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.
Going a little off the reservation with the Illahe Vineyards Viognier. This is the one grape the Ford family actually sources from an external vineyard. If you’ve been following my Oregon Wine series these past two weeks, then you know that the Illahe Vineyards has its own unique micro-climate and terroir situation in the middle of the Willamette Valley. Viognier is a funny grape in that it can technically grow “well” in both warmer and cooler climates. But, because of its tendency toward mildew, and the extremes in acid-sugar balance between picking “too early” and “too late,” the white grape benefits from areas that can support longer growing seasons.
Goschie Farms is just such an area. The east Willamette farm, known primarily for their hop farming, is situated along the valley floor, where day time heat and evening coastal cooling are at two polar opposite extremes. This means that those fussy Viognier have access to an overall well-rounded temperature and — you guessed it — long growing season. The Fords first purchased these Viognier grapes when Goschie Farms had an extremely successful harvest and excess fruit they couldn’t sell. Illahe bought an experimental bunch and found the white wine sold quite well. Now, it’s a regular part of their collection.
I’m really starting to fall in love with Oregon wines. At first I thought it was just a Pinot-thing (shout out to Patricia Green my first wine love), but they’ve got a good selection of varietals up north. And here’s another primo example of New World Wine amazingness from Oregon: Joel Gott’s 2014 Pinot Gris. Cheers!
Evening Land 2010 Pinot Noir is one of those wines kept in the cellar to age and enjoy at it’s prime of life. Best between 2013 and 2019, I thought a 2016 experience of this wine would be ideal. But I’ll tell you right now, it wasn’t just ideal, it was perfection…