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The Great White Wines of Oregon
August 14, 2014 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
In late June 2014, I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend Oregon Pinot Camp — an event I’ve been hoping to experience for the last 14 years. This three day Pinot education immersion is one of the most coveted tickets in the wine world, only given to 250 wine industry professionals per year (this year’s group was represented by 48 states and six countries including Japan, Australia, and China).
From geologic studies in the vineyards (including walking into trenches dug at different sites), to vertical tastings of legendary wines (a highlight was 1985 Eyrie Pinot Noir, served out of a 3L bottle by Jason Lett himself), and panel discussions with some of the top names in the Oregon wine industry, it was one of the best wine weekends of my life.
Photo: The inspiration for this class, examining Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Riesling.
Of course, I’ve returned with a tremendous amount of information to share!
THE GREAT WHITE WINES OF OREGON
If there is one category that got my attention more than the others at Pinot Camp, it was the “Hunting The Great White” seminar led by four of the top winemakers of Willamette Valley. In this tasting, we went through three flights (Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Riesling) and tasted a variety of producers and terroirs showcasing the range of styles. Two things stood out: 1) There is for sure an Oregon thumbprint when it comes to these wines, and once you get a taste for it you’ll be craving it over and over; 2) Oregon might be the chosen spot for Riesling in particular.
As you can see from the photo above, in all the flights they included wines in which we were not told the vintage (the wines were listed alphabetically, but not served in order … this was, to me, a perfect blind tasting). Look on the Riesling list — you see two 2012’s, two 2013’s, and two with unspecified vintages. All of the wines looked alike. It was nearly impossible to pick any wines that were older and more developed. When they were revealed, I almost fell over: the Argyle Riesling that was served, that was fresh and delicious and so so good, was from 1991. A twenty three year old wine, singing!
In our class we will start with the fascinating history of Chardonnay in Oregon, along with a deep discussion on clonal variations (which basically unlocked the Chardonnay industry in Oregon). We will follow that up with a variety of whites, all showcasing the great acid structures Oregon is famous for (Pinot Gris, Gruner Veltliner, and more). We will end with a variety of Oregon Rieslings, and discuss the style they are becoming so well known for.
I hope to see you in The Great White Wines of Oregon class!