Even though I regularly drink wines from Alsace, I recently realized it has been way too long since I enjoyed an Alsatian Pinot Gris. I decided to change that so I uncorked a bottle of 2012 Famille Hugel Pinot Gris. Hugel was founded in 1639 and is run by the 12th consecutive generation of the family. The Famille Hugel Pinot Gris is 100% hand-picked Pinot Gris fermented with native yeasts. Hugel aimed to allow the purest expression of the grapes and I think they did a great job of letting the fruit shine through.
Famille Hugel Pinot Gris opens with aromas of ripe pineapple, apricot, and hazelnut. The full-bodied wine has a rich mouthfeel with tastes of ripe pear, tangerine, and lemon zest. There is also healthy acidity that brings balance and brightness to the palate. Intense yet fresh and pure. This is a really nice Pinot Gris for a very reasonable price! ($20, 14% alcohol)
Sadly, I am wrapping up my Oregon Pinot Gris tasting adventure. The good news is that I saved the best for last! David Hill Winery is home to some of the region’s oldest Pinot Noir vines and their tasting room was built in 1883. Their 2011 estate grown Pinot Gris easily won me over!
David Hill Winery 2011 Estate Pinot Gris pours a white gold color in the glass. The nose is fragrant with aromas of pear, melon, and lemon. The palate is packed with flavors of tangy, tart grapefruit and lime with hints of green apple. With refreshing flavors and vibrant acidity, this wine really excited my taste buds! ($18, 12.5% alcohol)
My Wine Rating – B+
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with oysters, a shrimp po’ boy, or smoked cheddar cheese.
In continuing my Oregon Pinot Gris tasting journey (which I am really enjoying by the way!), I uncorked a bottle of Oak Knoll 2009 Pinot Gris. Oak Knoll Winery was founded in 1970 by Ronald and Marjorie Vuylsteke. The winery is the oldest in Washington County and now the second generation of the Vuylesteke family has stepped in to help take the reins. Their 2009 Pinot Gris was aged in stainless steel barrels and with no malolactic fermentation.
Oak Knoll 2009 Pinot Gris pours a pale gold in the glass. The nose has pleasant aromas of citrus and melon and the palate is refreshing with sweet flavors of lime, lemon, grapefruit, and honeydew. With a tangy, crisp finish and plentiful acidity, this harmonious medley of bright flavors is certain to be enjoyed! ($14, 13.5% alcohol)
My Wine Rating – B+
Food Pairing Suggestions -Pair this Pinot Gris with chicken kebobs, halibut, or veggie burgers.
Last weekend, I had the chance to try a bottle of Airlie Winery 2009 Pinot Gris. Airlie Winery was founded in 1986 and then purchased by Mary Olsen in 1997. Their vineyard is certified sustainable and they produce eight varieties of grapes. Their 2009 Pinot Gris is a refreshing and complex wine for well under $20!
Airlie Winery 2009 Pinot Gris has floral aromas with hints of grapefruit and melon. The palate is packed with citrus flavors. There are mouth-coating flavors of lime, lemon, and pineapple, along with notes of pear. The finish is lifted with a healthy dose of acidity. ($15, 13.3% alcohol)
My Wine Rating- B
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair this Pinot Gris with halibut, turkey burgers, or pasta with herbs and olive oil.
I am starting the my Oregon Pinot Gris tasting journey with a refreshing wine from Terrapin Cellars. Terrapin Cellars is a family run winery located in the Willamette Valley. They practice sustainable farming methods and produce 2600 cases of Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Tempranillo. Even though their 2011 Pinot Gris was the product of a difficult, cold growing season, the wine proved to be delicious!
Terrapin Pinot Gris pours a pale gold color in the glass. The nose has aromas of citrus and pear. The palate is vibrant with tastes of grapefruit, lemon, pineapple, and melon. With a nice balance of alcohol (12%) and acidity, this Pinot Gris is an incredible value! (SRP $13)
My Wine Rating – B+
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair this wine with grilled chicken, seafood kebabs, or shrimp risotto.
Throughout the next week or so, I am going to be featuring Oregon Pinot Gris. When most people think of Oregon, they tend to think about Pinot Noir. While they do produce an excellent style of Pinot Noir, the region also produces outstanding Pinot Gris.
Pinot Gris is the second largest grape varietal grown in Oregon and I feel it is generally overlooked and underappreciated. It is extremely food friendly and often full of complex flavors. A group of wineries joined together to form a group that is helping to put Oregon Pinot Gris on the map and I happily accepted the opportunity to taste through some of their wines. So, stay tuned for some delicious Pinot Gris and check out www.oregonpinotgris.org for more info!
On Wednesday night, I participated in a live tasting on Twitter with Thirsty Girl. We received a bottle of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Erath Winery for the tasting. Erath Winery is located in the Dundee Hills of Oregon and they have been making wine for over 40 years. They are known for their incredible Pinot Noir and I was super excited to have the chance to taste a couple of their wines. Here are my tasting notes from this fun event:
Erath Winery 2011 Oregon Pinot Gris
Pale gold in the glass with fresh aromas of citrus and pear. The palate is very refreshing. There are vibrant flavors of lemon, lime, pineapple, and green apple. A perfect summer sipper! Pair with seafood or Asian dishes. (B+, 13%, $14)
Erath Winery 2010 Oregon Pinot Noir
Pours a brilliant ruby color with aromas of red berries and a hint of earthiness. Flavors of tart berries and spice mingle in this light bodied Pinot Noir. The approachability of this wine ensures you won’t have leftovers for the next day! Pair with salmon or pizza topped with goat cheese and mushrooms. (B, 13%, $19)
Only a few days left before the Super Bowl and, whether you love football or not, there is no better excuse enjoy good food and great wine! This year I am making German Soft Pretzel Sticks for the big game. (I adapted my recipe from Food and Wine Magazine and they are super good. Here is the link: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/german-soft-pretzel-sticks)
Here are a couple of wine picks for under $20 that will pair perfectly with your pretzels and football!
2009 Two Birds and a Sheep Pinot Gris
Oregon makes outstanding Pinot Gris and this bottle is no exception. Notes of pear and peach are infused with tropical fruit. The finish is clean and refreshing! A lot of value for your money and a great wine to sip on Superbowl Sunday! (B+, 13% alcohol, $18, media sample)
Santa Julia NV Brut Rosé
This is one of my go to, easy to find Rosés I love to have on hand for guests. This Rosé of Pinot Noir is light bodied and has lively notes of strawberries and cherries. Crisp and refreshing, it is extremely food friendly and pairs really well with the pretzels and just about anything else! (B+, 12.5% alcohol, $11)