Seven Hills Winery Oregon Pinot Gris 2012
Pinot Gris is a delightful match with seafood and a variety of lighter dishes. It also makes a great pre-dinner glass of white wine. I like to drink Gris within a couple of years of the vintage, and this wine is styled to show well at release.
Established in 1988, Seven Hills Winery is proud to be among the founding estates of Walla Walla Valley. As pioneers who first championed the region, the winery’s heritage is built on longstanding relationships with the most renowned growers in the Northwest and a deep knowledge of the land. Their focus is crafting Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines that authentically reflect their places of origin.
When Seven Hills Winery was established in 1988, it was one of only five wineries in the region. As a founding vintner, Casey McClellan helped shape the varietal focus and development of the appellation by forming relationships with top growers in the Northwest and cultivating an understanding of each vineyard’s character. Through this focused approach and following decades of careful study, Seven Hills Winery crafts Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines that reflect their distinct terroir and reach their highest potential. McClellan helped plant the first significant vineyard dedicated to Bordeaux varietals in Walla Walla Valley and over time, the founding blocks of the winery’s estate vineyard emerged as one of the Northwest’s most renowned sites. Today, SHW Founding Vineyard provides fruit for the winery’s marquee single vineyard wines, and their grapes are sought after by some of the region’s most respected wineries. They also source fruit from other esteemed vineyards they’ve been working with for many years, including McClellan Estate Vineyard and Summit View Vineyard in Walla Walla Valley and Ciel du Cheval and Klipsun Vineyard in the Red Mountain appellation.
Seven Hills Winery crafts wines that are well-balanced and taste true to their varietal characteristics and terroir. To that end, they let the outstanding quality of their fruit shine through, by using traditional fermentation techniques and barrel selections that highlight the varietal grape flavors inherent in the wine. This philosophy allows them to create wines that pair well with a variety of foods and are meant to be enjoyed as part of a meal. Their tasting room and winery are located in downtown Walla Walla, in the historic Whitehouse-Crawford building. Visit them for a winery tour, tasting or food, and wine pairing.
Home to some of America’s most celebrated Pinot Noir, Oregon maintains a tight focus on small production, high quality wine even while the state’s industry enjoys steady growth. As a world-renowned wine region, Oregon has more than 700 wineries and is home to well over 70 grape varieties. With a mostly Mediterranean climate, its cooler and wetter regions lie in the west, close to the Pacific Coast.
By far the most reputed region is the Willamette Valley, which is further subdivided into six smaller appellations: Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge and Yamhill-Carlton.
The Valley’s obvious success story is with 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 best Willamette Pinot noir has a rare combination of red and black fruit, elegant balance, high acidity and rustic earth. While completely enjoyable in their youth, some of the better, single vineyard or appellation-specific Pinot noirs can often benefit from some cellar time.
This “white” variety is actually born out of a mutation of Pinot Noir and shows a unique rosy, purplish hue upon full ripeness. The grape boasts two versions of its name and two generally distinct styles: the crisp, Italian Pinot Grigio and the softer French Pinot Gris. Somm Secret—Given the color of its berries and aromatic potential, Pinot Grigio is commonly used to make "orange wines." An orange wine is a white wine made with fermentation on its skins (similar to red wine making), leading to n orange hued wine with ephemeral aromas and extra complexity.