The True Link Between Wine and Health


Wine is people. I’m not talking about the people with whom you enjoy wine. Here I refer to the people behind the wine – those folks we ought to celebrate as the literal fruits of their labor coat our palates. We talk a lot about wine on this site, but I’d like to take a moment to express gratitude to the farm workers who work so hard to get the grapes in our glasses.

In this spirit, I’d like to talk about ¡Salud! The Oregon Pinot Noir Auction. A group of wineries is Oregon joined together in the early 90s to help provide better access to quality healthcare for vineyard workers. That’s one of many things I love about the wine industry – quality regions always band together to make great things happen.

¡Salud! is the only industry fundraiser that both raises funds for and provides healthcare to vineyard workers and their families. I would have loved to attend this year, but sadly, life got in the way. The wineries were kind enough to send me some selections that will be auctioned at this year’s fundraiser. Read on for my notes. Then click here to place a sealed bid. (Yes, you can bid even if you cannot attend. Tickets for the live November event are sold out.) ¡Salud! to our health.

1997 Ponzi Vineyards

Brick, cherry red color. Elegant aromas of plum, cranberry, red licorice, mineral earth and dried green herb with hints of crushed flowers and a spiced note of cayenne. Mellow and earthy, this is wise with age but still holds a kick of acidity amidst tart cranberry and sour cherry, strawberry shrub and earthy spice. Tannins still have a good grip on the tongue but let go with a hint of medicine and a creamy textured cherry finish.

2009 Domaine Drouhin Oregon

Exquisite cherry and earthy mushroom aromas with soft floral character and notes of red currant and red licorice. Gorgeous fresh fruit flavors of cherry syrup, red currant and tart cranberry, fresh berries, a layer of holiday spice, a crispness on the middle of the palate that sustains through to the finish of earth, plum and sticky but pliable tannins, fresh wildflowers and a bit of plum.

2010 Raptor Ridge Winery

Classic mineral earth and tar streaks open here on the nose with notes of raspberries and strawberries, sour cherry candy and a hint of red licorice. Gentle in the mouth, yet nicely tart with bold acidity and chewy tannins, resinous herb and a plum and wild flower palate, finishing clean with notes of blueberry and cranberry.

2012 Dukes Family Vineyard

Sweet spice and cherry fruit with raspberry notes on the nose. Tart, candied palate of cherry and watermelon juice with some earthy notes of resinous tar and a soft tart cranberry palate towards the finish. Carries a bit of dried green herb and jolly rancher flavors before ending a bit abruptly with floral notes and grainy tannins.

2013 Winderlea Vineyard and Winery

Fresh and floral with bold cherry and red currant aromas, sweet spice and pastry notes of blueberry crumble. Delicate and soft palate with full bunches of berries and cherries on the palate, round and expansive yet pulling taut on the mid palate with light cranberry and sour cherry notes in front of perky tannins, candied plum and a finish that’s floral and a bit earthy with more red fruit. Very fresh, well made, lively and generous.

2014 Domaine Serene

Delightfully pure, fruity aromas of ripe cherry and mixed berry, cola spice and red currant preserves. More pure, perfect fruit on the palate, mostly cherry, red currant and a hint of cranberry, enveloping the palate with soft herb and zesty spice, medium tannins and a tart finish of cranberry and sour cherry. This is elegant throughout, with beautiful fruit to start and a smoky, intriguing finish.

2014 Elk Cove Vineyards

Cool blueberry and cherry aromas with plush and round fruit character, light floral aromatics and zippy spice. This is zesty and bright on the palate, immediately fresh with full acidity and a clean fruit forward palate of red currant and cherry, medium body and quaffable. Tannins grip the front of the palate and hang on with good length through to a finish of licorice, more ripe cherry and lots of baking spice.

2014 Stoller Family Estate

Juicy, concentrated and powerful fruit aromas of plum, blueberry and black cherry, inviting and pure. On the palate this is fruit forward, round at the core and well structured with plum and pomegranate notes, tart sour cherry, mixed berry pastry and perky acidity throughout. Elegant and delicate yet still assertive, well made and rich, with a finish that pulls up clean and light with hints of resin and spiced earth. Lovely.

2016 Cristom Vineyards

A bit of heat, a bit of pepper, and warm black cherry and black currant fruit on the nose - notes that are smooth and even and inviting. Tart on entry and very direct, this pours forth with plum, cherry and black currant preserves, continues delivering through the mid palate with creamy cranberry and baking spice, and finishes strong with a spiced bite, bold acidity, earthy tar and textured, chocolate mousse flavors.

2016 ROCO Winery

Floral and earthy aromas with fresh cherry fruit and a streak of tar and warm heat. Warmly spiced and full bodied with a zesty mouthfeel of acidity and medicine, fresh fruit flavors of cherry, mixed berry and cola, raspberry and plum skin towards the finish of melted dark chocolate ganache and blackberry preserves.

Click here to place your sealed bid now.

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