2012 Elk Cove Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

Wine of the Week – 2012 Elk Cove Pinot Noir

Mark my words, the 2012 vintage in Oregon has yielded some of the most stylish and attractive Pinot Noirs produced in the state since the highly esteemed 2008 vintage.  How do I know?  Because I was just there less than a month ago, and I tasted close to 100 Pinots from the vintage.  The 2012 Elk Cove Pinot Noir is one of the best your money can buy.  At less than $30/bottle (and as low as $23.99), it “behaves” like many of the wines I tasted that cost 2 to 3 times the price!

Elk Cove was founded in 1974 by Pat and Joe Campbell on an old abandoned and overgrown homestead in the foothills of the Coast Range Mountains.  They were among an early group of bold, brave, and ambitious producers to put vines down in Oregon.  Everyone that knew anything about wine at the time advised them against it, saying Oregon was too cold and too wet to support the vine.  The Campbells, along with their five children, fearlessly moved forward with their project, and we’re glad they did.  Forty years later, Elk Cove is considered one of the finest wineries in the state, and it’s still family owned and operated.  These days, Joe and Pat’s son Adam oversees all aspects of the winery, from farming to winemaking.  He’s proud, he’s methodical, and his attention to detail ensures quality from vine to bottle.

Every respected wine writer and periodical in the country has rated the 2012 vintage in Oregon favorably; Wine Spectator said “ideal conditions produced generous wines.”  Warmer and sunnier than usual, the 2012’s possess darker colors, riper flavors, and more concentrated personalities than what is usually encountered in Oregon.  Elk Cove’s Pinot is all of that and then some!  It pours a lovely, dark ruby color and the bouquet is marked by a mix of ripe cherry, strawberry, and dark raspberry. As the wine breathes, more brown spice and earth notes arise.  On the palate, the wine is medium bodied and the texture is pure silk.  The flavors are of red berries, black tea and earthy spice, and the finish goes on and on for at least 30 seconds. Drink this lovely wine now with wild salmon, roast chicken or pork tenderloin, or cellar for 5 to 7 years.

If you know me, you know I’m a “Pinot Devotee,” and this is one of the best under $30 Oregon Pinots I’ve encountered in my 16 year career.  Stop by and pick some up or you can call us at 828.505.8588 or email us and we’ll set some aside for you for up to a week. Cheers and happy drinking and eating!

On Sale Through 7/23
Or as long as supplies last!

Regular Price: $29.99/bottle

Buy 3 Bottles: $26.99 (10% off)

Buy 6 Bottles: $25.49 (15% off)

Buy 12 Bottles: $23.99 (20% off)

Maysara Winery Tasting – Thursday, June 6th., 2013 – 5-7 pm

Come get to know the wines of Maysara Winery, one of Oregon’s top rising star producers, at a drop-in tasting on Thursday, June 6th from 5 to 7 pm.  Actually, it’s kind of hard to call Maysara a “rising star” considering the fact that their 2009 Estate Cuvée was #14 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list.  We’ll be letting you try the 2010 version of that same wine, which now goes by the name “Cyrus”……….it’s all ready received a 91 point score from the Wine Advocate!  Moe and Flora Momtazi purchased a rugged, rocky parcel of land in 1997 and put their heart and soul into turning it into a vineyard.  With lots of blood, sweat and tears they established their vineyard and released their first wines in 2001 to much early critical praise.  Today, the Momtazi Vineyard is certified biodynamic and a number of highly acclaimed wineries purchase fruit from the Momtazis.  Moe and Flora are aided in their work by their three beautiful daughters, so this is a true family affair and one we are proud to support.

That's Naseem in the middle with her sister Tahmiene (winemaker) on the left and her other sister Hanna (Sales) to the right.

That’s Tahmiene on the left with her sister Naseem (Sales/Marketing) in the middle and her other sister Hanna (Sales) to the right.

We’ll be joined by the beautiful Tahmiene Momtazi, winemaker, who will pour two whites and four Pinot Noirs from her family’s selection of wines.  She will be able to answer any of your questions and speak to you in depth about the wines she crafts.  If you are a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir, you don’t want to miss this tasting!  $10/person…..$8 for Grape Nuts

The Wines You’ll Get To Try

1. 2012 Pinot Gris “Arsheen”
Just plain delicious, Maysara’s only Pinot Gris is bright and exuberant with great freshness and concentration.  Tropical fruits, Asian pear and citrus notes permeate the nose and creamy palate of this delicious wine.

2. 2011 White Pinot Noir
This wine is a mystery as they don’t mention it on their website?????  I’ve had one of this type before from Domaine Serene, and it was awesome.  Let’s hope this one is similar.

3. 2011 Pinot Noir “3 Degrees”
Three Degrees is a deep cherry color, with a core of dark cherries, blackberries, raspberries, red liquorices and with a touch of nutmeg in the aromatics. In the beginning of the mouth there is a touch of white pepper and lush summer cherries that finishes off the palate.

4. 2009 Pinot Noir “Jamsheed”
This is everything Oregon Pinot Noir should be, without costing an arm and a leg.  It Offers density, richness and depth without much weight, weaving earthy, spicy notes through the dark blueberry and plum flavors, lingering softly.  91 points Wine Spectator

5. 2010 Pinot Noir “Cyrus”
This wine will absolutely make you take notice, as it combines elegance with intensity and complexity with accessibility.  100% estate fruit from the Momtazi Vineyard, from the highest and lowest portions, it is the perfect yin/yang wine.  If that sounds like gibberish, just come try the stuff! 91 points – Wine Advocate

6. 2009 Pinot Noir “Asha”
As you move up the Maysara “ladder of Pinot Noir”, the fruit gets more intense and the oak aging longer.  The Asha sees 2 years aging in French oak, with 40% of it being new.  Just 580 cases of this were made and it is sleek, with refined tannins and silky texture supporting ripe blueberry, mineral and licorice flavors.
91 points Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator

All wines will be offered at 10% off by the bottle, 15% off in mixed six packs and 20% off in mixed cases.

Table Wine Asheville - Pacific Northwest Wine Tasting

Pacific-Northwest Wine Exploration – “545” Wine Tasting – Friday, March 8, 2013 – 4:00 to 7:00

The best way to learn about wine is to taste it!  This Friday at our “545” Wine Tasting (Try 5 wines for $5), the discussion and tasting will focus on the wines made in the states of Oregon and Washington, aka the Pacific Northwest.  If you think the types and styles of wines are the same in each state, think again.  Each of these two states enjoys a history and legacy all their own.

We’ll be at the bar  pouring and talking to you about the “wine culture” of each of the states and how they are different.  From the smooth and earthy Pinot Noirs from Oregon to the dark fruited and structured Cab and Merlot based wines from Washington, you’ll leave the store more educated and in the know when it comes to Pacific/Northwest wines.  Please understand that if you arrive after 6:30, we might be out of some of the wines and new bottles will not be opened.  Thanks for understanding.

$5/person…..Free for Grape Nuts

Guild winemaking team.

The Guild winemaking team, with John Grochau on the right.


The Wines
Prices range from $15 to $24

1. 2011 Guild Lot #6 White Wine
Guild” is a cooperative of Portland, Oregon vintners who create delicious and affordable wines together.  This white is a dry blend of 85% Pinot Gris and 15% Riesling from Washington’s Columbia Valley.  It is sunshine in a bottle!

2. 2011 Chehalem Chemistry White Wine
You gotta’ love the creative spirit of the Oregon wine community and this wine is one of the results.  A blend of Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, it is a slightly sweet white wine abounding with fresh orchard fruits, spice and floral notes.

3. 2009 Van Duzer Pinot Noir “Vintner’s Cuvée”
Great producer, great vintage, great wine!  From a warm and sunny vintage, this is ripe, nicely textured and ripely fruited Willamette Valley Pinot Noir at a super price.

4. 2010 Guild Lot #6 Red Wine
This one is a stunner……….to us!  A blend of 67% Syrah, 19% Counoise, 5% Mourvedre, 5% Grenache and 4% Viognier, it is plump and richly fruited with additional nuance of smoky coffee, pepper and roasted herb.  Get ready to fire up the grill and make sure you have plenty of this on hand.

5. 2009 Grochau Cellars Red Wine
Some of you might have had this at some point, but it never hurts to see how a wine evolves, even if just over the course of a few months.  John Grochau, an up and comer based in Portland, makes this meritage, based on a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec.  It is solid from top to bottom with a nice core of dark berry fruit topped with shadings of earth and toasty oak.

Elk Cove Vineyards Tasting

Elk Cove is one of Oregon’s oldest and most respected producers and we are excited to host a special, seated tasting of their finest wines.  National Sales Manager Todd Stewart will be on hand on Thursday, November 1 from 7-9 p.m. to present the wines and answer any questions you might have about them.  We can take 28 for this intimate, educational and fun event where you will get to sample nine of the estate’s wines.  The cost to attend is $15/person 0r $12 if you’re a Grape Nut and RSVP and pre-payment are required please.

Light palate cleansers will be offered as well.  Call us at 828.505.8588 to reserve your spot.

Here are the wines you will get to try.  Keep in mind that all of these would make great accompaniments to your Thanksgiving dinners! 

1. 2010 Riesling Willamette Valley 

2. 2011 Pinot Blanc Willamette Valley 

3. 2011 Pinot Gris Willamette Valley 

4. 2010 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 

5. 2010 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley “Mt. Richmond”  

6. 2010 Pinot Noir “Five Mountain”  

7. 2010 Pinot Noir “Roosevelt” 

8. 2010 Syrah Rogue Valley  

9. 2008 Ultima Dessert Wine

Patricia Green Pinot Noir Tasting


In my opinion as well as that of many wine writers, Patty Green makes some of Oregon’s best Pinot Noirs.  Her specialty is small lot, handcrafted wines from specific vineyard sites, and her wines enjoy a cult-like following.  I always find her wines to be slightly Burgundian in character, with beautiful aromatics and just the right amount of funk to make them interesting.

Patty Green preparing for a wine tasting.

Patty preparing to pour her wines.

For this special tasting on Monday, March 5 from 7 to 9 p.m., we’ll be joined by winery co-owner Jim Anderson who will be here to discuss the wines, the vineyards and their philosophy.  This will be a wonderful opportunity to taste and evaluate the difference that “site” plays in the flavor of a wine – these are all Pinot Noirs but from different vineyard sites and they all taste very different.

We have enough wine to take a total of 40 folks for this casual, drop-in style tasting and all of the wines will be available for purchase at substantially discounted prices.  The cost for the tasting is $5/person or it’s free if you are a Grape Nut!  Please call us at 828.505.8588 to reserve your spot.


1. 2010 Reserve Pinot Noir – 2,915 cases made


2. 2010 Estate Pinot Noir – 1,285 cases made


3. 2010 “Bishop’s Creek” Pinot Noir – 414 cases made


4. 2010 “Four Winds” Pinot Noir – 375 cases made


5. 2010 Estate Pinot Noir “Old Vine” – 682 cases made

A Pacific-Northwest Wine Down

Friday, July 29 at Table Wine from 4 to 7 p.m. 
$5 per person – free for Grape Nuts – fee includes light palate cleansers 

 Table Wine is South Asheville’s top place to taste and buy wine, and we’re excited about this upcoming event where we’ll focus on the wines of Oregon and Washington.  We’ll sample 6 to 8 wines and will be joined by guitar phenomenon and wine salesman Tom Leiner of Grapevine Distributing.

From Oregon Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris to Washington Merlot and Syrah, we’ll provide you with the opportunity to taste and understand why certain grapes thrive in these states while others don’t.  Take a look at the lineup and Tom will bring a couple of surprises as well!

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Oregon's Willamette Valley

 1. 2010 Arbor Brook Pinot Gris Willamette Valley, Oregon –  Owned and operated by Dave and Mary Hansen, ArborBrook is located within the Chehalem Mountains AVA in the foothills of the Chehalem Mountain range outside of Newberg, Oregon.  This stainless fermented Pinot Gris captures the unique influence of the site of the Croft Vineyard, rising up into the foothills of the coastal range in rural Polk County, near Monmouth, Oregon. The refreshing nose draws you in with crisp pear, tropical fruit, subtle lemon and a hint of honey suckle. In the palate you continue to be captivated by the crisp pear and a strong influence of stone fruits, followed by a wonderful mineral component that is well-balanced with acidity and freshness for a long, bright finish.

2. 2008 Foris Vineyards Gewurztraminer Rogue Valley, Oregon – When Ted Gerber planted his first vines in 1974, he had the passion and courage to develop premium Pinot Noir and Alsace varietal vineyards in the remote southwest corner of Oregon.  This is textbook Gewurztraminer with off-the-charts aromatics.  Citrus blossom, orange peel, wildflower honey and a hint of nutmeg are aromatically enticing. Beautifully balanced flavors of pineapple, guava, nectarine and a trace of ginger spice are rich yet restrained, opulent, but not over the top.

3. 2009 King’s Ridge Pinot Noir Oregon – Kings Ridge Wines is owned by Union Wine Company, a partnership created by two veterans of the Oregon wine industry brought together by a personal passion for well valued wine and a joint philosophy that the best wines are a union of gifted winemaking skills and precise farming techniques in the vineyard.  The nose on the 2009 Pinot Noir is loaded with rich dark cherry, plum and toasted hazelnuts. These inviting aromas seamlessly connect to the smooth, rich mouth feel, filled with freshly picked blackberry and plum flavors. The wine is loaded with fruit, which extends into a long finish with fine tannins that give complexity and structure to this wine.

4. 2009 Patricia Green Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, Oregon – Patricia Green Cellars is located in the Ribbon Ridge district of Yamhill County on the 52 acre estate purchased in 2000 by Patty Green and Jim Anderson. The winery, and thus the two friends, are noted for producing a tremendously broad selection of Pinot Noirs from far flung vineyards representing some of the better sites in the Ribbon Ridge, Dundee Hills, Chehalem Mountains, and the Eola Hills growing regions.  This is just classic Pinot Noir with silky tannins, lots of ripe red fruits and earthy spice.

5. 2009 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red Columbia Valley, Washington – Founded in 1998 by Ron and Jamie Coleman, Tamarack Cellars is dedicated to the production of small lot, hand-crafted wines from select vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley, Rattle Snake Hills, Horse Heaven Hills, Wahluke Slope, Yakima Valley, Red Mountain and Columbia Valley appellations.   Their Firehouse Red is sort of their “kitchen sink cuvée” being that it is a blend of mainly Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, with smaller amounts of Merlot, Cab Franc, Zin, Malbec, Sangiovese and a few others.  It is jammy, juicy and smooth with ripe fruit, toasty oak and an overall friendly personality.

6. 2008 Hyatt Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Rattlesnake Hills, Washington – Founded in 1983, Hyatt Cellars is a small, family owned winery that is producing some of our country’s finest values.  For the money, this is a lot of wine showing classic Washington notes of blueberry, blackberry, black cherry and smoky herbs.  It is a stunning value!

7. 2008 Owen Roe Syrah “Lenore” Columbia Valley, Washington – Owen Roe makes about 50 different wines with purchased fruit from some of the top vineyards and growers in Washington and Oregon.  This is one of the top values produced by the winery, and if you’re not “onto” Washington Syrah, you should know that it’s what all of the cool kids are drinking these days.  The wine has great spice, bright fruit, deep purple hues, and gorgeous texture and is really a steal for the quality it delivers.