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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 temperate 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 even 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. The silty loess found in the Chehalem Mountains, somewhere in between the other two in texture, is fertile and well-draining but erodes easily, creating challenges for growers but necessitating careful vineyard management.

The celebrated Pinot Noir of the Willamette Valley typically offers supple red fruit, especially cranberry, without the powerful punch often packed by its California counterparts. Elegance is paramount here, and fruit flavors are balanced by forest floor, wild mushroom, and dried herbs—much more in line with Burgundian examples of the variety. Chardonnay too takes its inspiration from the French motherland, focusing on tart, crisp fruit and minerality, rarely relying upon heavy new oak. Pinot Gris here is fleshy and bright, and Riesling is dry, aromatic, and citrus-focused.

Pinot Gris/Grigio

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One grape variety with two very distinct personas, Pinot Gris in France is rich, round, and aromatic, while Pinot Grigio in Italy is simple, crisp, and refreshing. In Italy, Pinot Grigio is grown in the mountainous regions of Trentino, Friuli, and Alto Adige in the northeast. In France it reaches its apex in Alsace. Pinots both “Gris” and “Grigio” are produced successfully in Oregon's Willamette Valley as well as parts of California, and are widely planted throughout central and eastern Europe.

In the Glass

Pinot Gris is naturally low in acidity, so full ripeness is necessary to achieve and showcase its signature flavors and aromas of stone fruit, citrus, honeysuckle, pear, and almond skin. Alsatian styles are aromatic, richly textured and often relatively high in alcohol. As Pinot Grigio in Italy, the style is much more subdued, light, simple, and easy to drink.

Perfect Pairings

Alsace is renowned for its potent food–pork, foie gras, and charcuterie. With its viscous nature, Pinot Gris fits in harmoniously with these heavy hitters. Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, with its lean, crisp, citrusy freshness, works better with simple salads, a wide range of seafood, and subtle chicken dishes.

Sommelier Secret

Outside of France and Italy, the decision by the producer whether to label as “Gris” or “Grigio” serves as a strong indicator as to the style of wine in the bottle—the former will typically be a richer, more serious rendition while the latter will be bright, fresh, and fun.

NWWCM11GR_2011 Item# 120124