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Van Duzer Pinot Gris 1998

Pinot Gris/Grigio from Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • WS87
0% ABV
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  • WW89
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Winemaker Notes

Very rich and ripe, a comment on the suitability of Pinot Gris to the Oregon climate. A broadly structured wine with peach, fig and flint notes which support the fine finish. It shows intense melon and floral aromas and flavors balanced by a firm core of acidity.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 87
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Van Duzer

Van Duzer

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Van Duzer, Willamette Valley, Oregon
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Proprietors Carl and Marilynn Thoma were among the first to choose the foothills at the mouth of the Van Duzer Corridor to create their family estate in 1998, intrigued by the potential of the microclimate and its ability to produce evocative Pinot Noir. Perched atop a knoll surrounded by vines on three sides, the site is situated in the gateway of the Corridor, a deep gap in the Oregon Coastal Range that draws brisk air from the Pacific Ocean into the Willamette Valley. The flagship estate’s 83.7 planted acres are in the direct path of marine winds, and benefit from the cooling gusts that moderate the temperatures over the vineyard, guaranteeing a long, beneficial growing season year after year.

The winery selected a zephyr, the gentle west wind of Greek mythology, as a symbol of the unique climate. According to Greek legend, zephyr and other wind gods were commanded by Aeolus, king of the winds, for which the Eola Hills wine region east of Van Duzer Vineyards is named. Van Duzer Vineyard’s goddess of the west wind, Zephyra, was brought to life by famed illustrator John Martinez. Best known for his fine arts posters depicting classical figures from works of Shakespeare and the opera, Martinez has also created dust covers for a wide range of book publishers. His work can be seen in the collections of the Library of Congress and Museum of Modern Art.

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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 continental climate moderated by the influence of the Pacific Ocean, it is perfect for cool-climate viticulture and the production of elegant wines.

Mountain ranges bordering three sides of the valley, particularly the Chehalem Mountains, provide the option for higher-elevation vineyard sites.

The valley's three prominent soil types (volcanic, sedimentary and silty, loess) make it unique and create significant differences in wine styles among its 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. In the most southern stretch of the Willamette, the Eola-Amity Hills sub-AVA soils are mixed, shallow and well-drained. The Hills' close proximity to the Van Duzer Corridor (which became its own appellation as of 2019) also creates grapes with great concentration and firm acidity, leading to wines that perfectly express both power and grace.

Though Pinot noir enjoys the limelight here, Pinot gris, Pinot blanc and Chardonnay also thrive in the Willamette. Increasing curiosity has risen recently in the potential of others like Grüner Veltliner, Chenin blanc and Gamay.

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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 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.

In the Glass

Pinot Gris is naturally low in acidity but full ripeness is necessary to achieve and showcase its signature flavors and aromas of stone fruit, citrus, honeysuckle, pear and almond. Alsatian styles are aromatic (think rose and honey), richly textured and sometimes relatively higher in alcohol compared to its Italian counterparts. As Pinot Grigio in Italy, the style is often much lighter, charming and fruit driven.

Perfect 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 lean, crisp, citrusy freshness, works well as an aperitif wine or with seafood and subtle chicken dishes.

Sommelier Secret

Given the color of its berries and aromatic and characterful potential if cared for as it is allowed 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.

PBC2152643_1998 Item# 10463