Bottomless Pleasure

March 27, 2011

This, our first Reserve Syrah, was produced with grapes so divinely dark that they gleamed like little black pearls as they passed through our fingers on the harvest line. Following a first tasting at the Ashland Creek Inn and premier pairing at the Rogue Valley Country Club, we are pleased to offer our finest red yet, for a limited time only, exclusively online and through our Applegate Valley tasting room.

While we expect a few cases to find their way to some of your favorite foodie meccas in Oregon and California, now is your best chance to cellar away a bottle or three of COWHORN history in the tasting. In true Old World style, an hour or two in the decanter will bring forward flavors so full that you will savor every last sip.

Win a night at the Ashland Springs Hotel

March 26, 2011

Love musing on your favorite wines? We do too. So, we’re having a contest to see how our tasting notes would read if written by COWHORN fans instead of our family.

When our new friend Gigi (aka concierge extraordinaire Donna LaRossa) contacted us with a generous opportunity to give select members of their staff a private tour and tasting at our Applegate Valley estate, and us a complimentary luxury room in Ashland’s long-time landmark hotel, an idea for a Tasting Notes Contest was born.

Rather than us enjoy the calming comfort and dramatic views of the Ashland Springs Hotel’s elegantly appointed rooms, complete with goose down blankets and botanical amenities, we decided to extend the opportunity to COWHORN fans.

From now through the summer 2011 season, we invite you to discover the wine writer within. Try your pen at writing the poetic prose of a carefully crafted paragraph describing one, or all, of our current releases. You can submit one entry for each release, and yes, multiple musings will increase your odds of winning this wonderful one-night Ashland getaway for two.

Our current releases for the contest include the 2009 Grenache 80, 2008 Syrah 74, and the 2009 Reserve Syrah. Fear not Spiral 36 fans, we’ll add this year’s blend to the drop down list on the entry form as soon as it releases in late spring.

Winning entries will be published in our first fall issue of The Grapevine. Your entry will automatically subscribe you. Everything else you need to know is posted at the link below, so pull out those pens, or iPads, and give us a taste of your translation of our Biodynamic Rhône-style wines.

123 Bolinas in Fairfax

In the heart of Fairfax, California – one of the greenest towns in America – you’ll find 123 Bolinas, a world-class wine bar and evolutionary eatery on the foodie mission of the millennium. Its floor-to-ceiling windows look in on a verdant venue dedicated to sustainably-sourced everything, from food to furnishings.

Their talented team is committed to creating a new culinary reality and producing the entire experience with a zero-waste program. You won’t be presented with any plastic packets or disposable doodads here.

You’ll thoroughly enjoy wining and dining on tables and stools made with reclaimed old-growth white oak once used to build barns, and now given a second lease on life by Restoration Timber.

Beautiful bar tops and benches were rough hewn with help from Michael “Bug” Deakin of Heritage Salvage from fallen valley oak that still bears the buckshot from the tiny town’s Wild West history. Fairfax was the site of the last political duel in California in 1861.

In winter you’ll be warmed by a free-hanging fireplace by Fireorb that magically manages to heat the house while not getting too hot to handle.

At 123 Bolinas, local and organic are a given, and there is no paper menu to peruse. Dishes are updated daily on an ever-changing chalkboard featuring farm-fresh fare, and servers will take your order on an iPad.

Wine curator Chaylee Priete, whose past purveyances have won the National Restaurant Foundation America’s Best Wine List Award, selects from sustainable small-scale vintners, and we couldn’t have been happier when we heard that COWHORN made her list.

If you make it by for bite, please send word. We don’t make it back to Marin nearly often enough and love to dine vicariously through our friends in far off places.

» Visit 123Bolinas.com

Oregon’s Astonishing Biodynamic Winegrowers

March 25, 2011

When we first heard the title of Katherine Cole’s new book, we must admit that we did a double take. Due out this June from OSU Press, Katherine tells us that Voodoo Vintners demystifies Biodynamic winemaking to reveal the science behind the stereotype.

According to OSU Press, the provocatively titled paperback will explore how cowhorns, vortexes and the vision of Rudoph Steiner may hold the key to producing some of the finest wines in the world while simultaneously promoting an agricultural system that can help save it.

Although we haven’t seen an advance copy yet, Katherine assures us that it is “extremely scientific,” and based on her interviews with us, we expect that you can look forward to finding COWHORN among the wineries featured on its pages. The 192-page book will come complete with a companion smartphone app featuring some the best Biodynamic wineries in Oregon.

If Katherine Cole is a new name to you, she has written wine columns for the FOODday section of The Oregonian since 2002 and served as a wine columnist and blind-tasting coordinator for MIX, Portland’s Magazine of Food + Drink. Not without her bona fides, she holds degrees from Harvard College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has studied with the International Sommelier Guild, and has taught journalism at Portland State University.

» Pre-order Voodoo Vinters from Powells

The Coming of Spring, Part 1

March 24, 2011


Spring makes us think good thoughts. I don’t know why, but they always come and in many forms. For today, I am reminded of an Indian proverb:

The river never drinks its own water,
The tree never tastes its own fruit,
The field never consumes its own harvest,
They selflessly strive for the wellbeing of all those around them.

I think that is enough to think about for today.

– Barbara Steele

The Last Stash


Our friends at Harry & David Country Village in Medford anticipated our annual dilemma of demand outstripping supply of Spiral 36 come springtime. We just learned that their very wise wine team squirreled away a few cases to pull out just in time for the arrival of warmer weather, which is hopefully coming soon since we’re all sufficiently soaked by this year’s long, late wet winter.

Now, we could be jealous since we don’t have so much as a drop of our 2009 co-ferment blend of Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier left in our Applegate Valley tasting room, and the 2010 Spiral 36 isn’t releasing until late spring, but we’ll leave being green for our Biodynamic practices since envy doesn’t wear well anyway. (Our web guy is another matter. We hear that he’s holding onto his last bottle of last year’s Spiral like it was one of Wonka’s golden tickets.)

So while Old Man Winter hangs around the Rogue Wine Country a little longer than we’d like this year, now is your chance to hop off at exit 27 and stock up on a Rhône-style white blend The Oregonian called “Picnic Perfect.”

The RINSE Project evolves

March 22, 2011

As with all living systems, The RINSE Project has made an evolutionary leap forward. Following a successful pilot program with Wine Bottle Renew, we are now closer than ever to a closed-loop, cradle-to-cradle glassware solution here at COWHORN.

Thanks to COWHORN fans throughout the Rogue Wine Country who brought back your used bottles by the case, we have learned that the most efficient and effective solution was the simplest one all along – reusing our very own bottles brought back customers and club members.

As for those bottles from your other favorite wineries, we hope that you’ll call and encourage them to contact the good folks at Wine Bottle Renew to get on board with a new way of sourcing bottles that not only cuts our industry’s carbon footprint but goes directly to the bottom line of our business, all while delivering greener, cleaner bottles.

We look forward to continue collecting used COWHORN bottles at our Applegate Valley tasting room, and have been known to send folks home with something fresh from the field as a thank you when the season is right.

» Visit WineBottleRenew.com