Living in the heart of Oregon wine country gives Wine Steward Brian Kemmerle a unique perspective on some of the world’s best wines. His knowledge and passion for wine that began in culinary school have inspired and pleased our guests on numerous occasions. He has a talent of choosing the perfect wine (usually local) to match any of our Chef’s dishes. He regularly shares his insights with guests and hopes you will enjoy his new “by the glass” menu:
December Wine Notes From Bentley’s Grill Wine Steward:
With forty wines to choose from and a combination of vintage changes, out of stocks and seasonal preferences the “by-the-glass” menu starts to look a little tired about five or six times a year. This revision features some subtle and drastic changes to the selection.
First, what’s gone and why:
Lemelson’s 2008 “Tikka’s Run” Pinot Gris – already sold out. One of Oregon’s best Pinot Gris each year and becoming harder to get because of it.
Moet “White Star” is now Moet “Brut Imperial”. Moet has finally depleted the special American cuvee “White Star” and will now be shipping to us what they ship to the rest of the world the “Brut Imperial”. Merci!
In the “so many good wines and not enough time” category the Adelsheim Pinot Blanc and the L’Ecole Semillon have been exchanged for two new exciting wines.
The Erath Oregon Pinot Noir and the Witness Tree “Chainsaw Vineyard” Pinot Noir have been “dueling” for a couple of months now and the winner, by a substantial margin” is still on the list.
As good as the Boedecker 2006 “Athena” Pinot Noir was, it did not command enough commercial success on the menu as it did as the “Featured Pinot Noir”. It will remain on the bottle list and may return at a later date as the “FPN”.
Fortunately some of you got to try the Waterbrook 2006 Reserve Cabernet. It made a nationally publicized wine magazines “Top 100 wines of the year” list and promptly sold out. The replacement is not too shabby either.
At 188 cases of total production it was no surprise to me that the Three Angels Avery Vineyard Zinfandel had sold out. We had already seen the 188 cases of the Les Collines Vineyard come and go away. The last couple of bottles will be available on the main wine list.
Onto the new!
The ultra-rich Four Graces Pinot Blanc replaces the crisp and lively Adelsheim. The winery writes:
White peach, honey and butterscotch combine on the nose with lightly toasted hazelnuts. An invitingly fresh zest of lime flavor is followed by Asian pear, jicama and grapefruit. This is a full bodied wine with a long finish.
Also new to the list is a newcomer to the local wine scene J. Scott Cellars, a boutique winery, out of Eugene, Oregon. The 2008 Viognier was made from purchased Rogue Valley fruit and has lovely floral aromatics and a touch of residual sugar to balance out the nice acidity. I’ll look to match this wine with the Chefs many forays into Asian cuisine.
To prove that good wine doesn’t have to cost a lot of money I have added the 2008 Jovino Pinot Gris to the menu. At $6.00 a glass it delivers plenty of Oregon Pinot Gris goodness for very little cash. This wine should be very popular with the “Happy Hour” crowd.
Cherry Hill winery has finally released their 2006 “Estate” Pinot Noir. It met with rousing success as the “Featured Pinot Noir” and hopefully that success with continue now that you can have it anytime you want. This wine, in combination with St. Innocent, Witness Tree, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Mystic and Bethel Heights means that you can now support six local, Salem area, wineries with your wine buying dollars.
Usually when a wine changes vintage I remove it from the menu however in this case the Seven Hills 2007 Merlot is just as good as the 2006. So it stays. Enjoy.
The replacement for the Waterbrook ended up being the 2006 Kestrel Cabernet Sauvignon. Kestrel Vintners have a vast and somewhat confusing selection of wines and they are usually a couple of nickels more expensive that their nearest competition however this wine stood out during my weekly tastings. Pretty black fruits, floral notes and a bit of structure to this wine will appeal to classic Cabernet drinkers and match well with our various steaks.
Apparently I was on a bit of a Northwest Italian varietal kick lately. I re-tasted a new vintage of Nebbiolo. Scored a Sangiovese blend at a unbelievable price and added two Barbera to the menu. To pour by the glass I picked the 2006 Waving Tree Barbera out of Washington has striking dried black cherry notes and a lift of acidity to match nicely with the chefs new Pork Tenderloin special and mushroom ravioli dish with braised boar ragout.
The last item on the menu is a returning special. The 2006 Andrew Rich Coup d’Etat is a Rhone-style blend with Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and usually a touch of Counoise. I poured the 2005 until it ran out and when I tasted this 2006 it was a bit rough around the edges. Well, today is has softened up nicely and should pair nicely with Lamb dishes and other richly flavored red meat entrees, especially ones cooked on the grill with a bit of char on them.