WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Gris 2011
Pinot Gris/Grigio from Willamette Valley, Oregon
Creamy pale-gold in color, with estery aromas of fresh pear blossom and juicy green apple. Tropical notes from the nose become bright Meyer lemon, pink grapefruit, cranberry, and orange peel on the palate. The entry is rich and clean building to a slightly tangy, lingering finish. Due to its lovely balance and acid, this Pinot Gris will age well for 3 to 5 years from release. Serve slightly chilled.
We recommend this wine by itself as an aperitif or paired with a summer dish such as Thai smoked salmon, or grilled asparagus served with a sauce maltaise (a hollandaise made with blanched orange zest and blood orange).
The Wine Advocate - "'This is pressed directly, with no skin contact,' notes Bernard Lacroute of WillaKenzie's tank-rendered, (virtually) lactose-free, lees-enriched 2011 Pinot Gris, 'but, perhaps strangely enough, we like some oxidation, so we don't add much SO2.' The succulent peachy fruit I associate with this grape (at least, at its best) is very much in evidence on the nose as well as on a refreshing yet subtly creamy palate. Wood smoke and mint accent the peach, supplemented by honeydew melon, and lead to a lusciously lingering finish. It can be done: a Willamette Pinot Gris recognizably of its grape; possessed of enticement, textural allure, and refreshment; and modestly priced. What's more, based on my observation of a three and a half year old Pinot Blanc vinified the same way, I suspect that this Pinot Gris will have a correspondingly useful bottle life."
Wine & Spirits - "Scent of apple and fruit blossom give way to weighty, full-bodied flavors of ripe apple and pear, with more than enough acidity to drive all that fruit through the finish. Pair with something rich, like a pork chop."
WillaKenzie Estate Winery
WillaKenzie Estate is located in Oregon's Willamette Valley on rolling hillsides in the Chehalem Mountains. The winery was named after the Willakenzie soil on which the vineyards are planted to convey the influence that the soil imparts on the wine's flavors and aromas. The vineyards are planted with grapes of the Pinot family, mostly new Dijon clones of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from Alsace. Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are cool climate grapes, which are particularly well adapted to Oregon. View all WillaKenzie Estate Wines
About Willamette ValleyView a map of Willamette Valley wineries (will-AAM-it)
Named for the river that runs through the valley from Portland to Eugene, Willamette Valley is home to some of the best Pinot Noir vineyards in the Northwest. While along the same north/south line as Seattle, the Willamette Valley is protected from Pacific rains by the Coast Range on the western border and the Cascade Ranges to the east. Though sunshine is typically plentiful, rainfall can occasionally be tricky, and the wines here vary vintage to vintage. Within the Willamette Valley are are number of sub-regions, including McMinnville, Dundee and Yamhill.
Notable FactsThe valley is known for its Pinots – Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. With a climate similar to Burgundy – in rainfall, sunlight hours and other climate factors – Pinot Noir has flourished here. Pinot Noir in Oregon produces wines that are fruit forward, yet complex, some with good agebility.
Other than Pinot Noir, many wineries grow Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Pinot Gris from Oregon is delightful in its texture and food friendliness. Chardonnay in the valley adapts well to the cool climate and produces lean, elegant wines.
About OregonOregon has long been an agricultural state, producing everything from hazelnuts to cattle. The Willamette Valley in particular is a fertile basin for all sorts of produce. Not quite pegged as a wine state, in 1965, a UC Davis graduate named David Lett decided that the Willamette's climate mirrored that of Burgundy in France. With that in mind, he decided to plant some Pinot Noir clones to see how they did. And a good gamble it was. The Willamette is now one of the only regions in the world to focus solely on Pinot Noir as its red variety. Also known for Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. The southern part of Oregon has been slower in delving into the world wine market, but has been making excellent strides with their Rhone style varietals, like Syrah and Grenache. There are also coastal regions producing promising wines.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.
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