:game showThe Wandering Goat – 9:00

Sweet Cheeks Winery hosts benefit for CASA

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This Thursday (tomorrow!), head out to Sweet Cheeks Winery to enjoy a BBQ and music in beautiful wine country to benefit CASA.Your ticket includes a full BBQ dinner from Hole in the Wall BBQ (menu below), a glass of Sweet Cheeks wine, and award-winning island sounds of the steel drum band, Steel Magnolias.BBQ Dinner Menu: Pulled pork Smoked chicken BBQ beans Potato salad Green salad with dressing Rolls with butter Fudge browniesTickets are just $28 p/p. A special group rate is also available for $24 per ticket when you purchase 8 or more. Plus, 20% of all wine sales ALL DAY are donated to CASA. Call for tickets: (541) 868-3087
 

About CASA: Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, provides a powerful voice for abused or neglected children. Today, nearly 1,000 children live in foster care in Lane County. In an overburdened system, these children risk slipping through the cracks and suffering from further abuse. CASA volunteers have the power to prevent this tragic reality. These dedicated, highly-trained community members serve as fact finders for the judge by researching the background of each assigned case. They speak for the child in the courtroom, representing the child’s best interests, and continue to act as a watchdog for the child until that child is in a safe, permanent home.

Nearly 300 abused and neglected children here in Lane County are waiting for a CASA volunteer. If you or someone you know can volunteer to speak up for a child, or you wish to become a supporter of CASA, please contact CASA at 541-984-3132.

Sweet Cheeks Winery
26961 Briggs Hill Rd
Eugene, OR 97401

Pinot Smack Down – Willamette Valley defends the Championship Title

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What’s a Pinot Smack Down you say? It’s a knock-down, drag out, 24 hour global brawl over what region has the best Pinot Noir. Thousands of people from around the world join up on Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets for one 24 hour period to taste, review, and rate Pinot’s from their favorite regions. If you’re passionate about Pinot like me, then I’ll bet you were one of those thousands who stood up for their Pinot producing region to gain global recognition of what you believe to be the best of the best. Willamette Valley reigned supreme in the 1st Annual Pinot Smack Down as the 2010 Grand Champion, not at all to my surprise.

Oregon Pinot Noir grapes

Extremely difficult to manage, the Pinot Noir grape is the Noble red grape of Burgundy, France, but because of its capabilities of ripening in a cooler climate; with warm days, cool nights and occasional low lying fog, it’s also the ultimate red grape of Oregon. It is truly unpredictable and arduous, but it results in some of the most spectacular red wines in the world. It not only makes incredible red wine, but it’s used quite often in the production of Champagne. Aside from France & the U.S., it’s also grown in Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Croatia, Serbia, Italy, Austria and parts of South America and South Africa.

I decided to use Twitter as my social media outlet for reaching out to other Pinot Smack Down enthusiasts. Not familiar with Twitter? Here is the definition, taken right off of their ‘About’ page:

Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. Simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations.At the heart of Twitter are small bursts of information called Tweets. Each Tweet is 140 characters in length, but don’t let the small size fool you—you can share a lot with a little space. Connected to each Tweet is a rich details pane that provides additional information, deeper context and embedded media. You can tell your story within your Tweet, or you can think of a Tweet as the headline, and use the details pane to tell the rest with photos, videos and other media content.”

My decision to use Twitter for this event allowed me to see constant live streams of what other participants were saying about their Pinot producing wine regions, and although everyone I’m connected with on Twitter did not participate in this event, I was able to search “Pinot Smack Down” from my home page that brought me to a live stream of those who were solely involved in the smack down, including people who I had never been in touch with before. Twitter knows who’s involved in the smack down because all participants were instructed to use a hashtag symbol, which is the pound (#) sign, in front of the words: pinotsmackdown. A hashtag is used to mark key words or topics in a tweet and it helps users categorize messages, so all of the people who were involved in the smack down used #pinotsmackdown in their tweets. In order for the hosts of the event to identify the regions that were being sparred over, we were instructed to use a two-character hashtag; such as, #OR for Oregon. Other voting regions were:

  • #CA – California
  • #WA – Washington
  • #NY – New York
  • #46 – U.S. The “Other 46,” outside of the Big Four
  • #FR – France
  • #IT – Italy
  • #DE – Germany (Deutschland)
  • #EU – Europe, beyond France, Germany, Italy
  • #CN – Canada
  • #NZ – New Zealand
  • #CH – Chile
  • #AR – Argentina
  • #AU – Australia
  • #SA – South Africa

Since I was, of course, cheering for Oregon, each of my tweets contained #pinotsmackdown and #OR.

There were 12 participating wineries and venues as well as well-known wine bloggers from different regions around the world who hosted the event. Ed Thralls of www.winetonite.com represented the Napa region of California.  Joe Herrig, aka, The Suburban Wino was a host from Atlanta, Georgia who blogs about wine on www.thesuburbanwino.com . Simple Hedonisms wine blogger, William Allen is from Sonoma, www.simplehedonisms.com and Tamara Belgard of www.sipwithme.com was representing Oregon.  Clive Pursehouse of www.nwwineanthem.com is from Seattle, but represents wines from all of the NW wine regions, and Trish Barry, known as Mastermind TB on Twitter, was the host from Australia.

Restaurants and bars around the world threw Pinot Smack Down wine tastings and dinner parties. Simple Hedonisms William Allen put on a carefully planned Greenhouse Tasting Event at his farm that showcased world class Pinot Noirs that were organized into groups, tasted blind by 5 judges, including two winemakers, and the top in each category were selected to pour for the event. He provided stemware, spit cups, water, top-notch Pinots, detailed tasting sheets and voting sheets, where participants were asked to select their top 3 wines of the night. The only thing not provided was a Smartphone, so people could tweet about their favorite items – a must have for a Pinot Smack Down event when away from your trusty laptop, iPad or PC.

My event wasn’t as extravagant as Simple Hedonism’s event, but I did invite 4 good friends to share 4 good bottles of Willamette Valley Pinot that I had carefully selected for the event: My Smack Down party included Sweet Cheeks 2009 Pinot Gris (no-one specified that it had to be Pinot Noir!), Sarver Winery’s 2008 Pinot Noir, LaVelle Vineyards Matthews Reserve 2008 Pinot Noir, and Domaine Meriwether’s 2005 Pinot Noir. When my friends arrived, Smartphones in hand, we sat on the patio and opened our first bottle of wine, the Sweet Cheeks Pinot Gris. Our chilled white wine was a welcome beverage on a hot August 18th afternoon. Crisp and truly refreshing, we all discovered hints of melon and fig and thought the finish was bright and clean with balanced acidity. It was delicious with the Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad I had prepared earlier. We sipped and tweeted our thoughts on the Pinot Gris and took note of some of the other tweets that were streaming live for the Pinot Smack Down:

  • “A nifty little Alsatian number will be my #pinotsmackdown contribution”: 
  • I’d hazzard we had close to 200 people come through @6thAveWine throughout the night for #pinotsmackdown, #OR Pinot ran the show”
  • Winemaker Steven Anderson of Eola Hills is pouring his wine until 7pm. Come taste & buy signed bottles.  #pinotsmackdown
  • “Some nice #pinot from RRV in CA, but just not on par with #OR or #FR for my palate. #PinotSmackdown [ #true ]”

6th Avenue Wine Seller (@6thAveWine) is based in Seattle, Washington, so it was encouraging to see that Oregon Pinot’s were being purchased in great quantity for the event from our neighbors to the north.  In fact, I was amazed at the number of people tweeting about the Pinot Smack Down. Messages were coming through 20 at a time because so many people were tweeting about the smack down at the same time. What’s truly amazing to me is how many people are reached through an event like this, here are the official stats provided by Ed Thralls of www.winetonite.com and Trish Barry:

Official Stats of Reach & Impressions

  • Reach 446,589 users, 5045 tweets, 1067 contributors, 8.7mil impressions (tweetreach.com)

An astonishing 8.7 million impressions! Now, that’s a whole lot of ‘tweeters’ attracted to one specific event.

The next bottle we popped the cork on was the 2008 Pinot Noir from Sarver Winery.  Elegant and true to the Pinot Noir varietal, this was silky smooth with well rounded tannins and a lasting, perfectly balanced finish. We all agreed that it was delicious and exactly what we’d expect from a stellar Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, which was heavenly with Salami and Cheese “Antipasticks”, a recipe I found on www.volpifoods.com . Away we tweeted, sipped, and ate while enjoying the weather a little more now that the temperature had dropped a few degrees.

The third bottle of Pinot was the 2008 Matthews Reserve from LaVelle Vineyards. Since its release, it’s safe to say I’ve had the luscious Matthews Reserve more than a few times; it’s one of my favorite Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs. With fruit forward flavors of cherries and strawberries, this Pinot Noir can stand with the best. Extremely well balanced, we enjoyed every drop, and it didn’t last long as we consumed our wine with a suggested recipe pairing that I found on the LaVelle Vineyards website: Sweet Red Pepper Bruschetta. As we occasionally checked in on twitter to write our reviews on the Pinot we were sampling, we noticed almost every other tweet either had #NZ, #OR or #CA included in the 140 characters. It was obvious the New Zealanders and Californians had officially joined the battle for the best Pinot producing region.

Our last bottle of Pinot Noir to be opened was Domaine Meriwether’s 2005 Pinot Noir. Known for their world-class sparkling wines, the Meriwether still wines definitely keep up with their sparkling wine siblings. Darker in color than your average Willamette Valley Pinot, there’s a surprising and enticing depth of flavor. Very earthy, which is a quality that I love in many Willamette Valley Pinot’s, there’s also black cherries, blackberries and a hint of blueberries. There’s a bit of vanilla spice on the finish that leaves your palate wanting more. We grilled some shish kabobs using filet mignon, onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Usually, I would pair a Pinot with salmon or turkey, but this particular well balanced and structured Pinot holds up extremely well with steak, and we were all impressed with the delicious melding of bold and complex flavors.

We continued to monitor the live streams of people battling for their beloved regions. Thousands of wines were tasted around the world on a particular Thursday in August; well, at least it was Thursday in our part of the world. We were anxious to find out who was ahead in the ultimate Pinot brawl, but we knew we wouldn’t have the results until the following day; therefore, we said goodnight to our new found twitter wine friends from around the globe and wished them luck in their quest to gain Pinot envy.

The first thing I did the next morning was pop open my laptop and search for the results, and there they were:

#NZ        24.2%
#OR       23.4%
#CA        23.2%
#AU       13.9%
#WA      5.9%
#FR        3.1%
#CH        2.3%
#CN       1.9%
#IT          .5%

As close as it was, with the top 3 regions being separated by only 23 tweets, New Zealand had won the Smack Down. New Zealand is now the Grand Champion title holder of the Pinot Smack Down; shockingly, Willamette Valley had been defeated and lost its title.

Although I didn’t participate in the 1st Annual Pinot Smack Down, I was not about to miss the 2nd global battle, and now I’m already planning, or should I say, “training”, for round #3. Regardless of the outcome, it was entertainment at its best, and the 5 of us truly enjoyed sipping fine wines and eating delicious foods all while tweeting our hearts out for the sake of the region we love most: The Willamette Valley, which we whole-heartedly believe produces some of the greatest Pinot grapes in the world.

Watch out New Zealand, the Willamette Valley will be especially prepared for 2012, and we’ll be expecting a switch-back of that Grand Champion Pinot Smack Down title. Cheers mates!

Which Winery Will Wine Down Your Memorial Weekend?

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Benton-Lane Winery

Memorial Day Weekend Winery Open Houses
May 28th, 29th, & 30th

Blue skies and warm days are on their way, and local wineries will be swinging their doors open for one of the South Willamette Valley’s highly anticipated and most celebrated 3 day wine events: Memorial Day Weekend Winery Open Houses. It’s the official kick-off to the summer season at the wineries; featuring, special releases, barrel tastings, live music, artisan treats and an endless flow of their locally, hand crafted wine- from Pinot Noir and Petit Syrah to Huxelrebe and Sweet Rosé. Each winery entices us to head their way for a number of reasons, so here’s a list of what they’ll be indulging us with this 2011 Memorial Day Weekend:

Benton-Lane Winery: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 11a-5p. $10 admission includes logo glass and gourmet tapas. Live music with Jerome Monaco Saturday and Sunday- 12:30-4:30p. Gourmet Pizza Tapas on Monday. Also hosting the new Ebony Wines-grown in Oregon’s rockiest vineyards! www.benton-lane.com

Brigadoon Wine Company: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 11a-4p. Enjoy a Pinot-Picnic in the Park. Bring a lunch, chairs or a blanket & sample the Shown families 3 delicious Pinot’s while relaxing in a beautiful park-like setting at the Brigadoon Wine Co. property. FREE admission www.brigadoonwineco.com

Chateau Lorane's Lake Louise

Chateau Lorane: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 11:30a-5:30p. $10 admission includes logo glass (free under 21). Taste over 20 different wines, live music, art festival, delicious food available for purchase provided by Flavors Catering. All this on the shores of the beautiful Lake Louise! Rain or Shine. www.chateaulorane.com

Domaine Meriwether: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 11a-4p. $10 fee for 4 tastes of wine and a plate of food. Live music www.meriwetherwines.com

Capitello Wines will be featured at Domaine Meriwether! www.capitellowines.com

Iris Vineyards: Open Saturday, Sunday, Monday 11a-5p. Free wine tasting all 3 days! 25% discount on case purchases, including mixed cases. www.irisvineyards.com

King Estate: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday. New releases & restaurant open daily for lunch and dinner. www.kingestate.com

The deck at LaVelle Vineyards

LaVelle Vineyards: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday, enjoy live performances by the 5 piece band-‘Concrete Loveseat’ on Sunday and Monday. Delectable food will be catered by Field to Table. www.lavellevineyards.com

Noble Estate Vineyard & Winery: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 12-5p, live acoustic music Saturday & Sunday. $5 tasting fee which includes 6 wines- fee waived with a bottle purchase. www.nobleestatevineyard.com

Pfeiffer Winery: Open Wednesday – Monday 11a-5p, offering Italian Chocolates & appetizer’s with wine tasting. Private Pinot Clinics will be held in the Grotto every 90 minutes. Owners Robin and Danuta Pfeiffer will be your guides with barrel tasting of their 2010 Pinot Noir Futures and official release of the highly anticipated 2008 Blue Dot Pinot Noir Reserve. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy their water garden falls and streams.  www.pfeiffervineyards.com

RainSong Vineyard: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 12-5p. Featuring new releases, 20% case discounts, complimentary hors d’oeuvres, and barrel tasting! Admission is FREE. www.rainsongvineyard.com

The tasting room red barn at Saginaw Vineyard

Saginaw Vineyard: Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday 11a-5p, but open late Friday for live music with Timothy Patrick 6p-9p www.saginawvineyard.com

Silvan Ridge Winery: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 12-6p wine tasting, live music, sales on wine; Sat. 2-5p “The Valley Boys” Live; Sun. 2-5p “Just Say Yes” Live; Mon. 2-5p “Apropos” Live. FREE admission

Sarver Winery: Open Saturday, Sunday, Monday 12-8p, complimentary tastings paired with cheese and chocolate.  www.sarverwinery.com

Sweet Cheeks Winery: Open Saturday, Sunday, Monday from 12-6p, Live Music by “Taste”, food available for purchase, wine specials, and an art festival. New vintages of Rosy Cheeks and Riesling will be available & admission is free www.sweetcheekswinery.com

Territorial Vineyards & Wine Company: Friday 6-9p live music; Saturday 3-9p live music starts at 6p; Sunday 3-7p; $7 tasting fee for flight of 7 wines. Light snacks. www.territorialvineyards.com

Opine Cellars wines will also be available to sample at Territorial.

We are truly blessed to be in the midst of these unparalleled wineries of the South Willamette Valley. Thanks to the efforts and hard work of all the people involved in meticulously planning these fun-filled Memorial Day Weekend events, there will be loads of fun to be had by all.

But, know this: Before I blow off the dust from my flip flops and sun-glasses, and unpack the boxes that have housed my favorite t-shirts and shorts for the last 8 months, I’ll take a moment to remember those who have fallen in battle fulfilling their obligation to the great country in which I live. The freedoms that I enjoy everyday are protected and ensured by men and women who have put their lives on the line to protect my country and what it stands for.  After a moment of silence and heartfelt gratitude so deserving of our military, I’ll be ready to swirl, sip, and savor all that our stellar local wineries have to offer, and I will raise a glass to our American heroes.

Cheers to my Dad, my hero: Lt. Col. Maurice H. Leiser, 1954 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. Dedicated to God, his beloved family, and the United States Army–he is forever in my heart. 1931-2009.

Julia – Writing about Eugene’s Wine Scene

A Perfect Pairing: Pinot & Panini

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Cafe
Yes, this is Springfield!

Whether your palate prefers a crisp, refreshing Pinot Gris or a hearty, fruit-forward Pinot Noir, you’ll be able to choose from a number of delicious Panini’s offered at The Washburne Café to devour while sipping on a glass of locally hand-crafted wine.  Located on Main Street in downtown Springfield, the Washburne’s historic yellow building, arched doorway and big picture windows were what first gained my full attention, but once inside, the refinished wood floors, exposed brick walls, and high ceilings enticed me to order up and stay a while.

choices choices choices

Super excited to see an excellent line-up of local wines; I immediately knew I’d need to scan the menu for something to pair with the wine of my choice, which was a glass of Patchwork Cellars Pinot Noir.  The menu had an alluring selection of Panini’s, Wraps, and Salads.  Two of the Panini’s caught my eye: The Portobello Panini (fresh spinach, roasted red peppers, gorgonzola aioli, & roasted Portobello mushrooms) and the Black Forest Panini (Black Forest ham, spinach, provolone cheese & sun-dried tomato garlic pesto). Knowing that Pinot Noir always pairs well with ham, I went with the Black Forest Panini.

The Black Forest Panini
Cozy and urban at the same time. A very inviting place.
Todays bill of fare.

The full-bodied, earthy Pinot Noir was, in fact, a perfect pairing with the slightly salty flavors of the ham along with the earthy infused flavors of the sun-dried tomatoes. Grilled to perfection with a side of kettle chips, the Panini and wine were gone just in time to notice a band setting up at one end of the café. I soon found out from the owner, Karen Hageman, that downtown Springfield now boasts a lively and well attended Second Friday Art Walk. Karen keeps the café open late every second Friday of each month to host artist receptions along with live music performed by local jazz and blues bands. She also brings in a different winery or brewery for each event, so guests are able to sample, free of charge, some of the area’s best wine and microbrews. Proud to support our local industry, Karen said she plans to continue to bring in local wines and microbrews. Currently, she has wines from Sweet Cheeks, LaVelle Vineyards, Patchwork Cellars, and J. Scott Cellars along with an ample selection of microbrews from Ninkasi, Oakshire and Hop Valley. I raved to Karen about the perfect Panini and Pinot pairing that I had recently discovered, and she noted that they aren’t well-known only for their savory Panini’s, but their homemade soups have acquired a sort of cult following.

The great brews are well represented.

Regulars flock the café when the soup specials involve their well-known Lobster Bisque or Philip’s Phabulous Clam Chowder. Their Hungarian Mushroom Soup has been dubbed by regulars as ‘The World’s Best’. Although my perfect pairing for the day was a Pinot and a Panini, I’m looking forward to pairing the LaVelle Pinot Gris with the Lobster Bisque on my upcoming visit, which will happen on April 8th, the Second Friday Art Walk. I plan to arrive early (before 5:00pm) because the café becomes a full house during these special events, and I’m thinking it will be very busy: Karen’s booked the Dennis St. Germain Jazz Quartet, photographer John Thomas’s ‘Portal to the World’ photo’s of old European architecture will be displayed throughout the café, and the guys from Oakshire Brewing will be there with samples of their stellar microbrews. So, whatever you’re craving- a glass of wine and a Panini or a microbrew and a cup of soup, the Washburne Café’s got you covered.

The Washburne Café
326 Main Street
Springfield

www.thewashburnecafe.com

The Washburne Café is on Facebook

All photo’s courtesy of Seen Eugene www.seeneugene.com

Julia – Writing about Eugene’s Wine Scene