Wednesday, July 23, 2014


As you may have noticed, the warm days have resulted in more summer fun and less blog posting. After a brief hiatus, however, we are back – (1) because someone may have missed these posts and (2) because we have something to say that may interest those who are interested in wine.

Recently, I discovered a documentary on Netflix called SOMM. This film, which follows several candidates on their journey as they prepare for the Master Sommelier exam, is eye-opening to say the least. Check out the trailer at

First of all, these guys are unbelievable. Just by tasting a wine they can identify the varietal, the region, the year and, in some cases, even the vineyard! This is serious business.

Think about it…When you taste a wine what does it tell you? Well, for most of us, after a taste, we can label it as either “This wine is good” or “I don’t like this wine”. Beyond that, we rely on the back of the bottle or the barkeep to inform us of the subtle flavors relentlessly pursued by the vintner, or a witty story about the vineyard, or even a description of how the wine compares to other wines.

Also, SOMM provides some insight into the complexity of the wine business. There are thousands of vineyards, and there are over 10,000 varieties of wine grapes. The taste and quality of a wine are influenced by the region of the world, the soil type, the amount of sunlight, the temperature during the growing season, etc. Oh, and then you have to consider the processes that occur after harvest and during the bottling process. Is the wine aged in steel or oak? Which type of oak? How long is it aged? The questions and combinations are seemingly endless. Then once the wine reaches your table, the type of food you pair it with and the temperature at which it is served also impact the taste and, ultimately, your enjoyment of the wine.

Thankfully, however, we do not have to be sommeliers to enjoy a nice glass of wine! However, if your inner oenophile (that’s a fancy word for wine aficionado) is anxious to explore some new wines, check out our new Italian wines, the new Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley, OR, and the new Blanc de Blanc from France.

Here’s a little bit more detail about one of our new Italian wines. These are available by the bottle for a limited time only.

2013 Cantina Altarocca Orvieto Classico Superiore Arcosesto:
What a name?! This Orvieto (style of wine) is a white blend produced in the Umbria region of Italy. This region lies between Florence and Rome, and it is the only Italian region without a coastline or a common border with a neighboring country. The winery, Cantina Altarocca, sits at the top of a hill and is both a winery and a hotel.

The wines are produced using the traditional methods. All grapes are hand-picked and the vines are watered by natural aquifers in the soil. With a focus on the environment and sustainability, this vineyard is pursuing organic farming techniques.

The wine itself is a blend of grechetto, procanico and mavasia grapes. The grapes are harvested in September and undergo a light press “with contact with the skins for 12-18 hours at a controlled temperature. Separation of the must and cold decanting for cleaning. Alcoholic fermentation at a maximum temperature of 16o in stainless steel containers, using variety and aromatic yeasts.” – Process courtesy of

Most importantly, however, this wine is good! It is perfect for a hot summer day. It is very light, and, in my opinion, has a slight hint of ripe pears. Serve cold (50-54oF) as a lovely refreshment or enjoy with light appetizers or fish/chicken.

Explore your inner artist (or oenophile), and stop by today and buy a bottle.

Paint your day!

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