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Pinot Briefs —Newsletter 7.16

Sideways Still Creating a Stir Rex Pickett has now taken his Pinot loyalty to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Pickett headed to Oregon’s Willamette Valley to golf, but as reported in the March/April 2009 issue of Travel and Leisure Gold, he managed to make the rounds of several top Oregon Pinot Noir producers. When interviewed by Katherine Cole for The Oregonian (February 25, 2009), Pickett said, “I think the Willamette Valley is way beyond Santa Ynez. I frankly think those wines (from Santa Ynez) are overpriced. They’ll kill me for saying this, but that movie gave them a real boon and I’m not sure they really deserved it. They don’t make bad wines, but I was really stuck by the people up in Oregon who are not in it for the money but for the craft of winemaking.” Apparently Pickett has written a sequel to Sideways called “The Road Back,” which features Miles as a successful writer and Jack on the skids after a divorce The two of them head to Oregon to the IPNC.

J Vineyards & Winery Launches New Labels The yellow “J” logo has been an icon for more than 20 years representing both varietal and sparkling bottlings from J Vineyards & Winery. Beginning with the 2007 vintage lineup of six Pinot Noirs (and 2008 Pinot Gris and Vin Gris and 2007 Chardonnay) J’s varietal wine releases will have a new “J Vineyards” brand name with a more traditional wine bottle label that is sleek and modern sans the “J.” The introduction of “J Vineyards” as the brand name signifies owner Judy Jordan’s commitment to estate grown wines with a special emphasis on Pinot Noir. J’s estate acreage includes more than 20 different soil types, multiple rootstocks and 15 clones of Pinot Noir.

WineRelease.com This site is an excellent information source of winery’s and winery releases. Created by Neil Monnens, it now includes release schedules for 1,319 wineries. The monthly newsletter is free at www.winerelease.com. A recent subscriber survey composed of 500 subscribers to the site’s newsletter were reported. There were a number of very interesting findings. Not surprisingly, 68% of responders said their monthly wine budget was decreasing. 77% admit to wine critic scores influencing their wine buying. Of the many wine review sources, the highest confidence was with The Wine Advocate (Robert Parker), followed by Wine Spectator, the International Wine Cellar (Steve Tanzer) and Burghound (Allen Meadows). The remainder of wine review sources such as Wine Enthusiast and Wine & Spirits had low confidence levels. Wine Spectator has the highest subscriber rate at 84% followed by The Wine Advocate at 54%.

Red Wine Increases Female Libido A study from Santa Maria Nuova Hospital in Florence found that drinking one to two glasses of red wine a day increased female sex drive and women who drank one to two glasses of wine a day were found to be more sexually active than those who abstain. Unfortunately, alcohol may increase the desire but decrease the ability to have orgasms in both men and women. The “brewer’s droop” is a common term referring to the impotence that may follow drinking alcohol in males. Woman may find sexual desires heightened through removal of inhibitions but too much wine or alcohol makes it less like that she will have an orgasm as well.

AlaWine.com This is a very interesting website that comes out of Sonoma County. The “Super-Award- Winning” wines (Best of Show, Sweepstakes Winners, Best of Class, Best of Varietal, Double Gold Medal) from regional, national and international wine competitions are posted. In wine competitions, these “Super Award” winners are the wines that you should pay the most attention to. Judging at major wine competitions is notoriously fraught with inconsistencies and errors but at the “Super Award” level the awards represent a consensus of the judging panels and thus have significant validity. The site’s host, “KenW,” also reviews a number of the “Super Award” wines. The site contains a ranking of wine blogs and a search engine for 600 wine blogs. Visit www.alawine.com.

Vintronix Tasting Device Oregon Wine Press ran a hilarious spoof titled “Taste with Confidence” in their April issue (www.oregonwinepress.com) to commemorate Aprils Fool’s Day. The purported Vintronix hand-held device is inserted in a glass of wine and gives an instant numerical wine score based on the 100-point system. The device is reportedly a godsend for those who feel they lack expertise in judging wine. “Many times I have enjoyed a nice glass of wine only to later find that it had scored poorly. This can be embarrassing.” Testing with the Vintronix found that Oregon Pinot Noir was superior to Burgundy PInot Noir. An advanced tester (the “Vin-Magician”) is being developed that will allow winemakers to find out scores directly from barrel!

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