This own-rooted, 40-year-old planting of Pinot gris at Resplendor vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA continues our quest for saving old own-rooted vines of Pinot gris from being replanted to more economically favorable varieties like Pinot noir and Chardonnay. It has been disappointing to see the decline in plantings of this variety in the valley, this grape whose first commercial US plantings were in this valley by David Lett, however the variety when made in its white wine form can no longer justify the economics of low-yields and hand harvests. It is our hope that we can compel old vine growers of Pinot gris to sell us their fruit at Pinot noir prices to keep these historic vineyards producing and sharing a new story of Willamette Valley Pinot gris with the world.
It may come as a surprise, to some, that Pinot gris is a mutation of Pinot noir and has relatively deep blue and rose pigmented skins. It is a wildly spiced grape that holds so much of its spice and exotic flavors in its skins that we felt compelled in 2021 to work with this variety the way we work with Pinot noir, gentle extraction and full fermentation on the skins to alcoholic dryness.
I can’t say that I will every return to treating this variety like a white grape, it feels like an injustice, especially to these majestic old vines that produce compact deeply hued clusters. This is the Eyrie selection of Pinot gris and, it is undoubtedly unique in its flavor expressions, both exotic in its savory fruits of persimmon, car acara orange, and salted mango and spiced with cumin and sumac. It is neither a red wine nor what I would typically call an orange wine (white grape skin ferments) but utterly its own unique self and completely captivating.
We believe this representation of this variety, here in the Willamette Valley, is of upmost importance to the continued existence of this grape here. It saddens me to think that it has taken 60-years of the varieties presence in these hills to finally understand that its whole-self-expression, skins and all, is the most serious and quality presentation of the grape.
Working closely with the vineyard owner, Cheryl Tsai, to continue to nurture these old vines and keep them in full production through organic and regenerative farming practices. We decided to devote this Pinot gris vineyard to our Of Service label in 2022, Of Service is released each March for Women’s month to honor the women who work often unseen and behind the scenes in agriculture.
- Alcohol 12.50%
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