Oregon Pinot Gris is getting its Gris On, Once More

Oregon Pinot Gris is once more Getting its Gris on, with a statewide tasting to celebrate this varietal wine.

Oregon, Get Your Gris On!™ is wine and food nibble tasting event for consumers and is happening at wineries that want to join the fun, on Saturday and Sunday, September 27 and 28, 2014.

The second largest grape variety being grown in the state of Oregon continues to be Pinot Gris, and Oregon wineries continue to want to build on the strengths of this grape variety:

STRENGTHS of Oregon Pinot Gris

  • Oregon is an perfect appellation, for place of origin
  • Pinot Gris a perfect partner for Oregon Pinot Noir lovers
  • The hallmarks of this variety are purity of fruit, acidity, and brightness
  • It’s an extremely aromatic variety
  • Price works well in restaurants for their by-the-glass program
  • Pinot Gris is an excellent wine for seafood, fish, and certain cheese
  • Oregon Pinot Gris’ palate texture is full and long, versus the Pinot Grigio style
  • It’s a perfect “entry” wine for tasting room customers

As a result, an Oregon Pinot Gris weekend has been created, and consumers can, for the second year in a row, get ready for “Get Your Gris On!™” fun.

So far, the following wineries are committed to Getting Their Gris On!

  • Christopher Bridge
  • Naked Winery Hood River
  • Naked Winery Bend
  • Oak Knoll Winery
  • Pudding River

If you’re an Oregon Winery and want to Get Your Gris On, on September 27 and 28, please just send an Email to me at jo@diaz-communications.com and I’ll list you, too.

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Update from Our Oregon Pinot Gris Producers This November

Here’s a November update from our Oregon producer friends… I mostly wanted to know what harvest was like for them, even though some are still finishing up on harvest. This is why, I know, that the following wine companies were so busy they couldn’t participate in this survey. More from these guys later…

From those with a bit of breathing space…

Airlie Winery ~ Mary Olson, Owner ~ We just finished barreling down the last of the Pinot and there always is a big sigh of relief. Ah, the calm after the storm. Our winemaker Elizabeth Clark says this is the first time she really can step back and evaluate what’s now in tank and barrel, and the report is good. The Pinot is showing great red fruit notes balanced with nice acidity and tannins and the whites, still fermenting, fill the winery with scents of pineapple, pear and orange blossom. We’re making our first Estate Pinot blanc this year, genetic cousin of Pinot gris, and we’re looking forward comparing the wines. While our production was a little lower than expected, the birds certainly found us this year; the quality was high, due to timely sprays and judicious thinning of troubled fruit.

David Hill Vineyards and Winery ~ Jason Bull, Winemaker ~ The Pinot Gris from the Estate property this year is showing wonderful potential. Our first pick was on the 27th of September and the second on the 4th of October. Both of these wines are either still going through or have just finished a long, slow, fermentation process, almost 30 days. In the end both batches will be blended together and eventually put into a bottle and released soon. It’s one of our fastest selling white wines, get yours before it is all gone.

Naked Winery ~ David Barringer, President ~ The 2013 Harvest is shaping up to be even better than 2012 and that was a fantastic vintage. We’re continuing to expand our winery in Hood River and we’re thankful – as we head into the time of Thanksgiving – for all of the support from our national Naked Winery fans!

Oak Knoll Winery ~ Jeff Herinckx, Winemaker ~ Thanks to Mother Nature, harvest was fast and furious this year. We got our first grapes in on September 17, just before it began to rain. It was the wettest September ever in Oregon. We had as much as three or four inches per day at times. When it rains that hard, the grapes get water-logged; and can begin to rot from the inside out, if they’re not harvested quickly enough. The grapes end up tasting watered-down and will produce a diluted wine. They’re also lower in sugar than we’d want them to be in this situation. It really was unfortunate because, based on the spring and summer weather we had, many people were predicting a very good crop for this year. Unfortunately, especially in Oregon, you just never know what will happen with the crop until it’s time to harvest. The weather can change on a dime. We expected to receive 240 tons this year from our growers, based on their estimates, and we ended up with 190 tons because of the rain and because of the birds. In some vineyards this year, the birds really decimated the crop. The growers have air cannons and other tools to try to scare them away, but they get used to the noise. Unless there are nets, it’s nearly impossible to keep them out. One of our Pinot Gris growers harvested less than one ton per acre this year because he had such a problem with birds.

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Oregon, Get your Gris On!™ ~ Will you be there to be Foursquare?

Oregon, Get your Gris On!™ is coming right along….

On August 17 and 18, 2013, each winery below will be focused on their Oregon Pinot Gris…Oregon’s Other Pinot, with an Oregon Get Your Gris On!™ day.

Oregon, Get your Gris On!™ ~ Will you be there to be Foursquare?

  • Airlie Winery ~ Will be pouring the 09, 10, 11 PGs as a vertical. Winemaker Elizabeth Clark will be at the winery for questions. Not usually there, this is a real treat.
  • Apolloni Vineyards ~ We’re definitely doing something special for this weekend including discussion of the differences in style between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio, showing both of these wines, and the tasting in our new beautiful barrel cave.
  • Christopher Bridge and Santori Springs Vineyard ~ Pouring two distinctly different current vintages of our Estate Pinot Gris from 2011 and 2012. If “wild tropical and exuberant” fits your style of attributes for Pinot Gris, we have the wines!
  • David Hill Winery ~ We’re delighted to be part of this weekend celebrating Oregon Pinot Gris, and exactly what we’ll be doing will be determined shortly.
  • Naked Wines ~ Vertical Tasting of our 08, 09, 10 and 11 Vintages from the Willamette Valley and Rogue Valley paired with Pacific Northwest Artisan Cheeses. We expect share with our guests the different flavor profiles that are expressed in the fruit of these very different growing regions e.g. we love the fruitiness of Rogue Valley fruit while we treasure the minerality of our Willamette Valley fruit.
  • Oak Knoll Winery ~ We’ll doing a vertical tasting of our Oregon Pinot Gris, and pairing it with a cheese tasting of “House of Castello” fine cheeses.
    Phelps Creek Vineyards ~ We’ll be showcasing our popular Phelps Creek Pinot Gris and providing a paired treat or two!
  • Pudding River Wine Cellars ~ We’ll be offering a six year vertical tasting (2007-2012) of our Domaine Margelle vineyard award winning Pinot Gris to celebrate the weekend and showcase how Pinot Gris ages. We’ll also be pairing with seafood, to showcase a food and wine complement.
  • Terrapin Cellars doesn’t have any wine for this event… his Oregon Pinot Gris is always a sell out – he’ll be with us in heart and spirit!

Oregon, Get Your Gris On!™ is an event that’s a result of the 2013 Oregon Pinot Gris Symposium, sponsored by Oak Knoll Winery. Oak Knoll is the leader in the Oregon Pinot Gris movement, and took to heart what wine writer Paul Gregutt has had to say for the last three years… “You need to have a tasting event for the people, if this is ever going to become ‘Oregon’s Other Pinot.'”

 

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Get Your Gris On™, Oregon!

Oregon, Get Your Gris On!™ is an event that’s a result of the 2013 Oregon Pinot Gris Symposium, sponsored by Oak Knoll Winery. Oak Knoll is the leader in the Oregon Pinot Gris movement, and took to heart what wine writer Paul Gregutt has had to say for the last three years… “You need to have a tasting event for the people, if this is ever going to become ‘Oregon’s Other Pinot.'”

This year’s focus was “What the marketing efforts for Oregon Pinot Gris should cohesively be.”

Because Oregon Pinot Gris is now beginning to gather national awareness, and the effort to increase understanding continued with the Third Annual Oregon Pinot Gris Symposium on June 13, at Oak Knoll, many of those who attended the symposium were ready to just move forward. So, with the blessings of Oak Knoll Winery’s Greg Lint, I quickly organized an August weekend to celebrate. It will be held on August 17 and 18, 2013, at each winery who wants to focus their day on Oregon Pinot Gris…Oregon’s Other Pinot.

Everyone has been jazzed about doing something, but the initiative had yet to take off with an official sponsor. (Someone has got to hire someone else to get it rolling, right?) This year Oak Knoll is just continuing with its efforts to help the Oregon Wine Industry promotion, by extending its Symposium to also have this follow-up Get Your Gris On!™ statewide tasting, for those who want to join in the promotion.

To date, the leaders of the movement:

  • A Blooming Hill ~ Our next Wine Club party is the 18th and our 2012 Pinot Gris is one of the selections! We’ll be making it very festive.
  • Airlie Winery ~ We’ll be pouring the 09, 10, 11 PGs as a vertical for $5. And… winemaker Elizabeth Clark will be at the winery for questions. She’s not usually there, so this is a real treat for you all.
  • Anindor Vineyards ~ We’ve completed and opened our new tasting room which is an eco-friendly Oregon made Yurt, which is an incentive to visit as well as the quality of our Pinot Gris. As far as I know we are the only tasting room inside a yurt. We feel we are a Novel place with a L.I.V.E. certified vineyard producing wines that reflect the elegance of Oregon in the newest AVA, Elkton, OR!
  • Apolloni Vineyards ~ We’re definitely doing something special for this weekend including discussion of the differences in style between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio, showing both of these wines, and the tasting in our new beautiful barrel cave.
  • Christopher Hill and Santori Springs Vineyard ~ We’ll be pouring (and offering for sale) two distinctly different current vintages of our Estate Pinot Gris from 2011 and 2012. If “wild tropical and exuberant” fits your style of attributes for Pinot Gris, we have the wines! Our Satori Springs Estate Vineyard is LIVE certified in the East Willamette Valley of Oregon near Oregon City.
  • David Hill Winery ~ We’re delighted to be part of this weekend celebrating Oregon Pinot Gris, and exactly what we’ll be doing will be determined shortly.
  • Emerson Vineyards ~ We’re excited to be a part of “Get Your Gris On.” We’ll be building on “Pinot Gris and Things from the Sea” by offering seafood to enjoy with our 2012 Pinot Gris!
  • Kim Kramer ~ We’re still discussing possibilities as to what to do, but very thrilled to be participating.
  • Melrose Vineyards ~ We’re down for this cooperative, fun day, and will have T-shirts available to tasting patrons. “Get Your Gris On!”
  • Naked Wines ~ Vertical Tasting of our 08, 09, 10 and 11 Vintages from the Willamette Valley and Rogue Valley paired with Pacific Northwest Artisan Cheeses. We expect to share with our guests the different flavor profiles that are expressed in the fruit of these very different growing regions e.g. we love the fruitiness of Rogue Valley fruit while we treasure the minerality of our Willamette Valley fruit.
  • Oak Knoll Winery ~ We’ll be doing a vertical tasting of our Oregon Pinot Gris, and pairing it with a cheese tasting of “House of Castello” fine cheeses.
  • Phelps Creek Vineyards in Hood River ~ We’ll be celebrating the “Get Your Gris On!” event with the release of our barrel-fermented, 2012 Estate Reserve Pinot Gris. Join us for some paired treats that complement this new wine.
  • Pudding River Wine Cellars ~ We’ll be offering a six year vertical tasting (2007-2012) of our Domaine Margelle vineyard award winning Pinot Gris to celebrate the weekend and showcase how Pinot Gris ages. We’ll also be pairing with seafood, to showcase a food and wine complement.
  • Seufert Winery ~ We’ll participate in the weekend. We’ll also be offering paired bites and recipes.
  • Spindrift Cellars ~ We’ll be tasting Highly Rated Cellared Gris releases from older vintages matched with some light foods.
  • Tyee Wine Cellars ~ Expect Newest Release Tyee Estate Pinot Gris plus some Gris from the Tyee Library plus some Great With Gris appetizers.
  • Walnut City Wine Works ~ We’ll be pouring our Walnut City Wine Works Pinot Gris, as well Lundeen Wines Pinot Gris, our winemaker Michael Lundeen’s own brand. We’ll also be sharing some small appetizers in the tasting room.

While these are the leaders of the movement, others will certainly follow. Meanwhile Oregon, Get Your Gris On!

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Why Oregon Winemakers love working with the state’s largest grape crop… Pinot Gris

Here are a few quotes for you…. Straight from the winemakers to you…

Rob Clarke, Terrapin Cellars

I’ve released my 2012 PG, so I am back in the game. I work with Pinot Gris because this is the perfect climate for it, and besides pinot noir it’s our signature grape in the Willamette Valley.

Elizabeth Clark, Airlie Winery

I started working with PG because that’s what is planted here.  The two blocks at Dunn Forest (our estate vineyard) were grafted over from Riesling and Gewurztraminer in the early 90’s, and each block seems to have its own ripening characteristics.  I haven’t had the chance to ferment them separately, so I’m not sure if there are flavor differences as well. I found I really liked working with the grape because of its flexibility and food friendliness.  We ferment ours in stainless steel with no malo to keep the bright but middling acidity alive and well.  I can take it to dry and end up with a balanced wine.  I don’t consider it an aromatic white and I think that sometimes that makes the wine more adaptable and actually increases its food friendly nature.  At home it is our go to white when I think Riesling might have a little too much acidity or be distracting from the food.  Pinot gris doesn’t have to be in the spotlight it seems quite happy in the supporting role and that can be a great thing. 

David Barringer, Naked Winery

Why Pinot Gris? Simply put, I believe there’s more to white wines than Chardonnay and we needed to let American’s know that. Pinot Gris is a great food pairing wine. Pinot Gris will creates new white wine drinkers as they discover American white wines don’t all taste like an oak barrel. On a personal style note, I also wanted folks to know how great Pinot Gris can be with very little dissolved C02 and fermented bone dry or very little RS… Contrasting my general, if biased, opinion of most Italian Pinot Grigios.

Sean Driggers, Pudding River Wine Cellars

I’ve been a big fan of Oregon Pinot Gris for more than 20 years, as a consumer being introduced to the variety by producers like King Estate and Adelsheim. I began my career after college in Washington State. One of the things that really frustrated me back then was the huge variety of residual sugar that was left in the wine by producers. Over the years this has become focused on a more consistent style with less RS, which I think is exactly where we need to be. In 2004, when I came to Oregon to plant our vineyard, I began searching for a top source of Pinot Gris in our area. I attended classes with King Estate’s vineyard manager at the time, and he put me in touch with a grower that he felt produced their best fruit in the Willamette Valley. The site is now called Domaine Margelle in Scotts Mill, and is sited at 700 feet elevation on the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. It produces some of the most concentrated and fragrant Pinot Gris that I’ve ever experienced. We’ve fallen in love with this fruit and have been producing single vineyard wine from this vineyard since 2007. Our style is consistent with the overall trend in the state; stainless steel fermented at cool temperatures, with a hint of residual sugar to off-set a brilliant and bracing acidity. This style gives Pinot Gris its incredible versatility as a great food pairing wine.

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