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Cooper Mountain Reserve Pinot Gris 2011

Pinot Gris/Grigio from Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • W&S91
  • RP90
13% ABV
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13% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This is Cooper Mountain's signature Pinot Gris from what is shaping up to be one of the finest vintages the Willamette Valley has seen. This Reserve Pinot Gris is 100% stainless steel fermented and shows tones of mineral, peach, pear, apricot. A rich and balanced wine.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 91
Wine & Spirits
A bright, fresh gris with lush pear scents and a wheaty, leesy top note, this feels generous and inviting. Its flavors are lean and angular with invigorating drive and a sour lees note to the finish that lends complexity and length. For white sausages. Best Buy.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The Cooper Mountain 2011 Pinot Gris Reserve deliciously illustrates two things that winemaker Gilles de Domingo professes to love: reduction and lees. From the former, this wine derives its sense of vibrancy and finishing "ping;" from the latter an enhancement of this cepage's natural tendency toward textural richness (notwithstanding that to taste 90% of the Oregon exemplars I did, you would never guess Pinot Gris had that inherent proclivity!). Ripe peach and Persian melon, subtly brown-spiced and mingled with fresh citrus juices and bittersweet candied citrus rind inform a luscious yet invigorating performance you won't be able to resist. I have no idea how this might age but wouldn't be surprised if it held up beautifully for several years. (I wanted to cry after tasting this and then learning that Cooper Mountain also grows my beloved Pinot Blanc, but had not supplied me a sample.) And did I neglect – do I even need – to note that this humbly-priced Pinot Gris picked at the end of October represents absurdly fine value?
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Cooper Mountain

Cooper Mountain

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Cooper Mountain, Willamette Valley, Oregon
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At Cooper Mountain Vineyards, we are dedicated to the concept of 100% estate grown and produced wines. We began growing grapes in our vineyards in 1978 on a south facing slope of Cooper Mountain, an extinct volcano site overlooking the Tualatin Valley and notable for its unique and shallow soils. All of the decisions relating to the final quality of the wine are under our control. We determine pruning technique and crop level, when to begin harvest, and how to process, ferment and age our wines. Over the years we have been able to develop an intimacy with the different sections of our vineyards and an understanding of how our wines develop in the cellar and in the bottle. This understanding comes from working exclusively with our estate grown grapes and helps us to capture the essence of this very special terroir. Certified Biodynamic since 1999.

Willamette Valley

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One of Pinot Noir’s most successful New World outposts, the Willamette Valley is the largest and most important AVA in Oregon. With a Mediterranean climate moderated by a Pacific Ocean influence, it is perfect for cool-climate viticulture—warm and dry summers allow for steady, even ripening, and frost is rarely a risk during spring and winter.

Mountain ranges bordering three sides of the valley, particularly the Chehalem Mountains, provide the option for higher-elevation, cooler vineyard sites. The three prominent soil types here create significant differences in wine styles between vineyards and sub-AVAs. The iron-rich, basalt-based Jory volcanic soils found commonly in the Dundee Hills are rich in clay and hold water well; the chalky, sedimentary soils of Ribbon Ridge, Yamhill-Carlton and McMinnville encourage complex root systems as vines struggle to search for water and minerals. Silty, loess soils are found in the Chehalem Mountains.

Pinot Gris/Grigio

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Showing a unique rosy, purplish hue upon full ripeness, this “white” variety is actually born out of a mutation of Pinot noir. The grape boasts two versions of its name, as well as two generally distinct styles. In Italy, Pinot grigio achieves most success in the mountainous regions of Trentino and Alto Adige as well as in the neighboring Friuli—all in Italy’s northeast. France's Alsace and Oregon's Willamette Valley produce some of the world's most well-regarded Pinot gris wine. California produces both styles with success.

In the Glass

Pinot Gris is naturally low in acidity but full ripeness is necessary to achieve and showcase its signature flavors and aromas of stone fruit, citrus, honeysuckle, pear and almond. Alsatian styles are aromatic (think rose and honey), richly textured and sometimes relatively higher in alcohol compared to its Italian counterparts. As Pinot Grigio in Italy, the style is often much lighter, charming and fruit driven.

Perfect Pairings

The viscosity of a typical Alsatian Pinot Gris allows it to fit in harmoniously with the region's rich foods like pork, charcuterie and foie gras. Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, with its lean, crisp, citrusy freshness, works well as an aperitif wine or with seafood and subtle chicken dishes.

Sommelier Secret

Given the color of its berries and aromatic and characterful potential if cared for as it is allowed to fully ripen, the Pinot grigio variety is actually one that is commonly used to make "orange wines." An orange wine is a white wine made in the red wine method, i.e. with fermentation on its skins. This process leads to a wine with more ephemeral aromas, complexity on the palate and a pleasant, light orange hue.

NWWCM11GR_2011 Item# 120124