May 07, 2006

Oregon whites

For all the attention paid to Pinot Noir, the northern Willamette Valley produces some terrific white wines. Not all of them Chardonnay, by the way. I tried a few recently that are worth mentioning.

The first was the 2003 Brooks Amycas, a kitchen sink blend that turned out very well. And it’s still going strong. Mostly Pinot Gris and Riesling with some Gewurztraminer, it’s very Gewurz-like with a floral, spicy muscatty aroma and a lightly alcoholic, sweet lychee flavor. This I believe was from the late Jimi Brooks’ last harvest, a nice if simple tribute to him.

Next came the 2004 J. Christopher Sauvignon Blanc Croft Vineyard. Sauvignon Blanc isn’t that common in the Willamette Valley, but with the warmer years recently it seems like a nice prospect for the future. The wine didn’t show nearly as well as some months back, when it was bright and grassy and simply delicious. This night it seemed muted but still tasty. I imagine the 2005 will out soon, I’d look for that one.

Finally the 2004 Francis Tannahill Gewurztraminer Dragonfly, from the Dragonfly vineyard in the Columbia River Gorge east of Portland. This was alcoholic at first and a bit stinky, though fresh and oily rich on the palate. But night two the wine really shined. It smelled sweet like a light dessert wine and tasted viscous and rich, lacking only acidity as the grape does notoriously. This isn’t my first choice for the dinner table, but it’s interesting wine and worth trying if you looking for something off the beaten path.

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