Pali Wine Co Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012

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I tasted my first Pali Pinot Noir earlier this week. The Pali Alphabets is
a Pinot Noir made with Willamette Valley fruit. I highly recommend it. One of the best $20 value Pinot Noirs out there right now. I would hunt down the 2012 which was a premier vintage for Willamette Valley. I love the bright strawberry/soft cherry fruit & mild baking spice on the palate.

I am totally jealous of the owners of Pali Wine Co., Tim Perr & Scott Knight. These guys caught the Pinot Noir bug & decided to start a winery in 2005. They set a goal of tracking down the best fruit from various regions in California to create top notch Pinot Noir. They later branched out to make Oregon Pinot Noir. Can you imagine having a bottle of Pinot Noir with your dinner and saying
“hmm wonder where that fruit comes from? Shea Vineyard? Where is that? Oregon?” Google Shea Vineyard. Pick up the phone: “Hello, is this Dick Shea? I just had a bottle of Bergstrom Pinot Noir and it was stunning. I have a winery in Lompoc, CA & would love to make a Shea Pinot Noir. Can I buy some of your grapes?”

Shea Vineyard has been described as a “Grand Cru” vineyard in Oregon. The US does not actually classify vineyards. France is the only country that does. The French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) oversees the Vineyard Classifications. The various grape growing regions in France have regional classifications: Burgundy has Premier Cru & Grand Cru at the highest level. It doesn’t necessarily indicate wine quality but it defines a vineyard with great potential. The condition or terroir of the vineyard is extremely favorable for grape growth. Shea Vineyard is one such vineyard in Oregon. The grapes from Shea are highly sought after by some of the premier winemakers in the US.

There is an organization called the American Grand Cru Society. Their website states “Our purpose is to offer consumer wine education based on vineyard and varietal place of origin, and the specific wine qualities and characteristics that are so expressed.” The organization is spearheading a movement to classify vineyards in the US. A group of wine industry leaders and experts have nominated vineyards that they feel qualify for Grand Cru status. It seems like a admirable movement to me.

Pali Alphabets Pali Shea

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Trata at the Armory

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We ate dinner at Trata at the Armory on Sunday evening. It was my first time there. I read all the reviews on Yelp which appeared to be mixed. I was excited to see the space as I have always been intrigued by the Armory building. I remember skating at Cobbs Hill as a child and looking over at the mystery building. I was always curious about the fact that “prisoners” were housed there before I was born.

I never saw the “before” pictures but I have to believe the building was in horrible condition. The renovated space is impressive. I loved the industrial vibe of the décor. It is worth a visit just to check out the architecture. The bar is spacious and very inviting. Our server couldn’t be more friendly and accommodating. I found the wine by the glass menu to be a huge disappointment. She poured me a taste of the Irony Pinot Noir from California ($8/glass). It had no resemblance to a Pinot Noir…perhaps the winery added some Syrah to the blend. I moved on to the LZ Rioja from Spain (Tempranillo grape). At $10/glass it was not much better. I had really wanted to order a bottle of red wine as the bottle choices were much better. Four other people were joining us and I wasn’t sure if they would prefer one of the vast beers on the menu or a cocktail. I wish I had gone with the bottle. Luck would have it that they all wanted red wine so I pushed my Rioja aside and ordered a bottle of the Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon ($50). It was a winner. It was an excellent choice with everyone’s burgers..not so great with my fish tacos. There were some other decent wines on the menu for less money. I just don’t understand why a restaurant with seemingly sophisticated taste would choose to have such uninteresting wines by the glass? I would probably hesitate to meet anyone for a drink at Trata as there were no reds by the glass that I would enjoy. Let’s hope they bring in some better choices: Chinon (Cabernet Franc) from France; A to Z Pinot Noir from Oregon perhaps; Cotes du Rhone from France; Italian Cabernet Sauvignon/Sangiovese Blend…