Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Left Coast Cellars Delivers Surprises And Wine Satisfaction

Willamette Valley’s Left Coast Cellars specializes in single vineyard wines. Our most recent tasting of Left Coast wines included something we absolutely didn’t expect!

Willamette Valley Standout

Left Coast Cellars is a 356-acre estate winery with steep hills creating a natural amphitheater surrounding a large meadow and spring fed lake. It is one of the largest contiguous vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The focus is on single-vineyard bottlings, drawing from eight different estate vineyards each with a unique microclimate.

We previously enjoyed a bottle of Left Coast’s Latitude 45° Pinot Noir. Our most recent tasting included the 2017 Rosé, 2017 “The Orchard” Pinot Gris and -- a nice surprise -- the 2017 White Pinot Noir. We tried each wine under different, and enjoyable, circumstances.

We Give Left Coast Wines The Patio Test

A warm summer night on the patio prompted us to open the chilled “The Orchard” Pinot Gris. We flamed on the tiki torches and poured a glass. The Orchard is 91% Pinot Gris with 9% Pinot Blanc.

The wine is further tweaked by using two different clones for each of the grape varieties. The Orchard Vineyard is planted at the site of a historic apple and pear orchard dating back to the pioneers who settled Oregon.

Oregon produces our favorite style of Pinot Gris and Left Coast doesn’t disappoint. Good acidity and minerality frame delicious tropical fruit notes, green apple and kiwi. The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel, keeping the flavors pure and delicious.

Summer around our house means plenty of rosé. We paired the 2017 Rosé with a grilled citrus shrimp and rice entree along with watermelon and corn on the cob. We just finished setting the table on the patio when the sky started to darken with billowing clouds. Into the house we went, just missing the downpour.

At the dining room table we started our feast with this unique rosé. The blend is 54% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier (a traditional grape for Champagne) and 6% Pinot Blanc. Add four months of aging in neutral oak and you have a very unique wine.

Unlike a typical rose that is fashioned in the Provence style, the Left Coast version has notes of spice and cherry. The color is pink bordering on copper. It's a unique take on rose that dances to its own piper. It is expressive and a perfect pairing for a myriad of foods.
Only 827 cases were produced. SRP is $24.

Unraveling The Mystery Of White Pinot Noir

Is white Pinot Noir just a novelty? That’s something we were asking ourselves as we poured the 2017 White Pinot Noir. It’s not uncommon in many countries to chill Pinot Noir, so we gave this a quick chill before opening. At the time we were watching the Wimbledon grand slam tennis tournament. There, tradition rules and players must wear all white while playing. So we went “all white” with our Pinot Noir.

This Pinot Noir has 9% Pinot Blanc, a white grape. It’s also fermented in stainless steel. So in many ways, this is a red wine made in a white wine style. The fruit is crushed at extremely cold temperatures to ensure minimal coloration from the skins. The color is that of light straw.

The aroma is peach and citrus. On the palate, the initial sensation is of a white wine, with pear and minerality. For me, the wine then had an extended mid-palate of cherry and the body weight of a red. The finish was again in line with a white wine.

Left Coast White Pinot Noir needs to be experienced to be fully understood. Salmon, a tried-and-true pairing for Pinot Noir, would be a good match as well as vegetables or chicken with light seasoning. Stay away from pork or heavier sauces -- there is a delicacy here you don’t want to obscure.
This is a unique and winning wine. SRP is $24.

Left Coast Cellars continues to intrigue with their well-crafted wines. If you are stuck on the Right Coast, North Coast or somewhere else, take the trip. The destination is delicious.

Full disclosure: We received these wines as a marketing sample.

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