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Sokol-Blosser wine dinner in Raleigh - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 03-18-2011 09:59 PM

Wine dinner at Zely and Ritz March 16. We were greeted with a glass of non-vintage "SOKOL BLOSSER EVOLUTION #9" (a blend of nine white grape varieties.) Sara Manucy, Southeast Regional Brand Ambassador for Sokol Blosser, was on hand in Raleigh to talk about the wines. Sara told us that Evolution is blended for consistency from year to year and finishes dry. I liked this wine which was transparent with a pale straw color and I found hints of pear and maybe peaches.

Sokol Blosser name comes from Susie Sokol and Bill Blosser. The were the third family to plant Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. There are now 417 wineries in Oregon. Sokol Blosser is in the top 10 of production among Oregon wineries and is certified organic. Their first Pinot Noir came on the market in 1971. Under Oregon labeling laws, a wine must be 90% of one variety to be called by that grape variety. Sokol Blosser was one of the wineries visited by Nancy Agasi as part of a Pinot Camp she attended as a member of the wine trade industry.

Nancy Agasi is talented at pairing food and wine and the "2009 SOKOL BLOSSER PINOT GRIS", Oregon was a great match with Sarig Agasi's poached pears with baked farmer's cheese, toasted almonds and arugula with a drizzle of reduced sauce from the Pinot Gris and the pear juice. Good for its type but Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio is not usually one of my favorite varieties of grape. Others commended this wine.

Sarig brought in Oregon salmon and Oregon mushrooms for the next course--wild sockeye salmon with wild rice and 3 types of mushrooms (chanterelle, trumpet and ?). This was paired with the "2008 SOKOL BLOSSER PINOT NOIR, DUNDEE HILLS", Willamette Valley, OR. (Some grapes from a neighbor are included in this non-estate wine.) Sokol Blosser uses their best grapes for this cuvee, not holding them back to make a reserve Pinot or single-vineyard wine. They use small oak vessels (they buy from 14 different coopers for their different wines). Sara says the Pinot combines the three elements you expect in Oregon Pinot Noir--earth, fruit and acid. The Dundee Hills have maritime volcanic soil that is unique (the red hills of Dundee.) She says the winery seeks to make refined wines that "slip your socks off--not knock them off." I asked her to comment on the vintage and she said that while good winemakers make good wine in any vintage, it is true that 2008 was special--a near-perfect vintage. This was my wine of the night--a pretty dark cherry color. Cherry flavored and very attractive cherry nose with a suggestion of earth. Not too earthy. I like this style with refinement or finesse or subtlety.

The "2007 SOKOL BLOSSER ESTATE GROWN PINOT NOIR, DUNDEE HILLS" was served with herb-crusted rack of lamb (rosemary) with creamy risotto and dried cherry sauce. Sokol Blosser picked their grapes before the area was hit with over nine days of rain which occurred while some were still harvesting. The wine is a little more extracted , tannic and spicy than the 2008 Pinot we had and some prefered it but I prefered the 2008. Both were nice. Fortunately for me, the 2008 was also less expensive so I ordered two bottles to be picked up later (at $37 each.)

The "2007 SOKOL BLOSSER LATE HARVEST RIESLING, WILLAMETTE VALLEY" paired very nicely with an Alsatian almond tart with custard and apricots. A layer of almost paste covered the bottom crust and sugar, vanilla, cider went into the custard. The wine is bottled in 500 ml. bottles. It was transparent and a medium gold color and has some resemblance to Eiswein/ice wine. They do pick the grapes in the middle of the night. 11% alcohol by volume. A peachy sweetness complemented the almond and peach dessert without being cloying. I also ordered a bottle of this for later pickup.

Again I was able to find something in common with others at the table besides our appreciation for good food and wine. Jenny's husband and stepsons were involved with wrestling at Duke University and my oldest nephew was captain of the Duke wrestling team about 20 years ago. Amy and Brendan are going on the trip to Tuscany that I am taking late summer to celebrate my pending retirement.

I will miss the upcoming Hendry dinner at Zely and Ritz (coming too close on the heels of this dinner) but have reserved for a cheese dinner in early April.


- Drew - 03-19-2011 11:47 AM

Thanks for this impressive report. The 08 pinot sounds worth seeking out for me.

Drew