Nov 29, 2013

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Glorious Rosemary and a Pinot Noir Named Gratitude

Tday table top view from aboveThankful for the over-sized bush of aromatic, year-round Rosemary in my back yard, I was able to give a naturally rustic look to my Thanksgiving dining room table; as well as, add delectable flavor in my Roasted Turkey with Rosemary-Garlic Butter Rub and whip some delicious savoriness into the Mushroom and Rosemary Stuffing.   To complete the theme, I used rosemary colored napkins, rattan woven place mats, Oregon Myrtlewood bowls, birch wood-wrapped candles and a big bowl of fresh cranberries to add a pop of red color to the mix – all contributing to that naturally rustic, yet refined, feel that made the entire house smell wonderful.

I was also thankful for my bottle of Blogger’s Blend No. 5 R. Stuart & Co. 2011 Gratitude Pinot Noir.  Blended by me, along with three stellar women wine writers and bloggers, Kelsey Ivey of OregonWinette, Michele Francisco of WineRabble and Lorie Perrone of WiningWays, our bottle of Pinot Noir was absolutely perfect with Thanksgiving dinner.  Aromas and flavors of cranberries, raspberries and sweet-ripe cherries were highlighted by earth and fall spices.  Well integrated fine tannins created a smooth mouthfeel, and the finish had lively acidity and subtle spice that designed an elegant, food-friendly, delicious Thanksgiving wine.

Tday table top settingHow did the four of us wine enthusiast writers accomplish blending our very own Pinot Noir?  With the help of super-star winemaker Rob Stuart and his wife, Maria, of R. Stuart & Co., during a special Blogger’s Blending experience during the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference.  A select group of wine bloggers were invited visit McMinnville’s R. Stuart & Co., located in the historic Granary District, to not only check-out their top-of-the-line facilities and taste their wines, but to blend our very own wines.

After enjoying an array of excellent small bites and R. Stuart & Co. wines (including wine from both their Big Fire label and R. Stuart label), we gathered in the barrel room where five tables were filled with equipment necessary for blending wine.  Also in the barrel room were six wine barrels that contained single vineyard 2011 vintage Pinot Noirs from six Willamette Valley vineyards: Elkhorn Ridge, Daffodil Hill, Temerperance Hill, Courting Hill, Hirschy and Weber.  Straight out of the barrel, we sampled each of the six Pinot Noirs and then headed to our tables to begin blending percentages of our chosen wines to create a wine that defined our palates’ preferences.

Blogger's Blend labelAt the end of the class, we were asked to give descriptors of our wine and give it a name.  I can’t remember who came up with the name Gratitude, but because our final blended wine reminded us of Fall spices and Thanksgiving dinner – it was ultimately the perfect name.  Rob and Maria bottled our wines and then sent them to us about six months later.  Each of us four gals, without knowing the others were doing the same thing (until we all caught up on Twitter two days ago), opened a bottle of our Blogger’s Blend Gratitude 2011 Pinot Noir for yesterday’s big feast.

With my tasting notes above, I was surprised to see how similar Kelsey’s tasting notes were.  Visit Kelsey’s post on her website to read her thoughts on our blend: 2011 R. Stuart Blogger’s Blend.  Once Lorrie and Michele post theirs, I’ll add them into this piece.

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with spectacular wine, food, aromas, family and friends.  I’m most thankful for the three guys in my life that mean more than anything in the world to me: my husband, Joe, and our two sons.  And, of course, everlasting gratitude for good health, happiness, wonderful family and friends – and living in the heart of the breathtaking, beautiful and truly bountiful Willamette Valley.  Many thanks to Rob and Maria Stuart for the opportunity to blend an incredibly delicious Pinot Noir – good times with Lorie, Michele and Kelsey.

Blogger's Blend back label