People seem to have strong opinions and/or pre-conceived notions about Texas and its people. But, for those of you who’ve never been, let me set the record straight…
Texas is awesome. And not just Austin. I spent the last week going from Houston to San Antonio to Austin to Dallas and to Fort Worth. If there’s one thing Texans know how to do – it’s eat and drink!
Houston, the fourth largest city in the country, is a force to be reckoned with. With a population of over 2.2 million people, and a really busy airport, Houston was named one of the most progressive cities for Asian-fusion. The Houston Rodeo itself is the single largest volunteer organization – with over 22,000 volunteers participating each year. I spent the better part of Sunday pouring our Reserve Class Champion Wine – 2008 Pinot Gris – at the rodeo while sampling food from some of the 90 restaurants that were there. Too bad I forgot my boots… I could’ve had ‘em shined.
On Monday, I got to visit some amazing restaurants and pick up some locally-made hot sauce at Central Market, where they carry the whole Anne Amie line up! Some of my favorite stops were Yelapa, Suhi Raku, and Trulucks. Did you know that Florida Stone Crabs can grow their claws back?!?!
On my first visit to San Antonio, I got to see the Alamo! And I had an incredible lunch at Zinc, where they have our Amrita by the glass. At Joe Saglimbeni’s I found my wine geek matches! They have such an incredibly vast and well-chosen selection of wines..
Austin, as everyone knows, is an amazing city. In Austin, we visited Central Market, Aquarelle, Royal Blue Grocery, and Cru Wine Bar, amongst others. I had an awesome dinner at Buenos Aires Cafe – too bad their list is all Spanish and South American… Our Amrita would go so well with the gnocchi.
In Dallas, we went all over – to Whole Foods (where they’re featuring our Cuvee A Pinot Noir), Restaurant AVA (where they have our Willamette Valley Pinot Noir & Riesling), and Winetastic. For dinner, we went to The Grape on a recommendation from Club Members Charlie & Louanne Eldemire. What a great place! If you’re in the area, you have to check it out.
And last, but certainly not least, I got to trollop around Forth worth, checking out places like the new Elerbe Fine Foods. Ellerbe’s is all about fresh, local, seasonal ingredients, and their food is delicious! We stopped by Gran Cru wine shop, and ended at one of our favorites – Grace.
After a long week of hopping town to town, I was ready to be back home. There’s so much going on at the winery right now that I just didn’t want to miss out on. Bottling is next week – the 2009 whites will soon be ready! And our remodeling is coming along so fast! And so I said goodbye to Texas. Until next time!
Our Guests (always our favorite part of a dinner):
At the end of the meal, Chef Paul Murphy was welcomed from the kitchen with a standing ovation by a room full of grateful palates. He and his crew turned out 9 incredible courses each paired with one, two, or three different wines. Thank you for such an amazing experience, and thank you to everyone who attended.
I would like to say a very special thank you to our guest wineries Quady North, Vidon, and Winderlea. Your wines are stunning! It was a pleasure to welcome you into our home for the evening.
We are excited to be a part of THREE great wine events this weekend.
Saturday, February 20th - 5th Annual International Alsace Varietals Festival, Anderson Valley California
If you’re in and around Anderson Valley, CA this weekend, Thomas and I will be pouring our pinot gris, riesling, muller-thurgau and pinot noirat the Grand Tasting at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville. Stop by and say hello and enjoy ours and other Alsace-style wines from around the world, plus food and music.
Saturday, February 20th - The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Public Tasting, San Francisco, California
This incredible tasting showcases gold medal wines from over 4,800 entries of over 1,200 wineries throughout the United States. Our 2006 Winemaker’s Selection Pinot Noir was given the gold so it will be featured! The tasting is held at the Fort Mason Center and is much more than just a wine tasting – it’s a wine and food experience. Featured at this event will be a sampling of hand crafted creations from premier artisan food purveyors, which will include award winning artisan breads, savory meats, exotic oils, hand crafted cheeses, delicious desserts, sumptuous sauces, and other exquisite delicacies. Enjoy!
Tickets are $60 in advance or $80 at the door. To purchase, click here.
Last but definitely not least we are very excited to be part of the Minnesota Monthly Food & Wine Experience. We are new to Minnesota so go out and taste the new kid on the block! Anne Amie’s Winemaker’s Selection Pinot Noir will be featured at the reserve tasting on Saturday at the Convention Center. Enjoy a weekend of lip smacking, glass clinking, celebrity watching, swishing, swirling, mouthwatering events! You won’t want to miss the fine wines, specialty beers and delicious gourmet food sampling! Increase your food and wine IQ from some of the country’s best chefs, authors and wine professionals. Plus, shop for the latest culinary products, gadgets and more! All tickets are limited, so put your snow shovel aside and warm up your taste buds at the most delicious weekend of the year.
For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
Thanks to our distributor partners and loyal customers for all of the support!
At 7am today, Tammie and Andy were rinsing tanks and hoses while many of you were fast asleep. For us in the cellar, we are celebrating a different kind of holiday, filtering. OK, it’s not a holiday at all; it’s back-breaking work running up and down stairs, hauling heavy hoses, and cleaning multiple tanks. All this work insures that your glass of Anne Amie wine will be brilliant, clear,and sound. For us in the cellar, these two very long work days mark another milestone for the 2009 vintage. All that stands between the cellar crew (after tomorrow evening) and the 2009 white wines being finished, are four painful days of bottling.
We are almost there!
We were blessed with a warm, dry harvest. Our 2009 white wines still have the signature brightness of acidity, and low alcohol that one expects from Anne Amie wines, but they may be a tad richer on the juicy, ripe fruit scale. That’s Mother Nature putting in her two cents. The past five months have been spent capturing the essence of the 2009 vintage in each wine, while crafting what we believe to be our unique expression of what each wine wants to be. Countless weeks of tasting and blending and refining our choices are now now passing the final hurdle before bottling. In three short weeks, the 2009 vintage will be yours. The last year of our lives here at the winery- first in the vineyard, and now in the winery, will soon be distilled into shiny, new bottles and shipped off around the globe. All the long days and nights of vintage, the many early mornings since then tasting and blending, a few long, repetitive days on the bottling line, and then…
Our focus will shift as we nurse our Pinot noir through malolactic fermentation. By nurse, I mean wait and monitor and taste. If we continue to have a warm winter and spring, the malolactic fermentation will continue on ahead of schedule. If it is a cold spring, we wait longer. Since we rely on indigenous flora for malolactic fermentation, we are on its schedule. Therefore , there is never a time around our winery that absolutely nothing is happening. Remember that as you sit and drink coffee and peruse the ads in the newspaper for sales this President’s Day. I propose you twist off a screw cap, pour a refreshing white wine, and toast your cellar crew on this alternative holiday, Filtering Day.
Join Viticulturist Jason Tosch and I along with 50 other Oregon wineries in Seattle on March 11th for an evening of Willamette Valley wines.
Enjoy this unique opportunity to taste the wines of 50+ Oregon wineries, both large and small, at Willamette Valley Wineries first tasting in Seattle. Meet the faces behind the wine in a casual and personal setting. Winery owners and winemakers will showcase their current releases including Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling and other cool-climate varietals. Wines will be complemented by delicious Pinot-friendly appetizers featuring regionally sourced ingredients from sustainably focused producers.
Join the Block Party! Get to know the Willamette Valley’s special wines and enjoy a taste of our unique place.
Date: Thursday, March 11, 2010 5:30 – 8:30pm Location:Sodo Park by Herban Feast 3200 1st Avenue South, Seattle WA (one mile south of Safeco Field) Tickets: $45* (before March 1st) $55* after March 1st and at Door *plus handling fee
To purchase tickets visit the Willamette Valley Wineries Association website or click here.
Note: Tickets will be mailed starting February 1. Tickets are non-refundable after February 14, 2010. Tickets are limited and the event can sell out. Advance purchase is highly recommended. This event involves the tasting of alcoholic beverages. Ticketholders must be 21 years of age or older. If you have any issues purchasing tickets online or have questions, please call 503-297-2962 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trade Tasting: Trade tasting will take place from 2-5pm on March 11. Click here for more information and to reserve a space (advance reservations required).
We are very excited to be part of the COCHON 555 tour this year. Although we’re trying to keep it a secret from our vegetarian winemaker, the rest of the crew is elated!
Don’t miss COCHON 555, where a group of chefs will each prepare a heritage breed hog from head to toe in a friendly competition. Guests and professional judges will determine a winner based on creativity, utilization and overall best flavor. The winner will be crowned the “Prince of Porc”. In addition, five selected winemakers will showcase their wines.
COCHON 555 is a tribute to heritage breeds, local chefs and family-owned wineries. For the competition, each 125 pound heritage pig can be braised, grilled, pressed, pickled, rubbed, smoked, seared, sauced, spiced, injected, marinated, cured or otherwise prepared. Guests of the event will experience the chef creations during a 2.5 hour stand-up reception and have the opportunity to vote for the winner. Chef stations will alternate with winemaker tables.
The purpose of COCHON 555 is to promote heritage pigs and breed diversity in local and national communities. The winner of this event will be asked to compete at Grand Cochon during the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.
Anne Amie will be participating in the following cities:
Why not celebrate your love for Pinot Noir all month? L'iris, the French word for iris, is the focal point of our Pinot Noir production, and this month we're showing you the love with some sweet discounts and chance to taste the 2006 L'iris Pinot Noir.
February 2010, Wine of the Month
2006 L'iris Reserve Pinot Noir
Save 10% on 6- bottle-case purchases
Wine Club Members Save 10% on bottle purchases
Wine Club Memebers Save 15% on 6-bottle-cases
Come try it!
We are including the 2006 L'iris Reserve Pinot Noir on the Reserve Flight
Reserve Flight tasting fee is only $10 (Refunded with a $50+ purchase)
All tastings are complimentary for Wine Club Members
Kim and I are back from Taos with stories to tell! We had an amazing time and we were constantly impressed with the hospitality – everyone we met was nice. The desert scenery was so beautiful with snow, and the food was so creative and diverse. It was nice to have the Anne Amie wines so well-received. Don’t worry, you will soon be able to get our wines in New Mexico! And yes, we pushed boxes of wine down the snowy trail at the ski resort.
Here are a few photos from our trip:
The beautiful drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe to Taos!
Prisme, Chicharrones, and a snowy trail that we had to push cases of wine down!
Katie and I are headed to New Mexico tomorrow to participate in the 24th Annual Taos Winter Wine Festival. We are new to the market so if you live in the area or happen to be visiting, come say hello and taste through our lineup including our Cuvée A Amrita, Müller-Thurgau + Pinot noir, Classic Anne Amie label Pinot gris + Winemaker’s Selection Pinot noir as well as one from our reserve label, Prismé, Pinot Noir Blanc (left). Walk or drive to the Taste of Taos on Thursday or ski right to the Grand Tasting on Friday. Hope to see you there!
Taste of Taos Thursday, January 21, 2010
5:00 -7:30, $75 per person
Wine Country comes to Taos when a dozen of Taos' best restaurants serve signature appetizers alongside tastes of reserve wine from all the participating wineries at the elegant El Monte Sagardo Resort in the historic Town of Taos. This opening night Grand Tasting features more than 75 different wines from 30 participating wineries and tastes from a dozen of Taos' finest restaurants.
Grand Tasting Friday, January 22, 2010
4:00pm-6:30pm, 75 per person
The Grand Tasting at the Taos Ski Valley Resort Center (at the foot of chair lift #1) features more than 75 different wines from 30 participating wineries and tastes from ten of Taos and Taos Ski Valley's finest restaurants. Is there a better way to end a great day of skiing on one of the world's best mountains? A silent auction of rare wines benefits the Taos Community Foundation.
There’s a new starlet on the scene and her name is Anne Amie! Click on Jason’s movie star mug in the photo above to view the newest, most talked about blockbuster movie of the season. See your favorite Anne Amie characters in action doing what they do best- making wine!
I have put together a little “movie” from my cell phone pictures I snapped this past harvest. If something caught my eye, it was captured on film. Yes, it is rough, and the pictures are a bit fuzzy, but think of it as film noir- Pinot noir that is!
You’ve made the trek to Oregon. You discovered Anne Amie. You’re in love. Now you’re home and you want more.
We are happy to announce that you can now find our classic label Anne Amie and Cuvee A wines in 29 states (yellow) with 7 more (green) to be added in 2010!
While we’re able to ship to many states, compliance is still an issue and because we’re a small winery, our wines can be hard to find. Ask for them at your favorite retailer or restaurant and if you’re still having trouble, call us at 503-864-2991 or email@example.com and we’ll help make your dreams of sipping Anne Amie Pinot noir in your very own home a reality.
I'm sitting in my office staring out the window over a roomful of barrels quietly ticking through malolactic fermentation. Also outside my window I see a row of stainless steel white wine tanks, icy jackets holding the 2009 vintage inside. The winery is quiet. Most of our staff his home preparing for Christmas- wrapping gifts, shopping frantically, but in the cellar we are busy putting together blend, after blend, after blend. We are intently focused- tasting, refining, and tweaking every nuance of each wine; readying ourselves for bottling in February.
It is with these thoughts that I reflect back on the 2009 vintage. I reflect on all the people that brought their energy, drive, and dedication to this year's wines. Early mornings. Late nights. Darkness on the drive in to work and darkness on the way home. Clothing saturated and smelling of wine. Dampness permeating every molecule of one's body. Tired, aching muscles. Calloused, cracked hands. Grapes in our hair. Seeds in our clothes. Achingly cold grapes on the sorting line. Hours of sorting. Days of sorting. Weeks of sorting, only to be followed by months of punch downs. Fruit flies. Cleaning, cleaning, and coming back to clean even better. Forklifts zooming back-and-forth. Shaker tables rattling. The dull roar of equipment drowned out by the loud roar of music. Lunches filled with camaraderie, wonderful food, and wine- time to just get away making wine for a few minutes. Time to sit down, and rest one's feet, a few minutes respite from standing on concrete. Some days were filled with conversation, laughter, and joviality. Other days we quietly filled our bellies, chewing, and staring ahead; fortifying ourselves for the remainder of the day that lay ahead.
All of the hard work that went into our wines will soon be in bottles. Encapsulated will be all the hours Jason spent in the vineyard. All the predawn mornings, tractors rumbling to life and tracing their zigzag paths through the dark. All the vineyard workers thinning, dropping fruit, hedging, and picking the grapes that we have now made into wine. All the people out in the vineyard and in the winery. All their stories are part of 2009 vintage. All these end up in our wines. I liken all the details and all the decisions that go into the wine to snowflakes. Each is tiny, yet unique unto itself. Each decision that is made by each person accumulates, until there is enough combined mass to nudge vintage to life. From there on vintage just builds on itself- picking up momentum and gaining size. By harvest, a giant snowball of combined effort is roaring at us, huge and heavy. Now that harvest is over, that massive snowball has come to a quiet rest. And, this is where we are in the winery. The momentum that builds up each year, giving us harvest, and the resulting wines, is now in a relatively calm place. Something resembling stillness.
Each morning, as I drive into work, I gaze out the window at the passing landscape. The naked trees and frost encrusted fields, enshrouded in mist, suggest that few first flakes of 2010 have already started to fall.
Momentum builds. We start anew.
Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year from Anne Amie.
The harvest crew has been busy picking and Jason and Thomas have been busy with their babies. Congrats to Viticulturist Jason Tosch and his wife Aimee on the birth of their first child, beautiful little Olive Tosch. And not wanting to be outdone, Thomas is proud to announce the birth of his garden beast – the banana squash baby. Congrats!
Like robins returning in Spring and geese flying overhead in long, trailing V’s in Autumn, there are signals that nature sends us that the seasons are changing. At the winery it is the appearance of the illusive, white Bravo truck. When it glides up the hill, we know it is bottling time. And, soon after, with our tanks and barrels emptied again and ready for more wine, it is time for another harvest. Our webcam is up and running. Please feel free to click on the photo below and watch us as we put the absolutely amazing 2008 Cuvee A and Willamette Valley Pinot noirs into bottle. And, keep and eye on the cellar webcam, because the Bravo truck will soon depart, and the cellar will be scrubbed stem to stern, followed by the first pick of the 2009 season. It’s what we live for here in the cellar all year long! Bring on autumn! Let the grapes appear at our threshold! It wouldn’t be harvest without bottling!
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It feels really good to get on board with a good cause. It feels even better when the folks behind that cause are able to organize a great event like this year’s Rose City Wine Opener. The Oregon chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation puts on this event each year to raise awareness and funds for their mission of curing and controlling cystic fibrosis.
For Career-Day in 8th grade I shadowed the Weatherman at News Channel 8, a local cable news station, in Northern Virginia. I actually had no interest in being a Weatherman. I was interested in film and television, and that was as close as I was going to get in the ‘burbs of D.C. I learned a lot from my Out-To-Work-Day experience; like how a green screen works, and what a news room looks like, and how two-way mirrors are used to prompt text onto the camera so that the broadcaster actually stares right into camera lens and appears to be speaking directly to each viewer at home. Yes, that’s right, there is nothing written on those papers they keep straightening out in front of them. The most important thing I learned, however, was that for every one person you see on camera, there are easily twelve behind the scenes. That’s twenty six total hands for just the two you see.
Blogging feels like a small sliver of that experience. It’s summer, the weather in great, we’ve got tons going on at the winery and instead of blogging a rerun I’ve decided to run a clip-show highlighting some of this summer’s events so far.
If you feel like you’re missing out, don’t worry. We’ve still got a lot happening through the end of the summer and on through the rest of the year. I hope you enjoy looking through these small tastes of the “best-of” the last month or so here up on the hill.
June Wine Club Party
“enjoying the wines and the view” “A hawk circles our estate vineyard”
Oregon Pinot Camp
“Learning about Oregon Wines”
Flicks ‘N’ Flights Movie Nights above the Vines
“First we watch the sunset” “the lanterns lead the way”
“Just like what it sounds like…a great movie, on a big screen, above our vineyard” Come join us for the August 14 screening of “Princess Bride”
International Pinot Noir Celebration - Dinner
Clockwise from top left: - Wines being poured - Chef Maegen Loring and her crew working their culinary genius - Chehalem- a brie-style cheese from Beroldingen in Sherwood (go find them!) – Honey-Coriander Glazed Duck Breast with Morels.
IPNC Vineyard Tour and Seminar
“Jason talks vines and dirt”
“IPNC guests taste through a selection of Pinot noirs under the arbor”
Anne Amie Supports a Great Cause-
The Morrison Kids Wine-Dinner at Lovely Hula Hands
Clockwise from top left:
-Recognizing the great work Morrison Family Services does – Cuvée A Rosé on the back patio – Cuvée A Rosé with Olive Oil Poached Albacore, Haricots Verts, Olives and Heirloom Tomato – Guests learning about their next course.
Learn More about the difference Morrison Family Services is making here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed surfing through this clip show. Check out what else is happing this summer here at the winery.
The 23rd Annual International Pinot Noir Celebration is upon us and the valley is buzzing with excited guests, press + Pinot noir producers from the US, Canada, Austria, France, Australia + New Zealand.
Today we had the pleasure of a visit from Pinot noir devotee + creator of the online newsletter Pinot File, Rusty Gaffney the Prince of Pinot. We compared the 2007 and 2008 vintages and played Thomas’ favorite game “taste the terroir” by barrel sampling pommard from Anne Amie Estate Vineyards, Rainbow Ridge Vineyard + La Colina Vineyard – all at about the same elevation but different locations and soil types.
Pictured above Winemaker Thomas Houseman, Viticulturist Jason Tosch, Rusty aka Prince + Sales Director Kim McLeod.
Below Thomas explains the “rules of the game” and shows how his former modern dance skills come in handy while scaling the barrels in search of the pommard.
The tasting room crew is busy setting up the dining room while Chef Maegen Loring from San Luis Obispo’s Park Restaurant is in the kitchen prepping for the incredible feast she and her team are creating for us tonight. Our friends from Goldeneye Winery in Anderson Valley and Rene Mure in Alsace, France will be joining us for our Pre-IPNC Winemaker Dinner in a matter of hours. The winery is closed for this event as we’re all sold out but stay tuned for our post about how awesome it was and sign up for next year!
I have just left Little Rock and the Capital Hotel. It is bittersweet, in that I have other stops on my journey through the South, but I could easily settle in for an extended stay at such a wonderful hotel with such an excellent staff. Two people specifically are to thank for their hard work and attention to detail- the two Lees. Lee Richardson is the executive chef at Ashley’s, the crown jewel for dining in Little Rock, and his counterpoint front-of-house, Lee Ingold, is the maitre d’. Collectively they run a tight ship- by ship, I mean restaurant.
It was my third trip to Little Rock, the first being the Emeril fundraiser, when I first was able to experience the wonderful skills of chef Lee. The night after the fundraiser chef Lee sat me at a table and, without a menu as a guide, food started arriving and kept coming, course after amazing course, until I literally could not take another bite! It was right then, in my food stupor, that I hatched the idea of a wine dinner at Ashley’s. It took a few years to materialize, but here is the menu and some photos from the dinner. If you’d like to see more photos from the dinner check out Ashley’s kitchen blog.
As you can probably see from the photos and from the tenor of my post I have a soft spot in my heart for Ashley’s and much of it has to do with the two Lees and their wonderful staff. That said, the entire experience at the Capital Hotel from the moment one arrives is one of polished calm. Thanks to everyone at the Capital Hotel. I’ll be back!
Every Friday we bring in our leftovers and challenge each other to a pizza-off. Today we were joined by our friends John Merritt from Frontier Packaging and Cinematographer Ben Garvey who is the producer of the Oregon Pinot Camp movie.
John, Ksandek, Ben, Jason, Thomas & Annie in preparation mode
PS - tonight we have the first of our flicks ‘n flights series. we’ll be showing the movie amelie. join us at dusk. who knows, there might be left over pizza. it’s free + you’re all welcome. we will have wine for sale along with charcuterie plates.
But I have to blog about Amrita. And, I promise I will not insert anymore bi-valve jokes (though I LOVE the 80’s fish song. You youngsters should click for an education about REAL music. Old-timers can reminisce.).
Speaking of reminiscing, I am going to tie two very divergent thoughts together-1970’s Chesapeake Bay, VA and the 2007 Willamette Valley, OR. Bell bottoms meet Gore-tex. What is the common thread?
As a child I'd trek to the mucky flats of the Chesapeake Bay at low tide in search of oysters. Briny. Earthy. Sharp as razors. I’d plod out into the mud flats, the sticky ooze tugging at my Keds. I’d lug back misshapen conglomerates of shells, filling my rusty red wagon with muddy clods of oysters. I'd then head back home, a wagonload of dripping salty brine behind me, and my mom would help me clean the oysters and so we could steam them.
The seaweedy smell of streamed oysters brings me back to my childhood no matter when or where I smell it.
“They say home is where the heart is These green mountains are (not) my home (but they could be).”
I’ve traveled to many places and seen some amazing sights, but what makes a place truly special AND what lures me back time and again are its people. Vermont is one of those rare places that has both natural beauty and genuinely great people.
I am going to take a stab at something I am not really known for- brevity. I am going to set aside my penchant for narrative and just let the photos from my very brief, but jam-packed trip to Vermont speak for themselves. To say the least, Kim assigned me a rather ambitious itinerary. Click on the previous sentence for a perfect example of what I mean! You can see why I was tasting Amrita a 6 in the morning with chef Curtiss Hemm! Thank you again, Kim- REALLY! I have a new marketing idea- “Amrita. It’s not just for breakfast anymore!”
The following is a photo journal of my time in Vermont:
The exterior of Hen of the Wood restaurant- an old grist mill from the 1800s
and the location of my first wine dinner.
A*summer* view from the back patio dining area.
You’ll notice it wasn’t so green when I was there. It is still
an amazing setting in which to dine. The interior is just as dazzling, with its
rough-hewn beams and stone walls.
Chef Eric Warnstedt created edible works of art, paired with
Anne Amie wines selected by William McNeil. I was able to show
up at the restaurant after a long working day and just relax and discuss our wines