Oregon Vine2Wine Tours is very passionate about wine. We try to share our passion through this blog discussing wine related news/events, tastings where one or more of the blog denizens attend, and anything we think is interesting that is wine related. The "Tastings" and "Education" tabs to the right will take you to blogs we have written on those areas. Here is a little more about the blog writers followed by our most recent entry.



  I live in San Pedro, California. I began my education in good and great wine in 1980 by taking UCLA extension classes in wine appreciation that were taught by Nathan Chroman who ran the wine judging for the Los Angeles County Fair and also was the wine columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He told us that drinking better wine will make us want to eat better food. After Nathan’s classes on wine, I took the wine education classes offered by the The Wine House in Los Angeles. These classes were very informative since they not only allowed us to learn about wine regions from around the world and taste their wines but also understand how to pair wines with food by learning how their components interact with food.  Although I learned a lot about wine through taking the Wine House’s classes, I had never tasted the greatest and most expensive wines in the world until I attended the wine tastings put on by Martin Weiner of the  Los Angeles School of Wines . We would taste the great grand cru wines of Bordeaux(Margaux, Haut-Brion, Latour,etc), Burgundy(LeRoy, Romanee-Conte, Comte de Vogue, etc), Rhone(Chapoutier, Guigal, Chave, Beaucastel, etc), Alsace(dry riesling, pinot gris and gewurtztraminer), Germany(riesling), and Italy(nebbiolo and sangiovese). These tastings now cost about $600 each and include a dinner that matches food with a wine being tasted along with cheeses that go with the wines. All of these tastings and wine education classes  emphasize the importance of matching food to wine. But the best wine tastings I’ve gone to are those from The Wine Country in Signal Hill owned by Randy Kemner. His primary emphasis is on tasting wines that go well with food 

(drinking great wine) and are typically the lower priced wines. He writes a very informative newsletter 



  My interest in wine started back in 1995. A friend of mine made great home-brew but would always have me try a bottle of wine he liked when I was over at his house. He gave me a Merlot from Chile one day that I really liked (I usually preferred his home-brew). That bottle got me curious about the world of wine and motivated me to learn more about it. Over the last 19 years I have experienced many enjoyable events involving wine. 

  I worked the harvest at Ponzi winery in 2007 for my first professional wine experience. I sorted fruit, controlled temperature of tanks, punched down Pinot Noir, helped in the vineyard and bottling line - pretty much every aspect of wine making. Ponzi used native yeast, cold soaked for two-three days and punch downs two-three times per day with fermentation temperatures topping around 88 degrees. I learned a lot working with Luisa Ponzi. She is a second generation winemaker following in the steps of her father Dick (one of the original vintners in Oregon back in the early 1970’s). After working at Ponzi I worked in the tasting room at Oregon’s largest winery, King Estate. I have had a taste of the harvest and a taste of the tasting room. I have seen a larger production with King Estate and a smaller production with Ponzi. I understand why larger operations have to do certain things to maintain consistency having such a large volume and I appreciate the smaller places who ferment small bins one at a time. 

  My Uncle Rich (a fellow blog denizen) exposed me to the best of Burgundy in 2009 attending Martin Weiner’s tasting. I tried Richbourg, Dujak, Leroy - many of the big names in Burgundy where bottles ranged from $120-$2,200. I have always loved Pinot Noir but the intensity of the aromatics, complexity on the palate and the length of finish of some of these wines blew me away. 

  Living in Oregon and owning the winery tour business Oregon Vine2Wine I get the opportunity to taste many world class wines from Oregon. I enjoy the minimalist style where the grapes show a sense of place. I tend to shy away from wines that emphasize extraction or oak and that seem out of balance. Wines that are highly rated by some critics don’t always do it for me because they often enjoy lush, over extracted wines - many of which have seen extensive time in oak barrels. I have been fortunate enough to taste some of the best of Burgundy (Richbourg, Leroy, Dujac), some of the best Pinot Noir in California (Littorai, Copain, Siduri), my favorite Pinot Noir in Oregon (Walter Scott, Evesham Wood, Bethel Heights) and many other great wines. In the old world (Italy, France) wine is enjoyed with food as a meal. Wines tend to be higher in acidity and not as extracted so they pair well with lunch or dinner. Once you experience the marriage of food and wine you will never look at wine the same. 

  My favorite wine style shows a balance, leaning towards the austere, more acidic side. Pinot Noir is my favorite red grape and either Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc is my favorite white. I find these grapes to be the most food friendly. Tempranillo from the Umpqua Valley is another grape that pairs well with cheese, charcuterie and barbecued meats.  

  When I judge a wine I use the typical 100 point system where a 90 is like an A and an 80 is like a B. I won’t score a wine that is less than 80 - it is either incorrect for the varietal, over manipulated or has an obvious flaw. I tend to be a little tough with my scores. 




July 28, 2019

Olive Tasting Notes  



Over the last several months I have been into olive tastings. Finally got organized to take notes on my most recent and wanted to share.  The wines involved were:

*Las Colinas del Ebro Terra Alta, Spain Garnacha Blanca (2016) 14% alcohol


*O&T Les Gourmets Touraine (2017) Savingnon Blanc 12% alcohol


I chose these wines because they are inexpensive - especially wanting to see if the Spanish white would go well with the Spanish olives.  The Sauvignon Blanc grape is known for being an "olive friendly" varietal.


We tasted 7 different olive varieties - each one's flavor vastly different:

*Picholine (Morocco)

*Alfonso (Peru)

*Castelvetrano (Sicily)

*Black Beldi (Morocco)

*Gordal (Spain)

*Black Empeltre (Spain)

*Green Cerignola (Italy)



Granacha did best with the Moroccan Picholine (the mildest of these olives and so did not dominate a very mild flavored Granacha).


Sauvignon Blanc went best with the Italian Green Cerignolas (the meatiest olive, not very briny and paired extremely well with the Touraine).


Worst pairing with the Granacha was Black Beldi; with Sauvignon Blanc - Empeltre.


In conclusion, Granacha was probably not the best representation of a Spanish wine that pairs well with olives.  My next tasting will include an Albarino to see if that pairs well with the Spanish olives.  Touraine paired better with more olive varieties.  I will also explore Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre and New Zealand regions.  Many olives have such intense flavors you wouldn't think they would pair so well with wine.  It is a lovely way to spend a summer afternoon.  I highly recommend throwing in a cheese or two to help cleanse the palate.


Pinot Noir at Harvest
French Oak barrels for Oregon Pinot Noir
Tasting Wine at Abacela in the Umpqua Valley
Reustle Prayer Rock in the Umpqua Valley