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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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One grape variety with two very distinct personas, Pinot Gris in France is rich, round, and aromatic, while Pinot Grigio in Italy is simple, crisp, and refreshing. In Italy, Pinot Grigio is grown in the mountainous regions of Trentino, Friuli, and Alto Adige in the northeast. In France it reaches its apex in Alsace. Pinots both “Gris” and “Grigio” are produced successfully in Oregon's Willamette Valley as well as parts of California, and are widely planted throughout central and eastern Europe.

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.

MNC7597F_2011 Item# 117829