Willamette Valley Vineyards 2007 pinot gris (Oregon)

Another early WAwineman classic, 1st posted on May 8, 2008:

Wow! A new point system here on WineChatr dot com. Excellent! Can’t wait to lick a dog and rate it a 12.3. Speaking of dog, “a 19 year old Medford woman has been charged with aggravated animal abuse that includes stomping a 3-month old puppy.” To my dear neighbors in the Northwest, the sun is out. SAD is no longer an applicable excuse for deviant behavior. A month ago, one could get away with Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and a Starbucks coffee frapp for breakfast, but let’s get in the now, paco. Guuud-ness!
While on the topic of Ory-gun, I chose to open this hottie after sampling 1/2 the bottle from Tefft Cellars’ roh-zehh. Oregon and pinot gris/grigio have a long and successful history. I first heard of and tasted Oregon pinot gris (OPG) almost two decades ago because it was the ‘sexy’ thing to do back then. See how deprived my generation was! Hey, but don’t knock it now.  OPG keeps getting better despite being the very best in this glorious nation of ours.
A little background on this pioneer winery. Jim Bernau purchased the plum orchard estate south of Salem back in 1983 (a watershed year for Northwest wine) and planted pinot noir, gris, and chard, while watering the vines from a hose. That’s intense. He opened the winery in 1989 with a lot of help and has been making world-class ‘noirs ever since. His estate vineyard site stands at 500-750 feet in elevation with big air ventilation and sitting on old-school volcanic soil. Of particular note is his cork…of all things. This winery is the first in all the world to use cork certified by The Rainforest Alliance to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards. It’s all about sustaining the environment. Read all about it on the winery’s website. All I know is, when I drink this wine, the environment thanks me. That’s a first. But, it’s not primarily about that…more like a side bennie. Heck, this wine upholds the highest OPG standards.
Tonight’s sustenance was leftovers, but ohhhh what perfect leftovers to be had. Shrimp tempura, salmon burgers, and fried rice, along with fresh alfalfa salad. I knew this would be special and the wine delivered in spades. The back label recommended itself as a “salmon wine” and it sure did do a dance with the salmon burgers. The crispiness of the acids and the fruitiness of the wine made for an elegant pairing. Also did very well with the shrimp and fried rice. This is a high-quality seafood-type of wine. Instead of reading the newspaper, I could have spent the whole time reading the imprint on the cork. After removing the foil, there’s this “FSC 100%” print with a mushroom outline greeting you. The side gives thanks for choosing this wine, and the bottom has the Rainforest Alliance with what looks like a chicken in full spread. Nice choice of colors for the label and neck, chalky turquoise and black. I think of this winery as Oregon’s answer to L’Ecole No 41.
Alcohol: 13%. 30,000 cases. Colmar clone. Added pinot blanc, muscat and a fraction of barrel-fermented OPG. Jory (iron rich volcanic) soil. Harvested: 9/29-10/17, 2007. 20.2-23.3 brix. pH 3.19-3.59. Titratable acidity: 5.4-9.3 g/L.
Nose: white flowers. Mouthfeel: light syrupy. Color: filtered water with a tinge of platinum. Mouthfeel: light as water. Tail trail: 5 seconds. Flavors: Queen Anne pear, ripe tangerine, white and light purple flowers. Good decongestant.
Value: $18. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated, but not uncouth.
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