Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A Tutorial on Left Coast Estate and Their Summer Wines

In the past when I received samples from Oregon's Left Coast Estate, I opened each bottle over the course of at least a week - sampling each wine multiple days.  Not so for this latest shipment of summer wines as I shared the four bottles with neighbors during an impromptu block party.  Actually, the evening turned into a mini-wine class as I discussed the Willamette Valley AVA, the Van Duzer Corridor AVA, 45 degrees latitude and Burgundy, white Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Meunier, lees, sparkling wine, and the wonderful estate that is Left Coast Estate.

We started with the 2017 The Orchard Pinot Gris ($18), a blend of 91% Pinot Gris and 9% Pinot Blanc.  While sipping I explained first how Pinot Blanc provides a bit of roundness to the wine and second, the Left Coast estate itself. Particularly, that The Orchard is a distinct vineyard and the overall estate is 350 acres - all contiguous and within the newly designated Van Duzer Corridor AVA. This new AVA benefits from the cooling breezes of the Van Duzer Corridor that allows the grapes to retain acidity and includes the Willamette Valley's three major soil types (marine sediment, volcanic sediment at higher altitudes, and loess from the Missoula Floods).

We then turned to the neighborhood favorite, the 2018 White Pinot Noir ($24) which consists of 93% Pinot Noir and 7% Pinot Blanc. The grapes are crushed at cold temperatures to ensure minimal coloration from the skins and then fermented and aged on lees in stainless steel. The group was not familiar with aging in lees so I explained how this process adds texture which everyone recognized in this wine. The online order should be coming through soon.

It was a pleasant evening for rosé and fortunately, the samples included the 2018 Left Coast Rosé ($24), a blend of 76% Pinot Noir and 24% Pinot Meunier. The later was another unrecognized grape and I discussed its Champagne origins. This lead to a discussion of French wine regions, Burgundy specifically. Because Left Coast Estate shares the same 45-degree latitude it receives the same amount of sunshine as the famed region.

As the evening was concluding, I had to retrieve the last wine. This was the 100% Pinot Noir 2018 Queen Bee Bubbly ($36). For this sparkling wine, estate honey is used in the secondary fermentation which led to a discussion of methods of producing sparkling wine and how normally the spent yeast cells are disgorged. But not in the Queen Bee, the lees rise and settle with each pour. A very interesting sparkler to conclude an enjoyable neighborly evening.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this wine free from Left Coast Estate I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are entirely my own.

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