Whites Done Right
Panel picks Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois and Albariño
This month highlights several interesting whites perhaps new to the palates of some readers. Most have encountered the clean, lightly fruity representations of Oregon Pinot Blanc. A few Oregon producers offer Auxerrois, another grape often blended with Pinot Blanc in the classic growing region of Alsace, France. Finally, this selection includes three distinct styles of the Spanish grape Albariño. Open a bottle, or three, and experience the diverse range of Oregon wines.
Apolloni Vineyards 2015 Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc
This “pretty little wine” shows mineral notes of wet stone, a hint of apple, dried gardenia and melon on the nose, while the palate is dry and light, beginning with honeydew and a squeeze of sweet lemon. Its mid-palate announces its arrival with a burst of tart orange followed by a long mineral finish.
$15 (467 cases)
Elk Cove Vineyards 2015 Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc
Clean aromas of lime, fresh grass and hints of almond transition into a palate that’s an inviting mix of light and rich: juicy pear, tart applesauce, fresh sprouts and sour apple blend across a creamy texture. Fruity notes dominate the lingering finish giving an unexpected kiss of sweetness.
$19 (1,997 cases)
St. Innocent 2015 Freedom Hill Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc
A light-bodied wine with fantastic acidity makes this a super food-friendly find or simply a fun wine to sip. Summery aromas of yellow apple, melon, lime and flowers reveal a palate of pear and peach pit. Wet stone anchors the flavors while a slight fizz keeps it light.
$22 (1,409 cases)
Carlton Cellars 2015 Russell-Grooters Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Auxerrois
Mineral driven on the nose, expect shy aromas of citrus with a kiss of stone fruit. Lime, Italian plums and Bartlett pear make a surprise appearance on the palate. Crisp, yet a bit viscous, with excellent balance, this wine ends with intriguing notes of bitter spice.
$18 (265 cases)
Maryhill 2015 Otis Vineyard Proprietor’s Reserve Columbia Valley Albariño
This Albariño has a LOT going on. Tropical aromas of banana peel, orange, pineapple, apricot, coconut and green pine suggest you are in for something interesting. Full, rich and mouth-coating, the palate is tempered with crisp, clean acidity. Flavors of coconut, peach, grapefruit and an orange bite grab you and won’t let go.
$20 (504 cases)
Abacela 2015 Umpqua Valley Albariño
This food-friendly wine is beautifully structured and presents remarkable balance. Fresh aromas of tangerine, orange and pineapple along with water chestnuts lead to bright flavors of lemon, pine, lime, orange blossom and a finish of pink grapefruit.
$21 (1,342 cases)
South Stage 2013 Rogue Valley Albariño
An example of “oak done right,” this wine demanded a repouring to coax out the multiple layers of flavor. Ripe aromas of orange and banana with pastry notes of lightly toasted macadamia nut, vanilla and white chocolate entice. On the palate, expect savory notes of tamari (just a splash) plus minerality, pine and a sweet twist of tangerine zest.
$24 (140 cases)