Holidaze Wines

Traditionally, we use our December column to explore wine-related gifting for Christmas. This year, my wife — lovely Kat Chinn, a superb cook — asked, “Whatchagot for Kwanzaa and Hanukkah?” Ooops. She set off a firestorm of eye-opening research.   Kwanzaa Continue reading 

Holidaze Wines

Traditionally, we use our December column to explore wine-related gifting for Christmas. This year, my wife — lovely Kat Chinn, a superb cook — asked, “Whatchagot for Kwanzaa and Hanukkah?” Ooops. She set off a firestorm of eye-opening research:    Kwanzaa Continue reading 

Sipping Thanks

Seems like only a minute ago we were sweating BBs in 104 degrees, high heat in high summer. A minute later, our granddaughter Meagan is donning her Katniss Everdeen Hunger Games costume for Halloween. Then we’re suddenly into the feast days, fussing about wines to serve, as Mole would say, “wit’ da boid.” He means turkey. I’m pretty sure. Continue reading 

Catching Up

Summer’s astrally over, and autumn’s cosmically begun. Grand times for grand wines, good time for Mole and me to issue apologies, make course corrections, loop into big red wines, all that change-of-season kinda thing. Continue reading 

God’s Grapes

In our lab at Wine Investigations, Mole and I were wilting. Temps outside, even at the 17th floor of the old high-rise, reached 105 degrees; inside wasn’t much cooler, though we keep all the wines comfy and cozy, in dark fridges, at 54 degrees, warming some, cooling others, before testing.  For months, we’ve been searching for growers in Oregon who are experimenting with Italian varietals — sangiovese, nebbiolo, dolcetto, barbera and others. Continue reading 

Comin’ Up Rosies

If it’s July — and it is — and we’re getting hot — and we are — then, it must be time for pink wines.  Years ago, when Mole and I launched our investigation of pinks, we were both skeptical. I had tasted too many insipid pinks. He took a kinda Italian view: “Pink wines. Why?” For one, because they’re so pretty, in the glass, in the sun and across the palate. Continue reading 

Exploring the Region

A mole in a pout is a sight to behold, rare, and slightly scary. Thinking I was early, I had ridden the wheezing Otis to the 15th floor of Eugene’s oldest high-rise, shuffled down the hall to our office, Wine Investigations, found Mole already in our lab, in a mope. “Hey, Sleut’,” he said, “whatcha got from all yer trackin’ wit’ out me?” Continue reading 

The Roller Coaster

My pal/sidekick Mole always tells me the truth. One day last week, he leaned into me and, in a soothing voice, said, “Sleut’” — he calls me Sleuth, it’s an honor and I dig it — “youse gots a tulip jones.” Continue reading 

Chardonnay Rising

Move over pinot, Oregon’s chardonnays are having a moment in the sun

Alan Mitchell of Territorial Vineyards. Photo by Trask Bedortha.

Oregon’s best wine? Seems a silly question, at first. Pinot noir? Pinot gris? Nah. One very wine-savvy professional is ready to offer a rather shocking response: chardonnay. Say what?  If it’s even partly true that chardonnay rates as one of Oregon’s best wines, the phenomenon could be called a renaissance, a revival, even a re-birth, because Oregon chardonnay had effectively died in the ’80s. And it wasn’t a pretty demise. Continue reading