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Pinot Gouges from Native Flora

Before we get to the Pinot Gouges (pronounced pea-no gooj-zz), allow me to share. As you can tell from the subject matter from my blog posts since March, we have been writing mostly about wine as I have not been cooking, baking, or otherwise doing more than boiling a hot dog or melting some cheese on Dorritos. Clearly, the latter two listed are not blog-worthy. In contrast, others are cooking up a storm and creating like never before. I am microwaving precooked bacon or precooked hamburgers. It seems that the stress of the pandemic has affected the creative, adventurous part of my brain in a significant way. It is also of note that it is taking me longer to write a complete post as well. Hmmm, that makes sense.

Cheese Quesadilla with a Caramelized Cheddar Crust

We pinpointed this a couple of weeks ago at my sister’s house.  We were making dinner, at which point, she asked me to read the recipe and make the sauce for a pork tenderloin dish. I felt my heart jump into my throat, and I just looked at her. She could tell I was troubled by her request. We talked and then I muscled through it.  It was not fun for me, nor could I wait to be finished. This stress is affecting us all differently. I know my reaction to this stress is odd, but it is what it is.

Photo by Pim Chu on Unsplash

Ok, That is off my chest. So, Pinot Gouges?

Native Flora “Jumping Ship” 2018 Pinot Gouges, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon

Pinot Gouges, you say? Well, this grape varietal is quite rare, with only twelve known acres in the world. According to Scott Flora, owner of Native Flora Winery, “In 1936, in Clos des Perrieres, a single Pinot Noir vine decided to jump ship and become white! Henri Gouges propagated this unique vine ensuring its survival. In the 1980s, it jumped ship again, landing in Oregon. It now grows at Native Flora…”

But What is Pinot Gouges?

Well, It is a color genetic mutation of Pinot Noir, just like Pinot Gris/Grigio, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Blanc, and others. Which begs the question, then is it not then a Pinot Blanc?  Some say no way, and others say maybe or sort of.  For me, I think of it as a named clonal variation. When Henri Gouges discovered this variation in his vineyard, he propagated it and established it as a white Pinot. He called it Pinot Gouges, much like those that did the same with other variations like Pinot Meunier, Pinot Teinturier, and others.

Pinot Gouges
Pinot Noir (left), Pinot Blanc (middle), Pinot Gris (right). Pinot Gouges would be similar to Pinot Blanc.

The possible difference here is that others did not jump on the Pinot Gouges bandwagon, either because Henri Gouges did not make his variation available to others or because of a lack of interest. The bottom line, there are now only 12 acres of this particular white variant of Pinot Noir, and Native Flora has some and makes a damn good wine with it.

Our Tasting Experience

At the time this wine was bottled, these were the tasting notes from the winery. Bright white flower and pear aromatics, acid drive on attack lead to a much weightier mouthfeel, stone-pear-vanillin palate, and a long, clean finish. I remember tasting this wine last year and found these notes to be entirely accurate. I loved it and wanted to bring a bottle home.Pinot Gouges

A year later, this wine has evolved beautifully and fascinatingly. We drank this wine at approximately 47°

The color is a pale straw. The first aroma I detected was saffron. Odd as this is the second time in two weeks that that aroma came up in white wine. The other aromas were also herbal, including fresh mint and anise/fennel. The body has some weight to it with a comforting mouthfeel. The flavors on the palate were also herbal only here; we both detected fresh lavender, anise, and a back note of fresh mint.

We both really enjoyed this bottle and thought it would get great on a cool fall evening while sitting around a firepit.

You can purchase Jumping Ship directly from Native Flora on their website.

That is all for now.


Rick & Gary

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