Eyrie Estate Pinot Gris 2018
This Pinot Gris presents concentrated aromatics of pear, citrus, and spring greens. The palate unfolds a spectrum of pome fruits and crushed fennel. The racy natural acidity is complemented by a texture that is round while still being dry and light. Refreshing, direct, with the focused acidity and lingering finish that define Eyrie Pinot Gris.
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Eyrie was the first to plant Pinot Gris in America, long before it became Oregon's most famous white grape. No surprise that five decades later it's Eyrie that makes the state's most distinctive, elegant version of the grape. Beautifully textured mixed tree fruits—apple and white peach—are on display here, along with details of freshly baked bread and light herbs such as parsley. A touch of melon comes up in the back palate, and the wine just keeps chugging along through a marvelous finish.
The 2018 Pinot Gris has a nose of citrus, almonds, hay and earth. The palate is rounded, bright and fresh with delicate, gently honeyed flavors lingering on the finish.
The Eyrie Vineyards was founded by David Lett in 1965. He arrived convinced that the valley would offer Pinot noir its best home outside Burgundy, and planted the region’s first grapes in the modern era.
Jason Lett continues Eyrie’s innovative legacy today, introducing new varieties and creating what the Wine Advocate calls “some of the most fascinating wines on the planet.”
Home of the first Pinot noir vineyard of the Willamette Valley, planted by David Lett of Eyrie Vineyard in 1966, today the Dundee Hills AVA remains the most densely planted AVA in the valley (and state). To its north sits the Chehalem Valley and to its south, runs the Willamette River. Within the region’s 12,500 acres, about 1,700 are planted to vine on predominantly basalt-based, volcanic, Jory soil.
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.
Where Does Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio Come From?
Pinot Gris is originally from France, and it is technically not a variety but a clone of Pinot Noir. In Italy it’s called Pinot Grigio (Italian for gray), and it is widely planted in northern and NE Italy. Pinot Gris is also grown around the globe, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand. No matter where it’s made or what it’s called, Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio produces many exciting styles.
Tasting Notes for Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio is a dry, white wine naturally low in acidity. Pinot Grigio wines showcase signature flavors and aromas of stone fruit, citrus, honeysuckle, pear and almond. Alsatian styles are refreshing, expressive, aromatic (think rose and honey), smooth, full-bodied and richly textured and sometimes relatively higher in alcohol compared to their Italian counterpart. As Pinot Grigio in Italy, the style is often light and charming. The focus here is usually to produce a crisp, refreshing, lighter style of wine. While there are regional differences of Pinot Grigio, the typical profile includes lemon, lime and subtle minerality.
Pinot Grigio Food 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 citrusy freshness, works well as an aperitif wine or with seafood and subtle chicken dishes.
Given the pinkish color of its berries and aromatic potential if cared for 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.