Yesterday, I talked about my new learning curve… Oregon Pinot Gris as the marketing manager for the Oregon Pinot Gris group.
The players who are leading the education:
- Airlie Winery
- Apolloni Vineyards
- Christopher Bridge Cellars & Satori Springs Estate
- David Hill Winery
- Oak Knoll Winery
- Pudding River Wine Cellars
- Terrapin Cellars
- Yamhill Valley Vineyards
A very important writer has asked me to define the style of each wine. Great, because I asked each member of the marketing group to send a sample to me so I would be able to do just that, from my own perspective. As I prepare to tell him what I’ve learned, I’m also going to go on record, because my blog is where I keep track of all my thoughts about wine.
What I’ve learned about the uniqueness of each, along with the wine’s flavors, including that each harvest is truly unique. This makes it not only difficult to create a wine that’s going to be consistent from year to year, it also makes it impossible. So, with these wines, each vintage is an adventure.
- TASTING NOTES: A lean, yet complex Pinot Gris from Airlie, has very floral aromas that escaped from the bottle upon opening. Great light golden in color, rich apricot on the nose with a hint of honeysuckle… On the palate ~ already salivating before I even was able to sip it ~ rich, complex flavors of terroir surprised me (I don’t know what I was expecting, but this one over delivered in a delightful way). Pear and honeysuckle were dominatingly delicious… Lingering finish of early summer fruit… A really lovely Pinot Gris.
- WINEMAKER NOTES: “I like to make this wine in a light, dry style with plenty of acid. I think it is a great food wine and find it more flexible than other white wines. I ferment it in stainless steel so that the finished wine is crisp and bright.”
- Alcohol: 13.3 %
- Cases: 926
- Suggested Retail: $14.00
- TASTING NOTES: The one true Italian in this Gris cluster is Apolloni Pinot Grigio… We’ve got one very pleased to be Italian in be living and working in Oregon, and he’s happy to share that he takes his assignment very seriously. With generations of Italian family members before him who were making wine, it’s his destiny while in Oregon to craft his Grigio grape, being 7,000 miles away from his Italian homeland and its history. I love this wine’s fruity aromas, the green apple flavors and its hints of honeysuckle.
- WINEMAKER NOTES: “Crisp and clean, this wine has wonderful aroma of honeydew melon and is bursting with ripe apple and pear flavors with hints of orange and cedar and lovely minerality. Fermented in stainless steel with no secondary malolactic fermentation, it is made in the Italian Pinot Grigio style traditional of Veneto and Friuli. The balance of freshness and fruit flavor makes this wine a pleasure to drink and a great match with seafood, chicken and Risotto Milanese.”
- Alcohol: 13.6%
- Cases: 894
- Suggested Retail: $14.00
- TASTING NOTES: This winery is organically farmed with bio-dynamic influences. So, it’s no surprise to me that the color of this one has a mid-range golden yellow hue, regardless of its stainless steel fermentation and lack of malolactic fermentation. For flavors this Pinot Gris is a complexly rich, fruity, and very aromatic example of how Pinot Gris can be beautifully crafted in Oregon’s unique terroir.
- WINEMAKER NOTES: “In its twelfth year of plantings, Satori Springs Estate Vineyard has over 15 acres on their 80 acre farm, at an average elevation of 400 feet. Their 2009 growing season delivered Pinot Gris with excellent ripeness without usually high brix.” [Still the wine does have a touch of residual sugar, although less than one percent, this off dry wine would be my choice for a luscious pairing with any Asian food offerings.]
- Alcohol: 13.7%
- Cases: 210
- Suggested Retail: $17.00
- TASTING NOTES: Crystal clear and light straw in color, this wine has great aromatics of ripe pears and citrus, with flavors of tart, green apples and lime. this wine would work well with smoked cheeses, seafood, and poultry dishes. I could also see it as a great complement to a Creamy Dill Asparagus Soup. This wine was very easy to instantly love.
- WINEMAKER NOTES: “2009 Harvested at the end of September the Pinot Gris was as beautiful as always. The two different sections of Pinot Gris were picked on back to back days and processed in separate tanks with two unique yeast strains as usual. One of the lots was fermented dry while the other was left with a hint of sweetness. After the wines finished fermentation they were blended together then polished and put into bottles. What arose was this beautiful wine with aromas of pineapple, citrus and melon followed by a structured palate with citrus like flavors and a long finish. “
- Alcohol: 12.9%
- Cases: 339 for 2009
- Suggested Retail: $16.00
- TASTING NOTES: Of all the members of this group, Oak Knoll Winery is the workhorse. they don’t own any of their own vineyards, relying wholly on their vineyard relationships for excellent fruit. Their vineyard sources are long standing and much respected in Willamette Valley. A touch of residual sugar with this wine allows for a delicious nose of ripe pears and honeysuckle, which is followed with flavors of citrus, pear, and apricots. Lingering flavors of baked apples finished the wine.
- WINEMAKER NOTES: “The wine bursts from the glass with intense fruit aromas. Irresistible fruit flavors are supported by an elegantly rich texture and a surprisingly crisp finish.”
- Alcohol: 13.7%
- Cases: 5,476 cases
- Suggested Retail: $12.00
- TASTING NOTES: So, I didn’t get to taste this one because it is sold out. As soon as the 2010 is released, I’ll update this story.
- WINEMAKER NOTES: “Bright and lively textured with tropical fruit flavors of banana, pineapple and pink grapefruit laced with notes of cut grass and wildflower. Finishes crisp with bright acidity.
- Alcohol: 13.5%
- Cases: 142
- Suggested Retail: $19.00
- TASTING NOTES: This wine has a beautiful, fruity nose with hints of quince, apple sauce, and ripe pears. On the palate, the aromas carried through, and still offered refreshing minerality. The wine lingered on my palate with a slight lemon flavor. It’s utterly delicious.
- WINEMAKER NOTES: “The 2010 growing season was perfect for growing Pinot Gris in Oregon. It was cooler than normal, so the grapes were able to spend more time ripening and developed a complex flavor profile, beautifully balanced between fruit, lively acidity, and a moderate alcohol level. We employ sustainable viticulture practices that will grow the best possible grapes on each site we manage. The grapes we use in our wines come from several of these sites which can vary from vintage to vintage. Our philosophy in the winery is minimal intervention so we can preserve the unique blend of the grapes that come from the vineyards that we manage. Our ultimate goal is to produce outstanding, value priced wine that can be enjoyed on special occasions or in a casual setting with friends and family.”
- Alcohol: 12.8%
- Cases: 1,250
- Suggested Retail: $13.00
- TASTING NOTES: Yamhill Valley Vineyards is the oldest winery in the McMinnville AVA, located within Willamette Valley. Yamhill’s Pinot Gris has aromas of violets, rose petals, and earth. It’s lively with a rich crispness to it that’s of the Meyer Lemon side, showing what this variety can really deliver from Oregon.
- WINEMAKER NOTES: “We believe that the distinctive, rich character of our wines is created in the vineyard and reaches full potential through the timely application of attentive wine making practices. While keenly aware of traditional methods, we are committed to exploring new technologies and innovative techniques.”
- Alcohol: n/available
- Cases: n/available
- Suggested Retail: S15.00
- OregonPinotGris.org is Born (wine-blog.org)
- Oregon is *Not* a One Trick Pony (wine-blog.org)
- Oregon, and how vintners feel ~ Oregon Pinot Gris marketing group answers an objection ~ Paul Gregutt Adds Advice (wine-blog.org)
- Oregon Pinot Gris: Getting to know you, getting to know all about you ~ Part 2 (wine-blog.org)