Monday, February 12, 2007

South Beach Wine & Food Festival Preview - Cubanisimo Vineyards

The first winery we preview that is participating in the 6th Annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival is Cubanisimo Vineyards, located in Oregon’s Eola Hills.

While in his surgical residency, Mauricio Collada, Jr., trained with a French-Lebanese colleague who was raised in a wine producing family. This association expanded his initial interest in wine and according to Mr. Collada, “from that point on my reading, and tasting of wines further developed my palate.” In the early 1980s, now, Dr. Collada settled in Oregon at the same time that the Oregon Pinto Noir industry erupted. At that point his “love affair” with Pinot Noir started and “evolved into a lasting affair”.

For many wine consumers Pinot Noir is mysterious and perhaps too “sophisticated” for their palate. Dr. Collada strongly disagrees; “Pinot Noir is indeed an elegant, complex wine that expresses itself variably, but it has a gentle balance of fruit flavors, acidity, and modest tannins that make it a great, if not the best food wine. I promote it as a wonderful food wine, and encourage people to understand their own tastes in food, and to match the wines accordingly.” Furthermore he encourages people to drink wine because of the health benefits and believes that Pinot Noir is the best wine varietal to “enhance their overall life experience”. I’m sold.

In 1991, Dr. Collada quickly acted on an opportunity to purchase a 21-acre vineyard in the Eola Hills. Over the next ten years he sold the pinot noir fruit to King Estate Winery, Erath, Bishop Cellars, Willamette Valley Vineyards, and Eveshamwood Winery, all the time gaining more experience in the vineyard. Over this time span he received “physical help, wine making advice, and general assistance from different wineries and wine makers”. Apparently the wineries in Oregon enjoy a very collegial relationship. Dr. Collada also received assistance from the Oregon Wine Growers Association as well as its successor, the Oregon Wine Board. In 2003, he decided to withhold half of their production for internal use and by 2005; all wholesale contract obligations were terminated. Cubanisimo Vineyards was now entirely dedicated to produce Cubanisimo Pinot Noir.

Their initial offering was the CUBANISIMO 2003 Pinot Noir, which was soon followed by the CUBANISIMO 2004 Pinot Noir. The wine’s tasting notes state, “Cubanisimo is especially proud to release our 2004 pinot noir, a vintage we believe has all the qualities and flavors of our 2003 pinot, but with a more intense expression; a fuller, more sensual feel in the mouth and a silkier, more delightful after taste. Medium bodied, our wine displays enticing flavors of cranberry, blackberry and cherry, which will perfectly compliment cuisine commonly enjoyed in Cuban and American cuisines. We hope you will enjoy and share our pinot noir on many occasions.”

The winery also produces a rose’ style Rosado de Pinot Noir. According to its tasting notes, the wine is dry, light with cranberry-raspberry flavor and should be served chilled. Dr. Collada reiterates that “it is a wonderful summer wine, and in Florida it probably would make a great everyday wine. I consider it an excellent and elegant picnic wine. ”

After finding success in the Oregon wine market, this Havana native is returning as close to his native Cuba as legally possible to introduce his Pinot Noir to the East Coast. Cubanisimo Vineyards will be participating at several events at the Food & Wine Festival. On Friday February 23rd, they will be pouring wine at the Trade Day and Wine Spectator Grand Tasting from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm at the Publix Grand Tasting Village, Ocean Drive & 13th Street, Miami Beach. On Saturday and Sunday they will be participating at the Publix Grand Tasting from 11:00 am - 6:00 pm at Ocean Drive & 13th Street, Miami Beach.

If you are unable to attend the South Beach Wine & Food festival, Cubanisimo Vineyards Pinot Noir is available through their online store and through distributors in Arizona and Florida. Better yet, use to plan a trip to Salem, Oregon to visit the winery’s tasting facilities.

1 comment:

Dezel Quillen said...

Hello Wine-Compass,

Great to see you in the Blogosphere! We have kept up and enjoyed your other wine enthusiasts page and look forward to following you here and hearing about your wine travels and reviews.

Happy Sipping!