Tuesday, December 15, 2015

#WineChat Delivers Left Coast Cellars Pinot Gris & Pinot Noir

Last week winemaker Luke McCollom of Oregon's Left Coast Cellars appeared on #WineChat in order to present two new offerings from the winery, 2014 The Orchards Pinot Gris and the 2013 Cali's Cuvee Pinot Noir. This presented a ideal opportunity to continue learning about the Willamette Valley and specifically Left Coast Cellars. The winery was founded by Suzanne and Robert Pfaff in 2003 and market themselves as "one family, one vineyard, one brand." And the vineyard is quite unique in that it is the largest contiguous estate in the Willamette Valley covering 350 acres with approximately 150 planted with vines. Since the estate is so large it spans several micro-climates and allows the winery to showcase the diverse climates of the valley. One common aspect is the Van Duzer Corridor, the main passage of air from the Pacific into the Willamette Valley. And Left Coast Cellars feels the full affect (enhanced acidity) of the cool ocean breezes and fog as the estate sits at the head of the corridor. The Estate's soil is a refection of the entire valley as it consists of the three major soil types: marine sediment, volcanic sediment at higher altitudes, and loess from the Missoula Floods.

Luke McCollom joined Left Coast Cellars at it's inception after previously working at Harlan Estate Winery in Napa and at Meridian Vineyards in Paso Robles. Although he received abundant experience at both establishments, McCollom readily acknowledged that neither provided adequate incite in the fickle Pinot Noir.  And probably the most interesting conversation during #winechat was his discussion of the soils and the preponderance of marine fossils from sea shells and snails, but also a Mastodon fossil.

2014 The Orchards Pinot Gris ($18, 14.2%) - 146 & 152 clones harvested from The Orchards vineyard, an estate block that was originally planted with pear and cherry orchards. The wine showcases citrus and green apple flavors, a creamy center, and plenty of refreshing acids at the tail.  A perfect example why Oregon Pinot Gris forced me to rediscover this grape.

2013 Cali's Cuvee Pinot Noir ($24, 13.5%) - named after the family's left handed daughter Cali this wine is a blend of the Dijon, Pommard and Wädenswil clones. Loads of plum and red cherry mingle with subtle wood spices and easy, easy tannins. Simply delicious.

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