2013-09-06 19.21.52 - webIf you’ve been a fan of Caswell Gallery, then you surely know of our long time friendship with Phelps Creek Vineyards of Hood River. More often than not, Jon Wadman of  Phelps Creek Vineyards, joins us on First Friday, and other special occasions, to share his knowledge and recommendations during our complimentary wine tastings. At the Gallery, we all have varying degrees of wine savvy, so we thought it would be great to ask Jon Wadman, our perennial wine rep, to share some of his expertise.

Caswell Gallery: What makes a great wine?
Jon Wadman: A great winemaker. Each palate is different, and with so many wine philosophies, the most important thing is finding your great wine and why you like it.

CG: Is Rosé really making a comeback?
JW: Definitely, but they are dry and more sophisticated; and more experimental with regards to the grapes used—if it’s coming from one varietal or blended.

CG: What wines do you recommend for the fall?
JW: My favorite fall white wine is a Chardonnay with baking spice notes, it suites the chilling weather and hearty foods well. We bottle several great ones, but I love the Chardonnay from Celilo Vineyard on Underwood Mountain, WA.  Also, a really earthy Pinot Noir, with that great cigar box notes found in 2008 from my own collection.

CG: Blends or varietals?
JW: Varietals, personally, but there are many wonderful blends. I like varietals because of the educational aspect of learning about the specific characteristics of the grape, vintage, and vineyard.

CG: Bottle or box?2013-09-06 19.20.58 - web
JW: Bottle, no question about it. All romance is lost in the box!

CG: Cork or screw cap?
JW: Depends of the wine and the producer. I have had great and bad wines with both.

CG: Should we store wine laying down or upright?
JW: Laying down, if corked, which helps prevent the cork from failing due to dehydration. This is for longer period storage. Vertical is more than fine in the short term.

CG: Does the shape of the wine glass really matter? Why?
JW: Yes, based on the wine you’re enjoying. For example, Oregon Pinot Noir glasses, being tulip shaped, are better for experiencing the nose and spreading the wine across your palate.

CG: What wine is Phelps Creek Vineyard most excited about at the moment?
JW: We just bottled our first ever Sauvignon Blanc!

CG:  Are there any rules to pairing wine with food?
JW: Sure, but who would enforce them? A wine dinner I recently attended paired two wines with the same dish. One wine contrasted flavors, the other complimented.

CG: What is the most incorrect assumption you hear about wine?
JW: Rosé is for women.

CG: How should we read the wine label?
JW: With both eyes open, starting at the top left, working your way down to the bottom right.

CG: What is your background?
JW: I studied Middle Eastern politics and Arabic and fell into the wine industry.

CG: Does Phelps Creek have a tasting room?
JW: Yes, located at 1850 Country Club Road in Hood River, OR. We share space with Hood River Golf Course Club House. We are open from 11-5 every day.

CG: Would you share a few interesting facts about Phelp’s Creek Vineyard?
JW: Our winemaker, Alexandrine Roy commutes from her family vineyard in Burgundy, France to make our wines. We are the only vineyard offering multiple on-site wine country experience tours, taking guests through the vineyard to where the magic happens. We also have one of the most active and accommodating Wine Clubs. Members enjoy our famous annual “Salmon and Lamb Bake Dinner “which takes place just before harvest!

CG: Clearly you’re a wine lover, but do you ever drink beer?
JW: I’m an Oregonian! Of course I drink beer! Two personal Oregon favorite breweries are Double Mountain in Hood River and Crux in Bend.