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Culture / Foodie Events

A Great Oregon Wine for Under $20

Grape Favored by an Emperor Should Not Be Ignored

BY // 11.02.15

Pinot Gris is not something I have in abundance, but a bottle I opened this past weekend has put this grape favored by Emperor Charles IV – that great Bohemian – at top of mind. It’s the 2014 Pinot Gris from Willamette Valley Vineyards, and a case or two of this is in my future.

It was late afternoon, and I was making a chowder – not clam, but chicken. I roasted a bird, and crisped some bacon, then sautéed onions and red bell pepper in the pork fat. I had some chicken stock on hand, and added it to the onion and pepper mixture. A bit of jalapeño and a sweet potato (cubed) went into the pot, then the chicken meat. Plus a can of green chiles and some coconut milk.

What to drink with that? For some reason, the bottle of Pinot Gris called to me. I moved it from the Eurocave to the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so, then opened it and poured. Wonderful. Delicate pear, honeysuckle that makes you smile, a refreshing and substantial mouthfeel, and a bouquet that grew more inviting as we drank. The citrus notes, prominent on the middle part of the tongue, charmed, and though I prefer my wines to be a bit earthier, this is a bottle to love.

It’s $16 from the winery, so at that price I can wholeheartedly urge you to buy. Alcohol is 13.9 percent, stainless steel fermentation. The vintage is being talked about as a great one in Oregon, and I concur. I look forward to opening a bottle of this in 2016 – late in the year – and seeing how it has matured.

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