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WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Gris 2011

Pinot Gris/Grigio from Yamhill-Carlton District, Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • RP89
  • W&S88
13.5% ABV
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13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Creamy pale-gold in color, with estery aromas of fresh pear blossom and juicy green apple. Tropical notes from the nose become bright Meyer lemon, pink grapefruit, cranberry, and orange peel on the palate. The entry is rich and clean building to a slightly tangy, lingering finish. Due to its lovely balance and acid, this Pinot Gris will age well for 3 to 5 years from release. Serve slightly chilled.

We recommend this wine by itself as an aperitif or paired with a summer dish such as Thai smoked salmon, or grilled asparagus served with a sauce maltaise (a hollandaise made with blanched orange zest and blood orange).

Critical Acclaim

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RP 89
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
'This is pressed directly, with no skin contact,' notes Bernard Lacroute of WillaKenzie's tank-rendered, (virtually) lactose-free, lees-enriched 2011 Pinot Gris, 'but, perhaps strangely enough, we like some oxidation, so we don't add much SO2.' The succulent peachy fruit I associate with this grape (at least, at its best) is very much in evidence on the nose as well as on a refreshing yet subtly creamy palate. Wood smoke and mint accent the peach, supplemented by honeydew melon, and lead to a lusciously lingering finish. It can be done: a Willamette Pinot Gris recognizably of its grape; possessed of enticement, textural allure, and refreshment; and modestly priced. What's more, based on my observation of a three and a half year old Pinot Blanc vinified the same way, I suspect that this Pinot Gris will have a correspondingly useful bottle life.
W&S 88
Wine & Spirits
Scent of apple and fruit blossom give way to weighty, full-bodied flavors of ripe apple and pear, with more than enough acidity to drive all that fruit through the finish. Pair with something rich, like a pork chop.
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WillaKenzie Estate

WillaKenzie Estate

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WillaKenzie Estate, Yamhill-Carlton District, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Video of winery

WillaKenzie Estate is located in Oregon's Willamette Valley on rolling hillsides in the Chehalem Mountains. The winery was named after the Willakenzie soil on which the vineyards are planted to convey the influence that the soil imparts on the wine's flavors and aromas. The vineyards are planted with grapes of the Pinot family, mostly new Dijon clones of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from Alsace. Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are cool climate grapes, which are particularly well adapted to Oregon.

Yamhill-Carlton District

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Yamhill-Carlton, characterized by pastoral, rolling hills composed of shallow, quick-draining, ancient marine soil, is ideal for Pinot noir and other cool-climate-loving varieties. It is in the rain shadow of the Coastal Range to its west, whose highest point climbs to an altitude of 3,500 feet. Yamhill-Carlton is actually surrounded by mountains on three sides: Chehalem Mountains to the north, the Dundee Hills to the east and the western Coastal Range to its west, which, when it lets Pacific air through, serves to cool the region.

Vineyards grow on the ridges surrounding the two small communities of Yamhill and Carlton and cover about 1,200 acres of this 60,000 acre region, which roughly makes a horse-shoe shape on a map.

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.

MNC7597F_2011 Item# 117829