Fellow wine enthusiast gather around: Oregon Wine Month is here! Grab your wine glasses and get ready for this celebration. Each May, Oregon hosts official state-wide wine events educating and promoting Oregon wine through tastings, classes, dinners, tours and more.
The vast network of Oregon wine proponents are working hard to cultivate knowledge and share passion for the drink. Try recipes featuring Oregon wine pairings, listen to podcasts showcasing the scene and follow the official tour guide to Oregon wine.
Be a part of all the wine activity around you, making an effort to appreciate your local wineries by trying your own at-home tasting for Oregon Wine Month. Here are five wines to help get you started and your palate primed for all the festivities this month.
2018 L’Orange, Willamette Valley | Montinore Estate
This 2018 blend of Pinot Gris and Muscat provides an aromatic beverage that is mouthwatering. The smells of orange blossom fuse with hints of melon and honeysuckle, leading into a citrusy, refreshing sip with well-balanced tannin and acidity. Fun fact: the biodynamic winery produces this orange wine from a 36-48 hour soak on the skins to get the perfect color. The Gris is fermented in large oak barrels and the Muscat fermented in a small clay amphora.
2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Rogue Valley | Weisinger Family Winery
The family-run Southern Oregon winery continues to hit it out of the park when it comes to full-bodied, crisp, dry whites. Winemaker Eric Weisinger grew up in the Rogue Valley, planting the vines for the estate vineyard himself as a child. His winemaking experience includes harvests in New Zealand, so it makes sense Sauvignon Blanc comes naturally to him and the winery. Aromas of gooseberry, lychee and herbs tingle the nose, while ripe tropical fruit flavors intermingled with grapefruit, lime zest and balanced acid.
Love & Squalor 2017 Gamay Noir, Willamette Valley | Portland Wine Co.
Makers of the Love & Squalor label, this ruby-hued Gamay Noir sources fruit from several Willamette Valley vineyards. It is also the third bottling of the increasingly popular variety of Burgundian origins from Portland Wine Co.’s main label. Cherry rushes into orange peel and lime zest, with earth and a spike of coffee in the finish. The wine is a bright and breezy diviation away from Pinot Noir, without straying too far.
2015 Hans Clone Pommard Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains | VIDON Vineyard
Three words: big, boisterous and bouncy. This juicy, full-bodied wine is a bold expression of the Hans Pommard, a clone VIDON Vineyard is staking its claim on. LIVE- and Salmon Safe-certified, VIDON was started by retired NASA physicist Don Hagge, and the scientific advancements are seen throughout the Newberg winery and vineyard. The Pinot is savory in earth, iron and mineral but flushes with sweet pomegranate and black cherry, with bright acid and gentle tannins.
2014 Estate Syrah, McMinnville | Coeur de Terre Vineyard
The husband-and wife-run operation of Coeur de Terre has been pushing for and promoting the McMinnville appellation since Day 1. They’ve encouraged its differentiation from the greater Willamette Valley in wines like this unlikely, cool-climate Syrah. Savory, peppery and tart in dark berry fruit, the wine makes you salivating on first sip, immediately searching for some lamb to grill to continue the marriage of berries, herbs and earth.