Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Meeting Glenn and Liz Bartholomew from Oregon and Tasting Their Dominio IV Wines

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Glenn and Liz Bartholomew

The Vineyard, a wine store in McLean, Virginia, welcomed Glenn and Liz Bartholomew - Co-owners of Dominio IV in Oregon - for a tasting of the latest Dominio IV releases.


About two-thirds of Oregon’s wineries and vineyards are in the Willamette Valley. Buffered from Pacific storms on the west by the Coast Range, the valley follows the Willamette River north to south for more than a hundred miles from the Columbia River near Portland to just south of Eugene. But Oregon is not only about Willamette Valley. Oregon’s vineyards span the whole State, rising up and falling over the rolling hills and gentle valleys of more than 12,000 acres (4,858 hectares) of wine grapes. Oregon’s major wine regions are the Willamette Valley, Rogue Valley, Umpqua Valley, and the Columbia Gorge. Some regions straddle the border between Oregon and the States of Washington and Idaho.

Picture: Map of Oregon

Wine was made in Oregon in the 19th century already, when Italian and Swiss immigrants planted wine grapes and started bottling wine. Oregon's wine industry was suppressed during Prohibition. It wasn’t until1961, when Richard Sommer set up shop in southern Oregon and planted Riesling, that the modern Oregon wine industry was borne. Other pioneers include David Adelsheim, Dick Ponzi and Bill Sokol-Blosser. Then the French also came with Domaine Drouhin bringing European sophistication to Oregon. In the past 40 years, Oregon has become one of the country’s top three wine States, with 350 wineries producing an average of 5,000 cases each a year. Most of it is Pinot Noir, but there’s also Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and modest amounts of Riesling and Merlot.

Oregon produces wine on a much smaller scale than its southern neighbor California. Oregon's biggest producer ships only 125,000 cases per year and most produce under 35,000 cases. The State features many small wineries which produce less than 5,000 cases per year. In contrast, E & J Gallo Winery, the US’ largest winery, produces about 70 million cases annually. The majority of wineries in Oregon operate their own vineyards, although some purchase grapes on the market.

Dominio IV

With a production of about 500 cases, Dominio IV is one of the small wineries in Oregon. It is family run by: Leigh Bartholomew - vineyard manager and owner; husband Patrick Reuter – winemaker and owner; and parents Liz and Glenn Bartholomew - vineyard owners.

The husband and wife team Leigh and Patrick are the driving forces behind the winery, supported by Leigh’s parents Liz and Glenn. Leigh is in charge of the Dominio IV vineyards, but her main job is to be vineyard manager and co - general manager for Archery Summit, a producer of ultra-premium Pinot Noirs in Oregon. Leigh studied viticulture at the University of California at Davis and joined the team at Archery Summit in 2000. Patrick also studied at the University of California at Davis and is the winemaker of Dominio IV. The estate vineyard is owned by Leigh’s parents Liz and Glenn; Glenn is retired from the US army.

The winery is based in McMinnville, south of Portland, while the estate vineyard is in the Columbia Gorge, east of Portland, near The Dalles.

Dominio IV started farming biodynamically in 2001. “Biodynamic farming meets the organic standard including the prohibition of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, but goes much further. The integration of animals and animal feeds, perennial plants, flowers and trees, water features, and composting is emphasized. Three Sleeps Vineyard is one of a handful of Oregon sites to attain Biodynamic certification by Demeter” explained Glenn. The vineyard is planted to Tempranillo, Syrah, and Viognier. Dominio IV also make Pinot Noir from fruit purchased from the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

Picture: Glenn and Liz Bartholomew

Dominio is Latin for a feast or banquet, and power or strength. It is also Spanish for territory or dominion. “The IV refers to four people, four wines, four seasons and four vineyards of Dominio Wines” said Glenn. The 4 wines from Dominio Wines are Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Syrah and Viognier. “Like our every changing moods, we present four wines for your pleasure. Each one entangles you in its own character. Tempranillo is often like the mathematician who sits in his forest lair, contemplative, complicated, and rich in conjecture. Syrah is the spice; she is the dance, and an evening of dangerous possibilities. Viognier is the evangelist announcing the benefits of a diet based solely on fruit and flower. And Pinot Noir is the amazement of a card trick, it is the feeling of a bath, it is magic at the ends of the fingertips” as Patrick explains on the Dominio IV web-site.

The Wines That Were Poured

2008 Dominio IV Viognier "a gate swung open"

Has fruit and flower flavors with a crisp finish.

Picture: Viognier

2007 Dominio IV Tempranillo/Syrah Blend “the technicolor bat"

The back label says: “By day, the Technicolor Bat waits while hawks and eagles take flight over the vineyard by day. With wings of licorice and brown sugar and eyes that glow spiced cinnamon and chocolate, this Bat is made to fly by night. Grown on a gentle east facing slope: Tempranillo (80%) Syrah (20%)”.

2007 Dominio IV Syrah/Tempranillo Blend "Spellbound"

Syrah 58% and Temprenillo 42%.

The back label says: “ You’re so pretty you’d make any mountain quiver. You’d make fire fly from the crater. If you walk across my camera I will flash the world your story. I will pay you more than money, not by pennies, dimes, nor quarters but with happy sons and daughter. To Leigh from Patrick via Woody Guthrie and Ingrid Bergman.”

Picture: The red wines

2006 Dominio IV Tempranillo "Sketches of Spain"

The back label says: “The summer winds blow like Miles’ across the vineyard’s face. In the beat of the long days, you can find the sun buried within the vineyard’s skin. It grows fresh and green. Rolling in the breeze, it grows Tempranillo. Beneath the soil the roots drum up jazz notes staccato and velvet while whispering memories of Spain.”

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