After an extended break from the blog, why not have a surprise return with an equally surprising wine?
Tyee Wine Cellars is the longtime label of Barney Watson. The same Barney Watson who teaches in the Chemeketa Winemaking and Viticulture program. And the same Barney Watson who taught the class I took this spring called Science of Winemaking.
I’ve long known of Tyee but never tried any of their wines. After taking the class, I figured I should try some. This bottling, of the grape sometimes referred to as pinot bland, is a revelation. And not just because I’m drinking my teacher’s wine.
The 2004 Tyee Pinot Blanc has a pale yellow color, but the aroma is where things get interesting. It’s clean and fresh, but the melon and lemon fragrance you expect in a better Pinot Blanc mix with a mineral note and the distinct scent of crushed mint leaves. Not overly so, just enough to give a freshness that beats any mojito in your local trendy bar.
In the mouth, lemon and melon flavors dominate, with terrific length and crisp acidity that leaves your palate ready for another sip. This wine would be perfect with crab, which just happens to be pictured on the label.
All together, this is terrific wine and a nice value. I’ll have to try the Tyee Pinot Noir, which I’ve heard is also a good value if sturdy wine built to age.
Unfortunately Barney Watson mentioned at class that he’s selling or sold his share of the winery, apparently to focus on the many wines in production at the Chemeketa-Eola Northwest Viticulture Center. Perhaps other things too, I imagine. Let’s hope so.