Hot take: Willamette Valley

 

I just came back from a wine trip with friends to the Willamette Valley. We visited 6 wineries mainly focused on Pinot. There was a lot of great learnings, and overall I found it to be a reminder the importance of going to a viticultural area to understand its complexity. By complexity I not only refer to the complexity in wine itself but in the way a community ebbs and flows around the wine trade. The stark differences between e.g. Domaine Serene (corporate, grandiose) and White Rose (familial, back-to-earth).

While the Willamette is known for its Burgundian climate and similar Old style wines, the subregions and soil variation itself indicate there is ripe opportunity to experiment beyond the classics. 

I was surprised to learn about the number of Pinot clones (Dijon 666, etc.) and the way that clonal differences impact taste (e.g. a slow clone planted in a fast ripening climate will develop funk). 

Perhaps the best part of our trip was a random stop off at the Dundee Hills Wine Library, an emerging tasting room and production house run by a sole proprietor whose partnering with up-and-coming winemaker Jesus Guillen (of White Rose). Lots of promise between these two, especially in terms of cultivating an experience tailored to a certain clientele.

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