Northwest White Wines Tasting Notes Page
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White Wine Page
Updated 01/07/2014

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Reviews of Pacific Northwest Wines

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Red Wines
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White Wines
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Chardonnay
Fumé Blanc/Sauvignon Blanc
Gewürztraminer
Pinot Blanc/Pinot Gris
Riesling
Semillon
Viognier

Other Whites and White Blends


Dessert Wine & Port                                   Sparkling Wine


 

Pinot Blanc/Pinot Gris

Acrobat by King Estate
2009 Pinot Gris
Oregon
$12.00

The previous vintage of this wine won an oyster award from the 16th Annual Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition - an event I am proud to have judged since year one.  Our recent tasting confirmed that the new vintage is just as oyster friendly.  Look for aromas of pear, grapefruit and green apple.  The palate leans toward the pear flavor and offers a hint of sweetness balanced by bright acidity.  Not everyone's favorite with half-shell oysters, but many tasters find this off-dry character attractive.

Alexandria Nicole Cellars
"A-Squared" 2009 Pinot Gris
Horse Heaven Hills
$14.00

This new label from ANC offers a distinct nod to consumer preference with its off-dry style and perfumy elegance.  A hint of woodruff herb makes me think of Maywine.  Flowers and spice and everything nice make for a better mussel wine than one to accompany oysters.  Poach the mussels in a half cup of A2 for the full effect!

Buried Cane
2008 Pinot Grigio
Washington
$12.00

If this label didn't say Pinot Gris, I would have guessed this wine was Sauvignon Blanc.  Hints of pear and peach give away the Pinot Gris profile, but plenty of citrus and mineral (and hints of herbs) speak to Sauvignon Blanc.  The flavors are very nicely balanced with stone fruits, lemon and green apple.  By the way, the name refers to the occasional practice of burying low-growing grape vines over the winter to protect from freezing.  The canes are exposed in spring to begin growth.

Ponzi Vineyard
2009 Pinot Blanc
Willamette Valley
$15.00

The 2009 vintage promises to be a real hit with oyster lovers.  It seems that many wines have emerged from that growing year with tangy mineral, citrus and light-herb character that add to half-shell oyster enjoyment.  The nose is dusty mineral, grapefruit, field herbs and floral perfume.  The palate is light-bodied with citrus and herb flavors that don't overpower delicate oysters like Kusshi and Kumamoto.

Vin du Lac LEHM
2008 Pinot Gris
Lake Chelan AVA
$20.00

LEHM is a nod to owner/winemaker Larry Lehmbecker who is the spirited founder of the winery.  This tasty Pinot Gris offers aromas and flavors of lemon and mineral with hints of pear and floral perfume.  Very good with our steamed mussels.  If you are in the Lake Chelan area, stop by and enjoy the hospitality offered at Vin du Lac.  Don't miss the winery's deli, stocked with cheeses, meats, breads and other wine-friendly treats.

Sineann
2009 Pinot Gris
Oregon
$18.00

From the softer side of winemaker Peter Rosback comes this oyster- and mussel-friendly Pinot Gris.  Look for aromas of pear drop, candied ginger and herbs with a fruit-forward palate of spicy Asian pear with a citrus finish.

Colter's Creek
2008 Pinot Gris
Riverbend Vineyard
Idaho
$10.00

Melissa Sanborn and Mike Pearson brought their shared interest in wine to a small vineyard for sale in the Clearwater River Valley in central Idaho.  Melissa's background in chemistry and sensory science serves her well in winemaking, and Mike - a self proclaimed "engineering geek" - enjoys designing both winery and vineyard systems.  Colter's Creek Pinot Gris offers a nose of pear, floral perfume, juicy fruit and vanilla.  The palate adds lemon custard flavors to the above and is successful in pairing with oysters and mussels.  Check out their story at www.colterscreek.com.

Redhawk Winery
2009 Pinot Gris
Eola-Amity Hills, AVA
$12.00

As one follows Wallace Road from West Salem, Oregon, you find yourself entering the Eola-Amity Hills AVA.  Redhawk Winery is one of your first stops on the left, up Michigan City Road.  This light and refreshing Pinot Gris offers aromas of pear, stone fruits and baking spice with similar flavors and a finish of herb and vanilla.

Left Coast Cellars
2008 Left Bank Pinot Blanc
Willamette Valley
$19.00

Who knew the Missoula Floods brought minerality to the mid-Willamette Valley?  That scouring event 15,000 years ago scraped Eastern Washington clean and left much of the topography we now admire.  But I digress.  Left Coast Cellars' Pinot Blanc grows in a vineyard where sea fossils were found when cultivating the land.  Look for aromas and flavors of Asian pear, earthy herbs and citrus - a delightful and crisp oyster wine.

Firesteed
2008 Pinot Gris
Oregon
$12.00

Pinot Gris can be a delicious oyster wine when the balance favors crisp acidity to complement the fruit forward aromas and flavors inherent in the varietal.  At first sniff this opulent wine might seem too rich and fruity for oysters, but the palate delivers ample acidity wrapped around flavors of white peach, grapefruit and guava.  Impress your friends by sharing this superb seafood wine over a plate of oysters or mussels.

Rex Hill Winery
2009 Pinot Gris
Willamette Valley
$16.00

Rex Hill Winery helped bring the northern Willamette Valley some wine-touring credibility in the 1980s and 1990s by offering a showplace facility surrounded by vineyards and superb wines to boot.  Rex Hill is still one of the area's most visited facilities - stop by and taste this great Pinot Gris!  Seek out aromas of pineapple, mineral and stone fruits with complementary flavors adding citrus to the mix.

The Eyrie Vineyards
2009 Pinot Blanc
Oregon
$16.50

Look for the upcoming release of this new vintage of Eyrie's outstanding Pinot Blanc.  Our pre-release sample showed a ripe nose of grapefruit, floral perfume and dusty mineral, and flavors of melon, citrus, baking spice and earthy mineral.  A very nice complement to both oysters and mussels.

Pend d'Oreille Winery
2008 Pinot Gris
Washington
$15.00

From the panhandle of Idaho comes this tasty Pinot Gris vinted by owner/winemaker Stephen Meyer.  For non-natives, be aware that the pronunciation of the name of the winery (and region, and lake) is 'pond - oray.'  Look for aromas of green apple, floral perfume and mineral with flavors of citrus and flinty rock.  Crisp acidity makes for great oyster affinity!

Anne Amie Vineyards
2009 Pinot Gris
Willamette Valley
$19.00

With each passing vintage, Oregon's Pinot Gris wines become more oyster friendly. 

Vinted from vineyard sources in the Chehalem Mountain and Yamhill-Carlton AVAs, the wine offers bright citrus aromas of lemon, mineral and floral perfume.  The palate is crisp with Asian pear, white peach, green apple and hints of baking spice. 

Stella Fino
2009 Pinot Grigio, Reserve
Columbia Valley
$25.00

Like the fine Stella Fino Sangiovese that I reviewed last week, Matt and Marlene Steiner crafted this standout Pinot Grigio under the Stella Fino label.  Not the typical light, Italian style, the wine shows more Alsatian character with aromas of ripe pear and peach, rich earthy notes and hints of butter.  The crisp palate tingles with citrus flavors, creamy peach notes and a firm finish that accompanies any light cuisine. 

Columbia Crest
2009 Pinot Grigio, Two Vines
Columbia Valley
$10.00

Columbia Crest makes wines labeled both Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio.  This version under the bargain Two Vines label is the light, Italian style Pinot Grigio showing aromas of orchard blossom, pear and light citrus.  The palate opens with light flavors of Asian pear and peach, finishing with crisp notes of grapefruit and green apple.

 

Riesling

 

Dessert Wine & Port

 

 

Sparkling Wines

(No recent reviews.  Learn about sparking wines in the Pacific Northwest) 

 

Other Whites and Blends

L'Ecole No 41
2009 Luminesce
Seven Hills Vineyard
$20.00

A showcase wine for L'Ecole's estate vineyard, Seven Hills.  Luminesce is a blend of 67% Semillon and 33% Sauvignon Blanc.  The character of each varietal shows through highlighting the floral and tropical fruit from Semillon and herbaceous, mineral and citrus from Sauvignon Blanc.  The nose shows the mineral and citrus with notes of herb, and the palate offers melon, fig and herbal flavors with ample body and texture.  Tasty with richer half-shell oysters and mussels.

Ghost Hill Cellars
2010 Pinot Noir Blanc
Yamhill-Carlton
$25.00

Grapes from young vines often produce wines that are lighter and less complex than those from more mature vines.  For that reason, the first fruit from Ghost Hill Cellars Dijon clone 115 vines was diverted to produce this white wine.  The ripe fruit was whole-cluster pressed (no extended skin contact) so the juice was not tinted with any rosé color at all.  The resulting wine offers aromas of Pinot Noir, but with nuances of mineral, stone fruits and tropical fruits.  Flavors on the palate include apple and pear, as well as notes of citrus and mineral - very nice with lighter meals or as an aperitif.

Adelsheim Vineyard
2009 Auxerrois
Ribbon Springs Vineyard
Ribbon Ridge AVA
$22.00

"Auxer WHO?"  Pronounced "oaks sair whah" or "oss er whah."  However you say it, it makes a delicious oyster wine.  This variety hails mainly from Alsace and is distantly descended from Pinot Noir.  [Editor's note: also grown in Southern B.C.]  Look for aromas of pear, mineral and fresh herbs with a dry, flavorful palate featuring notes of citrus, herbs and a freshness that pairs very well with oysters.

Amity Vineyard
2008 Auxerrois
Sunnyside Vineyard
Willamette Valley
$20.00

Amity Vineyards' talented winemaker Darcy Pendergrass crafted this tasty wine from grapes grown at Sunnyside Vineyard just south of Salem, Oregon.  This wine combines zippy acidity and citrus notes with the earthy herb and mineral profile of Auxerrois.  The wine works well with both half shell oysters (we had Kumamotos, Kusshis, and Reach Island Pacifics) and with steamed mussels (we enjoyed those from Penn Cove on the east side of Whidbey Island).

Hedges Family Estate
2009 CMS White
Columbia Valley
$14.00

The CMS of this wine's name stands for Chardonnay, Marsanne and Sauvignon Blanc which are present in proportion: 20%, 3%, and 77%.   A very tasty oyster wine, it offers aromas of citrus, herbs and earthy mineral.  The palate combines lemon, grapefruit and grassy flavors that are just right with oysters.

Whidbey Island Winery
2009 Madeleine Angevine
Puget Sound AVA
$14.00

This variety is originally from France's Loire Valley.  The grape thrives at this winery's vineyard near Langley and make a terrific oyster wine.  Aromas of flowers and herbs combine with nuances of spicy Asian pear and melon, and lead to flavors of citrus and floral perfume with unique character on the finish of herbs and grapefruit. 

Thurston Wolfe
2009 PGV
Washington
$16.00

This new vintage release of Thurston Wolfe PGV is a blend of 60% Pinot Gris with 40% Viognier.  Aromas of fresh peach, tropical fruit and pear entice a taste revealing flavors of pear drop, orange blossom and tangy lemon on the finish.  Try this selection with steamed mussels at your next get together.

Helix by Reininger
2009 Aspersa
Columbia Valley
$16.00

Chuck Reininger blends 65% Chardonnay, 23% Viognier and 12% Semillon to make this tasty white wine honoring the family's roots in the town of Helix in Eastern Oregon.  Helix also is the genus name of the garden snail which graces the label.  No snail aromas, though, just tropical notes of citrus, pineapple, pear and floral perfume.  Crisp acidity on the palate highlights flavors of Granny Smith apple, mineral and Asian pear.

Forgeron Cellars
2008 Walldette
Columbia Valley
$16.00

Winemaker Marie-Eve Gilla crafted this unique blend of Chardonnay, Roussanne and Orange Muscat for easy sipping and accompanying light meals.  Our tasters favored the wine with steamed mussels, enjoying aromas of citrus, pear and floral perfume.  The palate snaps with flavors of lemon curd, mineral and tropical fruit melange.

 

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Last revised:   01/07/2014