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    Categories: Eat & Drink

Oregon wine: The importance of being earnest

Every wine country around the world has its own personality. After a long weekend spent in and around McMinnville, Oregon, the heart of pinot noir country, I’d say the dominant personality trait of the region is earnestness, ie, “showing sincere and intense conviction.”

I’m sure there are ornery liars in Oregon, but I didn’t meet any.

Don Lange

Our first stop was Lange Estate Winery, a small operation in the Dundee Hills owned by poet/songwriter Don Lange. The new tasting room has a stupendous view of the hills, the Douglas firs and the thriving vines.

He and I chatted while we tasted wine from the bottle and the barrel, among them the remarkable barrel-fermented pinot gris, the first in the country. Before you know it, we were deep in a discussion of rhythm and meter in language, modern poetry, the Kerrville Folk Festival, Latin and the value in studying liberal arts—subjects we both felt earnest about.

We toasted each other as I left with a glass of Lange’s Mia Mousseaux Brut Rose, a wine made at the insistence of Don’s wife Wendy, a fellow bubbles lover.

“My favorite wine is the one that inspires you to talk about something other than wine,” says wine broker Francis Fecteau, owner of Libation, Inc. and organizer of this trip.

Well, Don and I talked about anything but wine, so I guess his wines are among my favorites.

I wish I could tell you to go buy a bottle of Lange’s Reserve pinot gris. But I guess the DABC doesn’t like these wines as much as I do. Now that they order with the same retail philosophy as WalMart, they probably figure they have enough SKUs of pinot gris at that price point. They’re all the same, right?

Of course they are if you don’t drink them.

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Mary Brown Malouf :Mary Brown Malouf is the Executive Editor of Salt Lake magazine and Utah's expert on local food and dining. She does not, however, know how to make a decent cup of coffee.