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Sokol Blosser Winery

19-Apr-2005

My last winery stop on Friday was at the Sokol Blosser Winery

I was interested in checking out this winery, as the only wine I had tasted was their Evolution, a white blend of nine grapes.

When I arrived I was the only one in the tasting room.  The two women behind the tasting bar were searching for a lost key but quickly greeted me and one set about pouring – as I am writing this I don’t know if they ever found the key or not! :-)

I really didn’t know much about this winery and actually find that I still don’t!  My conversation with the tasting room staff was really about the wines, the weather and other topics of local interest.  I know that the vineyards were planted in the 70s but I’m not sure what year they first released.  I think that they really came into their own when they released Evolution and this year will be their 9th release of that wine.  I liked this winery because it seemed friendly with no hint of pretentiousness.  In fact, while I was there another group came in.  The son was from Portland and his parents had flown in from Indiana, as they were having their purchases boxed for a plane ride.  They had brought along a picnic but with the rain coming and going at will, eating outside was not really feasible – too bad because they had a great deck!  So they found a little corner in the tasting room (with the staff blessing) and sat down for their little feast.  I think the dad was worried about me – he kept offering me food! :-)

Sokol Blosser wines are often found on various recommendation lists and score well in tastings.  I purchased five bottles of wine here but they gave me the 10% six-bottle discount and gave me a free logo glass, which you normally get with a glass of wine purchase.  And I didn’t even ask for anything! With that said, let’s get to the wines!

Sokol Blosser 2002 Pinot Gris:  I was pleasantly surprised with this wine.  I’m not sure why but I expected it to be too sweet but it was quite crisp with apple and citrus.  It left just a hint of flavor in the mouth. It actually reminded me of some of the Sauvignon Blanc out of British Columbia at first taste. I bit grassy. Again, this wine makes me look forward to the summer, sitting on the deck and sipping a chilled glass!

Sokol Blosser Evolution, 8th Edition:  This wine was originally called Evolution #9 but I imagine that name became confusing when they started adding the edition and so they dropped the #9.  It is a blend of nine white grapes: Riesling; Pinot Gris; Semillon; Muller-Thurgau; Gewürztraminer; Muscat; Pinot Blanc; Chardonnay; and Sylvaner.  It’s sort of the mutt of white wines!  The label asks, "Luck?, Intention?"  representing the question people often ask, "Was this just a lucky blend of leftovers or was this a planned blend?".  I’m not sure we will ever know the answer but I do believe this wine has gotten better over time. 

It does change a bit from year to year and I found this year’s release to be a bit drier than I had remembered.  I think one of the reasons this wine has been so popular is that it is very approachable and goes with a wide range of foods.  It is still just a little on the sweet side for my personal taste but I wouldn’t be disappointed if someone presented me with a bottle.  This wine would be great with spicy food and I certainly make my fair share of that!  I did not purchase a bottle for myself but brought one to my sister, as I thought she would enjoy it. 

I’m guessing that this next year’s release might be especially good.  They are making quite a production of the 9th release (9 grapes/9th release) and with the planned publicity I’m sure they will want this wine to really shine. 

Sokol Blosser 2003 Pinot Noir Rose:  I had just a quick sip of this wine as I found it to be too sweet.  I have been searching for good local Roses in the French style and can’t find as many as I think there should be! 

Sokol Blosser 2000 and 2001 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir:  I enjoyed both of these and don’t remember exactly why but I chose the 2000 to purchase.  I think that the 2001 was still just a bit rough around the edges. 

Sokol Blosser 2001 Old Vineyard Pinot Noir:  We had quite a discussion about "old vine" as I had just read recently that to call something old vine it didn’t need to be as old as I thought it should be. :-)  But that’s just me!  And I found it interesting that they call this old "vineyard" not old "vine".  Anyway, no matter what your opinion on the whole topic they are very upfront with what they mean.  The label says the exact number of years which is somewhere in the 35 year range – I can’t remember for sure so I won’t quote it.  The wine was good but I’m not sure it was $50 good. 

Sokol Blosser Meditrina:  Evolution has been so popular that its fans began asking for a red blend, too.  From this request came Meditrina, a blend of Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel.  Meditrina is the Roman Goddess of Wine and Health, or at least that’s what they say!   I think it’s the perfect name for this wine.  The first impression is of an explosion of berries in the mouth!  Lush, lush berries.  They describe the flavor as Marionberry – perfect!  Marionberries were actually developed in Oregon at Oregon State University (OSU) in 1956.  There are various viewpoints of what actually went into the final version but I like the OSU story (bottom of the page).   They are a cross between two types of loganberry and loganberries are a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry.  They are called Marionberries because OSU is in Marion County.  This is a very fruity wine but not cloying with the Zinfandel bringing some tannin to the mix. 

Dagoba Chocolate Bars:  Not long ago I heard about Dagoba Chocolates and they were on my list of places to visit in Portland.  Well, imagine my delight when I noticed a case of chocolate bars on the Sokol Blosser wine tasting bar!  And even more delightful two of the bars were made specifically for Sokol Blosser!  One was the Meditrina, dark chocolate, dried raspberries and rosehips.  We enjoyed some of this chocolate with the bottle of Meditrina we opened at my sister’s house.  Yum! 

Another I picked up is The Noir Bar, made to complement the Pinot Noirs. It is just dark chocolate.  And then I couldn’t miss trying: the Mon Cheri – dark chocolate, sun-dried cherries and cranberries and vanilla; and the Lavender – dark chocolate, blueberries and lavender! 

Next stop:  The Dundee Bistro

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