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

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!


Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

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Time Posted: Feb 18, 2016 at 6:18 AM Permalink to Wine Filtration and Its Benefits Permalink Comments for Wine Filtration and Its Benefits Comments (1)
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! 


Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

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Time Posted: Feb 11, 2016 at 6:18 AM Permalink to Valentine's Day Date Night Inspiration Permalink
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.


Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

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Time Posted: Feb 4, 2016 at 6:30 AM Permalink to Valentine's Day Tasting Guide Permalink Comments for Valentine's Day Tasting Guide Comments (5)
Alexis Truitt
January 28, 2016 | Alexis Truitt

Wine Gifts for Your Favorite Wine Lover

Ah Valentine's Day. It can be nerve-wracking trying to find the perfect gift for your sweetheart. If they love wine as much as they love you, look no further. Valentine's Day is for spoiling the people you love, and these gifts are luxurious enough to please even the hardest person to shop for. From a colorful notebook to keep track of wines they've had and loved, to a fancy new wine carafe, even to a special trip away to one of the most romantic cities in the world, here is a list of great wine gifts for your most beloved wino. 

1. Laguiole Millesime French Oak Wood Corkscrew - $129.95

2. Wines I Had and Liked Notebook - $13.55

3. Barrel Stave Candle Holder - $52.50

4. Two-Glass Gift Box - StandArt Edition, by Gabriel-Glas - $58

5. House Wine Carafe - $58

6. Leather Bike Wine Holder - $45

7. A romantic getaway for two to one of the world's most romantic cities! 


Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

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Time Posted: Jan 28, 2016 at 6:53 AM Permalink to Wine Gifts for Your Favorite Wine Lover Permalink Comments for Wine Gifts for Your Favorite Wine Lover Comments (1)
Alexis Truitt
January 21, 2016 | Alexis Truitt

Torii Mor's Annual Library Tasting 2016

This past Saturday we hosted our annual Library Tasting Event. We pulled out several older vintage wines from our library to share with you. It's always a fun event, and it's such a treat to taste wines that have been resting in our cellar. 

For this event, we pulled out some single vineyard wines (some vineyards we don't produce anymore!), an older Oregon Pinot Noir, and a beautiful 2003 Syrah Port! The line-up was as follows:

  • 2001 Temperance Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • 2002 Hawks View Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • 2002 Seven Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • 2003 Oregon Pinot Noir
  • 2004 Anden Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • 2005 Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • 2003 Syrah Port

Not only is this a fun event to brighten up a dreary January day, but it's a great way to add some really special bottles to your cellar. If you missed out, visit our shop to get your hands on the last few remaining bottles we have of these delicious wines! 

Do you have any favorite older vintage Torii Mor wines? Let us know in the comments!


Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

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Time Posted: Jan 21, 2016 at 6:00 AM Permalink to Torii Mor's Annual Library Tasting 2016 Permalink
Alexis Truitt
January 14, 2016 | Alexis Truitt

Aging Well: A Guide to Aging Wines

Let's start with a quick disclaimer before we get to the fun nitty-gritty: most red and white wines you buy on the shelf are meant to be consumed within a year or two of purchase. Most red wines and white wines especially, are made to be ready-to-drink. 

But never fear! There are plenty of gorgeous wines out there that are indeed made for aging, and taste better after being aged. Oregon Pinot Noirs, (Jacques's wines in particular) are made for aging, due to their higher acids and tannins. But we'll get into that further down. Let's start with a quick history lesson.

Why Aging Wine isn't a Necessity Anymore

Historically, aging wine was what you did when you wanted your wine to reach its best-drinking peak. It was common to wait a few years to have a wine that had really come into its own, settled into racks, nestled next to other bottles, each waiting to be opened at their prime. However, modern wine is a different story. 

Due to advancements in winemaking and wine technology, wines are produced without the need for wait time and are ready drink right way. Wine can still age, of course, and can even benefit from aging, but it is no longer necessary to achieve exquisite wine. 

Most wines have a peak in the aging process, after which they degrade and diminish. Matt Kramer from Wine Spectator recommends no more than 5-10 years for most wines in current circulation, due to the affinity for ready-to-drink wines. 

Characteristics of Ageable Wine

There are four main traits to look for in ageable wines: low alcohol, high acidity, tannin structure, and residual sugar. 

As a general rule, wines with lower alcohol content are better to age. The higher the alcohol, the faster a wine can turn to vinegar if left too long. If you're looking for particularly ageable wines, a safe bet is to go for wines less than 13.5% ABV. 

High acidity and a strong tannin structure both play a part in helping carry a wine's flavors as the wine ages. Higher acid helps wines last longer which of course helps flavors develop. Tannins provide structure to the wine, and as the wine ages, the tannins smooth out, allowing the fruity and earthy notes to become more prominent and more mature. 

Residual sugar is another good bet for ageable wines. The higher the sugar content, the longer a wine can age. Now, the first thing that comes to mind if desserts wines: ports, sherries, late harvest wines, ice wines. All these wines also have higher alcohol content, but the high sugar content acts as a preserver, and these wines can age up to 100 years! 

Top Tips for Buying Ageable Wine

1. Aim for colder vintage wines. Grapes grown in colder vintages (as well as at higher elevations) tend to have the best characteristics (like lower acid and lower alcohol) of ageable wines. Hot vintages are bigger, fruitier, and have higher alcohol contents. 

2. Taste before you buy. This probably doesn't even need to be said, but don't buy a case of wine to age for a decade that you haven't tasted and surveyed yourself. Make sure it's something you could enjoy now, but would like to see expand and grow over the years.  

3. Certain varietals age better than others. Cabernet Sauvignon is a very reliable wine to age due to it's high tannins, as are Pinot Noirs from cool climates (like Oregon or Burgundy), and most Tempranillos and Sangiovese. 

4. Wine in large format bottles ages at slower rates. If you want to hold on to a wine for longer than 10 years, a magnum (or larger!) is a great way to preserve a special wine for a special occasion. 

5. Remember that wine changes. And quite often that change is good. Embrace it, enjoy it, and don't forget to chronicle those especially special bottles. They're meant to be shared. 


Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

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Time Posted: Jan 14, 2016 at 6:50 AM Permalink to Aging Well: A Guide to Aging Wines Permalink
Alexis Truitt
January 7, 2016 | Alexis Truitt

Winter Vineyard Report

Winter can be a slow season, but while the vineyard sleeps, the winery is still churning out deliciousness for you! Jacques detailed some of the goings-on in the winery this winter in our most recent newsletter, but here he details one more exciting project: the start of our grappa production! If you missed the newsletter, sign up here by scrolling down to the bottom of the page! 

The vineyard is peaceful right now. Other than the occasional family of deer visiting from time to time, I can’t see any other creature stirring around. With this record rain we are having, (eleven inches and counting), nobody is going in the vineyard to start pruning until early January. Neither the rain or the wind have done any damage though; the vineyard rows themselves are covered with native grasses, their roots anchoring the soil and preventing erosion.

In the winery, we finished barreling the Pinot Noirs in October, and Malo-Lactic fermentation is happening in those barrels right now. All the Pinot Noirs have great fruit aroma and flavors, more on the fresh fruit side than the raisiny-jammy side.  With a mix of red and dark fruit, good acidity and soft tannins the wines show great promise.

All the white wine fermentations are also done. All taste great as they should, following a warm summer and cool September.

We have also been quite busy distilling both brandy, from juice pulled out of the Pinot Noir fermenters to keep a good ratio liquid-solid, the berries were so big and full of juice, and grappa from our Pinot Noir skins and seeds left over after pressing.

We just finished distilling the grappa and we like what came out of the still, very sweet and not really harsh as most grappa can be.

We had to make our own still for the grappa with what we had on hand. A 100-gallon stainless steel tub that we covered with a lid with the spare goose neck from our copper still worked amazingly well for a minimum investment. We were not sure if the grappa was going to be any good, but now we know, it is GOOD!

Happy winter!

Jacques Tardy, Winemaker

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Time Posted: Jan 7, 2016 at 6:55 AM Permalink to Winter Vineyard Report Permalink
Alexis Truitt
December 31, 2015 | Alexis Truitt

2015 in Review

It's been an incredible 2015. Not only did we host our first annual White Wine and Seafood party, which was a huge hit, we also saw the release of our first Riesling, brought you a Limited Edition Syrah, introduced new labels, and a new website and blog! We had a busy harvest, an unparalleled hot summer, and even started on a few new surprises for 2016. It's been a year of exciting new things and we can't wait for what 2016 has in store. 

We'll be hosting our White Wine and Seafood party again, so be on the lookout for the Save the Date for that! We'd love to see you at the party, especially if you weren't able to make it last year! It truly is a special event. 

On our list of resolutions is to enjoy the new changes coming in 2016. We're so excited to share new wines, new events, and other special surprises with you along the way. And if anyone needs help with a wellness related New Year's Resolution, join us and Team TM for the Fueled by Fine Wine Half Marathon in July! We'll meet you with wine at the finish line! 

We'll keep you posted on all the goings on here on the blog, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and through email, so make sure you connect with us so we can share the journey with you. Here's to a wonderful 2015, and an even better 2016. Happy New Year! 


Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

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Time Posted: Dec 31, 2015 at 6:28 AM Permalink to 2015 in Review Permalink
Alexis Truitt
December 17, 2015 | Alexis Truitt

Wine and Christmas Cookie Pairings

The holidays are full of treats, surprises, and special everything. And if you appear at numerous Christmas parties, as most of us do, there are probably numerous types of cookies at each one. Which begs the all-important question: what cookie should I drink with my wine? Or which wine should I pair with my cookie? 

Here's our answer for perhaps the easiest of holiday conundrums. 

Shortbread/Sugar Cookies: Perhaps the most quintessential cookie of all things Christmas: sugar cookies with royal icing, and it's close cousin, shortbread. They're the people pleaser cookies, the ones that everyone loves, and the cookies you really can't go wrong with. They deserve a wine of equal caliber. What wine is more friendly and easily pleasing than sparkling wines? Prosecco, Cava, Champagne, your favorite American sparkling, are all appealing combinations to bring out the light flavors of your snowflake shaped, royal icing cookie.

Gingerbread Cookies: These spicy and warm cookies will pair pleasantly with a light and dry Riesling. The crispness of the Riesling complements the spiciness of gingerbread. The perfect pairing for the more adventurous party goer or a grown up gingerbread house making parties. Let the Riesling-induced decorating commence!

Molasses Cookies: These deep, rich cookies pair well with a lighter bodied red wine...Pinot noir perhaps? Both molasses cookies and Pinot noir have deep, earthy notes and a light sweetness that complement each other excellently.

Chocolate Chip Cookies: One of America's favorite cookies coincidentally pairs really well with America's favorite wine. Grab your favorite Cabernet for this cookie pairing. You won't be disappointed. 

Peanut Butter Cookies: If you read our Halloween Candy Pairing blog post, you can probably guess where this pairing is going. Our 2011 Syrah Port pairs beautifully with peanut butter. And peanut butter cookies are no exception. For a cozy, comforting pairing, peanut butter cookies and Port make a great finish to your evening. And an even better treat to leave out for "Santa". 

What are your favorite wine and cookie pairings? Have you tried any of these and loved them? Let us know in the comments below!


Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

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


Time Posted: Dec 17, 2015 at 6:36 AM Permalink to Wine and Christmas Cookie Pairings Permalink Comments for Wine and Christmas Cookie Pairings Comments (3)
Alexis Truitt
December 10, 2015 | Alexis Truitt

Christmas Gift Guide

Ah Christmas shopping. It can sometimes be hard to find the perfect gift, especially for the wine lovers in your life. We've narrowed down our top ten best gifts for your favorite wine lover...or for yourself. Whether it's a champagne stopper to keep your sparkling wines fresh for several days, testing your tasting skills with Riedel's black blind tasting glasses, treating yourself to the health benefits of grapeseed oil, or checking in on that aged bottle with a Coravin, we have something for everyone. 

Christmas gift guide for wine lovers, wine gifts, entertaining gifts

1. Wiliams - Sonoma Open Kitchen Champagne Stopper - $7

2. Hero Bags Two Bottle Wine Tote - $18,95

3. Crate and Barrel French Kitchen Marble Wine Cooler - $24.95

4. Coravin Model Two Wine System - 345.95

5. Riedel Sommeliers Blind Tasting Glass - $72.50

6. Napa Soap Company Grapeseed Oil Lotion - $18.95

7. Jet Bag Reusable Padded Absorbent Bottle Bags - $19.99

8. VacuVin Wine Saver - $12.63

9. Wine Away Red Wine Stain Remover - $5.85

10. Wine Club Memberships! Torii Mor's range from $110 to $325 a shipment. It's the gift that keeps on giving! 


Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

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Time Posted: Dec 10, 2015 at 6:42 AM Permalink to Christmas Gift Guide Permalink