Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week


2017 Left Coast Truffle Hill Chardonnay ($24)

This Chardonnay is from Oregon’s Left Coast “Truffle Hill” vineyard that contains four acres of European Black Truffle-inoculated hazelnut trees, shrub roses and holly oaks.

This 100% Chardonnay is fermented in 100% French oak before being aged for 10 months.

Left Coast winemaker Joe Wright states “This easy drinking Chardonnay delivers golden flower aromas of honeysuckle and elderberry accented with brown sugar. A burst of acidity on the palate is complimented with ripe pear fruit, rounded out by vanilla, coconut, caramel and butterscotch on the finish.” Well said Joe!

I found this Willamette Valley Chardonnay to be terrific. It had great flavors of baked apple and spices with just a hint of oak. A wonderful pairing with any lighter fare.

This is a really good one that deserves your attention. Look for it! Cheers!

Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Will Rogers of Donna White Communications

Wine: The Tale of Two Pinot Noir's

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Pinot Noir is a wonderful varietal of wine. In the Old World (Europe), Pinot Noir is most famous from the Burgundy region of France. There, it is simply known as ‘Burgundy.’

In the U.S., Pinot Noir is grown in multiple regions. Two notable regions are Sonoma’s Russian River and Oregon’s Willamette Valley. These two regions are producing some excellent Pinot Noir. But, they are quite different.

The differences between Sonoma’s Pinot Noir and Oregon’s Pinot Noir is due to terrior, or the interaction of the soil, climate, topography and how the grape variety grows in the specific region.

The Pinot Noir being produced in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley tends to be light and delicate. Their colors are light, yielding bright cherry red hues with even lighter pink edges on the rim. The flavors include red cherry, cranberry, and raspberry with very delicate, almost non-existent tannin and light finishes.

Now, the Oregon’s Willamette Valley Pinots can be quite different. The Oregon terrior produces bigger and bolder wines, all around. Their colors are deeper, darker red. And their flavors also tend to be of black fruit such as black cherry, currant, fig and plum. They can also have noticeable astringency from their tannin. The words ‘robust’ and ‘muscle’ can be associated with these Pinots.

Both the Sonoma and Oregon Pinot Noir’s are excellent wines; you can’t go wrong with either. But, they also have their very own personalities. So, give them both a try! Cheers!

Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week

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2015 Left Coast Cellars Right Bank Pinot Noir ($42)

Here’s another very nice Pinot Noir from Left Coast Cellars. This ‘Right Bank’ Pinot is from their highest elevation vineyard that is planted entirely with Pommard clone Pinot Noir. From 100% Pinot Noir, this wine gets 50% fermentation in French Oak and 50% in Stainless Steel. It is then aged 19 months in 100% French oak.

As with most Pinot’s from Oregon’s Willamette Valley, this one does indeed have the dark fruit flavors along with the forest floor aromas.

And, while I do read winery notes and back labels, they are often generic or lean a bit too much on the marketing side of things. But, in the case of this wine, I have to say that their notes are quite accurate.

The Winemaker’s Tasting Notes state “Our Right Bank Pinot Noir overflows the glass with black cherry, currant, and forest floor aromas. Dark, rich flavors of plum and black fig intertwine with a rich texture and well-dressed tannins.” I think that’s pretty well said.

Then, the back label states that “The intensity of the summer sun and the long growing season creates a Pinot Noir that can be characterized as robust with some muscle.” Indeed! That’s what Oregon Pinot is all about.

So, if you love the Pinot’s of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, this Left Coast ‘Right Bank’ is right on the mark. Cheers!

Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Will Rogers of Donna White Communications

Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week


2016 Cloudline Pinot Noir ($15)

Oregon's Willamette has become quite well known for its Pinot Noir and this one from Cloudline is a fine example.

The Cloudline wine was created in 2002 by Dreyfus Ashby who have been

This Pinot is part of the Droughin Family wines

Cloudline Cellars, created in 2002, represents a first for Dreyfus, Ashby who have been purveyor so fine wine and spirits since 1946 — their own wine.

Given their love for Pinot Noir and their long history developing  Domaine Drouhin Oregon, it’s not surprising that they choose Oregon’s Willamette Valley as the home for their own project. And, this wine is vinified by winemaker Véronique Drouhin.

This Pinot is medium-light in body, with delicate red fruit flavors of cherry and raspberry. And, at this price, it's well qualified as a Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week  for its great value.