Wines from Oregon and Washington
The northwestern states of Oregon and Washington share a significant geological feature: the Cascade Mountains. Most of the vineyards in Oregon are west of the Cascades and most of the vineyards in Washington are east of the Cascades. This is because of the different grape varieties grown in each state.
Wines for this lesson include: An Oregon Pinot Gris, an Italian Pinot Grigio (to compare), An Oregon Pinot Noir, a Washington Merlot, a California Merlot (to compare) and a Washington Syrah.
Our snack options were mostly sweet. I had already made vegan truffles and maple bars. Then Vicky showed up with smoked Salmon and meringue cookies with preserved Washington cherries. Then Lora and Emily showed up with four kinds of homemade caramels to sweeten the deal even further. Thankfully Erin and Jeremy grounded us with a good variety of crackers and bread. And Dave made up a couple of cheese trays plus his signature berry plate and pickle ensemble.
Our wines included 2 white and 4 reds. Here’s what we tried:
2008 Cloudline Pinot Gris, 100% Pinot Gris from Oregon ($16.99). This one was a crowd-pleaser with medium body, medium acid, high alcohol (13.5%) and a hint of smoothness to it. Paired well with the Gorgonzola.
2009 Tommasi Pinot Grigio, 100% Pinot Grigio from Veneto, Italy ($16.99). This Pinot Grigio had a noticeable old-world influence with its hints of minerality. Otherwise it was similar to the first Pinot Gris: medium body, medium acid, but the alcohol content was a bit lower (12%) and it was slightly less smooth.
2008 Firesteed Pinot Noir, 100% Pinot Noir from Oregon ($15.99). Pale ruby, scents of strawberry and spice, fairly high acid with a light body and quick finish. Paired well with chocolate.
2009 Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot, 80% Merlot, 16% Syrah, 2% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Savignon from Washington ($16.99). Smells of dark fruit like cherry and blackberry. Med-full body, higher acid, well balanced, high alcohol (14.5%). This was a favorite of the evening.
2006 Hayman & Hill Merlot ($13.49). Not much info on the grape blend and if there was any oak used. Similar smell as the Chateau Ste. Michelle, similar in body and taste but didn’t quite make the same level as the previous Merlot. Perhaps it was the lower price point.
2007 Lenore Syrah ($14.99). Smells of dark berry fruits, pepper and spice, balanced tannins, medium body, medium length finish.
Next time we are on to Chile and Argentina. Cheers!