Saturday, May 29, 2010

Oregon Wine Reviews

Last week while out in Oregon and Washington Margot and I picked up, or were served, a number of different wines from the area. We have written up reviews of three notable wines that would be worth looking for and adding to your entertaining menu.

Phelps Creek Vineyards – Celilo Rose 2007
Hood River, Oregon

The Phelps Creek Rose is made from Merlot and has a deep red color. Slightly sweet and with nice aromas of berries this wine was a lively talking point over lunch at the WineMaker conference. At first when I offered some wines to share there was some reluctance, maybe courtesy amongst strangers, but once this bottle started around the table there was no stopping it. I did get a second glass and smiled at the empty bottle when it was time to go back to class. I enjoyed it with some tossed salad, tossed marinated artichokes, tomatoes, Italian meats/cheeses and some bread. With a smooth finish it complimented all of that very well. We didn’t make it out to Phelps Creek but we ran into several folks who did and said it was worth the trip.

King Estate – Signature Pinot Gris 2008
Eugene, Oregon

Working from a recommendation from Pam at the Sticks Forks Fingers blog ( we quested for some King Estate Pinot Gris from the moment we started wine shopping after landing. We didn’t end up finding it until five days later at the Pike & Western wine shop at Pike’s Place market in Seattle. It was the last bottle. Surely a sign from the wine gods that I was to have it after all. The wine has wonderful aromas of pear, peach and flowers. It reminded me of a Vigonier, which is probably why PG is my new favorite white wine. The flavors were more citrus and tropical with a backbone of mineral and steely flavors. The finish was long and smooth. We enjoyed this wine with some Willapa White Sheep’s Milk cheese. The cheese has a soft texture and mild flavors, like a very light goat cheese. The wine wasn’t as dry as I had expected, though this is good for me, and the cheese made the wine taste a bit sweeter. We also tried it with some smoked salmon, which turned out to be a neutral pairing; something I could offer in the future and be sure it wouldn’t come off wrong.

Walnut City Wineworks – 2004 Reserve Pinot Noir
Mcminnville, Oregon

While surfing the food shops at Pike’s Place Market we were looking for items to include in our farewell wine and cheese tasting back at the hotel. We had some open wine already, and the King Estate bottle from above, so I was hoping for a half bottle of a good red wine to round out the party. I was in luck. This wine has a nice earthy nose with flavors of tobacco, leather and mushrooms. The wine was very drinkable with a smooth finish. At more than five years old the color had a slight brown tinge to it, something I was not surprised about at all. I enjoyed this wine with smoked salmon, Kalamata olives and the Willapa White cheese described above. All of those pairings were fantastic and I savored every bit. This was by far the best Pinot Noir I had on the trip.

All three wineries have online storefronts and wineries in Washington state do have direct shipping access to New Hampshire where I live so I am sure if I am jonesing for some anytime soon I can click away and wait a few days.



1 comment:

Pam @ Sticks Forks Fingers said...

Jason, I'm so glad that you liked the King Estate Pinot Gris. It's hard to go wrong with this one, for sure. Scott and I would love to play host to you some time and show off our fabulous wine region and some if its hidden treasures!