I came across Panther Creek when working on an article about their new Woodinville, Washington tasting room. Indeed, the Oregon-based winery with their Willamette fruit felt the need to spread the Pinot love to the cool kids in Washington who, basically, have none. Unable to visit Oregon or Washington at the moment, the Panther Creek team was kind enough to send me a few samples. I thought I’d start with their Pinot Gris, a grape variety that is making major headway in the Pacific Northwest — and expressed elegantly here.
You can read my full article, Oregon Wine, Washington Tasting Room: Panther Creek boosts business, bringing Willamette Valley Wine to Woodinville, Wash.
About the Wine: The Panther Creek 2016 Pinot Gris is made from 96% Pinot Gris, 3% Muscat and 1% Chardonnay all harvested from Oregon’s Willamette Valley AVA.
Flavor Profile: Pop the cork of the Panther Creek 2016 Pinot Gris and breathe in fun aromas of apple, pear, lychee, and a hint of passionfruit. This Pinot Gris presents almost clear on the pour, settling into the glass the most pale shade of straw. Initial aromas are immediately of those sensed from the bottle, yet in the glass there’s a bit more of a floral quality mixed in as well (think white, delicate flowers like water lilies). Swirl and you get a good mixture of those fruit and florals, along with a river rock minerality, and just a hint of citrus and citrus blossoms.
The palate of the Panther Creek 2016 Pinot Gris is crisp with the acidity of a green apple, yet the calming flavors of honey, lychee, and lemongrass completely balance that texture out. There’s a good zing of lemon pith, and the finish is absolutely zingy and zesty with the acidity lingering on the tongue, puckers the lips, and leaves a warmth both in the mouth and down the chest.
If anyone ever tells you white wine can’t “open up,” I’m here to tell you this isn’t true. I’ve many reviews on this site that speak to the development of white wine both over the course of the night as well as its age-ability in the bottle. And while I’m not confident the Panther Creek 2016 Pinot Gris is an age-able wine (it is so enjoyable right now), I can say that as the evening progressed, the wine became more confident in its tropical aromas: passionfruit, pineapple, and that initially-scented lychee.
Food Pairing: I pared the Panther Creek 2016 Pinot Gris with a very simple (but very delicious) Asian stir-fry, seasoned with a miso sauce. This was absolutely the perfect pairing. The crisp nature of the wine did well to cut through the subtle sweet-spiciness of the dish, with certain vegetables (probably those more cruciferous in nature) specifically calling out those tropical fruits.
I would also try this wine again with something completely different — a seafood pasta. I think the acidity in the wine would cut through sweetness of shellfish and counterbalance the addition of a garlic butter or garlic cream sauce lightly seasoned with fresh herbs.
More Info: I received the as a gift. (Cheers Madelaide!) Retail: $20. For more information about Panther Creek, their wines, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Panther Creek website.
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