2012 Cowhorn, Syrah 20, $48
Winery info: After Bill and Barbara Steele purchased their southern Oregon property in 2002, they discovered that parts of the site had very similar characteristics to that of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and proceeded to plant southern Rhône grape varietals, with great success. They farm completely biodynamically and are Demeter certified
Winemakers: Bill and Barbara Steele
Grapes: 100% Syrah, aged 10 months in 40% new French oak.
Vineyard source: Blocks 1 and 5 from their estate vineyard in southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley.
Flavor profile: The warm, sunny 2012 vintage added aromas and flavors of blue fruit, warm earth, and spice to this Syrah. It is rich and complex, with silky tannins and supple layers of flavor.
Production/Availability: 550 cases.
Drinkability: Delicious now, although it will continue to reveal its many layers over the coming decade.
Food Pairing: The winery suggests pairing it with Boeuf Bourguignon or grilled burgers with caramelized onions, blue cheese, and arugula
2014 St. Innocent, Momtazi Pinot Noir, $35
Winery info: Founded in 1988 by Mark Vlossak who is still at the helm today. His winemaking goal is to create wines that display their provenance: the site’s terroir, the character of the vintage, and the personality of the winemaker.
Winemaker: Mark Vlossak
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, from the warm 2014 vintage
Vineyard source: Momtazi, a bio-dynamically farmed vineyard in the McMinnville appellation in the northern Willamette Valley. Located high above a warm valley and influenced by coastal winds blowing through the Van Duzer corridor, it tends to produce more intense wines, with dark fruit, rich tannins, and a strong sense of terroir. Fruit for this wine comes from four steep, exposed windblown blocks at the top of the vineyard.
Flavor profile: Excellent structure, balance, and texture are the hallmarks of this Pinot. It has complex flavors of dark fruit and savory spices, with hints of the rustic soils and wildness of its vineyard source.
Production/Availability: 1446 cases
Drinkability: Decant one to two hours before serving. You could age this wine up to 12 years.
Food Pairing: Mark’s labels always say it best. Braised meats, roasts, mushroom dishes, or dishes flavored with eastern spices.