Summer Wines

Drink some wine on a hot summer night

I squinted through the grimy glass of our office window on the 14th floor of Eugene’s oldest high-rise (and eyesore). I stared down at the city’s streets lined with flushed sweetgums and pin oaks. We’re warming fast — maybe too fast — zooming into summer, maybe another hot, dry vintage, promising big bold pinot noirs, not the cool-country delicacy we’ve come to know and love. The global news on climate change (warming) has been grim: retreating glaciers, sweltering droughts, disappearing species. Continue reading 

Running Races for Wine

Good wines are always competing with each other

When I first began to write about Oregon wine 20-some years ago (in millennia of wine, hardly a flash), there were only a couple hands-full of labels to track. Now we have more than 400, increasing almost daily. And the wines are often very good. This poses many challenges, not only for wine writers but particularly for the wineries themselves — their owners, their staff, retailers, et al. Continue reading 

Prize in the Bottle

Wine: It's not just sour grapes

Wine is just fermented grape juice. So what’s all the fuss and chatter? There’s a prize in every bottle of good wine. And the prize can be very special, one that connects to memory, one that draws friends closer, one that opens experience. There’s often synergy with food: Wine makes food taste better, food makes wine taste better.  Now, add time in the bottle. A minor miracle ensues. Horizons expand. Sweet tastes sweeter. Continue reading 

Aging Wines II

Wine during Valentine's Day

Valentine hugs and kisses to all y’all! But first: Last month, we glanced briefly at benefits of maturing (aging) fine wines. The subject is too complex for one skimpy piece. Besides, we must tell the story of Bill Wilson, about time and wine and love. In 1985, Bill was already in his mid-60s, white hair, walked with a cane, always wore his father’s Iron Cross on a ribbon around his neck. He ambled into Ambrosia, introduced himself. We talked wine. Continue reading 

Time in a Bottle

Check the circa-1965 YouTube video of Mick Jagger and Stones crooning “Ti-i-i-ime is on my side, yes it is.” Mick looks like a kid; they all do, the whole band. Well, time is not on your side, or mine, or Mick’s or wine’s. 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 

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