Willakenzie Estate Pinot Gris 2011
Region: Williamette Valley, Oregon
Grape: 100% Pinot Gris
Price: around $25
Once again, I find myself in rather unknown territory as Pinot Gris is not a grape I’m familiar with. I tried some while on a wine tour of Alsace a few years ago and I remember not being impressed. To be fair, it’s hard for a wine to stand out among the Rieslings and Gewürztraminers I had. I don’t remember having Pinot Grigio while visiting Italy so my degree of intimacy with the wine is limited. Theoretically speaking Pinot Gris is a mutation of Pinot Noir, it’s a white grape even if the skins can look pretty dark and the premium growing region for the variety is Oregon. Once again, things work out because today’s wine is actually from there. Coincidence? I think not.
Eye: medium gold with green hints
Nose: Clean, medium intensity, flowers (I swear one day I’ll be able to be more specific) and fruit aromas (pear and melon)
Palate: dry, medium to high acidity, medium body, long finish. I found pretty much all the aromas of the nose with the pear in the foreground. The wine feels really crisp with good acidity that’d balanced well by the fruity notes. It’s a dry wine but it gets rounder and slightly sweeter mid-palate.
Food pairings: I made veal scallops rolled in flour and cooked with lime juice with a side of ratatouille (a vegetable dish from Southern France). The acidity from the lime juice and the wine didn’t fight each other, which was good and in terms of intensity of flavors it was a good match. I wish I could say I planned it that way but I used nothing but a gut feeling when pairing the wine with the food.
Overall opinion: I liked this wine; I think it’s very solid and well made. The major trait for me is the crispness that still did not overpower the fruits and thus avoided making the wine too austere. Typically it’s a seafood wine, that’s the suggested pairing by the winery and it makes sense to me. I read that Pinot Gris from other regions can be dramatically different and I’ll try to find some Californian and Alsatian specimen. In the end, this wine made me curious, that’s all I’m asking from a bottle sometimes.