For summer white-wine refreshers, look to Oregon
Oregon pinot gris and chardonnays are noticeably different from those made in Washington, says Wine Adviser Paul Gregutt. That's because they're ripened on the west side of the state.
Special to the Seattle Times
Pick of the week
The Eyrie Vineyards 2010 Estate Pinot Gris; $15
FROM THE original vines, planted almost 50 years ago by David Lett, this thrilling wine sets a high standard for Oregon pinot gris. Grassy notes are married to lush citrus and apple fruit. The flavors go deep, the finish brings a palate-refreshing minerality. (Distributed by Vinum)
THOUGH WASHINGTON produces a fine range of white wines perfect for summer, let's not overlook some of the unique offerings coming out of our neighbor to the south. Oregon pinot gris and chardonnays are noticeably different from those made here; that's because they're ripened on the west side of the state. The cool vintages of 2010 and 2011 are unusually crisp and low in alcohol — great with light seafoods and shellfish.
The recent releases here represent the best in their price categories. (Prices listed are the winery's suggested retail.)
Terrapin Cellars 2011 Pinot Gris; $14. Excellent focus and refreshing minerality, with flavors of melon and kiwi.
David Hill 2009 Estate Pinot Gris; $17. Ripe and tasting of pretty pear and orange fruit, it's rounded off with a dash of residual sugar.
King Estate 2011 Signature Pinot Gris; $17. King Estate's Signature Pinot Gris is the benchmark rendition of the grape.
Coeur de Terre 2011 Pinot Gris; $17. Tart and racy, this is an aromatic, elegant wine.
Eola Hills 2010 Chardonnay; $13. Sleek mixed fruits and toasty bourbon-barrel flavors wrap into a mélange of toasted hazelnuts and buttered popcorn yumminess.
David Hill 2009 Estate Reserve Chardonnay; $18. This is a soft and very pretty chardonnay, with luscious flavors of banana, apple and melon.
Lange 2010 Chardonnay; $16. Fresh and spicy, this tart, young chardonnay has a streak of wintergreen mint. It's an excellent seafood wine.
Adelsheim 2010 Chardonnay; $22. Fine balance is the hallmark of all Adelsheim wines. Here is a mix of citrus and apple fruit, with the tartness of gooseberries.
Raptor Ridge 2011 Estate Gruner Veltliner; $18. Tart, racy, steely and bracing, the grapefruit and Meyer lemon flavors are highlighted with a bit of orange candy.
Amity 2009 Pinot Blanc; $20. A fresh, juicy, citrusy wine whose flavors roam through grapefruit and lemon/lime into light tropical, with a pleasing hint of papaya. Good length and penetration, done with a delicate touch.
Ponzi 2011 Arneis; $25. Unique and pungent with hints of diesel and green fruit and celery flavors, this young white wine has some bite to it. Despite a green edge, it is precise and focused, with good grip and concentration.
Ghost Hill Cellars 2011 Bayliss-Bower Vineyard Pinot Noir Blanc; $25. Yes, this is a dry, white pinot noir. Fragrant with sweet grass and melon, flavors follow along with grapefruit and kiwi.
About Wine Adviser
My column is all about sharing the joy of exploring all the world of wine. I want to guide people to make inspired choices, and encourage them to try as many different styles of wine as they can. I will always seek out the best wines at the best prices. Wine Adviser runs on Sunday in Pacific Northwest Magazine.