2009 Bergström Pinot Noir Old Stones

While my vacation may be over I am still in a drinking local state of mine. This was another I picked up at Whole Foods in Bend where I asked for a recommendation. After being asked if I preferred bigger fruit or something more elegant; when I said later I was the told this was the best thing going for $25. Per the winery this one is made for early drinking, while the precious (Lord of the Rings anyone?) single vineyard offerings get a bit of age, from barrel selections of non-estate fruit and received 91 points from the Wine Spectator but how would it fare here?

Price: $24.99 @ Whole Foods

What They Said:

2009 Bergström Old Stones Pinot NoirPer Bergström Winery “We have renamed our “Willamette Valley” Pinot Noir “Old Stones” to give it a personality & an identity that is worth seeking out. A great wine born of the West Coast’s most ancient soils that shows breed & nobility of varietal, but is accessibly priced for everyday drinking. We admit that our single vineyards are definitely wines that need to be cellared to reach maximum potential. In fact, that is how we think great Pinot Noir should be! But we also need great wine that we can drink while we wait for those precious bottles to come around. And so was born our “Old Stones” wines Pinot Noir & Chardonnay. These are wines that are barrel selections from our best non-estate sites that show more accessible texture & lower level of tannin & acidity which benefit from early consumption. The 2009 Old Stones Pinot Noir is a lavish mouthful of red fruits reminiscent of a berry pie with cinnamon & vanilla spices, a sweet pie crust type of flavor that is folded in amongst the waves of ripe & beautifully textured red cherry & raspberry fruit flavors. This is a joyride of a wine & will deliver immediate pleasure & drink well for the next 1-3 years.”

What I Think:

(14.1%) Nose promising as more balanced than most. Medium bodied with a fresh mineral acidity before the fruit arrives on the scene with racy, tart black cherry, raspberry and sandalwood leading to a spicy, tingling tannic finish that dries out and lingers on. Lots of tannins and acidity make me think despite the wineries take otherwise that this will improve with a bit more age.

Wine Geek Notes: 902 cases made, aged in large oak cases versus barrels. No new oak

Rating: Very Nice (At $25 this didn’t disappoint a bit; didn’t necessarily over deliver either making it a fair QPR)

2009 Elk Cove Pinot Gris

And my Oregon summer vacation drinking local series rolls on. Next up a few I picked up at the Whole Foods in Bend. Again I went for the one-two Pinot punch of Gris and Noir. First up this Gris from Elk Cove which has been making wine in the Willamette Valley since 1974…

Price: $15.99 @ Whole Foods

What They Said:

2009 Elk Cove Pinot GrisPer Elk Cove Vineyards “The 2009 Elk Cove Vineyards Pinot Gris starts out with sweet and unctuous aromatics while showing crispness on the palate with citrus and grapefruit. True to Elk Cove Vineyards’ style, a rich mouthfeel leads to a full and satisfying balanced finish. Drink this lovely white wine as an aperitif or with a variety of food pairings from salmon and main-course salads to Asian and Thai influenced dishes.”

What I Think:

(13.5%) Big honeyed, pollinated floral nose. This one is rich, juicy and fruit forward on the palate loaded with peaches and some pear/cantaloupe notes on the edges before a mineral acidity emerges on the backbone leading to a crisp, lingering mineral rock finish with touches of citrus. Best Pinot Gris I’ve had to date but I’d still recommend pairing this one with food. The Thai recommended by the winery seems like a good place to start.

Wine Geek Notes: 18,430 cases produced, under screwtop (which I prefer)

Rating: Good but… (while I consider this the best Pinot Gris I’ve had I’m finding this varietal from Oregon, versus the Alsace, doesn’t deliver the acidity I prefer in my whites)

2009 Lange Pinot Noir

More from my Oregon summer vacation drinking local series. Next up are a few wines I picked up at the local market here in Sunriver (which I keep reading as survivor every time I see it…). First up is this Pinot from Lange Winery which marked their first vintage in Willamette Valley in 1987.

2009 Lange Pinot NoirPrice: $19.99

What They Said:

Per Lange Winery “Our Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is an assemblage of all our North Willamette vineyard sites, delivering a true reflection of the finest viticultural practices and dedicated winemaking. In our true “classique” style, this wine is approachable and fruit-forward upon release.

Tantalizing aromas of candied cherry, crushed raspberry, and cola play over a current of black licorice and refined tannins.”

What I Think:

(13.6%) Warm, earthy, cranberry with a touch of orange rind on the nose. Vibrant & juicy on the palate with bright red fruit (a raspberry, cherry, cranberry mélange) and a nice acidity on a mineral backbone. This leads to a soft, warm, barrel spiced (and creamy) finish with light, lingering tannins. Smooth, fresh and delicious but another layer away from being great in my mind. That said extremely well made, enjoyable and under screwtop to boot! At $20 a favorable QPR for sure but there are others I personally prefer at this price point.

Wine Geek Notes: A little sediment on the finish; 6,000 cases made; 10 months in French oak. 25% new (and very well done IMHO)

Rating: Good but… (as enjoyable as it was I personally prefer others at this price point)

2009 Montinore Estate Pinot Noir

And the drinking local Oregon summer vacation continues. As mentioned when we hit Trader Joe’s in Bend they had a nice selection of local wines with about 10 of each Pinots (Noir and Gris). Far more variety than we see in California so I decided to grab one of each. I already covered the Pinot Gris so next up is the Pinot Noir…

Price: $12.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

2009 Montinore Estate Pinot NoirPer Montinore Estate “Our 2009 Pinot Noir is rich in bright red fruits and accents with notes of spice and mocha. True to it’s past character, this wine is a medium bodied Pinot which pairs beautifully with salmon, duck breast and all things mushroom.”

What I Think:

Again Montinore Estate is a legit winery as I’ve seen some of their offerings in wine shops when looking about. Farming on about 230 acres in the Forest Grove region of the Willamette Valley they also produce Pinot Gris, Riesling, Muller-Thurgau and Gewurztraminer. But we’re here to talk about the Pinot (which is available via the winery for $20) so let’s get to it…

(13.9%) Light, rusted red in the glass with light red fruit and spice on the nose. Medium bodied and forward on the palate with tart cranberry flavors and a bright acidity. The finish is short, creamy and pleasant showing just a bit of clove spice. While new world in style this one is bright and tangy rather than “big”. I find it simple and one dimensional but enjoyable as well. For $13 a fair QPR but the value hunter in me wants to believe we can find better (vs. stocking up here…)

Rating: Good but… (Yes a new rating; meaning enjoyable but not enough so to buy again)

If you’re interested in learning more about this one check the tech sheet (pdf) from the winery. Otherwise I’d love to hear what your favorite Pinot for under $15 is nowadays…

2009 Eola Hills Pinot Gris

2009 Eola Hills Pinot Gris

As mentioned I’m in Oregon on summer vacation making lemonade out of lemons (was supposed to be in the Dolomites) and am drinking local. That means digging into Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Given my inclination for value I had to have a peek when we hit the Trader Joe’s in Bend for groceries. They had a nice selection of local wines with about 10 of each Pinots. Far more than we see in California so I decided to grab one of each. First up was the Pinot Gris…

Price: $8.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per Eola Hills “Apples, Apples, and more apples – this is what comes to mind on the first sip. A little spritz on the finish. This Pinot Gris was made exclusively from grapes grown in the Willamette Valley. Aged only in stainless steel to allow the fruit flavors to come forward. Similar in style to the Pinot Grigio’s from Italy.”

What I Think:

First off unlike much of the Oregon wine we see at Trader Joe’s in California Eola Hills is a real winery, not just a label, located about ten miles outside of Salem. Started in 1987 the winery makes a wide variety of offering from Cabernet Sauvignon to Viognier to Zinfandel. Not many that Oregon is renowned for. That said Pinot Gris (and Noir) is one in their portfolio for which they are well known so let’s get to it.

(12.6%) Pale, yellowish gold in the glass. Big, crisp and forward on entry with juicy green apples and ripe peach flavors which quickly give way to a mineral, talc backbone. From there the finish turns creamy showing a bit of spice as it lingers on. Again this one seems a bit flabby as I would prefer more acidity but it does seem fairly priced at $9.

Rating: 12th Bottle

2009 Erath Pinot Gris

I’m in Oregon for a few weeks on vacation and outside of the six pack I brought with me will be sampling what I can of the local wines. I’ll be spending the majority of my time in Bend and sadly won’t make it to Willamette though am hoping to stop in one of the southern wine regions on my way back home. Let me know if you have any favorites from Oregon I should be on the lookout for…

Price: $10.99 @ Safeway

What They Said:

2009 Erath Pinot GrisPer Erath Winery “Fragranced with mandarin orange, ripe pear, subtle talc and lavender notes, the 2009 Pinot Gris promises plenty. The promise is fulfilled when the silky texture and uplifting acidity come together with flavors reminiscent of melon, citrus, apple and honey. Classically Erath.”

What I Think:

(13.5%) Pale gold with a honeyed floral blossom nose. Crisp on entry with rich, peach stone fruits that lead to a dry, mineral finish. A bit flabby (could use a touch more acidity for my liking) but nice enough if you aren’t paying too close of attention…

Rating: Pricey

2009 Willm Gentil

AlsaceI’ve long professed my love for the Alsace [Ahl-zass]. And for those reading along regularly you might remember as part of my 2010 ABC’s A was indeed for Alsace as I committed to exploring the region further. Tucked in eastern corner of France bordering Germany and Switzerland this is one the smaller French regions and has a pronounced German influence (it has changed hands four times between France and Germany).

This is no more prevalent than in the wines of the region (though it also happens to be the main beer-producing area of France) which are mostly white and display a strong Germanic influence. Most are made from the noble grapes of the Alsace (Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer or Muscat) and blends from the area are usually known as Edelzwicker (Edel=noble and Zwicker=mixture) meaning a mixture of noble grapes. Navarro Vineyards happens to make one of my favorite versions but that said I’m pretty sure I’ve never had one I didn’t like from abroad. Would this be the wine to change that?

Price: $8.99 @ Wine Library imported by Monsieur Touton Selection

What They Said:

2009 Willm GentilPer snooth.com “The Gentil Willm is a traditionnal blend going back to the 19th century from selected grapes grown in the best hillside vineyards. Gentil Willm is an alliance of Riesling (used for its finesse and acidity), Pinot Gris (used for its structure), Muscat (used for its powerfull fruit aromas) and Pinot Blanc (used for its fruit and suppleness). We generally use in our blend 70 – 80% of the noble grapevarieties. The Willm Gentil offers a dry and clean mouthfeel with an elegant and harmonious balance. Serve with cold meats; seafood; fowl; salads; soft cheeses.”

What I Think:

(12%) Riesling 30%, Pinot Gris 30%, Pinot Blanc 30%, Muscat 10% – Floral blossom nose with big white apple and pear flavors on the palate leading to a nice mineral driven acidity on a lasting, ever so slightly sweet, finish that is both refreshing and lengthy. Reminds of the Now & Zen I enjoyed for so many years…

Rating: Buy It