Meet Your Wine Tour Guide

“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

Scroll

Your Wine Tour Guide: Kevin

Oregon Wine2Vine Tour Guide

Your Wine Tour Guide: Kevin

My interest in wine started back in 1995. A friend of mine made great home-brew but would always have me try a bottle of wine he liked when I was over at his house. He gave me a Merlot from Chile one day that I really liked (I usually preferred his home-brew). That bottle got me curious about the world of wine and motivated me to learn more about it. Over the last 19 years I have experienced many enjoyable events involving wine.

My interest in wine started back in 1995. A friend of mine made great home-brew but would always have me try a bottle of wine he liked when I was over at his house. He gave me a Merlot from Chile one day that I really liked (I usually preferred his home-brew). That bottle got me curious about the world of wine and motivated me to learn more about it. Over the last 19 years I have experienced many enjoyable events involving wine.

I worked the harvest at Ponzi winery in 2007 for my first professional wine experience. I sorted fruit, controlled temperature of tanks, punched down Pinot Noir, helped in the vineyard and bottling line – pretty much every aspect of wine making. Ponzi used native yeast, cold soaked for two-three days and punched down two-three times per day with fermentation temperatures topping around 88 degrees. I learned a lot working with Luisa Ponzi. She is a second generation winemaker following in the steps of her father Dick (one of the original vintners in Oregon back in the early 1970’s). After working at Ponzi I worked in the tasting room at Oregon’s largest winery, King Estate. I have had a taste of the harvest and a taste of the tasting room. I have seen a larger production with King Estate and a smaller production with Ponzi. I understand why larger operations have to do certain things to maintain consistency due to such a large volume and I appreciate the smaller places who ferment small bins one at a time.

My Uncle Rich (fellow blog denizen below) exposed me to the best of Burgundy in 2009 attending Martin Weiner’s tasting. I tried Richbourg, Dujak, Leroy – many of the big names in Burgundy where bottles ranged from $120-$2,200. I have always loved Pinot Noir but the intensity of the aromatics, complexity on the palate and the length of finish of some of these wines blew me away.

While working at King Estate people from all over the world would stop by for a tour and/or a wine tasting. Many people were visiting other wineries as well while visiting Oregon wine country and would often ask for suggestions on where to visit. I went wine tasting every few weeks so I had experienced many of the tasting rooms in the Willamette Valley. I also had my own opinions on what I thought were the best wines and the best tasting experiences. I would often hand out my business card to people who were going to visit wineries I suggested. Of the people who emailed me back most of them suggested that I should be taking people to these wineries and how they had an incredible experience. After hearing that for a couple of years I started Oregon Vine2Wine Tours.

I have had the opportunity to taste many world class wines from Oregon over the years. I tend to enjoy the minimalist style where the grapes show a sense of place. I tend to shy away from wines that emphasize extraction or use oak to mask the fruit. In my opinion it gets the wine out of balance and takes away any chance of pairing it with food. Wines that are highly rated by some critics don’t always do it for me because many critics often enjoy lush, over extracted wines – many of which have seen extensive time in oak barrels. I have been fortunate enough to taste some of the best of Burgundy (Richbourg, Leroy, Dujac), some of the best Pinot Noir in California (Littorai, Copain, Siduri), my favorite Pinot Noir in Oregon (Walter Scott, Evesham Wood, Bethel Heights, Brooks, Brigadoon) and many other great wines. In the old world (Italy, France) wine is enjoyed with food as a meal. Wines tend to be higher in acidity and not as extracted so they pair well with lunch or dinner. Once you experience the marriage of food and wine you will never look at wine the same.

My favorite wine style shows a balance, leaning towards the austere, more acidic side. Pinot Noir is my favorite red grape and Riesling is my favorite white. Chardonnay is something I have recently fell in love with, especially Chablis and White Burgundy in France. Oregon is now making some of the best Chardonnay in the world, its not the buttery, ripe style that you tend to find in California. I find these grapes to be the most food friendly. Tempranillo from the Umpqua Valley is another grape that pairs well with cheese, charcuterie and barbecued meats.

When I judge a wine, I use the typical 100 point system where a 90 is like an A and an 80 is like a B. I won’t score a wine that is less than 80 – it is either incorrect for the varietal, over manipulated or has an obvious flaw. I tend to be a little tough with my scores.

Fellow Blog Denizen and wine Connoisseur: Rich

I live in San Pedro, California. I began my education in good and great wine in 1980 by taking UCLA extension classes in wine appreciation that were taught by Nathan Chroman who ran the wine judging for the Los Angeles County Fair and also was the wine columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He told us that drinking better wine will make us want to eat better food. After Nathan’s classes on wine, I took the wine education classes offered by the The Wine House in Los Angeles. These classes were very informative since they not only allowed us to learn about wine regions from around the world and taste their wines but also understand how to pair wines with food by learning how their components interact with food. Although I learned a lot about wine through taking the Wine House’s classes, I had never tasted the greatest and most expensive wines in the world until I attended the wine tastings put on by Martin Weiner of the Los Angeles School of Wines . We would taste the great grand cru wines of Bordeaux(Margaux, Haut-Brion, Latour,etc), Burgundy(LeRoy, Romanee-Conte, Comte de Vogue, etc), Rhone(Chapoutier, Guigal, Chave, Beaucastel, etc), Alsace(dry riesling, pinot gris and gewurtztraminer), Germany(riesling), and Italy(nebbiolo and sangiovese). These tastings now cost about $600 each and include a dinner that matches food with a wine being tasted along with cheeses that go with the wines. All of these tastings and wine education classes emphasize the importance of matching food to wine. But the best wine tastings I’ve gone to are those from The Wine Country in Signal Hill owned by Randy Kemner. His primary emphasis is on tasting wines that go well with food
(drinking great wine) and are typically the lower priced wines. He writes a very informative newsletter.

Close

Sign in

Close

Cart (0)

Cart is empty No products in the cart.

Vine2Wine

Oregon Wine Tasting Tours