I Love Fine Wine – A Pinot Gris From The Willamette Valley, Oregon

I think this is my first Oregon wine review. Oregon has become a major wine producer whose signature grape is the red Pinot Noir. The Willamette Valley stretches from the Columbia River in the north to just past Eugene in the south, and from the Oregon Coast Range in the west to the Cascade Mountains in the east. You may want to take a tour of the area along Highway 47. For more information check out Sip 47 on the Internet. The family owned and operated Elk Cove Vineyards has been in the wine business since 1977. They own some 600 acres (about 240 hectares) in 4 vineyards, farmed using organic or sustainable processes. Elk Cove does their Pinot Grigio by pressing whole clusters and fermenting them in small stainless steel tanks. Today’s companion wine is a Pinot Grigio (the Italian name for Pinot Gris) from Argentina at half the price.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Elk Cove Vineyards, 2009 Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 13.5 % alcohol about $20. (I paid $23).

Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. “Description: This wine ranked #79 in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2010. Tasting Note: Light and fragrant, this is juicy with pear, apple and lime flavors, hinting at almond flowers on the finish. Drink now through 2012. Score – 90. (Harvey Steiman at the Wine Spectator web site, Dec. 31, 2010).” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine was refreshing and long. It offered light sweetness, good acidity, and pears. Japanese rice crackers lengthened and deepened our liquid. A Wasabi pea brought out lots of pears. My initial meal centered on an omelet that I perked up with black pepper, ground garlic, and basil. This libation was sweetish with a pleasant burnt taste lurking in the background. When paired with zesty guacamole, this liquid was really quite long. Initially chocolate mousse weakened this Oregonian, but before very long it bounced back.

The following meal centered on a commercial Baked Ziti Siciliano. In response this wine was long, somewhat metallic, and multilayered. Homemade roasted eggplant brimming with garlic rendered the Pinot Gris light, and filled it with expressive acidity and apples. Fresh strawberries for dessert muted the wine somewhat, but it remained long and round.

My final meal started with homemade vegetable soup, whose ingredients included carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, celery, and zucchini. In response this liquid was floral, offering delicious fruit and balanced acidity. With chicken meat balls I tasted lightly sweet apples in my glass. When paired with cubes of sauteed chicken breast, this liquid exuded lime; it was slightly oily with bright acidity. The accompanying leeks sauteed in olive oil imparted great length to this mouth filling wine. In closing I finally came across something negative; fruit juice candy definitely muted the wine.

Final verdict. This was one fine wine. I don’t think that I have ever enjoyed any Pinot Gris so much. Since I prefer Pinot Noir, I’m going to buy Elk Cove’s version soon.

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but drinking fine Iwine with good company. He loves teaching computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines. His Italiian  travel website is http://www.travelitalytravel.com .

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