Over the weekend nine producers from the SE Wine Collective came together to pour their holiday best at the 6th Annual Urban Thanksgiving Celebration.
51 Weeks Winemaking, Laelaps and Stedt greeted guests in the main tasting room bar while Division Winemaking, Gersing Cellars, Ore Winery, Welsh Family Wines, Esper Cellars and Loop de Loop flanked the winery space. Surrounded by wines fermenting in tanks and aging in barrels, winemakers poured for ticket holders and offered up their tasting notes and meal pairings for the anticipated feast to come.
From the 26 poured, here are a few that stood out for me:
51 Weeks – It was a toss up between his 2016 Rosé of Barbera and the 2015 Petit Verdot but, since the nose of his Petit Verdot romanced me with such intensity that it took me a while to even taste it, I’d have to go with the Petit Verdot — a home run for turkey, as well.
Laelaps – Loved the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon and my friend, who is not a red wine drinker, savored the lushness and structure of this Walla Walla beauty but, for the big bird, their 2015 Pinot Noir sourced from Chehalem affords flavors between bright fruit and earthy notes. A table pleaser.
Stedt – The white flower, linen and stone fruit of Chris’s 2016 “Arrowmatic” Gewürztraminer is an aperitif or accompaniment to ham but his 2016 “Impulse” Gamay Noir was spot on with those pepper notes I love in a Gamay.
Division Winemaker – Tom and Kate had some of their 2017 “Nouveau Nouveau” Gamay Noir left over from the Beaujolais Nouveau celebrations. This is not a serious wine but fun in a bottle with fresh and fruity notes and that definitive bubblegum palate. For something a little more serious, I liked the masculine nature of their 2016 Pinot Noir with a little more tannin than Pinots typically express.
Gersing Cellars – I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was disappointed that Jason is out of his Viognier. I loved it and, obviously, so did everyone else. Fortunately, he’s not a one hit wonder. Turkey is traditional but a lot of folks choose prime rib for the thankful table. Jason’s 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon needs a little breathing time and that’s why it’s my pick for prime rib. I have every confidence they’re a match made in Heaven.
Ore Winery – Is anyone else a fan of the original Terminator? Our hero, aka Mike, comes back to the past to save…the world from bad wine. Okay, not the same Mike but…look up shots of Michael Biehn from 1984. It’s uncanny, really. Back to 2017, I loved his articulate tasting notes and have to choose the 2016 Sangiovese as my feast pick. The floral violet nose with sour cherry, and varietally correct leather notes would be wonderful with a hard cheese plate before the big event and side-by-side with gamy flavors of the Thanksgiving table.
Welsh Family Wines – I have a friend whose husband always works on Thanksgiving so their tradition is brunch instead of a large dinner. People go for sparkling wine in the A.M. I say ‘Think Chardonnay’ and the Welsh Family 2015 Chardonnay is a great place to start. It has just enough oak to marry perfectly with egg dishes that play center stage at brunch.
Esper Cellars – This husband and wife team brought three Pinot Noir vintages all sourced from Yamhill-Carlton, presenting a fun learning moment. Although they have very little of it left, the 208 Pinot Noir is my ‘Duh, who wouldn’t pick the nine year-old wine’ choice. The earthiness is so approachable, elegant and velvety, it will be wonderful with turkey, cranberry, green bean dishes, even potato casseroles. For a more fruit-forward (and affordable) option, the 2015 Pinot Noir is showing vibrant notes of red fruit.
Loop de Loop – Julia had what I considered to be the most Burgundian Pinot Noir at the tasting. Her 2016 Pinot Noir “Four Winds Vineyard” was very exciting to me and, according to her, she has a crush on the vineyard. Sitting at the 800-foot elevation with coastal influences, the 100 percent Pommard planted vineyard produces intense Pinots for Crowley Wines, as well. A slam dunk at the Thanksgiving table.
Pip’s Original Doughnuts & Chai food van was also on hand to lend a surprisingly ideal pairing to the array of on point food-friendly wines highlighted. My friend and I went with a selection of cinnamon sugar, honey sea salt, the Dirty Wu (cinnamon, honey, Nutella and sea salt in one) and their seasonal Sweet Potato Pie mini doughnut. Our favorite was unanimous; Raw Honey & Sea Salt…dreaming of a dozen of these little wonders right now!
SE Wine Collective is open Monday and Wednesday, so there’s still time to pick up a few of the above bottles and toast with family and friends to all the things you’re thankful for this time of the year. Cheers!