As the sun-soaked days of summer draw to a close, the anticipation at Kramer Vineyards is palpable. We stand at the cusp of harvest season, a vibrant journey that brings to life the essence of our winery. Join us as we delve into the intricacies of preparing for this magical time—a period filled with excitement, dedication, and the promise of exceptional wines.
At Kramer Vineyards, the excitement is palpable as we approach the sparkling harvest, set to commence after Labor Day. Our vineyards are lush with promise, each grape variety reaching its pinnacle of perfection. With the delicate flavors and effervescence they embody, these grapes will soon be carefully hand-picked to become the heart of our exquisite celebratory wines.
The sparkling harvest holds a special place in our winemaking calendar, as the ripeness benchmarks for this style differ from other wines. We seek grapes with less sugar, vibrant acidity, and delicately developed flavors, ensuring our sparkling wines boast the perfect balance of brightness and finesse.
As we count down the days to this effervescent spectacle, our team is meticulously preparing to capture the essence of the harvest and craft unforgettable sparkling wines that will delight your senses. Stay tuned for more insights into our vibrant journey as we approach this exhilarating season of winemaking artistry.
As September unfolds, our focus shifts to the crown jewel of the harvest—the Pinot Noir. The soul of our winery, these grapes carry the stories of our vineyards and the spirit of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. As the sun gently kisses the clusters, we prepare for the labor of love that lies ahead. The Pinot Noir harvest, scheduled to begin around September 30, is a symphony of flavors waiting to be composed.
At Kramer Vineyards, the eagerly awaited harvest season is not merely a seasonal event but a living testament to the rich traditions we hold dear. As we approach this momentous time, our winemaking team draws upon decades of experience and expertise to meticulously fine-tune our harvest plan.
Every detail is considered, from the timing of the pick to the precise handling of each cluster, as we navigate the art and science of winemaking. This carefully crafted plan is our guiding light, ensuring that no aspect is overlooked and every grape is treated with the utmost care and respect.
Behind the scenes, our dedicated team works tirelessly, fueled by passion and a deep connection to the land. The vineyards are abuzz with energy and anticipation as we prepare to capture the essence of the harvest and transform these remarkable grapes into extraordinary wines.
Throughout the generations, we have held true to our traditions, honoring the land and the vines that have flourished under our stewardship. Our harvest plan bridges past and present, embodying the wisdom passed down through time while embracing the innovation and vision that will shape the wines of the future.
As we embark on this vibrant journey, we invite you to join us in celebrating the spirit of tradition and craftsmanship that goes into every bottle of Kramer Vineyards wine. Together, we raise our glasses to the harvest season—an extraordinary time connecting us to the heart of winemaking artistry.
Preparing for harvest is a celebration of unity as our team comes together with shared purpose and dedication. From vineyard to cellar, the spirit of teamwork resonates through every task. Each hand plays a part in nurturing the vines, selecting the perfect clusters, and preserving the grapes' essence through the winemaking process. Together, we craft wines that embody the heart and soul of Kramer Vineyards.
As the days grow shorter and the leaves take on their autumn hues, we stand at the threshold of a transformative journey. The harvest season at Kramer Vineyards is a vibrant ode to nature, tradition, and human ingenuity. From the sparkling harvest to the cherished Pinot Noir, each grape tells a story of the land, the people, and the magic that lies within every bottle. Join us on this extraordinary journey as we prepare to embrace the harvest with open arms and hearts filled with passion. The adventure awaits, and we invite you to share in the splendor of harvest at Kramer Vineyards. Cheers to the beauty of this coming season!
Pinot Noir grapes have thinner skins than other red wine grape varieties, resulting in a lighter color. Additionally, Pinot Noir grapes naturally have a lower level of anthocyanins, the pigments responsible for the red color in wine.
The cool climates of the Willamette Valley, where Pinot Noir grapes thrive, play a crucial role in the wine's lighter body. The slower ripening process in these cool temperatures leads to grapes with amazing flavor, lower sugar content, and a more lightweight body. The unique combination of soil composition, drainage, and other terroir elements also contribute to Pinot Noir's character, adding further nuances to its flavor profile.
At Kramer Vineyards, we have been exploring whole cluster fermentation since 2012. Through extensive trials conducted in 2014, 2015, and 2017, we gained valuable insights into this winemaking technique and its impact on the color, body, and flavor profile of our Pinot Noir—whole cluster fermentation results in wines with less color intensity but greater depth and complex, layered flavors. The wines may be tight initially, but they fill out and develop a more rounded body after bottle conditioning.
We utilize gentle pump-overs, punch-downs, and délestage during the fermentation process. These techniques help extract optimal flavors and tannins from the grape skins while maintaining the desired elegance and balance of our Pinot Noir. By carefully managing the maceration process, we can achieve the ideal level of color extraction without compromising the wine's finesse. These methods can also be applied more aggressively to increase skin contact and facilitate color extraction.
Some winemakers employ cold soaking, which involves macerating the grape must at lower temperatures before fermentation. This technique allows for gentle color extraction and flavor development. Extended maceration, where the grape skins remain in contact with the fermenting juice for an extended period, can also enhance color and flavor extraction, resulting in deeper hues and more intense characteristics.
Blending darker wines into Pinot Noir can enhance color stability and create desired color profiles. This practice varies widely based on region and labeling laws. While blending is not part of our winemaking process for Pinot Noir at Kramer Vineyards, it is a technique some winemakers use to achieve specific color outcomes.
In some cases, winemakers may use grape concentrates to adjust the color of the wine. These concentrates intensify color and can be added in small quantities to achieve the desired hue. The use of concentrates is a subject of debate in the winemaking community, with varying opinions on their impact on the overall wine quality.
The choice of oak barrels and aging duration also enhance the expression of terroir and color in our Pinot Noir. We age our wines in French oak barrels of various ages, with a maximum of 25% new barrels in the mix. This approach allows the subtle integration of oak-derived flavors while ensuring the fruit and terroir characteristics remain at the forefront.
Winemakers have various tools and techniques at their disposal to manipulate the color of their wines. These include fermenting at higher temperatures, aggressive cap management techniques, harvesting riper fruit, and the use of extended maceration, cold soaks, blending, and concentrates. Each technique offers opportunities for color manipulation, and winemakers choose the methods that align with their winemaking philosophy and desired outcomes.
When pairing Oregon Pinot Noir, many Northwest foods beautifully complement the wine's flavors and nuances. Consider these delectable options:
The rich and buttery flavors of salmon harmonize perfectly with Oregon Pinot Noir. Whether grilled, roasted, or smoked, the salmon's luscious texture and subtle sweetness complement the wine's fruit-forward character. Pinot Noir Blanc also accentuates the natural flavors of the fish.
The abundance of wild mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest pairs wonderfully with Oregon Pinot Noir. Earthy and savory, mushrooms like morels, chanterelles, and porcini enhance the wine's earthy undertones and add complexity. Try a truly harmonious combination of mushroom risotto, flatbread, or a mushroom tart with a glass of Pinot Noir.
Succulent elk dishes are a delightful pairing with the structure and elegance of Oregon Pinot Noir. The lean yet flavorful meat of elk resonates with the wine's characteristics, creating a harmonious balance of flavors. Whether prepared as a roast, steak, or in stew, elk complements the wine's nuanced profile.
Roasted duck or quail offer a delightful pairing with Oregon Pinot Noir. The richness and juiciness of the meat, along with its slightly gamey flavors, complement the wine's medium body and red fruit notes. The wine's acidity helps cut through the meat's richness, creating a harmonious balance of flavors.
These Northwest ingredients showcase the region's bounty and perfectly complement the flavors of Oregon Pinot Noir. Hazelnuts' nuttiness and buttery texture complement the wine's earthy and fruit-forward profile. With their sweet-tart burst of flavor, Marionberries harmonize perfectly with Pinot Noir's fruitiness. Thanks to its rich and tangy flavors, Tillamook cheese, renowned in Oregon and beyond, pairs exceptionally well with Pinot Noir. And finally, with their earthy and aromatic qualities, Oregon truffles create a luxurious pairing, adding depth and complexity to the tasting experience.
We invite you to join us on a journey through the science and artistry of Pinot Noir. Experience the beauty of our vineyards, taste the exceptional wines we craft, and discover the nuances of color, body, and flavor. Whether through our wine club, guided vineyard tours, or private tastings, you'll gain a deeper appreciation for the science behind Pinot Noir's lighter color and body and the influence of the Willamette Valley's cool climate and terroir. Indulge in the exquisite world of Kramer Vineyards and savor the beauty of our terroir.
At Kramer Vineyards, sparkling wines aren't just for weddings or New Year's Eve celebrations. We'll inspire you to infuse the joy and effervescence of our sparkling wines into your everyday life. From intimate gatherings to casual brunches and moments of personal celebration, we'll provide ideas and suggestions to make every day sparkle with Kramer Vineyard's unique charm.
Let me share a delightful story from my time as a harvest intern in Burgundy, where I discovered a charming custom that forever changed my perspective on sparkling wine. In Burgundy, the land of prestigious vineyards and rich traditions, sparkling wine holds a special place in both grand celebrations and everyday moments of togetherness. Whether it's the joyous La Paulée, the extravagant celebration marking the end of the grape harvest, or simply being a guest in someone's home, it is customary to open a bottle of champagne and serve a salty snack, embracing the effervescence and creating unforgettable memories.
Inspired by our Burgundian friends, we have embraced the essence of this tradition at Kramer Vineyards and incorporated it into our tasting room. As soon as you step through our doors, you are greeted with the effervescent joy of sparkling wine. We believe that every day holds its own reasons to celebrate, and what better way to honor those moments than with a glass of sparkling wine in hand?
Everyday Gatherings: Whether it's a cozy dinner with loved ones or a relaxed get-together with friends, incorporating sparkling wine adds a touch of elegance and celebration to these intimate moments. Toast to cherished connections and create lasting memories with our exquisite sparkling wines.
Brunch Delights: Elevate your brunch experience by serving our sparkling wines alongside delectable dishes. The effervescence and vibrant flavors complement a variety of brunch favorites, from eggs Benedict to freshly baked pastries. Sip, savor, and let the sparkle enhance your leisurely mornings.
Personal Milestones: Life's achievements, big or small, deserve to be celebrated. Raise a glass of Kramer Sparkling Wine to honor personal milestones, whether it's a promotion, graduation, or simply a moment of personal triumph. Let our sparkling wines be the companions that add a touch of glamour and significance to your journey.
Incorporating sparkling wine into your everyday life is about embracing the enchantment of the present moment. Here are a few ideas to infuse everyday moments with the charm of Kramer Vineyard's sparkling wines:
Pet-nat and street tacos are a winning combination!
Beyond New Year's Eve, Kramer Vineyard's sparkling wines are here to elevate your everyday life. By incorporating the joy and effervescence of our wines into intimate gatherings, casual brunches, and personal celebrations, you can infuse every day with a touch of sparkle. Experience the unique charm of Kramer Vineyard and discover how our sparkling wines can enhance your special moments. Visit our website to explore our exquisite collection and start making every day sparkle with Kramer Vineyard's sparkling wines. Cheers to a life full of joy and celebration!
Welcome to the world of Oregon sparkling wine, where proper storage, opening, serving, and stemware selection are key to preserving the integrity and enhancing the experience of each effervescent sip. At Kramer Vineyards in the north Willamette Valley, we take great pride in sharing our expertise on these essential aspects. Join us as we unlock the secrets of Kramer Vineyard's sparkling wines and discover the unique character that Oregon brings to the world of bubbles. In this blog post, we'll explore the art of storage, graceful bottle opening, impeccable serving techniques, and stemware that elevates the enjoyment of our Oregon sparkling creations.
To properly store your bottles of Oregon sparkling wine, creating an ideal environment that allows them to age gracefully and preserve their vibrant flavors is crucial. Consider the following factors:
Mastering the Technique of Opening Bottles of Sparkling Wine
Opening a bottle of Oregon sparkling wine is an art that adds to the anticipation and enjoyment of the moment. Follow these steps to open your sparkling wine like a pro:
By incorporating the tea towel, you can enhance your grip on the bottle, especially if it has become slippery due to being in an ice bath or condensation. This extra precaution ensures a controlled and safe opening, allowing you to enjoy the experience of opening an Oregon sparkling wine bottle.
As the cork is released, the aromas and flavors of our Oregon sparkling wine come to life. Take a moment to appreciate the effervescent bubbles dancing in the glass, indicating the wine's exceptional quality. The initial burst of bubbles reveals the wine's freshness and liveliness, creating a captivating visual display.
Just like still wines, sparkling wines transform as they warm slightly and have some air contact in the glass. This evolution can be a fascinating journey as the wine's aromas and flavors develop and unfold.
Savor each sip and allow the wine to evolve in the glass. Notice how the aromas become more pronounced, the flavors become more nuanced, and the texture becomes more expressive. Initially energetic and effervescent, the bubbles may mellow slightly over time, revealing a more delicate and refined effervescence.
Each glass offers a unique glimpse into the wine's character, showcasing the meticulous craftsmanship and the distinct terroir of Kramer Vineyard. Embrace the evolving nature of the wine as it warms and breathes in the glass, allowing it to reveal its true depth and complexity.
By taking the time to appreciate the wine's evolution in the glass, you can fully immerse yourself in the captivating experience of our Oregon sparkling wines and discover the intricate layers that make them truly special.
Serving our Oregon sparkling wines at the right temperature is crucial to fully appreciating their flavors, aromas, and effervescence. Ensuring the bottle is chilled to the optimal temperature can enhance the tasting experience and unlock the wine's true potential.
To bring out the best in most sparkling wines, we recommend serving them at a temperature between 41°F (5°C) and 45°F (7°C). This range helps preserve the bottle's effervescence and showcases the wine's fresh citrus notes and lively acidity. It's a great serving temperature that allows the wine to express its vibrant character.
For vintage Champagnes and extended tirage sparkling wines, you can slightly adjust the serving temperature to around 45°F to 50°F (7°C to 10°C). This subtle increase in temperature can enhance the development of toast and biscuit notes, adding complexity to these special wines.
While it's important to consider these recommendations, serving temperature is a personal preference, and you may find slight variations that suit your taste. The key is to avoid over-chilling, as excessively low temperatures can diminish the flavors and nuances of the wine. If your bottle feels too cold, allow it to rest at room temperature for a few minutes to gently warm up before serving.
By serving our Oregon sparkling wines at the recommended temperatures, you can fully appreciate their vibrant flavors, delightful aromas, and effervescent charm, ensuring a gratifying and memorable tasting experience.
The selection of stemware for sparkling wines is highly personal and often sentimental. Our recommendations aim to enhance the enjoyment of our Oregon sparkling wines, but ultimately, you should use the stemware that brings you the most joy, whether it be a coupe, flute, glass, or tumbler. The shape of the glass can influence the release of aromas, the display of bubbles, and the overall tasting experience. Here are some recommendations for different types of sparkling wines:
Choosing the right stemware enhances the visual appeal and allows you to fully experience our Oregon sparkling wines' aromas, flavors, and effervescence. Enjoy the captivating dance of bubbles and savor every sip in the glass that complements your chosen wine.
A gentle and steady approach preserves the effervescence when pouring our Oregon sparkling wines. Tilt the glass at a slight angle and pour the wine slowly down the side of the glass, allowing it to cascade gently. This technique minimizes agitation, preserving the bubbles and preventing excessive foaming. When finished serving, seal the bottle with a sparkling stopper to hold the pressure for your next glass.
In the picturesque Willamette Valley, Kramer Vineyards proudly crafts exquisite Oregon sparkling wines that captivate the senses and reflect the region's unique terroir. By mastering the art of storage, opening, serving, and selecting the right stemware, you can unlock the full potential of our Méthode Champenoise creations. Ready to embark on your sparkling wine journey with Kramer Vineyards? Explore our exquisite selection of Oregon sparkling wines and experience the magic of bubbles in every sip. Visit our sparkling wine collection to discover our wines' exceptional craftsmanship and unique character. Cheers to living your best sparkling life the Kramer way!
Get ready for grilling and cookout season with a selection of wines to enhance your summer entertaining. Who better to offer expert advice on wine pairings than Becky Kramer, the Winery Director of Kramer Vineyards and a seasoned grilling enthusiast? Let Becky guide you through her top picks for selecting wines that will take your barbecue experience to the next level.
Elevate your barbecue with the versatile pairing power of dry rosé. This refreshing wine effortlessly enhances the flavors of succulent shellfish, juicy ribs, classic sausages, and more. Sip chilled rosé as the aroma of sizzling grills fills the air, intensifying the pleasure of every bite. Its bright acidity and fruity notes create a match made in barbecue heaven.
“Always have plenty of chilled sparkling wine and rosé on hand. They’re some of the most food-friendly wines out there! The combination of refreshing, bright acidity and fruity flavors really works with the savory smokiness of the grill. A dry rosé can pair with everything from shellfish to pulled pork sliders, ribs, burgers and sausages—even the potato salad.”
From perfectly grilled burgers to savory sausages, dry rosé adds a delightful touch to charred flavors, turning each mouthful into pure bliss. Even classic barbecue side dishes like potato salad find a worthy companion in this wine, as its refreshing acidity cuts through the creaminess, adding elegance and brightness. And yes, even hot dogs—the iconic barbecue staple—find their perfect match in dry rosé, balancing their richness with vibrant flavors.
Stock up on dry rosé for your next grilling session and experience the perfect harmony of flavors. Let this versatile wine transform your barbecue season into a culinary adventure, creating unforgettable moments around the grill.
“Oregon Pinot noir is quite versatile with grilled foods too,” she notes, “it’s inherently earthy and smoky, often spicy, and the red or dark fruitiness pops nicely without dominating the meal.”
The Willamette Valley is synonymous with Pinot Noir, and Kramer has plenty of experience pairing this with salmon, pork chops, lamb, chicken and game birds. This exceptional wine's earthy and smoky undertones blend seamlessly with the richness of pork chops, the succulence of lamb, the juiciness of chicken, and the wild allure of game birds. With every sip, the spicy and red or dark fruitiness of the Pinot Noir bursts forth, enveloping your senses and enhancing the smoky essence of your grilled creations. Elevate your grilling prowess and ignite a symphony of flavors with the enchanting Oregon Pinot Noir, taking your barbecue gatherings to extraordinary heights.
If beef is on the menu, Becky will open something darker, like a Syrah or Rhône blend. “Beef usually needs wines with more tannins, so reach for something that will stain your teeth.”
For beef enthusiasts, Syrah, Rhône blends, and Carmine are the go-to wines. With their robust flavors and bold tannins, these wines elevate the taste of grilled beef, burgers, lamb, and steaks. Sip on Syrah as you enjoy spareribs, barbecued chicken, grilled meats, hamburgers, lamb burgers, mushroom burgers, ribs with barbecue sauce, grilled sausages, and pepper-rubbed steak. Meanwhile, Carmine perfectly complements grilled beef, burgers, lamb, and rib-eye steak. Unleash your inner grill master and let these wines enhance the richness and smokiness of your beef creations for an unforgettable barbecue experience. These wines are the perfect partners for your grilled creations, leaving a lasting impression with every bite.
“There’s something incredibly satisfying about standing over the grill with tongs in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.”
Embark on a fiery culinary adventure with Müller-Thurgau, the perfect pairing for your spicy barbecue creations. Its crisp acidity cuts through the heat, refreshing your palate while harmonizing with the spices. Müller-Thurgau's aromatic profile beautifully balances intense flavors, creating a delightful symphony on your palate. Experience the magic as each sip reveals new complexities, accentuating the vibrant nature of your spicy fare. Let Müller-Thurgau elevate your barbecue with elegance and zest, adding sophistication to your flavor-packed creations. Indulge in spice-rubbed ribs, barbecued chicken, or any fiery dish and discover the spice-pairing power of Müller-Thurgau.
“We have a hill that overlooks the vineyard and is our favorite spot to grill with friends. In the summertime, we’ll host causal cookouts and everyone brings good sides and wine to share while the meat or fish is cooking. It’s a wonderful communal experience in a relaxed atmosphere, and the view is amazing.”
We hope Becky's expertise and passion for grilling inspires you this barbecue season. At Kramer Vineyards, we take pride in crafting wines that beautifully complement a variety of culinary creations. Whether you're grilling drumsticks, savoring the communal joy of a cookout, or indulging in spice-rubbed ribs, our wines enhance your experience.
Join Becky in her love for grilling and wine by exploring our exceptional selection of grill-friendly wines. Indulge in the refreshing and versatile dry rosé, embrace the bold flavors with our Oregon Pinot Noir and robust reds, and unleash the spice-pairing power of Müller-Thurgau. Let our wines take you on a culinary journey with each sip, creating unforgettable moments around the grill. Explore the exceptional offerings from Kramer Vineyards and create lasting memories around the fire. Cheers to delicious food, joyful moments, and the perfect wines to accompany them.
As passionate winemakers at Kramer Vineyards, we always focus on bringing out the most authentic expression of the fruit we grow in our estate vineyard. Barrel aging is pivotal in this pursuit, offering many benefits that enhance and complement our wines.
At Kramer Vineyards, our barrel selection and aging regime are meticulously crafted to ensure that the barrels serve as vessels for aging and act as partners in the winemaking process. After all, we don't grow and make barrels; we grow and make wine!
The use of oak barrels in aging Pinot Noir presents various advantages that contribute to the wine's ultimate expression and exceptional quality. Let's delve into some of the key benefits:
The interaction between Pinot Noir and carefully selected French oak barrels introduces subtle nuances and flavors that add depth and complexity to our wines at Kramer Vineyards. Each barrel, with its unique characteristics influenced by the forest, tightness of the grain, and the cooper's building and toasting techniques, contributes to the wine's distinct personality.
With time, the tannins in young Pinot Noir wines gradually integrate and mellow in the barrel, resulting in a refined and harmonious mouthfeel. This transformation enhances the overall drinking experience, allowing you to appreciate the wine's intricate nuances fully.
Barrel aging allows the wine to develop a well-defined structure with a perfect interplay of acidity, tannins, and fruit. Our Pinot Noir wines, crafted in the terroir of Willamette Valley, reflect this balanced structure that enables graceful aging.
Barrel aging allows Pinot Noir to undergo a controlled and beneficial oxidation process, intensifying and refining its flavor profile. This is separate from faulty oxidized wine, which results in undesirable flavors and loss of freshness; the slow oxidation in the barrel contributes to the wine's complexity and depth. It reveals a broader range of fruit flavors, subtle spice notes, and captivating oak influences. Each sip becomes a sensory journey through the evolving layers of flavor, showcasing the remarkable transformation that occurs during the barrel aging of Pinot Noir.
The barrel aging process imparts Pinot Noir a luxurious and velvety texture, enhancing its overall elegance and mouthfeel. At Kramer Vineyards, we strive to create wines with a polished and sophisticated character that lingers on the palate.
Extended aging in the barrel allows the various components of the wine to integrate and harmonize, resulting in a beautifully balanced expression of flavors, aromas, and structure. This meticulous process ensures that each Kramer Vineyards' Pinot Noir bottle delivers an exceptional and harmonious wine experience.
Patience is vital when evaluating a barrel of Pinot Noir. During the early months, the wine exhibits vibrant primary fruit flavors with acidity and tannins that may initially seem disjointed. However, a magical transformation occurs as the wine "winters over" and undergoes malolactic fermentation.
Malolactic fermentation, where beneficial bacteria convert sharp malic acid into smoother lactic acid, softens the wine's acidity and enhances its complexity, mouthfeel, and perception of tannins. This process gradually shapes the wine, unlocking a rounder and more integrated character and showcasing a stunning depth of flavors.
At Kramer Vineyards, we understand the significance of each barrel in shaping the aging Pinot Noir. The unique characteristics influenced by the terroir of Willamette Valley, the cooper's craftsmanship, and the evolution with each fill contribute to the wine's complexity and depth.
As barrels are reused, they lose their potency, imparting fewer flavors and tannins to the wine. This aging tradition adds depth and complexity to our wines, requiring us to carefully consider the number of fills for each barrel to maintain the desired balance.
When the wines have completed malolactic fermentation and settled back into the barrel for further aging, it marks a pivotal moment in their development. This is an opportune time for us as winemakers to assess their qualities and draw connections to past vintages, guiding our blending decisions to ensure the final expression of the wine aligns with our vision.
Through the meticulous evaluation of Pinot Noir during its barrel aging journey, we can determine how to serve the wine best as we head toward bottling. Each barrel holds the potential to reveal unique characteristics that showcase the terroir of Willamette Valley. Join us at Kramer Vineyards as we invite you to experience the art of evaluating wine in the barrel, appreciating its benefits and extraordinary expression of this captivating grape variety.
If you'd like to schedule a barrel tasting at Kramer Vineyards, please get in touch with us for more information or to book your tasting experience. Email us at email@example.com.
Have you ever wondered what dosage means in champagne and sparkling wine? Allow us to shed some light on this vital aspect of the winemaking process.
Dosage refers to the addition of a finishing syrup after the second fermentation in the bottle. This step involves carefully introducing small amounts of sugar to the wine. The purpose of dosage is multi-fold: it helps to balance the naturally high acidity of the wine, accentuates its fruit flavors, contributes to a smoother texture, and so much more.
We highly recommend reading this interview with noted Champagne expert Peter Liem by wine writer Jaime Goode for a comprehensive and insightful read on dosage, grower-producers, and viticulture. It provides a holistic understanding of the role of dosage in creating exceptional sparkling wines.
In our cellar, we eagerly anticipate the moment we get to taste our sparkling wines shortly after bottling. The wine is dry, effervescent, and alive with suspended yeast cells at this stage. It never fails to be a thrilling experience.
Once the second fermentation is complete, we carefully evaluate the need for dosage. We prepare a range of wines with varying sugar levels, up to 10 grams per liter. Throughout our winemaking history, we have bottled sparkling wines with dosages ranging from 3 to 8 grams per liter. However, we must admit that we also have a soft spot for crisp, tart, and bone-dry wines that don't require any additional dosage.
As a sparkling winemaker, my perspective on dosage has evolved significantly. When younger and less experienced, I preferred the romance of a perfect, raw sparkling wine without dosage. I have since learned that when the dosage is employed judiciously, it can elevate a wine and bring out its true essence in a way that remains authentic to the terroir and vintage (while leaving room for zero-dosage wines when that's the best expression of these qualities).
While the movement towards lower or zero dosage has gained traction over the last two decades, particularly among grower-producers emphasizing terroir expression, I have come to appreciate the transformative potential of dosage when used thoughtfully and in harmony with the wine's character.
Today, I invite you to join me in a deeper exploration of dosage's intricate role in champagne and sparkling wine. Let us take a moment to cherish how dosage contributes to the delightful flavors, textures, and nuances that unfold in every glass. If you are intrigued to experience the range of our sparkling wines, please visit our website or contact us for more information.
Together, let's toast the exquisite art of dosage and celebrate the wondrous journey of Kramer sparkling wines. Cheers to the magic that unfolds in each bottle!
The label is a patchwork quilt, representing the blocks of grapevines in our vineyard.
Did you know that 96% of the vineyard acreage in the Willamette Valley is dedicated to Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay? While these noble varieties have captured the spotlight, an exciting world of alternative Oregon wine varietals is waiting to be explored. At Kramer Vineyards, we invite you to venture beyond the familiar and discover "The Other 4%."
While Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay may be the stars of the Willamette Valley, we have been passionate about cultivating lesser-known varietals that thrive in our unique terroir. Let's dive into the intriguing characteristics of Grüner Veltliner, Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Meunier, Carmine, and Marquette.
Müller-Thurgau, a relatively unknown varietal, has found a thriving home in our vineyards since the mid-1980s. Its story at Kramer Vineyards began when owner Keith Kramer took a vineyard management class in the early 1980s. During the class, he encountered a fellow enthusiast who couldn't contain their excitement about Müller-Thurgau for Oregon. Intrigued by the fervor, Keith decided to explore this grape further.
"We bought some when we had the opportunity in the mid-80s," Keith recalls. The wine made from Müller-Thurgau grapes was a hit, prompting us to plant vines at our estate. This varietal proved exceptionally productive at our site, consistently yielding flavorful fruit even in the most challenging vintages.
Since then, we've crafted various Müller-Thurgau wines, from dry to off-dry, semi-sweet to dessert, and even sparkling. Our sparkling and still wines have garnered popularity and often rank as the top sellers in our tasting room. In 2018, Wine Enthusiast recognized us as a Notable Müller-Thurgau Producer in the US, further validating our dedication to this exceptional varietal.
Indulge in the enticing flavors of peach, starfruit, lychee, passionfruit, mango, lime, gooseberry, and sweet basil that define our Müller-Thurgau wines. Experience the charm of this hidden gem and join us in celebrating the recognition and acclaim our Müller-Thurgau wines have garnered.
Grown on our estate since 2010, Grüner Veltliner is a remarkable white grape variety known for its crispness and expressive flavors. This Austrian favorite captivates with notes of lemon, lime, cucumber, peach, white flowers, freshly cut grass, green apple, and pear. Its high acidity and versatility make it an excellent choice for food pairing, complementing a range of dishes.
At Kramer Vineyards, we've taken the allure of Grüner Veltliner a step further by crafting a spectacular sparkling wine. The lively effervescence and elegant flavors of our Grüner Veltliner sparkling wine delight the senses. With each sip, you'll experience the vibrancy of citrus, the complexity of orchard fruits, and the refreshing zing that only sparkling wines can deliver.
Whether you savor our still Grüner Veltliner or indulge in the sparkling variation, this exceptional varietal will captivate your palate and elevate your wine experience. Join us in celebrating the versatility and sparkling brilliance of Grüner Veltliner at Kramer Vineyards.
Pinot Meunier is an exceptional grape variety in our vineyards, exclusively planted, grown, and harvested for our traditional sparkling wine program. This distinctive grape adds depth and character to our sparkling wines, contributing to their unique and effervescent charm. Indulge in the enchanting flavors of cherries, blackcurrants, blackberries, tobacco, leather, and subtle spice that define our Pinot Meunier sparkling wines. With every sip, experience the artistry and dedication that goes into crafting these sparkling delights at Kramer Vineyards.
Carmine has a fascinating history that traces back to its creation in 1946 at UC Davis by Dr. Harold Olmo. This unique grape variety is a cross of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, and Merlot, developed specifically to thrive in California's cooler, coastal regions. Although Olmo's vision for Carmine did not gain widespread popularity as intended, the vines found their way north to Oregon in the 1970s, landing at Courting Hill Vineyard in Banks. It was there that Keith Kramer, inspired by the Oregon wine legend Jim Leyden, was introduced to this intriguing grape variety. In 1989, Leyden generously gifted Kramer Vineyards with our first Carmine vines.
At Kramer Vineyards, we have dedicated ourselves to unlocking the potential of Carmine. This late-ripening, thick-skinned grape has revealed its true character through our continuous exploration in the vineyard and the winery. Our Carmine wines, known for their dark red color, exude herbaceous aromas and peppery notes. With influences from its Cabernet Sauvignon grandparent, you can expect dark fruit flavors, dark chocolate, and an occasional hint of mint. Indulge in the distinctive flavor profile of our Carmine wines, featuring dried cranberries, maraschino cherries, cinnamon, anise, bell pepper, and cracked peppercorns.
Marquette, a captivating grape variety, was planted in our vineyard in 2010 across 0.5 acres. Developed by the University of Minnesota for extremely cold climates, Marquette is not well suited to our region or our property. Its intended growing conditions are much cooler than what we have in the Willamette Valley, resulting in unique challenges for its cultivation.
One of the major obstacles we face with Marquette is its early ripening nature. The vines tend to bloom weeks ahead of other varietals, often coinciding with rain, interfering with fruit set. This presents a constant battle to ensure proper fruit development during critical growth periods.
Another challenge arises at harvest time. Due to its early ripening, Marquette is susceptible to bird predation. The birds sometimes devour the fruit before we can pick it. Additionally, the chemistry of Marquette at ripeness is unusual, often exhibiting high sugar levels and acidity, requiring careful monitoring and timing for optimal harvest.
While we wouldn't recommend planting Marquette in the Willamette Valley, we have found a wonderful use for this challenging grape. By cofermenting it with grapes sourced from throughout our estate vineyard, we create the delightful summery red wine called 27 Blocks. This cofermentation allows Marquette to shine as a base, contributing its unique character to the blend.
With its flavor profile encompassing cherries, blackcurrants, blackberries, tobacco, and leather, 27 Blocks is a captivating expression of the harmonious interplay between our vineyard's nine grape varieties. Despite the challenges of growing Marquette in our region, its contribution to creating 27 Blocks makes it an essential part of our winemaking journey.
As you explore the wonders of Oregon wine, don't limit yourself to the familiar. At Kramer Vineyards, we invite you to journey into "The Other 4%" and discover the exceptional varietals that make our region unique. From the crispness of Grüner Veltliner to the hidden gem of Müller-Thurgau, the unique expressions of Pinot Meunier, and the innovative spirit of Carmine and Marquette, each varietal tells a story that deserves to be savored. Join us in exploring flavors and expanding your wine horizons with Kramer Vineyards.
Are you a wine enthusiast eager to support local wineries? Whether you're a seasoned connoisseur or new to the world of wine, embarking on an adventure to explore the best wineries in your neighborhood is a delightful journey. Local wineries are cropping up in unexpected places, offering unique wines that showcase the distinct flavors of your region. Not only does supporting these wineries boost the local economy, but it also allows you to savor and appreciate the diverse flavors that your community has to offer. Let's raise a glass and discover the best wineries near you!
Supporting local wineries extends beyond enjoying a glass of wine. By visiting and purchasing from these wineries, you contribute to the growth of the local economy and help small businesses thrive. Many local wineries prioritize sustainability in their winemaking practices, making your support good for your taste buds and the environment.
Moreover, buying wine directly from the winery is the most sustainable choice as a consumer. You reduce the carbon footprint of distribution by eliminating the need to transport the wine to a shop or restaurant.
Additionally, supporting local wineries allows you to experience your region's unique flavors and characteristics. These wineries often use grapes specific to your area, producing truly distinctive wines. By tasting and learning about these wines, you can develop a deeper appreciation for the flavors and culture of your community.
When choosing a local winery to visit, consider factors such as the types of wines you enjoy. Research wineries that specialize in the wines you're interested in tasting. Additionally, consider the ambiance you prefer, whether casual or upscale, and explore wineries that align with your preferences. Location is also crucial, so research the wineries' proximity and surrounding amenities to plan your visit effectively.
Before visiting a winery's tasting room, it's helpful to research ahead of time. Here are key details to consider:
As people become more environmentally conscious, sustainability in winemaking has gained significance. Many local wineries are actively reducing their environmental footprint and implementing sustainable practices.
Some wineries have embraced sustainable, organic, or biodynamic farming methods, while others utilize renewable energy sources like solar panels to power their production facilities. By supporting these wineries, you enjoy delicious wines and contribute to a more sustainable future.
Exploring the best wineries in your neighborhood is a fun and exciting way to support local businesses while discovering new flavors and experiences. By visiting local wineries, you enjoy delicious wine, support the local economy, preserve tradition, promote sustainability, and reduce carbon emissions.