By Lead Cook Katie Cooper
Suggested Pairing: 2012 NxNW Chardonnay
Last week we had the pleasure of hosting close to 600 guests over three days at our quarterly members-only tasting. We were graced by unseasonably gorgeous spring weather and held the event on the north patio of the Visitor Center. Tower Club members tasted six newly released wines and enjoyed some delightful nibbles prepared by Sous Chef Sean Winder, including Manchego and Quince Bruschetta with Pistachios, Salmon Cakes with Remoulade, and Pork Belly and Rouge River Blue Cheese Arancini with Roasted Tomato Aioli. Many members also opted to stay for dinner in our estate restaurant.
Invitations to these private tastings are extended exclusively to Tower Club members. Along with this benefit, members also receive limited-production wines, discounts on wine purchases, and complimentary tasting at the wine bar.
For more information about membership, please contact Tower Club Manager Elizabeth Allcott at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-942-9874, ext. 102.
During the growing season, our winemakers closely observe the growth in the vineyard on our organic estate and also venture beyond our own 1,033 acre property to make the rounds all over Oregon and Washington wine country. They do this throughout the summer, visiting the 40+ vineyards that grow grapes for our wines. This update for the second week of August, details their observations of our Washington state vineyards.
This week’s trip up to Washington showed that things are still clicking along at a good pace. Temperatures during the trip and for the month of August so far have been hot and above average. This isn’t always to the best benefit to the vines as they can shut down from too much heat, but after the last couple of cool vintages, we’ll take any additional heat units we can get. The good news is that we’re far ahead of where we were last year and only just a bit behind average.
The forecast in Washington was not only hot, but it was also smoky! I had to rub my eyes to see if the forecast I was reading on the iPhone truly said smoke! There are several fires throughout the state that are causing hazy and smoky conditions. In fact, as I was traveling from one vineyard to the next, I came across a harvested field of wheat that had caught fire.
The grapes are certainly in better condition and hopefully we won’t have any issues with the infamous “smoke taint” that has affected so many California vineyards in the past. The level of smoke was minimal and it would be a long shot to see any effects in the fruit.
The vines themselves are coming right along. We’re beginning to see verasion in many of the blocks which means that it’s near go time up in Washington. The growers have been spending their efforts in the final major passes of hand labor before it comes time to make a green pass and drop the clusters that might be lagging behind the rest of them. The finishing hand work before the green thinning is mainly aimed at opening up the canopies to enable just the right amount of sun to hit the fruit on the morning side of the rows, while trying to protect the hotter afternoon side from too much sun. It’s a fine balancing act and the best growers do it well. The goal of the upcoming green thinning is to get a uniform level of ripeness in the blocks and this is one of the best methods to do so. Being able to look at the clusters and cut off the less advanced ones is the strongest visual indicator a vineyard will have on the uniformity, so the green thin is essential to a good crop.
- Ben Howe, Winemaker
By Sous Chef Benjamin Nadolny
Suggested Pairing: 2007 NxNW Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
The results of the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition are in and King Estate had two double gold medal winners and three gold medals. 2008 Signature Pinot Gris was also named one of the San Francisco Chronicle’s top 100 wines of 2009.