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Cooper Mountain Reserve Pinot Gris 2011

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

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
The 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, , Oregon
Cooper Mountain
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.

Home to some of America’s most celebrated Pinot Noir...

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Home to some of America’s most celebrated Pinot Noir, Oregon benefits from a marginal climate where grapes must struggle to achieve full ripeness—a challenge that results in high-quality fruit. By far the most important region is the Willamette Valley, which is further subdivided into six smaller AVAs. Surrounded on three sides by mountain ranges, the Willamette Valley is characterized by warm to hot dry summers and cool, rainy winters during which cloud cover is a near-constant. Along with the warmer AVAs to the south, including Umpqua Valley and Rogue Valley, it benefits from cool Pacific breezes during the growing season. Further inland, Columbia Valley to the north and Snake River Valley to the east experience cooler, wetter conditions. Post-prohibition viticulture is a relatively new addition to the state, which had been previously deemed unsuitable for the planting of Vitis vinifera grape varieties. That all changed in the mid-1960s, when Pinot Noir was first grown successfully along with other Alsatian varieties. Over the next two decades or so, Oregon continued its ascent to become to Pinot Noir powerhouse we know it as today.

The obvious success story of Oregon is Pinot Noir, which here takes on a personality that could be described in general terms as somewhere in between the wines of California and Burgundy, and is often more affordable than either one. The combination of elegant balance, high acidity, and rustic earth plus bright red fruit places it solidly in the middle of the spectrum for this versatile variety. Other successful varieties here include Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Riesling.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow...

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

In the Glass

Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

NWWCM11GR_2011 Item# 120124

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