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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 25, 2010 3:43 PM. The previous post in this blog was Tri-Met flip-flops on "unsafe" Northwest line. The next post in this blog is Is the Fourth Amendment only for the rich?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Equal time

A couple of weeks ago, we boasted about some delightful and cheap rosé wines that the Mrs. had picked up for us at Trader Joe's. Among the comments we received was a scold that we should be drinking Oregon wines instead.

We actually had a bottle of a Grenache Rosé in the cellar from Abacela winery out of Roseburg, and we have now consumed it. It was great. It cost twice as much as the cheaper vinos we reviewed, however, and it's an open question whether it was worth that much extra dough.

Comments (15)

Sounds like I'll have to get my hands on a bottle of this.

You know, I'm dowen with the "buy local" idea for the most part... but I swear, it seems to me that Oregonians (I guess it's mainly Portland area pseudo hipsters) like to push two things Oregon frankly isn't that great at (as much as everyone wishes they were) wine and beer.

I'm not a huge wine conniseur, and it could be my palate is unrefined, but I've never had a "good" medium-priced oregon wine. Some of the more expensive higher-end stuff is quite tasty, don't get me wrong, but there isn't anything that seperates it from the rest... I can guarantee no one will ever go to a dinner party and have a glass of wine bottle unseen and say, "My god, this is a fine Oregon wine!"

And beer. Yes we have 4,000 or so local breweries churning out 100,000 different kinds of beer. Yes we have vast fields of hops. It doesn't mean that they ALL have to go into EVERY KIND of beer! Boo over-hoppy beer! I work for at a brewpub (local) known for about a dozen (if not more) varieties of beer... and none of them are frankly any good. It's a lager-- with double hops!! Double chocolate stout? Don't forget extra hops! Amber ale... hmm, not hoppy enough, dump some more in! Weee! And God save your soul should you find yourself with an Oregon IPA in front of you...

Ok... I'm finished... I think. And I'll qualify the above rant by saying my current favorite beer comes out of brewery in Estacada.... so it's not all bad, not by a long shot. But, in general local booze = pretty mediocre.

I cannot afford to drink Oregon wines and Oregon beers. May deflation will change that. We'll see.

Jack - buying local wine helps the industry grow, which keeps grapes in the ground, giving them time to develop the character that comes as vines age. So, it's worth it to spend more for a wine that is no better - if you care about Oregon developing the industry. If not, then it's not.

Dan, hops are great. The hoppier the better. To me, and lots of others. Don't say that Oregon isn't good at beer and wine because you don't like hoppy beers and you prefer heat-intensive wines (which crop 4-8 tons per acre) compared to Oregon's cool-tolerant grapes (which crop only 1-3 tons per acre, thus the higher price). Many wine connoisseurs consider cool-tolerant grapes the pinnacle of the industry.

Frank, deflation will not change it. Micros will always be more expensive than macros, in both wine and beer. They just taste better. You could probably cover the cost by canceling your cable, driving a cheaper car, etc. Point is, most people could, but choose not to. You may be the exception, but the point stands.

Frank - I'd love to know your criteria for medium priced wine. Somehow I suspect it's a lot different than that of hard core oenophiles like me.

The Maryhill Rose of Sangiovese is very nice, and I think it's in the $10 price range. And my favorite everyday red is also from Maryhill, their Winemaker's Red Blend, also about $10 a bottle.

Damning with faint praise.

I drink Oregon wines when they are on sale for the most part. Oregon wineries seem to have gotten a bit full of themselves. Anytime Wine Spectator gives their product a rating of 85 or above, they suddenly think they can charge $40 per bottle or more for it. Yeah, there are some bargains out there, but I don't think the Oregon boys and girls have adjusted their prices in line with the economy, market, and their product quality. Give me a nice $15 Malbec anyday.

Now -- after a few more samplings of Iberian economy -- try Abacela's Rosado, made from tempranillo and offering delicious color. You can wait until any bottles left after summer's heat go on sale. Quaff it with Thanksgiving fare.

Rich, Maryhill's vintages are fine, especially the reserves, but they are WA product. The rosé from sangiovese is usually around $14; Fred's has had it for $10 most of the summer -- cheaper than the winery sells it, but the view from Maryhill might be worth the trip.

While you're scooping up deals at Fred's, you might try the Chateau Bonnet rosé, a Bordeaux made from cab sauvignon and merlot, for $10.

Dan, hops are great. The hoppier the better. To me, and lots of others. Don't say that Oregon isn't good at beer and wine because you don't like hoppy beers

Actually, "hoppy" beers aren't a top seller in Oregon, despite the marketing hype to the contrary.

And, extrmely "hoppy" beers *are* a gimmick. In most of the world, much of the beer made here is considered gimmicky. We've got some great beers--but overall, in the past 25+ years of drinking them and watching the industry grow, those tend to be beers that imitate centuries old recipes or slightly tweak them--not those that "double" this or "triple" that or have some bizarre addition of fruits, peppers, or coffee.

A few years ago, when attending a beer event in Munich (not Oktoberfest), I mentioned Portland and got a few laughs. Local beer makers knew of it, and guffawed at the beer gimmicks that seemed to be popular here. They'd even tasted a few that had been sent to them unsolicited.

Meanwhile, the highest sales of beer in Portland (by a factor of 10x to 25x)continue to be national brands. Beer, I think, is another of those things in PDX that's "good", but whose marketed reputation far exceeds its worth.

In addition to the sin of not buying an Oregon wine, you have committed the UNPARDONABLE sin (at least among wine snobs) of drinking a rose.

After all, they just taste good, of what value is that?


The cachet of high-end Oregon pinot noirs resulted in many overpriced and underperforming Oregon wines. But for a relatively affordable local rose, you can't go wrong with the pink stuff from Patton Valley Vineyards or Hamacher Wines. Both cost about $16/bottle and are excellent summer afternoon wines. That said, if I had $10 or less for a bottle of rose and wanted to maximize value, I'd opt for something from Spain or Portugual, like Lezaun Rosado for $8 or Casal Garcia Vinho Verde rose for $9. That's good wine at six-pack prices, and you can still "buy local" if you pick it up at Great Wine Buys on NE Broadway.

I picked up a Willamette Valley rose at TJ's for under 10 bucks, which is as local as it gets! Tasted great, and at a great value.

I erred earlier, parsimonious oenophiles, in writing that Chateau Bonnet rosé can be had for $10 chez Fred's. $6.99 is the modest price requested by Fred's Hawthorne.


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