This is my first time participating in “Wine Blogging
Wednesday”. When hearing about
this months theme, tasting and experiencing a wine "At The Source", I had no excuse to pass it up being that I live within an hour from two world class wine regions (The Willamette Valley and The Columbia Gorge)… Although I do realize I am a day
late. I blame two weeks of traveling
for two different weddings within ten days.
For Wine Blogging Wednesday this month I couldn’t think of a
better winery to visit than Anne Amie Vineyards in Carlton, Oregon. Plus I had
just recently visited the winery as a part of a day long adventure in the
Willamette Valley with some friends.
Anne Amie is owned by philanthropist Dr. Robert Pamplin, who
brought on winemaker Thomas Houseman and vineyard manager Jason Tosch with the
goal of making quality Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, among many
I’ve known Winemaker Thomas Houseman and vineyard manager Jason Tosch for over three years from my days working at Ponzi Vineyards. Thomas left Ponzi in early 2007 to
pursue the job of Director of Winemaking at Anne Amie, and Jason joined him as
the vineyard manager creating the perfect team. Since taking over the winemaking
program in 2007 Anne Amie’s wines have been improving immensely each year and I
am happy to be able to share this experience with you.
We arrived midday with picnic in tow. Anne Amie is situated high on top of a
vineyard with some of the most beautiful views of the valley surrounded by a large patio equipped with tables and chairs to allow their guests to experience the
view along with their wines.
Following our picnic lunch, Thomas met us and took us on a
tour of the winery explaining to my friends the winemaking process during the
days leading up to harvest (which will start any day now). The week we visited they were getting
ready to do a full week of bottling.
Harvest is coming, which, for many wineries means long days of bottling
to prep empty barrels for the coming weeks.
While Thomas was showing us the thousands of boxes awaiting
their newly bottled wines, Jason arrived with Pinot Noir grape samples freshly
picked from the vineyard so they could test the sugar levels and have a better
idea of when they need to harvest the grapes.
Thomas is a genuine and loving person with an infectious
spirit about him. But what is even
more admirable is his passion for making wine. Thomas has traveled through some of the worlds premier Pinot
Noir regions to gain a deeper understanding of the grape and its finicky nature,
and it shows with each vintage of his wines. Thomas’
winemaking skills, along with Jason’s attention to detail and passion in the vineyard,
create the perfect model for amazing wines to come at Anne Amie, and I
encourage you to keep your eye out for their wines. They are great right now and will continue to get better and
better throughout the years with Thomas and Jason in charge.
2008 Cuvée A Müller Thurgau
This is one of my favorites of their current lineup even
though there is not a “Pinot” in its name. It is also a wine we enjoyed with our lunch that
day. The wine is crisp and dry
with citrus aromas of lemon, lemon peel, apple, with some floral notes. This is a dry and refreshing wine, a
wonderful summer sipper, and would also be great with seafood dishes like
mussels or clams. Retail: $14
2008 Cuvée A Midnight Saignée Rosé
This is a close second as a favorite in their white lineup for me and is another we enjoyed that day with lunch. This wine reminded me of some of my favorite Rosé’s from
southern France with its bright bubble gum strawberry (more reminiscent of
super light and fresh strawberry flavors), with more bright cherry and
raspberries. Another dry, light,
crisp and refreshing Rosé. Retail: $15
2008 Pinot Gris
Bright, citrus and acidic, this wine has lots of lemon and
crisp apple with a bright finish.
One solid thing the Pinot Gris have going for them at Anne Amie is their
crisp minerality with acidic balance. Retail $19
2007 Cuvée A Pinot Noir
This is Thomas’ first vintage at Anne Amie that is 100% under his
guidance and the improvement shows.
This is a youthful and light bodied Pinot Noir yet exudes true Pinot
characteristics of red fruits of bright cherry, strawberry, raspberry with
light tannins and some spice touches on the finish. Retail $25 (for the price it’s hard to find such a nice,
light, and yet balanced Pinot Noir)
2006 Winemaker’s Selection Pinot Noir
Richer, with more earth characteristics, this is a darker and
bolder wine than the Cuvée A, and also comes from a hotter and more bountiful
vintage. This Pinot has darker
blackberries and dark cherry, balanced with tobacco and coffee characteristics
with a long finish. Retail $35
They are also experimenting with some new wines, like a unique and beautiful white Pinot Noir. Keep your eye out for that one! This is definitely a Willamette Valley Winery to watch! Another winery filled with hardworking
and passionate people trying to make the best wines they can. Bonus for all of you in the
social media sphere is that they also keep up to date blog posts, and during
harvest have a live webcam where you can watch them live hard at work (and if you look
closely you may even get a glimpse of Thomas dancing with the harvest equipment…
I’m not kidding). And, you can
also “friend” them on Facebook.
These folks are not only making great wines, but big into promoting them
through social media as well.