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Sharing the passion and the journey of creating world-class Pinot Noir.

Alexis Truitt
 
February 25, 2016 | Alexis Truitt

2013: The Vintage of Three Harvests

If you were in the Willamette Valley in September of 2013, your memories are probably marked by one thing: rain. Lots and lots of rain. At the time of year when it's normally beautifully sunny, dry, and temperate, the valley became a damp mess. There is a whole list of words winemakers and viticulturists would use to describe the 2013 vintage. Easy or straightforward would not be on that list. Challenging and problematic would be. 

2013 was the vintage of the three harvests: those who harvested grapes before the rains, those who harvested grapes during the rains, and those who harvested grapes after the rains. The summer of 2013 was a really lovely summer, warm and dry. Then the rains set in, with almost seven inches of rain at the end of September. Excessive rain impacts grapes in a few ways, but the one that caused the most problems was botrytis, or in the more common term: rot. Winemakers and viticulturists had to make hard decisions on what fruit to bring in when, and if they did wait, they had to vigorously sort the grapes as they went to the fermentors. 

What resulted was a vintage of wine that left people both excited and apprehensive. But they needn't have worried. For a vintage riddled with surprises and stress, the 2013 wines are gems. You wouldn't expect remarkable wines to come from a vintage notable for its unpredictability. But that's the beauty of Oregon: turning expectations on their heads to reveal the true pearls in this oyster that is the Willamette Valley. 

The vintage was set to produce ripe and lush wines but in the end, the 2013 Pinot noirs have turned out more elegant and restrained (right up Jacques's alley!), with a lower alcohol content. Warmer vintages can make fruit flavors highly pronounced in wines while colder vintages allow more acidity and herbal notes to shine through. The 2013 vintage bridges the gap and delivers wines that are elegant, refined, and incredibly food friendly. You can enjoy them now or let them age to really have a chance to shine. 

Have you gotten your hands on some 2013s? We still have a few in stock! Don't miss out on these beauties. Not only do they pair perfectly with any dish, but they'll make a nice addition to your cellar, and will reveal a bit of wonder when you pop them open years down the line. 

What have been your favorite 2013 Willamette Valley wines?

Cheers!

Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

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Time Posted: Feb 25, 2016 at 6:32 AM
Alexis Truitt
 
February 18, 2016 | Alexis Truitt

Wine Filtration and Its Benefits

If you take a drive through wine country in the middle of winter, it may seem as if all is quiet and at rest during the colder months of the year. The vines are bare and pruned and we have a few more months until spring makes the vines full and lush once again.

However, if you step inside the wineries dotting our hillsides, you'll find the hustle and bustle of the finer points of winemaking being performed day to day. This week at Torii Mor, Jacques is filtering the wines.

A sometimes controversial practice, filtering wines is, at its core, a way to help clarify the wine, to remove any leftover yeast and bacteria and to remove any leftover solids in the wine (mostly tartrates in white wines). This helps prevent the wine from going bad, helps the wine to mature faster, and improves the look of the wine in the glass. Because we ship the wine all over the country and abroad, we filter our wines to help make them more stable.

Filtration involves wine being pumped from one tank to another through various filtering methods. We use two different filtration methods here at Torii Mor. The first is diatomaceous earth filtration, a powder that is mixed with the wine, adding a bit more and a bit more powder as the wine flows through the filter, until the powder cakes the filter. This is a very fast, efficient method of clarifying wine. 

The tangle of pumps and tubes of wine flowing through the filter

The second method is pad filtration, where the wine gets filtered through a cellulose pad. There are different grades of pads, each filtering out particles of different sizes. Larger grades allow larger particles to remain in the wine. The wine has to be fairly clean when it goes through pad filtration. White wines get filtered with pads that have a smaller grade so they are filtered more vigorously, since they are in the bottle for a shorter amount of time while red wines are filtered with a higher grade to allow a bit of tannin and other particles to stay influencing the wine. 

Jacques puts it best: "Filtration is not a bad thing, it is just a tool you have to use judiciously...not everything has to go through the same filter...we allow some yeast and some bacteria to remain in the wine so the Pinot Noir will age properly."  Lucky for us, we have a winemaker who knows the best way to use the tools he's given.

Let us know if you liked this post and if you want to see more like it!

Cheers!

Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

Want to read more? Click below for more blog posts you'll enjoy!

  

Time Posted: Feb 18, 2016 at 6:18 AM
Alexis Truitt
 
February 11, 2016 | Alexis Truitt

Valentine's Day Date Night Inspiration

Last week, we did a round-up of great places to go tasting over Valentine's Weekend, but if you and your sweetheart are more interested in staying home for a private date for two, here is some inspiration to create a sweet and romantic space. And if you're really on the ball, go ahead and order our Date Night Pack, complete with recipes, for a delicious and fun night in for two! 

It always helps to set the mood, and  if anything gives off a lovely Valentine's Day feel, it's candles. Because who doesn't look good in the glow of candlelight? This classy table setup is understated, but still classy and festive for Valentine's Day. 

Or for something a little more sweet, flowers in bud vases in a heart formation around candles could do the trick of setting the mood.

If you want to add a little bit of Valentine's Day decor to your home, here are a few sweet ideas. 

DIY Ombre Heart Garland

Lipstick Heart Art

And who doesn't love sweets on Valentine's Day? Here are two ideas for sweet and festive treats. 

Heart Shaped Linzer Cookies

Champagne Macarons

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Cheers!

Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

Want to read more? Click below for more blog posts you'll enjoy!

  

Time Posted: Feb 11, 2016 at 6:18 AM
Alexis Truitt
 
February 4, 2016 | Alexis Truitt

Valentine's Day Tasting Guide

Whenever a holiday rolls around, the Willamette Valley turns out in style. Valentine's Day weekend is no exception. Whether you're looking for cheese, chocolate, jazz or just a delicious wine tasting, you'll find something to love with someone you love. We rounded up some ideas for Valentine's Day in the valley to make planning your Valentine's Day weekend simple, leaving you plenty of brain space to enjoy being with the people you love. 

For the chocolate lover: 

Does it get any more festive for Valentine's Day than wine and chocolate? Coelho Winery is hosting a wine and chocolate pairing on Feb. 13th and 14th, including a special finish of a "Velvet Kiss" - Port drinking chocolate. And in a special event on Saturday the 13th, they're hosting the Vintage Voices JazzEnsemble performing a special “LoveSongs” Concert

For the cheese lover: 

ROCO Winery is hosting a wine and cheese pairing, designed by winemaker Rollin Soles for the weekend of Valentine's Day and are hosting private seated tastings as well on Valentine's Day proper. And if you really want a special treat, Winter's Hill is pairing their Pinot Noir with fondue the whole weekend. 

For the Rose aficionado: 

Beckham Estate is celebrating Valentine's Day with its signature color and breaking out their new release of Rose, paired perfectly with local cheeses. 

For the Pinot Noir fan:  

And some wineries are hosting a longer celebration. Like us! Here at Torii Mor, we're celebrating Valentine's Day for two weeks. From Feb. 1-14th, join us in our tasting room for sweet deals on our Port and special surprises to treat your sweetheart.

Cheers! 

Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

Want to read more? Click below for more blog posts you'll enjoy!

  

Time Posted: Feb 4, 2016 at 6:30 AM