05 December 2012

Labor Wines

Coincidence is an interesting thing, and while I bow to the math involved knowing that the relativity of simultaneity can be calculated using Lorentz transformations, the primitive lizard brain still gazes in wonder when such events occur.

I got an e-mail from Michael Oppenheimer, a second generation radio executive here in Memphis who offered to pour me the Labor Wines made by his father, Dick Oppenheimer, who ran radio stations in Austin, Texas for many years and recently retired and got in the Oregon wine business. Dick had heard of me from a California winemaker who recommended my website. A meeting was set for a Saturday afternoon, and I looked forward to trying the wines.

Before I got a chance to try them, Fredric published a review of the two bottles based on a pair of samples from a local distributor. Two small production Oregon wines, ending up in the same city 3,700 km/2,300 miles away mere days apart. Let's drop the physics and call it kismet.

2010 Labor Wines Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, Oregon
100% Pinot Noir
$28, 12.5% abv.
336 Cases Made

Very mild aromas of raspberry and pencil shavings, with good acidity and light tannins. Very Burgundian in profile and a wine that would be an excellent match for salmon.

2009 Labor Wines Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, Oregon
100% Pinot Noir
$28, 14.4% abv.
280 Cases Made

The 2009 is a stronger and deeper wine, with more of a wild strawberry aspect and deeper oak flavors. While more substantial, this vintage retains great balance and is highly recommended with veal or lamb.

Both wines are enclosed with convenient screwcaps, and both are the sort of mellow berry deliciousness that Oregon has made famous. And at under $30 each, they're pretty affordable if you can find them.

Michael and I enjoyed a long conversation about wine, radio, cigars, and other matters over the course of the afternoon. We tasted the wine from some family stemless glasses pictured at right, and it reminded me of the big crystal pitcher my parents got as a wedding gift that had a gothic calligraphy "C" etched on the side.

Those of us who tread the wine road often sip and spit and dash off quick reviews of wines, but it's always nice to get the opportunity to step back, spend some time, and enjoy the family connection of a business that, when you get down to it, is about digging in the dirt and hoping that the weather treats you right.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

1 comment:

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