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Montinore White Riesling 2002
Montinore Estate is the largest producer of certified estate wines made from Biodynamic® grapes in the country. With our 200-acre Demeter CertifiedBiodynamic® and Stellar Certified Organic vineyard located in north Willamette Valley in Oregon, we focus on producing superior Pinot Noirs, cool climate whites, and fascinating Italian varietals. Our namesake, 200-acre vineyard was planted in 1982 at the northern end of the Willamette Valley appellation and along the east-facing slope of the Coastal Range foothills in Oregon. In addition to the estate being Demeter Certified Biodynamic® and Stellar Certified Organic, we use dry farming and sustainable growing practices. Partner and Chief Viticulturist, Rudy Marchesi, side-by-side with Head Winemaker Stephen Webber, work closely to shepherd the grapes through the evolution from fruit to wine. From harvest dates to fermentation vessels and temperatures, from cultivating our own yeasts to selecting the perfect barrels for aging, each decision is thoughtfully made with one end goal in mind: To craft wines that reflect the place where the grapes are grown, offering freshness, liveliness and complexity, while showcasing the best characteristics of each variety.
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.
A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining easily identifiable typicity. This versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Riesling is best known in Germany and Alsace, and is also of great importance in Austria. The variety has also been particularly successful in Australia’s Clare and Eden Valleys, New Zealand, Washington, cooler regions of California, and the Finger Lakes region of New York.
In the Glass
Riesling typically produces wine with relatively low alcohol, high acidity, steely minerality and stone fruit, spice, citrus and floral notes. At its ripest, it leans towards juicy peach, nectarine and pineapple, while cooler climes produce Rieslings more redolent of meyer lemon, lime and green apple. With age, Riesling can become truly revelatory, developing unique, complex aromatics, often with a hint of petrol.
Riesling is quite versatile, enjoying the company of sweet-fleshed fish like sole, most Asian food, especially Thai and Vietnamese (bottlings with some residual sugar and low alcohol are the perfect companions for dishes with substantial spice) and freshly shucked oysters. Sweeter styles work well with fruit-based desserts.
It can be difficult to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling, and German labeling laws do not make things any easier. Look for the world “trocken” to indicate a dry wine, or “halbtrocken” or “feinherb” for off-dry. Some producers will include a helpful sweetness scale on the back label—happily, a growing trend.