It started like any other Saturday. A few cups of coffee to get going, some Facebooking, a little clean-up around the house. It progressed to the smoker in the backyard getting a little workout in anticipation of my son’s 14th birthday to follow in a few days. Then it was time for our friends to pick us up for some live music, snacks and wine at Willamette Valley Vineyards (WVV).
Nice warm afternoon, a table secured for our group, we traverse the sea of humanity toward the wine station where we can choose to buy by the glass or bottle, many of WVV’s offerings. We came away with a bottle of the Riesling (one of my wife’s faves!) and a bottle of 2012 Whole Cluster Pinot Noir. I should have perked up at the question of whether I wanted the Pinot room temp or ice cold…who drinks Pinot ice cold? I opted for the room temp and we headed back toward our table.
Really, there are three things that should have entered my mind at this point. First, 2012? Really? The wine is probably less than 100 days since bottling. Second, whole cluster. I had a lengthy conversation with another winemaker a few years back and he told me all the reasons why he WOULD NOT whole cluster ferment Pinot. I won’t bore you with the details but there is a very informative post where you can read about it here. Third, the previously mentioned suggestion that I “might” want it ice cold.
Long story short, I ignored all these things, sat down to great conversation, some music in the background and poured a glass of wine. My first reaction…this tastes nothing like Oregon Pinot. I was more fruit forward and had a hint of possibly my least favorite wine trait, green bell pepper. Suffice it to say, I still drank it and shared it with friends.
Rather than buy another bottle, Matt and I headed up to the tasting room and enjoyed a flight of their 2010 Pinots with a couple of other goodies thrown in. Toward the end of our tasting, it was suggested that the whole cluster should be enjoyed chilled, as the base of a sangria… I’m sorry, what did you say? Sangria? You want me to make sangria out of a $22.00 bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir? Um, no, I don’t believe I will. I can make sangria out of wine I make for four bucks a bottle.
Typically I really enjoy most of the wines up at WVV and I don’t want to discourage anyone from visiting them and experiencing everything they have to offer. I might suggest however that if you aren’t in the mood for a sangria base, you look to their other fine Pinot’s as a better example of what they are all about.