This week is very exciting for us, because we will be doing something that we’ve never done as an affiliated group of wineries. For that matter, we don’t believe anyone in Oregon has ever done it, and we may very well be changing the whole nature of how our wines are presented and marketed to the public.
We’re taking our show on the road. Specifically, a group of ten Y-C wineries will travel to Texas this week to stage Yamhill Carlton Road Show events in Dallas (June 8) and Houston (June 9), an undertaking that winemaker Ken Wright laughingly equates to a rock and roll tour — and he’s not only in the band, but is also the roadie. This Texas tour is the start of a series of road events planned that will take our wines — and winemakers — and bring them straight to the mouths and minds of people in San Francisco (August 24th) and Denver (November 3rd).
In every market, the hard-working and indefatigable Ivory McLaughlin of Ken Wright Cellars (she’s been called many things, but never indefatigable) has coordinated both trade and consumer events with a rotating list of our winery members who will sample and talk story about their wines with not only the sommeliers, wine stewards and bottle-shop owners of each market, but also with the tasting public who may have heard about our wines but never had the chance to visit us to taste them.
In Texas, the participating wineries make up an all-star lineup of world-class wineries that include Belle Pente, Domaine Verdant, EIEIO, Elk Cove, Fairsing, Ghost Hill, Ken Wright, Panther Creek, Saffron Fields and Shea. Many winemaker/owners will attend to bring the Y-C message directly to the markets, such as Ken Wright and Brian O’Donnell (Belle Pente) on the Texas tour and Panther Creek’s Tony Rynders in San Francisco. Twenty-nine wines will be poured, all made from grapes sourced exclusively from Y-C vineyards, with Pinot Noir and chardonnay leading the way, but also including roses and a Pinot Noir Blanc from Ghost Hill Cellars.
Why is this new? Because it has never been done before, at least in Oregon, by a dedicated AVA group such as ours. The intent, as Panther Creek Cellars President Christopher Pappe pointed out, is to give the trade and public a deeper sense of how truly remarkable our wine region is, thanks to the soils and climate that make our wines world-class. “There’s a growing story that needs to be told about Oregon wine,” he said, “about why our soils are so important. The story is so compelling, and needs to be told in a cogent, repeatable message.”
To that end, Panther will be pouring three different 2013 Pinot Noirs in Texas, sourced from the Kalita, Lazy River and Fir Crest Vineyards.
For Ron Sanchez of Domaine Verdant, another participant in the Texas tour, the “Enchanteuse” chardonnay, “Quintessence” Pinot Noir and “Singularity – Clone 113” Pinot Noir that he will pour will not only serve as an introduction of his premium wines to the Texas market, but will share some of what he calls his “extraordinary luck” in finding the Y-C area 27 years ago. “We originally bought our property in 1985 before there was even a Yamhill-Carlton AVA,” he wrote. “By sheer luck it later became apparent that we have one of the best terroirs in the world for Pinot Noir and chardonnay. Now our mission is to share our extraordinary luck with wine connoisseurs around the world.”
The Dallas consumer event will be held at the III Forks Steakhouse from 6 to 8 p.m., which follows a trade tasting and information session earlier that day at the Mercy Wine Bar. In Houston the next day, the party moves to Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse for an afternoon trade tasting, followed by a public event that evening from 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets are still available for both tastings.
We’ll see you on the road this summer and fall, with some eye-opening wines to sample and add to your cellars.