SMACK TALK at another blogger, about Lange vineyards in Oregon

18 07 2010

Lange pinot noirToday I respond to a guy on the west coast with a blog called Beyond the Bottle.  He reviewed Oregon’s Lange vineyards, maker of some seriously great pinot noir.  He rated them a 2 out of 5.   (???)   His reason: the tasting was $10 and they wouldn’t refund his money if he bought their wine. 

Let’s get one thing straight: $10 for a tasting at Lange is worth it.  Big time.  They let you try 5 different wines, and it’s serious stuff — up to $60 a bottle.  The five tastes add up to more than a full glass.  Now, what would a full glass of Lange wine cost you at a restaurant?  Definitely more than ten bucks — probably $13 or $15. 

Plus, buying a tasting at Lange lets you hear from the people who make the wine, or at least people who work with the winemaker.  That’s worth a lot to me.  I mean, imagine test-driving a Porsche with one of their head engineers.  I remember my first tasting at Lange was hosted by. . .  drum roll please . . .  Don Lange. 

Anyway, the blogger accused Lange of  “highway robbery” and didn’t mention how any of their wines tasted.  Read his review here.   

He disabled comments, so I sent him an email:


I see you are somewhat upset after visiting Lange, which you rate a 2 out of 5.  Sorry about that.  After visiting Oregon and its wine country several times, I believe Lange is one of the finest wineries in the state. For my money (wink wink, let’s remember what’s really important here), they are in fact the single best. Their pinot noir introduced me to the concept of really high end wine, and in my journies since then (12 years) they have yet to be bettered. 
I am sorry that you were so put off by having to pay for their wine that you were not able to actually review their wine.  For example, their $17 pinot noir is sort of weak and disappointing, their reserve pinot is more robust and even more disappointing because it costs more and doesn’t taste that great, their Estate pinot noir is again more robust but also very mature, dry, and almost challenging, their Three Hills Cuvee pinot noir is a violent orgasm of multiple pleasurable flavors in your mouth, and their Freedom Hill pinot, at a very dear $60, is perhaps the single best wine at this price in the known universe, with layers, and layers, of deep, sensual complexity. 

With this winery, it really is all about the wine.  I figure, if I spend $10 on tastings, who cares?  In fact it appears you are so interested in receiving something for nothing that you were briefly incapacitated.  Tell you what, why don’t you let me paypal you 20 bucks to cover your first visit, and a return visit, and go back and just open your mind and your palate to the actual wine that Lange is producing — I am sure that your readers would greatly benefit.



If he replies, I’ll seek permission to post it.




2 responses

24 07 2010

I received the following nice and totally disarming email from the blogger in question:

Hey Andy,

Thanks for sharing your experience with Lange Winery and your fondness for their wines.

I would appreciate posting this as a comment to my winery review to offer a counter point to my experience. Would you be okay with that? I currently have comments turned off on the due to the high level of spam.

To clarify, I have no issue paying tasting fees, which I did at Lange and continue to do so at other wineries. The complaint I have is that the fee was not refundable with a wine purchase at Lange. That’s highway robbery to me.

As to the quality of Lange wines, I am fan of many of their wines, especially their higher end pinot noirs. I absolutely loved their ’08 chardonnay.

Again, many thanks for your comment. Pls let me know if you’d like me to post to my blog.


18 09 2012
Grape Sense

I’ve been doing the wine writing thing a number of years. I’ve learned the most reasoned approach to tasting room fees is pay them if you want to taste, never ask for a comp, fine to take the comp if offered. Then you taste the wines, take your notes and leave. If they deduct the cost of the tasting fee great, many wineries in busy areas do not refund it. Okay, that’s their policy. I think any writer fussing over tasting room fees looks too much like a hack. No offense to BeyondTheBottle. Maintaining credibility is far more important to me than the $10 or $15. Head on down to Napa if you want to check out some seriously non-refundable tasting fees!

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