The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2013

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Page 45 of 148

" "At that time in Washington State, for instance, 72 percent of women made wine purchasing decisions in grocery stores," Lill tells THE TASTING PANEL. "I know that footprint has since enlarged all over the U.S.," she adds conidently. O Wines was acquired by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates (SMWE) in 2012 with plans to expand its distribution beyond the Northwest. Now, the ultra-premium Columbia Valley AVA Chardonnay and Red Wine blend crafted by winemaker Katie Nelson has launched nationally in all channels. "Ste. Michelle's plans to grow the program have become a wonderful reality," Lill says. "Not only will the wines be available nationally through its vast distribution network [many who will also match funds with SMWE], but they will guarantee a minimum $50,000 contribution in 2013 to the Opportunity for Success scholarship fund. The wine will feature scholarship messaging on its back label donations to the cause can be made on line at The O Wines Classic Washington State: Old World structure and New World fruit combine to make these stand-out wines. O Wines 2011 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley (SRP $14) offers enticing aromatics of sandalwood and Asian pears, with subtle baking spices. Its caramel core is lifted by lemon drop acidity and a clean, grassy inish. O Wines 2010 Red, Columbia Valley (SRP $16) is a blend of 59% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Syrah. Broad strokes of blackberry, earth and mocha are painted on to sensuous meaty notes (ooh-la-la from the Syrah!) and meld with coffee and cherry tonality through the inish. Putting the O in the OC O WINES'S MISSION FITS PERFECTLY AT PLUMS CAFÉ Kim Jorgenson is the perfect person to help introduce O Wines and its mission of charitable outreach, especially to Orange County, CA, if only because the winery's purpose mirrors her own core beliefs so well. As Principal of Plums Café and Catering in Costa Mesa, she has spent more than two decades using her popular eatery as a conduit for providing support for several OC non-proits designed to reach out to those in need. For Jorgenson, her charitable benevolence represents the ultimate way to say thank you to her loyal patrons. "We are driven to give back to the community because of our gratitude, she says. "We support them because they are the " ones that support us. " But Jorgenson's partnership with O Wines extends a little deeper than mere charity. An Oregon native, Jorgenson is irmly committed to pairing her Paciic Northwest–inspired cuisine with wines from that very same region, including some labels produced by O Wines parent company, Ste. Michelle Wine Stacy Lill with Plums Café owner Kim Jorgenson. Estates. While Orange County consumers initially struggled with the concept of enjoying wine from further up the Paciic Coast, Jorgenson assures us that such issues are a thing of the past. "Twenty years ago, we couldn't give Oregon or Washington wines away, she states. "Now they just ly off the shelves. —Rich Manning " " may 2013 / the tasting panel / 45

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