Susan Sokol Blosser and Bill Blosser were dreamers and schemers. In the early 1970s when America was experiencing its modern grape growing and winemaking boom the couple decided—with no prior ag or cellar training—to become both growers and winemakers. While many in this position would have set their sites toward California, the couple gave the US’s largest wine producing state a wink and a wave as they passed on by to settle in Dundee, Oregon, following in the footsteps of such wine pioneers as David Lett (Eyrie Vineyard).
One of Willamette Valley’s seven sub-AVAs, Dundee Hills is arguably the most important. Indeed, it is where the first Pinot Noir vines were planted in the state. A series of volcanic hills run north to south with ridging running east to west, and thus vines tend to be planted at higher altitudes than anywhere else in Willamette. Though the temperature is warmer than elsewhere in the larger AVA (due to the Coast Range blocking maritime influence and the Chehalem Mountains blocking northern winds), this elevated planting means that grapes experience a wide diurnal range, thus protecting innate acidity. A quality that is truly characteristic of the Sokol Blosser wines.
Today, second generation, brother-sister team, Alison Sokol Blosser and Alex Sokol Blosser, take the reigns as co-CEOs. According to the winery, the Sokol Blosser legacy expands beyond their high quality Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, and into their love and respect for the environment that allows them to produce those grapes. In 2002, Sokol Blossor became the first US winery to become LEED Certified and in 2015 they gained B Corp status.
This is the last in my line-up of single-vineyard Pinot Noir tastings from Panther Creek. (Although I do have a bonus post coming up…). They were all beautiful in their own right, offering a surprising amount of diversity in each bottle. From the infant-youthful Maverick, to the regal De Ponte, and the easy drinking Lazy River.
So how did this Carter Vineyard stack up? I loved this wine—it filled me up body and soul. Well balanced in flavor and texture, and the perfect pairing to our salmon salad. I know I shouldn’t pick favorites, but I think this Pinot Noir (in the line of Panther Creek single-vineyards) comes second only the the Kalita Vineyard. Read on…
I’m taking a brief detour from my tour of Panther Creek’s estate Pinot Noir vineyards. (If you haven’t followed along thus far, do take a look at these: Maverick, Kalita, and Lazy River. And don’t forget the oh-so-fun Pinot Noir-Chardonnay white wine blend. [know, right?]) No, today I’m featuring their estate Chardonnay—a Chardonnay actually worth drinking. I have a hard time with Chardonnay: it can be bland and boring, or completely unbalanced with all the winemaking things you can do to it. Ah, but here we have subtle simplicity holding hands with a solid structure. Drink it on its own, drink it with food, but either way drink and enjoy.
Continuing my travels around Panther Creek’s estate vineyards. Today’s stop is the De Ponte Vineyard—doesn’t the name just sound fancy? Trust me, the taste doesn’t disappoint those expectations. Before you read on, make sure you’ve read about the winery’s other single estate bottlings: Maverick, Kalita, and Lazy River. And don’t forget to check out this super fun Pinot Noir-Chardonnay white wine blend. (I know, right?)
Also, don’t judge me, yes that is pizza in the background. Again.
In my most recent, very generous allocation of Panther Creek Cellars wines, I received samples of each single-vineyard bottling of the winery’s estate Pinot Noirs. How does one choose which vineyard to taste from next? I simply went with the name. Let’s face it, we’re all quarantined/shut-in-place and *probably* feeling a tad bit more lazy than usual. Or is that just me?