Ponzi Single Vineyard and Reserve Pinot Noirs are a treat to revisit year after year. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi crafts these cuvées to age and selects fruit from Ponzi’s oldest and finest vineyards, which ripen later and hold their acidity better than younger sites. Over a decade’s time, she finds flavors and aromas of cherry, plum and blueberry turn to currant, cedar and anise; then later to forest floor, savory notes and offer a silky texture.
Did you know Ponzi Chardonnays can also age quite elegantly? The structure and acidity allow these cuvées to evolve into richer more complex wines over time. Notes of pear, apple and jasmine transition to flavors and aromas of apricot, hazelnut, pie spice and brûlée.
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The Gresham based organization reaches Portland area youth with a mission to build relationships that elevate kids and families and make our community stronger.
Family of Friends is a personal passion project of Ponzi's Associate Winemaker, JP Pierce. We asked JP to share a bit about what inspired his support of this great organization.
"Family of Friends would give 6 weeks’ worth of training and place us with a family in our area who had a child at risk of not graduating high school."
"In late 2014 my wife Heidi and I were looking for ways to give back and forge a deeper connection with our community in Portland. After coming across an online post from Family of Friends, we decided that becoming mentors for at-risk-youth in our area was a perfect option. We would be given 6 weeks’ worth of training and be matched with a family in our area who had a child at risk of not graduating high school. We could share our free time, imagination, love, and joy, with some young boy or girl who needed exposure to new experiences they couldn’t otherwise have.
All of the children in Family of Friends come from a wide range of cultural backgrounds but similarly share stressors in their home life that would keep them from succeeding in school and from having opportunities we take for granted. As mentors, we get to share anything we do, A to Z with some great kids (our family has 3 siblings), and in return we get to be a part of building a stronger community. Heidi and I are very fortunate to be a part of our mentee’s life for these last 3+ years, and remain a voice and ears to someone growing up it a tough situation. "
Family of Friends' mentoring program matches volunteers with kids for a minimum of one year, though relationships often last for several years, and beyond. The mentor and mentee get together weekly for outings in the community. The organization's website shares the key benefits to this program, which was founded in 2003: "Kids get access to another trusted adult and fun activities, parents get an advocate for their child, and volunteers get to share their time and experience. Everyone gains a deeper understanding of the world around them."
We invite you to visit Ponzi Vineyards this month and join us in support of this valuable organization. A portion of every tasting fee will be donated to Family of Friends.
You’ve selected the perfect wine for your holiday meal. What you pour your wine into may come as an afterthought, but selecting the right stemware will truly enhance the wine and the occasion. Here are some tips for ensuring maximum enjoyment:
Selecting appropriate glassware will not only impress your guests and add some flair to your table, but will allow the wines to show their best.
The Oregon Pinot Noir glass was made by Austrian manufacturer Riedel especially for our region’s flagship varietal. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi was actually on the panel of experts who worked with Georges Riedel to develop the glass. The benefits of this special stemware are numerous. Our favorite features are the large bowl― ideal for easy swirling, conjuring all of the wonderful nuances Pinot noir has to offer; and the narrow chimney, which focuses the tantalizing aromas and subtle flavors and gently leads the wine to your palate.
While this glass was made for Pinot noir, you will find just about any wine will enjoy the glass’ benefits. At the Ponzi Vineyards Tasting Room, we serve nearly all of our wines in Riedel’s impressive Oregon Pinot Noir glass. Stop by the tasting room to pick up your own set of these impressive stems. If an Oregon Pinot Noir glass is not available, any large bowled glass, like a traditional Burgundy stem, will do just fine.
We love serving Ponzi Chardonnay in the Oregon Pinot Noir glass, but white wines, especially the crisp, stainless-steel fermented cuvées will show quite well in a smaller bowled glass. Riedel makes several beautiful and easy to find options: Veritas and Vinum XL. This type of glass is perhaps the most common found on the market, so chances are you already have this type of stemware in your kitchen cabinet.
Whether you’re popping the cork on a bottle of bubbles or pouring a seductive dessert wine, there are a handful of wines that necessitate their own special glass- and for good reason. A champagne flute is not only mean to look elegant and festive, but the tall, elongated glass actually helps keep the tiny bubbles in the wine. A larger bowled glass will expose more surface area and thus the CO2 will quickly dissipate.
Dessert wine, on the other hand, is a little more forgiving. Often times you find the after dinner variety is served in tiny stemware. Wine with higher residual sugar is best enjoyed in smaller quantities because it is so rich. It is not necessary to have special glassware on hand however. Use your white wine stemware. Just keep your pours to about 3-4oz, or half of what you would normally pour your guests.
At the end of the day, the occasion is yours. Use these suggestions as guidelines. If you want to serve your bubbles in an Oregon Pinot Noir glass, go for it… and enjoy fewer dishes to wash! Truth be told, your wine will benefit from quality stemware, no matter the shape.
Holidays often tempt overconsumption. Winery Founder and author of The Ponzi Vineyards Cookbook, Nancy Ponzi offers a bit of wisdom: “Provide an attractive dump bucket or two. It’s not rude to dispose of wine, particularly if a number of wines are being served; it’s possible to love the wine but want to limit consumption― too much alcohol ruins tasting pleasure.”
To best experience the true essence of Ponzi wines, Winemaker Luisa Ponzi recommends serving them at the following temperatures:
Refrigerators are typically kept at 32 ̊ - 40 ̊, while wine fridges are kept at cellar temperature: 55 ̊ - 57 ̊. Plan accordingly to chill your wines and pull them out in time to warm to the perfect serving temperature.
Since our founding, Ponzi Vineyards has crafted balanced, terroir-driven wines with pairing in mind. These are food wines, designed to enhance meals shared around the family table. During the holidays, good food, great wine and your favorite company come together, creating memorable celebrations. From our table to yours, here are some perfect pairings to try this holiday season:
Generally, it's best to keep food simple when pairing with wine. "Avoid all together - or judiciously use - strongly flavored herbs, spices and vegetables," advises Nancy Ponzi, Winery Founder and author of The Ponzi Vineyards Cookbook. Holiday dishes tend to follow these rules, so pair away!
Creating a memorable salad pairing relies on taking care not to overwhelm the fresher elements or the wines. Try an assortment of mild greens, and pair with younger, lighter bodied wines like the crisp, high acidity 2016 Ponzi Pinot Gris and fruit forward 2015 Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir. Stick to clean flavors in the food and the wine, and keep it simple. Save older vintage and bolder wines for later, featured courses. Nancy's philosophy, "I avoid asparagus, artichokes, chilies or sauerkraut and am wary of Brussel sprouts."
A complex, structured and well-balanced Chardonnay will enhance all the flavors in roasted turkey and sides, match the acidity of a squeeze of lemon juice and bond with subtle rosemary, garlic and butter flavors. We recommend the limited production single vineyard cuvée, 2014 Ponzi Aurora Chardonnay with your main course. "Lemon balm, straw and white pepper frame this elegant nose, the palate holds true with dried quince, baked apple interlaced with balanced acidity and a touch of minerality," describes Winemaker Luisa Ponzi.
It's always a good idea to offer a red option with holiday meals, in addition to the supple Chardonnay pairing suggested above. For a truly special pairing, uncork a bottle (or even a magnum) of the gorgeous 2014 Ponzi Abetina Pinot Noir and add a few mushrooms to your gravy. The structure and tannin of this spectacular Pinot noir will stand up to rich sides, without overpowering delicate turkey sweetness. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi describes, "Spicy notes of nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla on the nose. The mouth follows with bay rum, dark chocolate and cedar notes leading to firm and persistent tannins to finish. Jam packed with everything needed to carry this wine for years."
CHEESE AND WINE
Whether served as a pre-seating appetizer, palate cleanser or in lieu of a final dessert course, a cheese plate presents an excellent opportunity for wine pairing, giving guests a chance to sip your best wines and find their perfect complements. Preparation is simple, giving you time to focus on main dishes. "Generally look for rich, not overly strong or aromatic wine-complementary cheese," suggests Nancy. "Cheese presents a place to showcase your finest wine." Great wines to pair with cheeses include the bright and balanced 2015 Ponzi Riesling (also available in an elegant magnum) and lush 2014 Ponzi Classico Pinot Noir. "If you're lucky enough to enjoy a fine Pinot noir (like the 2014 Ponzi Pinot Noir Reserve), go for a mellow, rind-washed triple cream."
This pairing is easy! Traditional holiday desserts tend to feature fruits and pie spice. Pumpkin and apple pies keep some of the original sweet-tart flavors even after baking. Pair them with lightly sweet dessert wine, like the 2016 Ponzi Vino Gelato. Just in case there's no room for dessert, this wine stands on its own, a sweet finish to a rich meal.
Have fun with your pairings and enjoy the conversations they may start. Happy Holidays!
The ¡Salud! Pinot Noir Auction is an incredible event, pairing world class, one of a kind Pinot noirs with winemakers and buyers to support healthcare for vineyard workers. Here's a quick recap of this year's luncheon at Ponzi Vineyards. Please join us next year!
Second generation Ponzi Winemaker, Luisa Ponzi, sipped one of a kind Willamette Valley Pinot noirs while catching up with some old friends and members of a small number of second generation Oregon winemakers: Elk Cove's Adam Campbell and Sokol Blosser's Alex Sokol Blosser.
Winery President Maria Ponzi greeted guests and made sure the event was comfortable and fun.
Ponzi Associate Winemaker JP Pierce poured 2017 Ponzi ¡Salud! Cuvee in the winery.
With harvest finished for this year, Ponzi Associate Enologist, Annette, and harvest 2017 intern, Meille, enjoyed a well-deserved evening of luxury, hobnobbing with winemakers and choosing their favorite Pinot noirs.
Join us next year for the ¡Salud! Charity Pinot Noir Auction. Taste one of a kind cuvees, bid and support healthcare for vineyard workers.
"The weather predictions were not great this year," laughs Ponzi Winemaker Luisa Ponzi. "We were looking at a really beautiful October of clear skies and nice cool temperatures, and it ended up being mostly that, but also there was some pretty intense rain." Watch the video to learn more about the 2017 harvest season at Ponzi Vineyards.
Wines Northwest's Chuck Hill is excited about the upcoming holiday for the wine and food pairings it brings, "Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to try wine pairings with a wide variety of foods," says Chuck. Among his favorite current release wines for your table, he featured the 2016 Ponzi Pinot Blanc.
Of the wine, he says, "This oft-overlooked variety is a perfect wine for the Thanksgiving table. It has some of the bracing qualities of Sauvignon Blanc with the corners rounded off like a Pinot Gris. Floral aromas of honeysuckle and gardenia mingle with peach and vanilla, leading to rich flavors of melon, tropical fruits and citrus on the palate."
We couldn't agree more! The Ponzi family often greets their guests with Pinot blanc and find it the perfect wine to start an evening.
Read the full list of Thanksgiving pairings from Wines Northwest!
At Ponzi Vineyards Collina del Sogno, harvest is winding down. Only a few pretty yellow leaves remain on the vines. The skies offer a kaleidoscope of constantly changing gray fog, bright cobalt and sunshine and stormy dark rainclouds. In the tasting room, guests cozy up to the warm fireplace and sip complex Ponzi wines.
The flurry of harvest activity is slowing, but the construction on the new hospitality space is still moving full steam ahead. The front lawn has been planted, and the siding installed. The windows are in and so far, things are going according to plan. Brett Fogelstrom of Fogelstrom Design Build has done a beautiful job!
The new hospitality space, opening in March 2018, will provide Ponzi guests with a comfortably luxurious space to entertain. Reservations are already booking for this space, so don't miss your opportunity to experience all we have to offer. Contact email@example.com with questions or to book the space.
When second generation Winemaker Luisa Ponzi returned to the family winery after her studies in Beaune, France, she brought with her a passion for White Burgundy. When it comes to Oregon Chardonnay, the Willamette Valley offers the ideal climate for this noble varietal to thrive. Ponzi Chardonnays are known for being balanced, boasting beautiful fruit notes and a light touch of oak, making them truly versatile food wines.
Chardonnay's structured yet supple nature, acid and combination of fruit and minerality, can help to bring out flavors in a variety of dishes. Where a bold red may overshadow the sweet and savory subtleties of turkey and stuffing, a finely-balanced Chardonnay will complement and even enhance these dishes. Give it a try!
Our recommendations for effortless fall food pairing:
2014 PONZI AURORA CHARDONNAY - Highly rated from Wine & Spirits Magazine, this Chardonnay was named a Year's Best Chardonnay with a score of 94.
"Lemon balm, straw and white pepper frame this elegant nose, the palate holds true with dried quince, baked apple interlaced with balanced acidity and a touch of minerality."
– Winemaker Luisa Ponzi
2014 PONZI AVELLANA CHARDONNAY - This single vineyard wine scored a 92 from Wine Enthusiast.
"The silky palate of ripe apricot and gooseberry leads to perfect length on the palate framed by fresh acidity."
– Winemaker Luisa Ponzi
2014 PONZI CHARDONNAY RESERVE - This Chardonnay also earned kudos from Wine Enthusiast, scoring 93 points.
"An effusive nose of orange zest, jasmine, figs, flan, quince and maple. A silky textured mouth is laced with white chocolate, flan and a vein of acidity that radiates through the finish."
– Winemaker Luisa Ponzi
2015 PONZI CHARDONNAY - While this Chardonnay is unoaked, it makes for a stunning complement to richer, buttery dishes. Earning an a score of 91 points and Editor's Choice from Wine Enthusiast, this wine is "beautifully balanced," combining a "thread of citrus with a mineral flint note that finishes with bright acidity and a touch of sweetness."
– Winemaker Luisa Ponzi
While you're falling in love with Ponzi Chardonnay, don't forget to order some Pinot noir too!