Did you know that Oregon produces many more varietals other than just Pinot Noir? Of course, the main reason we go to the Willamette Valley is to taste Pinot Noir, but we are always pleasantly surprised by the Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Auxerrois, to name just a few. Last week at our weekly tasting at Fine Wines of Stockton, we tasted several examples. George prefers French Burgundies over Oregon Pinot Noir, but he is not willing to completely ignore Oregon wines so he and Gail collected seven Oregon wines other than Pinot Noir for our group to try.
The first wine we tasted was a 2006 Torii Mor Pinot Blanc – There was a minimal nose that was hard to get anything out of. The flavor was citrus and orange pith. There was moderate acidity. A pleasant wine but it doesn’t have much character.
Next we tasted a wine we had had on our last Willamette Valley trip. It was a 2007 Argyle Nuthouse Willamette Valley Chardonnay. The nose was restrained but there was a lot of flavor. Butterscotch with a slight sweetness and the char of the wood shows through along with the characteristic chardonnay grape taste. There is moderate acid with fairly complex flavors and a long finish. It’s really nice to taste an oaked Chardonnay where the wood doesn’t overwhelm the grape.
We went for sparkling wine next. An 2007 Argyle Willamette Valley Brut – Argyle makes several sparkling wines and we have liked all of them. There was yeasty nose, green apple flavors with good acid and a clean crisp finish. Very flavorful.
The fourth wine was a 2009 Fore Front by Pine Ridge Pinot Gris – Pine Ridge is actually in Napa but they ship the juice down from Oregon. So that that make it semi Oregon?It was a light yellow color with a floral and citrus nose. Lots of flavor of citrus with slight sweetness and tart acid. Very pleasant combo of floral and citrus with a light mouth feel. Moderately long finish.
I have heard but not yet confirmed that Oregon has decided to call the wine Pinot Grigio instead of Pinot Gris. If anyone knows for sure be sure to leave a comment.
A German varietal was next. It was a 2008 Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling – A slight petrol nose; very light mouth feel, slight residual sugar with typical Riesling flavors. Clean finish. Not the best Riesling I have had from Oregon but inexpensive at $10.00.
A grape usually used in a blend with less expensive Champagne or Sparkling wines is the 2007 Willakenzie Estate Pinot Meunier – This was a light garnet color (almost Pinot Noir like) with a slightly stinky nose. Smoky flavors of bacon with leather and tobacco. Moderate grippy tannins and plenty of acid. Not your every day red wine, I think you would have to get used to this.
Last was the 2004 Del Rio Vineyards RockBlock Syrah – This is from the Roque River Valley and is made by Domain Serene. The nose was a little stinky nose that blows off to sweet fruit and smoke. Smoke and dark ripe tart fruit with slight spiciness and cedar flavors. Moderate tannins and good acid. Tasted very ripe compared to the previous wines. If you like Syrah you should try this.
What wines from Oregon that are not Pinot Noir have you had?