The Eyrie Vineyards Dundee Hills Pinot Gris 2018


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The Eyrie Vineyards is one of the original historic wine estates in Oregon and by all accounts one of the most historic in this country, planting the first Pinot Gris in America.

92 (WE) From the winery that introduced Pinot Gris to America, this is a full-bodied, fleshy and beautifully fruited wine, which delivers the same level of richness and complexity as many top-tier Chardonnays. Robust apple, white peach and green melon flavors are dappled with white pepper, or perhaps daikon radish. The finish seems to carry on indefinitely. - Wine Enthusiast

This vintage is highly aromatic, with dense layers of lime, pea shoots, and white strawberry, finishing with a spicy uplift. The texture is round and full. The forepalate is dominated by ripe lychee and passionfruit that hint at sweetness - although the wine is absolutely dry. Flavors of dried sea grass, kiwi, and currants fill out the rich and very long finish. Complex, precise, and substantial, this latest release form Eyrie continues to define the best of Oregon Pinot gris.

Eyrie pioneered the variety in the New World and the New World’s oldest vines contribute to this cuvée. For the 2015 vintage, we incorporated some fruit from an adjoining vineyard farmed by longtime friends, which is roughly the same age and is farmed with the same organic standards as Eyrie’s certified vineyards.

We take a slow approach—our Pinot gris ages 3-4 times longer than most commercial versions, on its natural yeast lees and in the company of full malolactic. The result is textural suppleness to complement the acidity, and a surprising ability to age.  (Recent tastings of  1977, 1983, 1989, and 1991 all showed continue to show amazing freshness.)

2018 gave us a warm start, cooling after mid-June.  Summer was dry. with a record 90 days without rain.  Days remained cool in spite of the dry weather, with reliable nighttime cooling drops of 25 to 30 degrees. Due to good conditions during bloom, crop yields were modest but healthy. We saw neither the need for radical thinning that we did in 2014, nor the low yields of 2011.  And the timing of bloom was almost perfect, setting us up to harvest in late September.

By the time we began picking, the seasonal average temperatures were actually very close to the thirty year average.  We managed the ferments more lightly than usual, and also pressed lightly, to encourage finesse from a dry year.