Posts Filed Under on the road

The Good Sh*t (Biodynamic Preparations At Troon Vineyard)

Vinted on September 13, 2018 binned in on the road, organic wine

Troon vineyard 1

Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), who founded the farming practices now known under the certification of Biodynamics, was largely full of sh*t.

For example, Steiner was all about making wild claims based on anonymous sources long before it became the new standard of presidential tweeting in the U.S.; just check out a handful of the claims he made in his The Submerged Continents of Atlantis and Lemuria:

“As to the sources of the information to be given here, I am for the present obliged to be silent. He who knows anything at all about such sources will understand why this must be so…”

“…it was only in the course of time that the forms of man and woman arose from an earlier, original form in which the human being was neither the one nor the other, but both at the same time.”

Troon biod 1

Working the good sh*t at Troon in Oregon

“Just as we have contrivances for transforming the latent force of coal into the power to propel our engines, so had the Atlanteans devices for heating by the use of plant-seeds in which the life-force was changed into a power applicable to technical purposes. In this way were propelled the air-ships of the Atlanteans, which soared a little above the earth. These air-ships sailed at a height rather below that of the mountains of Atlantean times, and they had steering appliances, by means of which they could be raised above these mountains.” 

So we’ve got, with literally no evidence, Steiner on the record challenging how humans evolved, and claiming that ancient Atlanteans had airplanes powered by seed oil. So if you’re not at least a little bit skeptical of the guy’s take on farming, then you have deep issues with how you handle facts, logic, and the scientific method.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that with Biodynamics he didn’t stumble upon something incredibly useful for coalescing several centuries-old, tried-and-true farming practices that turned out to be great for fine wine vineyards. But it does mean that we need to approach anything that Steiner wrote with healthy (and probably substantial) levels of skepticism. We’ve tackled this topic before on these virtual pages, giving equal “air time” to both prominent Pro and Con voices regarding BioD, and more or less ended up not that much farther from our starting point (or, at least, I didn’t).

And so it was with a sort of mixed fascination and trepidation that I recently observed firsthand Troon Vineyard‘s Biodynamic compost preparations (#502-507) in the gorgeous (but, at the time, quite smokey) Applegate Valley, to literally see “the good sh*t”…

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Oregon Wine Experience 2018 Competition – Results

Vinted on August 30, 2018 binned in on the road, wine industry events
Oregon wine experience 2018 best of show round

Getting serious during the OWE 2018 Best of Show judging round

The results of the 2018 Oregon Wine Experience Competition are in and have recently been announced, and since I was more-or-less directly responsible for said results, I thought that I’d share some of them with you all here.

Before I do, however… a couple of thoughts/insights/dime-store-philosphocal-treatise on the experience of the OW Experience:

  • Wildfires suck; we hardly saw a clear, smoke-free day during the competition, and while the ever-present used-fireplace smell is somewhat pleasant, the destruction behind it all certainly isn’t anything short of tragic, and major props are due to the firefighters who shared my flights into and out of Medford for their difficult, tireless work in fighting the recent blazes.
  • There’s (much) more to Oregon than Willamette Valley. Duh. Southern Oregon is a lot smaller in volume, less developed in both land and sense of place, warmer in climate, and diverse in potential vinous offerings than its more famous northern wine AVA siblings. What should have wine geeks excited and giddy is that the premium fine wine scene in S. OR is really just getting its groove on, and the results are ridiculously promising already. The fact that the region is probably among the top ten most beautiful wine country settings in the world is just icing on the cake. To wit…
  • You’ll see a lot more coverage of some key S. OR producers here over the coming weeks, because I found their stories – and their development in wine quality – quite compelling. More to come.

Southern OR vineyard view 1

Anyway, here are some of the wines that wowed our judging panels at the 2018 OWE Competition…

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There’s A Red House Over Yonder (Masroig Montsant Recent Releases)

Vinted on August 16, 2018 binned in kick-ass wines, on the road, sexy wines, wine review

Masroig cellar 1

In the lower-ish (we’re still talking about 400-or-so meters of elevation) valley of Spain’s sunny Montsant region sits a small town (ok, village) of El Masroig.

El Masroig is quaint enough to be named (in Catalan, of course) “red country house” (most likely from the red clay soils that dominate this area of Priorat country), and small enough to sport a population of about 500 people, the vast majority of whose families live off of the farming of grapevines and olive trees.

El Masroig view

In even quainter non-ironic fashion, El Masroig is home to Celler Masroig, a winery founded in 1917 as a co-op that’s now run by just over 25 employees, and – somewhat ironically given all of the above – is easily one of the largest producers in the area at five hundred thousand bottles per year, farming from about 500 hectares of vines.

Even more ironically, given their size, at the time of this writing Masroig has yet to gain a sales foothold in the States. That’s a shame, and is a scenario that needs quick correction, because they’re making the excellent crafting of one of the wine world’s most underrated red grapes – Carignan – look downright easy…

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Monferrato Love Letter

Vinted on August 2, 2018 binned in going pro, Italian Wine, on the road

Monferrato farewell 1

My gig with the Barbera and Monferrato folks over at MyNameIsBarbera.com has come to an end, and so you’ll be seeing a couple of wrap-up posts of mine over there as the 2018 Summer hits high season and then fades into Autumn (by far the best time of the year, especially in my neck of the planetary woods).

The first of these is available now for your reading pleasure, and it takes the form of a kinda-sappy-but-then-again-maybe-not-so-sappy love letter to the Monferrato region as a whole.

Monferrato farewell 2

Of course, I’m going to miss visiting the place, until I get my skinny ass back there, I mean. In order to fully understand why I’m going to miss this Piedmontese jewel so much, all of that is explained with admittedly a modicum of annoying affectation in my latest My Name Is Barbera article…

I LOVE MONFERRATO

Cheers!

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