On one of our trips to Oregon, to visit with the Oak Knoll Winery Boys (Greg Lint and Jeff Herinckx), Jose and I were taken to Sokol Blosser Winery, to see what it’s like. We got there just at closing, so we didn’t get to taste. But the winery… Oh, so lovely to see, as we drove into their yard. I didn’t realize I was taking pictures for this very moment, but I was. Now, I’m writing about their wines. I’ll let these images transport you to Sokol Blosser, while we think about their wines.
2015 Sokol Blosser Willamette Valley Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Front label: “Sunshine, Buckets of rain, More sunshine, Morning dew. Delicate aromas of apple blossoms mingling with flavors of fig and citrus and spice. Kindness.”
Kindness for me was the 13 percent alcohol. Being in beautiful balance, this wine really spoke to me of joyful days in Oregon. I was reminded of tasting this wine at the Oregon Pinot Gris Symposiums that I organized for Oak Knoll Winery. This was one of the wine brands that attending winemakers were drawn toward. As I did the S-S-S… (Swirl, Sniff, Sip)… I was completely drawn into its beauty. Oregon Pinot Gris definitely has its own unique terroir.
I highly recommend this wine as a classic example of a stellar Oregon Pinot Gris. It was hard not to just dive into the bottle. Happy I had someone to share, who would enjoy the wine. (It saved me, so tempting.)
STRENGTHS of Oregon Pinot Gris
- Oregon is an perfect appellation, for place of origin
- Pinot Gris a perfect partner for Oregon Pinot Noir lovers
- The hallmarks of this variety are purity of fruit, acidity, and brightness
- It’s an extremely aromatic variety
- Price works well in restaurants for their by-the-glass program
- Pinot Gris is an excellent wine for seafood, fish, and certain cheese
- Oregon Pinot Gris’ palate texture is full and long, versus the Pinot Grigio style
- It’s a perfect entry wine for tasting room customers
2014 Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills, Estate, Pinot Noir
How did it taste? Just smooth and marvelously delicious. Reminded me of a walk in the Blackwoods Campground (forest), Acadia National Park on Maine’s Mount Desert Island. You wake up in the morning, it’s damp, you can smell mushrooms that have cropped up overnight, all wrapped in fog and stillness… plenty of rich earthy aromas. Wild Maine blueberries, earth, and great aromatics; this one will speak to you, too. It’s a classic example of what I really love about Oregon Pinot Noirs.
Sokol Blosser has had nearly 45 years of wine grape growing in Oregon. This Pinot Noir, of the many that they make and offer to fans, is their truest expression of terroir. The wine grapes are grown on the hillside in Jory soil, which is very deep and well-drained. The “something-new-I-just-learned” is that they formed in colluvium. These soils are in the foothills surrounding the Willamette Valley.
So, I wanted to know is “What is colluvium?” What’ve I been missing all of these years? It’s great, if you’ve never come across this piece of geology before now, too.
Wiki: Thick accumulations of colluvium may preserve a rich record of long term paleoclimatic change based on the paleosols and the remains of plants and animals, invertebrate and vertebrates that they often contain. These fossils indicate previous geologic and environmental settings. Thick accumulations of colluvium often contain well-preserved and sometimes deeply buried archaeological deposits as excavated at the Cherokee Sewer Site, Cherokee County, Iowa, and the Koster Site, Greene County, Illinois. Colluvium can also be rocks that have been transported downward from glaciers and so can indicate past stages of cooler and/or wetter weather. Deposits of detrital colluvium can reveal the soil composition and signify processes of chemical weathering. Well, that’s some pretty interesting stuff to wrap roots around, now isn’t it?
The Estate Pinot Noir is dry farmed, yet we have to remember it’s Oregon, so it’s not as risky as a dryer region; although, it could become risky, with the changing weather patterns. Time will tell. The wine grapes for the estate grapes are from Dijon, Pommard, and Wadensvil clones. Great Pedigree, to be sure.
Both wines were truly delightful.