I first heard about white Pinot Noir from my friends and fellow writers who specialize in wines from the Northeast. Every picture I saw, every post I read, was about this “weird wine” made north of California. When I finally got my hands on one — Ghost Hill Cellars Pinot Noir Blanc — it was, indeed from the Willamette. And, lo, here we go again. I was excited to see this, to me, obscure expression of the varietal in my latest delivery from Left Coast — eager to taste another winery’s take on the theme. But now I have to wonder, is this exclusive to the Willamette? Or are there any California wineries producing this as well? Left Coast has done a good job of keeping my interest (and taste buds) piqued…
About the Wine: The Left Coast Cellars 2017 Estate White Pinot Noir is made from 91% Pinot Noir and 9% Pinot Blanc grapes harvested estate vineyards located in Oregon’s Willamette wine region.
To make the red grape into a white wine, the fruit was crushed at extremely cold temperatures to ensure minimal influence from the skins. The Pinot Noir juice is fermented in 100% stainless steel tanks and then aged on the lees. The wine then aged for 4 months in 100% stainless steel tanks.
Flavor Profile: It’s a twist cap so let’s do the twist and breathe in scents of apple, white nectarine, apricot and lemon wedge. The color of the Left Coast Cellars 2017 Estate White Pinot Noir is quite faint to the point of clarity on the pour, settling into the glass with just a film of a peach hue. Aromas, at first, are similar to those sensed from the bottle, but add a bit of salinity to that mix and then a bit of flowers. Swirl and reveal honey suckle, acacia flowers, wet river rock minerality, and maybe a bit of orange zest.
The palate of the Left Coast Cellars 2017 Estate White Pinot Noir is — and i literally wrote this — “wow so smooth.” The acid is present but delicate. Delicate but confident — indeed it only pierces with the finite point of a sewing needle at first, but then climaxes to an explosion of flavor and texture: There’s a bit of sour, a bit of spice, a bit of warmth in the mouth and in the chest; and there is a light, delicate, but constant texture that almost vibrates its way down the center of the tongue.
Dominant flavors are of white flowers, agave nectar, white peaches and nectarines, white raspberries, a subtle almost-nuttiness, a little bit of white chocolate, and a finish that suggests white pepper heat.
Food Pairing: I paired the Left Coast Cellars 2017 Estate White Pinot Noir with a pear and walnut salad tossed with blue cheese, craisins, caramelized onion with a side of buttered toast (because buttered toast is awesome). The sweetness of the pear, paired with the apple cider vinaigrette, pulled out the acidity, bringing out definite lemon notes in the wine.The peppery arugula (the green base of the salad) brought out more apple and honey flavors in the wine and played with that spice kick at the end — in a good way, enlivening the tastebuds. The sweet and salty onions rounded and smoothed the texture of the wine, any hint of spice just wafting away. The funky cheese literally calmed everything down (probably because it’s so dominant), but found a bit of nuttiness in the wine as well.
And everything together on one forkful? Yeah, loved this pairing.
More Info: I received the Left Coast Cellars 2017 Estate White Pinot Noir as a sample for review. (Cheers Will!) Retail: $24. For more information about Left Coast Cellars, their wine, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Left Coast Cellars website.
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