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Seven Hills Winery Oregon Pinot Gris 2014

Pinot Gris/Grigio from Oregon
    13.5% ABV
    • W&S90
    • WE91
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    13.5% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    2014 was one of the warmest vintages in Northwest winegrowing history. Fortunately, it concluded with a long, mild fall with just enough moisture to give fully ripe berries while maintaining optimal balance and flavor. The wine underwent a long, cool fermentation with Chanson yeast in stainless steel. After gentle pressing and settling, 10% of the wine was briefly matured in new French oak to give the wine a hint of spice and roundness. The nose shows citrus, spearmint, vanillin and hazelnut. The palate starts with ripe citrus and pear fruit, layered with spice and vanillin underneath. The finish is fruitful and brisk.

    It's a delightful match with seafoods and vegetable dishes, and my favorite: grapefruit-avocado salad. This Pinot Gris is made to drink young, and is at its best within two years of the vintage.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Seven Hills Winery

    Seven Hills Winery

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    Seven Hills Winery, Oregon
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    The McClellan family has farmed in Eastern Washington since 1880. One hundred years later, in 1980, Casey McClellan and his father Jim began planting the now famous Seven Hills Vineyard at the south end of the Walla Walla Valley. After then earning his Master’s degree in Enology from UC Davis, Casey returned to Walla Walla with his wife Vicky to found Seven Hills Winery, the fifth winery in the Walla Walla Valley, in 1988. Casey remains Seven Hills’ sole winemaker to this day.

    Seven Hills Vineyard is now regarded as one of the “ten most important vineyards in the world” by Wine & Spirits Magazine. In addition to Seven Hills Vineyard, Casey crafts wines from several of the best, old vine vineyards in Walla Walla and on Red Mountain, including Ciel du Cheval, Klipsun, and McClellan Estate.

    Casey’ focus has always been on Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varietal reds, complemented by limited production of Alsatian varietal white wines. His vision is to produce wines that reflect the terroir of these sites with intense structure and pure varietal fruit character capable of graceful ageing.

    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.

    Other AVAs in Oregon’s west worth noting include Umpqua Valley and Rogue Valley.

    In the east are Snake River Valley, which overlaps into Idaho, and Columbia Valley, which Oregon shares with Washington. Summers are hot and dry in these regions but winters are cold and rainy.

    Other successful varieties in Oregon include Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot blanc.

    Pinot Gris/Grigio

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    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 on its name as well as two generally distinct styles. Pinot Gris in France is rich, round and aromas of honey, while Pinot grigio in Italy is typically crisp, fruity and refreshing. 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 someof the world's most well-regarded Pinot gris. California produces both styles.

    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.

    YNG997924_2014 Item# 145155