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Sipping Hamilton Russell Oregon Pinot Noir

 

We have a soft spot for South Africa after a visit to the wine country and the bushlands in late 2006. So, it was a pleasure to visit with Anthony and Olive Hamilton Russell, proprietors of Hamilton Russell Vineyards, a producer of estate-grown wines in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley near the fishing village of Hermanus in Walker Bay. It’s one of the southernmost wine estates in Africa and benefits from a cooler maritime climate, ideal for producing their Burgundian style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. (listen The Connected Table Sips)

Hamilton Russell Vineyards is one of the southernmost wineries in South Africa

Now, after producing 40 vintages in South Africa, the Hamilton Russells have spread their wings and have invested in making wine in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Their first two releases, vintage 2018 deliver classic Pinot Noirs with opulent fruit and spice balanced with masterful restraint and purity. The wines are available through Vineyards Brands in the U.S.A.

The couple had looked into investing in Burgundy but decided the Willamette Valley offered a better opportunity to work with some of the region’s best AVAs, Eola-Amity Hills and Ribbon Ridge.

Anthony and Olive Hamilton Russell in South Africa with Vineyard Manager Johan Montgomery and Winemaker Emul Ross

The Eola-Amity Hills AVA is recognized for its iron- rich volcanic soils formed by ancient lava flows combined with marine sediments and alluvial deposits. The maritime climate allows for a steady cooling sea breeze during the long, warm growing season Ribbon Ridge is a sub-appellation within the Chehalem Mountains AVA. Here, the soil is uniformly marine sediments with fine silt, sand, and mud.

“After sanctions (in South Africa) were lifted in 1992, we knew we wanted to expand long-term. We visited the U.S. often and saw an extraordinary opportunity in Oregon with Pinot Noir. While Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir from South Africa exhibits a bit more austerity, the Oregon wines capture the more purity of fruit. Interestingly, the alcohol levels, acidity and PH balance are almost the same,” said Anthony Hamilton Russell.

Hamilton Russell Oregon wines, both 2018, are like fraternal twins. They share a similar DNA – Willamette Valley Pinot Noir -but exhibit different character, due to terroir. Olive Hamilton Russell has a culinary background and is a passionate forager. She shared some pairing tips for each wine.

 Zena Crown Oregon Pinot Noir 2018, Eola-Amity Hills is aged 14 months in French oak.  SRP $85.99. Olive says, “This wine has darker fruit and spice. It exhibits more austerity and fine tannin. I suggested pairing with a rack of lamb, slow roasted meats, or a mushroom risotto.”
Bramble Hill Pinot Noir 2018, Ribbon Ridge is aged 14 months in French oak. Bramble Hill Vineyard is recognized for producing grapes for some of Oregon’s finest Pinot Noirs. SRP $85.99. Olive says, “Here, the wine has more open red fruit and lively minerality. Consider pairing with turkey and cranberry sauce with Brussels sprouts and date syrup; cod and miso or duck with orange sauce.”

Listen to our podcast with Olive and Anthony Hamilton Russell #TheConnectedTableSips (under 12 min.)

 

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Remembrance of Wines Tasted

Sometimes it’s your first taste of something that you remember forever. Other times it’s the experience you were having, or you you were with, that creates that palate memory,

My first wine memory and taste- at age 15- was my Dad teaching me how to properly serve and taste wine. he wanted me to learn that good wine existed from many parts of the world. My only experience with wine was sipping Mogen David at Passover, so any wine would be an upgrade. With my Dad it was an adventure.

Proudly wearing his tastevin around my neck, I demonstrated to my classmates how to open and serve a bottle of wine in my public speaking class. The only issue was my teacher would not actually allow me to open the wine since we were all underage. The first wine I actually tasted was Mogen David during a Passover seder. But that doesn’t really count! Fortunately, I had nowhere to go but upgrade in my wine life.

Rajat Parr with his new wine from Oregon
Rajat Parr with his new wine, La Source, from Oregon

Sommelier-turned vintner Rajat Parr‘s early wine memories came from his uncle in London. Born in Calcutta and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Rajat apprenticed with Larry Stone at Rubicon in San Francisco, whom he credits as his mentor. He brought his expertise to Fifth Floor restaurant and became wine director for The Mina Group. He’s traveled the world to visit the finest vineyards and has a special affinity for the wines of Burgundy.

But it’s stateside where he’s making his mark as a vintner. Rajat has transitioned from working the restaurant floor to tending the vines. In 2011 he launched Sandhi, a partnership with Charles Banks and Sashi Moorman, to produce Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from select vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills. In 2013 he released wines from his estate vineyard Domaine de la Côte. We recently saw Rajat at Wine Spectator’s New York Wine Experience where he was debuting Seven Springs Estate “La Source” from the Eola-Amity Hills of Oregon.

rajat-parr-and-larry
Rajat Parr with Mentor and Friend Larry Stone at the New York Wine Experience

Here’s our November 9th show with Rajat Parr on iHeart.com and the free iHeart App.

 

Want to learn how to enjoy great wine from a world’s top sommelier? Purchase a copy of Rajat Parr’s book, Secrets of the Sommeliers : How to Think and Drink Like the World’s Top Wine Professionals. Winner – 2011 James Beard Cookbook Award – Beverage Category

 

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Oct 29 on The Connected Table Live

We have another spirited lineup this week from coast to coast Wednesday, October 29, on The Connected Table Live on www.W4CY.com, 2p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.

Our first guests are the bartending world’s dynamic duo, Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix, who have built the largest female bartending competition in the USA- and soon the world…. Speed Rack. Along the way Speed Rack has raised over $250,000 for breast cancer charities.

Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero, Founders, Speed Rack
Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero, Founders, Speed Rack

Speed Rack showcases not only the growing number of talented women in mixology while providing for the #1 women’s health issue in the country. One in 8 women is diagnosed with breast cancer.

The competition judging is based precision, time and accuracy. Contestants compete in timed heats to make rounds of cocktails culled from a list of accepted industry-standard classic recipes in front of a panel of judges and a crowd of spirited supporters.

The U.S. judging world panel includes such cocktail world luminaries as Julie Reiner, Dale DeGroff, Audrey Saunders and David Wondrich with a few noted chefs like Johnny Iuzzini, mixed in. The national winner is crowned Miss Speed Rack USA and received a scholarship to BAR (Beverage Alcohol Resource) five day program and industry glory.

Speed Rack’s fourth national tour kicks off in Washington DC November 10 and will travel to eight cities before crowning the Miss Speed Rack national winner at the U.S. Finals taking place in New York June 7. The first international Speed Rack competition will start in Canada in March 2015 followed by Paris in June and concluding in the U.K. next October.

Connect:

http://www.speed-rack.com

http://www.facebook/speedrackinfo.com

https://www.Twitter.com/speed_rack

http://www.speed-rack.com/videos

We’ll be switching gears to talk saké in the second half of our show with Steve Vuylsteke, Founder and CEO of SakéOne. A native Oregonian, Steve’s family founded Oak Knoll Winery, one of Oregon’s pioneer wineries, in 1970. Steve has worked tirelessly to promote Oregon craft beverages, working for his family’s winery, as general manager and sales manager for Erath Vineyards and serving on the Oregon Wine Marketing Board and Willamette Valley Wineries Association.

Steve Vuylsteke Founder/CEO, SakeOne
Steve Vuylsteke
Founder/CEO,
SakeOne

He turned to saké in 1992 founding SakéOne, the only American operated sake brewery focused exclusively on premium sake in Oregon’s wine rich Willamette Valley, and importer of some of Japan’s finest saké. SakéOne has been crafting strictly junmai ginjo quality saké at its state-of-the-art kura (brewery) in Forest Grove, the heart of the Willamette Valley: Oregon’s craft beer-brewing and wine making mecca, since 1998.

In 2010, SakéOne’s Momokawa “Ruby” Junmai Ginjo earned a silver medal at the prestigious U.S. National Sake Appraisal 2010, no small feat for an American producer in a crowd of more than 300 Japanese entrants and a judging panel held to precise Japanese standards.

Shanken News Daily recently reported that “Marketers of top saké brands say the category is now making inroads into the mainstream, while also benefiting from marked expansion in its core Asian restaurant account base.”

We’ll discuss why saké is gaining popularity here in the USA and talk the ins and outs of enjoying saké with Steve. Fun fact: Portland, Oregon boasts the highest per capita consumption of saké in the U.S. A home run market for the state SakéOne calls home.

Connect

www.sakeone.com

https://www.facebook.com/SakeOneOregon

https://twitter.com/SakeOne

Melanie Young and David Ransom
Melanie Young and David Ransom

Each Wednesday food and beverage industry insiders Melanie Young and David Ransom bring you the people who work front and center and behind the scenes in the industry on The Connected Table Live. Melanie and David are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple. Follow them on https://twitter.com/connectedtable
https://facebook.com/theconnectedtableNEW-W4CYPROOF3

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