I used to drink a lot of Oregon Pinot Noir back in the day. And then I lost interest. Either my palate changed, the wines that I was drinking changed, or perhaps both. But I completely stopped drinking Oregon until my WWET Willamette Valley experience. And now, I thank my lucky stars that I had this opportunity. That trip re-introduced me to the region with a fresh set of eyes and ears- not to mention a more educated palate.
After the trip, I have continued my wine tasting journey of Oregon wine. As such, you will hear a lot more about Oregon wine from me. I have fallen back in love with this region and its producers. So stay tuned.
Yes, I have already written about some Oregon wines in the past. You can read one of my posts about “Other Wines of Willamette” here.
2017 Helioterra Pinot Blanc, Willamette Valley
For whatever reason, I held on to this wine for a while before drinking it. But now it is gone, and I am sad. Good thing I know where and how to buy more!
This wine is clean with an herbaceous nose of Thai basil and mint and a slight hint of star anise. The palate is slightly savory in the form of an unsweet apple cider. I LOVE it. Acidity starts delightfully meek at mid-palate and then rushes to the tip of your tongue. It just makes me smile. This would be a perfect white wine pairing for Thanksgiving dinner. I’m drooling thinking about celery stuffing followed by a sip of this gem.
It is crazy that it is on sale right now at $15 a bottle. Grab a few of the 2016 Melon de Bourgogne while you are at it, especially if you are an acid queen. This wine bursts with bracing acidity. It is also on sale for $15 a bottle.
Anne, you are so talented. You can order Helioterra Wines on their website.
Kelly Fox Wines – 2018 Weber Vineyard Pinot Gris, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
This wine reminded me of a wine I drank at a family dinner in Corsica when I was in my late 20s. It is not so much the varietal but more the style of wine that brings back this memory.
This wine is a skin contact Pinot Grigio and is fantastic. I loved this sip. Interestingly, I did not think Gary would like it because he is a Provence Rosé purist, but it hit all the right notes for him. In his mind, this is a light red.
100% destemmed and fermented in two 1.5 ton fermenters. One pigeage (foot-treading) happened each day. About 18 days of skin contact occurred before the wine was pressed at dryness. Élevage was in a concrete amphora tank and a couple of neutral, tight-grained French oak barrels. The Weber Pinot Gris is dry and ML-complete
Our tasting of this wine: The color is clear and cherry red with a light blue hue intermixed. The acid is generous, keeping my mouth wet with anticipation.
The palate is chock with red fruit, including tart cherry, red raspberry. As the wine warmed in the glass, we also got cranberry and pomegranate.
I will buy this again. However, I would guess that Edmund’s Oast Exchange is selling the 2019 vintage at this point.
Maysara Winery, Jamsheed Momtazi Vineyards Pinot Noir 2012, McMinnville, Oregon
When in Oregon, we had two opportunities to visit Maysara Winery. The first was the closing dinner for the conference. It was a feast beyond belief of homemade Persian delicacies made for us by the Momtazi family. It was a magical evening. Some of us extended our stay for an extra day to return to Momtazi Vineyard for a more in-depth looking into the Biodynamic farming practices done at the Momtazi Vineyard. This guided tour was done by owner Moe Momtazi and was one of the highlights of my trip.
I was looking at the wine selection at my local Whole Foods the other day, and I came across this wine. I was surprised at the price ($23.00) and the 2012 vintage.
In My Glass:
The nose is a pleasant blend of earthiness along with red and black fruit. The color is a darker ruby red with clear edges. The body is on the lighter side of medium. The palate brings plush black and red raspberries along with a back note of peppery spice. As the pepper wanes, the finish comes with long-lasting tannins. Next time I might decant this wine for a couple of hours to soften the finish and bring out the earthy notes.
The McMinnville AVA is one of my favorite subregions in the valley. Maysara has an extensive offering of their estate wines available on their website. Or you might be lucky enough to find it at your local Whole Foods.
2017 Helioterra Arneis, Redman Vineyard, Ribbon Ridge, Willamette Valley
I left this wine for last because it is sadly not longer listed on the Helioterra website and thus not available for purchase. And I am not sure if a new vintage is forthcoming. But I do have a reason for including this wine. Remember that last post – Perception of Taste in Wine? This wine offered two different tasting experiences for Gary and me.
I love this wine. It is a full-bodied white wine. And I am all in for wines with a bit of heft in the body and mouthfeel. What it offers in heft is balanced by the delicate aromatic notes of white flower blossoms. The white flowers are also on the nose. So when Gary took his first sniff and sipped, the white flowers were much more noticeable to him than me. I had honed in on the white peach, apricot, and pear notes.
For some, Gary included, floral notes trick his brain into thinking “sweet.” And while this is a dry wine, it tastes sweet to Gary. It does not matter that it is not sweet. That is just what happens sometimes. This holds with other aromatic wines that we have tasted together. Gary finds most Viognier sweet, which makes me quite sad because he can not enjoy them with me.
We folks, that is all for now. Be healthy, be happy, and be safe out there.
Oh, and one last thing. Please be sure to VOTE on November 3rd either in-person or by mail. Democracy only works when the citizenry participates.
Rick & Gary