I must confess since rejoining ABC Fine Wine & Spirits in February of 2017 I had Seen This Wine In My Pinot Noir Section but I had no idea until recently that it was designed as a Direct to You Wine from Stewart Boedecker and his Winemaking better half Athena Pappas of Boedecker Cellars and the Pappas Wine Co. I read an interesting blog by one of our Wine Supervisors Daniel Eddy about how our ABC Direct To You Wines become Proprietary to us in Florida and the Process which was well written and that revealed The Portland Wine Project PDX (Airport Code for Portland) Pinot Noir 2014 was from Stewart and Athena and their interns. So of course I had to buy a bottle for review.
How Did Boedecker Get Into Florida?
I usually don’t TOOT My OWN horn (LIE) but this goes back way before my career with ABC Fine Wine. I was and still am a huge fan of Wine Library TV which was hosted by Marketing Genius and Owner of The Wine Library In Springfield New Jersey and Vaynermedia Marketing, Gary Vaynerchuck (Better known on social media as @garyvee. )I was addicted to his daily Vlogs of reviewing wines he sold and shipped out of that store and I loved his tag line ” YOU with A Little Bit of ME are Changing The Wine World Whether THEY LIKE IT OR NOT”! Gary was my inspiration for starting this Blog and to be honest .I still copy (He would find this as a huge compliment) his style and passion of Salesmanship. One episode he was reviewing on this VLOG Oregon Pinots (He was infatuated with Oregon ONLY Pinots as opposed to anything from Russian River, Santa Barbara and Central Coast Than I am Now) 2005 Boedecker Cellars Athena Pinot Noir (Yes these two have a His And Her Style Pinot… The Stewart and The Athena) I was managing a Wine Retail Franchise as their Wine Director. After watching Gary’s Review I had to get my hands on a bottle and ordered from Gary Directly to ship to me in Florida. I was instantly a fan and I had tasted Hundreds of Pinots from Oregon. This one was way ahead of the rest. About a year later I sadly got divorced and I was in between jobs. I worked for a passionate Italian Man named John Flora of Flora Foods. Those of you in Florida see his stuff everywhere mostly in Publix Supermarkets and Italian Markets. He also had a small wine division called Orvino Imports. I think I earned $200 per week but that was better than nothing after a divorce. I then went to work for David and Ben and Carol Laurenzo at Laurenzo’s Market. A landmark in Florida since 1951 and still going strong and also known for their unique wine selections. For selfish reasons I wanted to have Boedecker Wines in Florida so I didn’t have to keep ordering on line. I contacted Stewart. He called me his “Unofficial Florida Marketing Director” He sent me samples, to pitch to Wholesalers. The first one that bit was Paul Owens at Selected Brands. A small Wine Distributor with a nice boutique selection. He liked the product, he liked the pricing and said YES! Problem is and still is …very few retailers or On Premise Restaurants want more than One to Two Maximum of Oregon Pinots besides ERATH (Owned by Chateau Ste Michelle) King Estate (great product as their entry level Acrobat Pinots but everywhere and mainstream) So it was a TOUGH SELL. I felt like the “Unofficial Flordia Marketing Director For Boedecker Cellars “was a Failure. Then I took a long shot and remembered John Flora. I would probably be his ONLY Account but Laurenzo’s did a huge Wine Business and I was running the department so I could sell Boedecker if John Flora Agreed to bring in the wines which he did. Boedecker was back in Florida.
Time To Meet This Mr Boedecker
He made a decision to stop by and do an in store tasting in Laurenzo’s Market with me. I had his Stewart, His Athena his Single Vineyards, His Pinot Gris, and His Purity Chardonnay. Since Stewart was still grinding away during the daytime working on computer chips for INTEL in Oregon a two hour drive from where he lived (The Winery was in it’s infant stages and wasn’t producing enough cash flow) and Athena was hitting him over the head with a Pillow everyday asking “WHY DID WE GO IN THE WINEMAKING BUSINESS”… We Took The Edge off of our Frustrations in both of our careers Greek Style (LIke Athena) And we had a 5 Course Crazy Amount Of Greek Food Dinner (Stewart Paid) And came up with a game plan. Not just a game plan for the wines but our lives. Now I know he HATES this picture and is going to KILL me for posting it again but for me it is a great reminder where we were then and where we both are now so here goes…..
We Ate, We Drank (2005 Boedecker MOMTAZI VINEYARD 50 Case Production Pinot Noir) And YES WE GOT FAT or WERE FAT. !!! I am not kidding when I tell you that Stewart and I from within 2 days of this picture were in a huge exercise and eating plan programs. Things got so much better from there. Neither of us look anything close to thisexcept we are both still pasty looking and I have a lot less hair.
Plan “B” Became Plan “ABC”
Over dinner we discussed weight loss plans and future plans for Boedecker. I had now joined the forces of ABC Fine Wines And Spirits and again for selfish reasons 1-1- I wasn’t at Laurenzo;s Anymore and wanted my Boedecker Wines and 2- I wasn’t really deserving of that Greek Dinner or any Thank Yous as The “Unofficial Florida Marketing Director. I needed to fix this before Athena Killed Stewart. Added note: All their wines were being made at a Winemaker’s Studio 1 and 1/2 hours away from where they lived where new startup winemakers used the facilities to produce small quantities of wines. I still remember the CONVOY Picture as they decided they were ready to move all the Barrels of Wine to the URBAN Area of DOWNTOWN Portland near their homes where they are today. We realized that since I wasn’t at Laurenzo’s No one was selling the wines and we needed to get out of Orvino Imports and search for a new distributor. That’s when the ABC Fine Wine Direct To You Program Struck me as the perfect solution for everyone. ABC has a few Wholesalers that can Bring In Wines for Our Direct to You Program when they are small wineries that don’t have big distributor representation. I gave Stewart all of the contacts for the powers to be and wrote a letter describing my passion for Stewart And Athena’s Wines to our then Long Time Wine Buyer Brad Lewis and they asked for SAMPLES!!. I knew it was a done deal once I heard that because no one with a palate tastes a Boedecker Cellars Wine and says they don’t like it. Sure enough the Tasting Panel at ABC approved. and We Still till this day sell Boedecker Stewart. Athena, Single Vineyard and Pappas Wine Company Pinot Noir as well as Pappas Wine Co Pinot Gris and The Boedecker Reflection Pinot Noir Rose. When I was Corporate Sommelier at Chima Brazilian I couldn’t get Boedecker in Florida or Philly but I did have the Stewart Pinot Noir in Charlotte NC and Tyson’s Corner VA and Stewart knows 2012 was my favorite vintage and gave me the YC (Yamhill Carlton Cuvee) as a Restaurant Exclusive in those two areas.
The Portland Wine Project From PDX To MCO
Being passionate about being an URBAN Winery and very happy with me their “Unofficial Florida Marketing Director”, Athena (The Brains of the Operation lol) Contacted ABC Fine Wine’s Purchasing Department and asked if they would be interested in a Project Wine that they would be producing with some of their Intern’s Input and Palates to highlight the Urban Wineries in Downtown Portland. ABC Said send samples!!. They went through about 5-6 Samples of Blending from the highly rated 2014 Warm Vintage and chose the final blend for the Project. Athena (did I mention the Brains of the Operation) came up with the name PDX PINOT NOIR (PDX the Airport Code for Portland ) P.S. (MCO is the Airport Code for Orlando Which is Our Corporate Office for ABC and Our Warehouse) And Another Direct To You Wine From Boedecker Cellars is in our Stores.
PDX Pinot Noir Tasting Review
2014 on Paper is an Impressive Vintage. Not MY personal favorite but way better than what I call a horrible diluted vintage of 2011 but nothing will to me be better than 2012. I have such a long history with Boedecker Cellars and their unique style of Pinot Noir that if the criteria for being a Master Sommelier was to Taste 400 Oregon Pinots and Pick out The Boedecker, I would have been a Master Sommelier years ago lol. Of course I sampled in my Official Riedel “Oregon Pinot Noir Glasses “and over a course of 2 days at proper serving temperature of 67 degrees. On the nose in typical Boedecker true to form style, I get Morello Cherry, Cola Nuts, Roasted Beets and the scents as if I am sitting in a Movie Theater and the person next to me is eating Red Twizzlers. On the Palate, it is juicy cherry borderline leaning towards a fruit bomb from California but then Brambles and Crushed Lilacs and Flower Shop flavors and well balanced acidity bring it back towards burgundy and Oregon and finishing with the Trademark Of Boedecker Wines… a Fresh Piece Of Dentyne chewing gum and the Oak Treatment gives me that in the background milk chocolate meets caramel streak. Boedecker Wines are the only ones I assign a Rating Point System to and I will go 88 Points. Does it represent PDX and the 2014 Vintage …Heck yeah. Is it better than anything from California you can get for $21.99….Heck Yeah. Does it have the Boedecker Flavor Profile Stamp on it…Heck Yeah… Is it a 90 Pointer…No. I would gladly recommend this wine to any guest as it is a fantastic delicious effort and offers crowd pleasing flavors. My Only critique is that the finish drops off way too fast and it is a little too one dimensional and leaning towards the too fruity side. I think that is the VINTAGE itself and not just Boedecker. I don’t think any Pinot Noir fan will be dissatisfied with this wine.
We Love A Happy Ending
What a long ride it’s been for Stewart and Athena and ME… and not only have Stewart and I each Lost The Total Weight of what ATHENA weighs by herself but we got these wines slowly but surely into Florida. Every ABC Fine Wines And Spirits Specialist is proud To have these products to offer our guests as a DIRECT TO YOU WINE Exclusively in Florida. And This Brainstorm Portland Wine Project that Athena Came Up With Made it From PDX To MCO and all throughout the State of Florida…. Now time for a Bigggggg Awwwwwww…. LOOK AT THESE TWO WINEMAKING LOVEBIRDS !
Grape-fully yours, Larry