The Willamette Valley in Oregon has earned a reputation for producing outstanding pinot noir and we are big fans of the region and the variety. In addition to pinot noir from the Willamette Valley, we have recently tasted some very fine chardonnay and pinot gris from the region.
So, when we were recently contacted regarding our interest in tasting a selection of wine from Oregon’s Willamette Valley we could not have been more pleased. It was a happy day when the wine shipment arrived and we discovered that Kudos Wine had sent us a selection that included not only pinot noir, but chardonnay and pinot gris as well.
2014 Kudos Willamette Valley Chardonnay — very pale yellow in the glass with generous melon aromas and flavors along with a bit of citrus zest and hints of tropical fruit. The finish is clean, medium in length and very flavorful. Nice acidity. 700 cases produced. 13.2% abv. $15.99
This 100% chardonnay is made using a combination of neutral oak and stainless steel aging for 8 months. The kiss of oak allows the flavors of the chardonnay to shine through. Sip this wine on a warm afternoon, pair it with creamy pasta, chicken salad or vegetable lasagne. It has plenty of acid for a creamy dish, and will taste as good with food as it does on its own.
2014 Kudos Willamette Valley Pinot Gris — very pale yellow in the glass with aromas of dry stones. Very delicate melon flavors combine with stony minerality and delicate peach flavors. Summery flavors are balanced with bright acidity and the finish is surprisingly long. 5500 cases produced. 13.1% abv. $12.99
All stainless steel production of this 100% Pinot Gris preserves the stony minerality and the delicate fruit flavors of the grape. This pinot gris is so enjoyable to sip on its own because of the lingering finish. It would be a good choice to pair with small plates, summer salads or soft cheeses.
2013 Kudos Willamette Valley Pinot Noir — translucent ruby in the glass with raspberry and woodsy aromas. Earthy flavors combine with berry brambles and slightly tart cherry and berry flavors, nice acidity and a bit more grip from tannins than expected. The body is fairly light with plenty of texture and flavor. 9000 cases produced. 13.1% abv. $12.99
This is a delightful, lighter-bodied pinot noir perfect for summertime and received only six months of neutral oak aging before bottling. It is a tremendous value. You can’t go wrong just sipping this pinot noir on a warm afternoon, but it will pair nicely with a variety of food. Pair this lighter-bodied wine with charcuterie, hummus dip or fish. Keep reading to find out about the little experiment we did with this wine!
2012 Kudos Reserve Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir — medium ruby in the glass with generous aromas of ripe blackberries and earth. Ripe blackberry flavors with woodsy, earthy notes combine with nice acidity and drying tannins. Overall, darker and more abundant fruit flavors with a medium body and nice tannin structure. 1000 cases produced. 14.3% abv. $21.99
This wine is such a lovely color in the glass. With 10 months of neutral oak aging (just 11% new oak was used), there is plenty of beautiful dark fruit flavor to enjoy along with great tannins. I would be happy to begin any evening with a glass of this pinot noir, and then gladly pair it with grilled pork chops, roasted chicken or lamb for dinner.
As is often the case when we receive sample wines for evaluation, we share them with our wine friends. We, along with our friends, were surprised by the complexity of the pinot gris and the tannin structure and depth of flavor exhibited by the pinot noir. The chardonnay was just downright enjoyable. These wines offer very good value for the price. They may not deliver the complexity you would expect from $40 to $50 wines, but are an excellent choice for everyday drinking. After all, most of us cannot afford to (nor should we need to) spend that much for a good bottle of wine on a regular basis.
We did a little experiment with the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and the Reserve Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir…we chilled them. After initially tasting both wines at cellar temperature, we lightly chilled both. We were inspired to do so by a recent tasting we attended during which we tasted a selection of summer wines, all of which were lightly chilled. Among the white wines was one pinot noir, and we were both very surprised how much we enjoyed that chilled pinot noir.
Just as with that prior tasting, we found we enjoyed the lightly chilled Kudos Willamette Valley Pinot Noir very much. The lighter body and bright fruit flavors are complimented by chilling.
While we found the darker fruit and earthy flavors of the Kudos Reserve Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir very nice chilled, we preferred to enjoy it at cellar temperature. Somehow it seems to formal a wine for chilling.
Kudos Wine is produced at NW Wine Company, a custom crush facility located in Dundee, Oregon, in the heart of the Willamette Valley. The winemaker, Laurent Montalieu, is Bordeaux born and educated. He has been making wine in Oregon for more than 25 years. Grapes are harvested selectively from Willamette Valley vineyards.
kudos: ku·dos / noun / praise or respect that you get because of something you have done or achieved
Kudos Wine certainly deserves praise for this selection of Willamette Valley wines. Each is delicious, well balance and as noted earlier, delivers excellent value for the price. We are happy to have sampled these wines. Look for them.