2014 Ken Wright, Tanager Vineyard Pinot Noir, $60
Winery info: Ken Wright founded his eponymous winery in 1994 in Carlton, Oregon and since then has become one of Oregon’s most respected winemakers. He is passionate about showcasing the influence of the distinct sites he uses in each of his single-vineyard wines, and he believes that Pinot Noir is one of the best grapes to convey the character of the soil in which it is grown.
Winemaker: Ken Wright
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir.
Vineyard source: Tanager Vineyard, located three miles north of Carlton. Planted in 2009 at 350-400 feet elevation in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA on sedimentary Willakenzie soil.
Flavor profile: Supple and expressive, with floral aromas and flavors of both red and blue fruits (raspberry, blueberry and currant) with hints of spice and a gentle tannin structure.
Production/Availability: Around 800 cases. The distributor has about a case and a half in stock.
Drinkability: Approachable now, but even better from 2018 through 2024
Food Pairing: Braised chicken, grilled salmon, lamb, pork loin, or filet mignon. Or mushroom dishes
2015 Leah Jørgensen, “Tour Rain,” $27
Winery info: Portland-based winemaker Leah Jørgensen seeks to make “pretty wines in the Pacific Northwest, one barrel at a time, 100% inspired by the wines of the Loire.” She began her career on the east coast working in wine distribution, where she fell in love with Loire wines. After moving to Oregon she worked with various wineries, including Anne Amie Vineyards and Shea Wine Cellars. Her first release was her Blanc de Cabernet Franc, in 2011.
Winemaker: Leah Jørgensen
Grapes: 40% Gamay Noir and 60% Cabernet Franc, a blend inspired by the red wines of the Loire Valley. The wine’s name is a play on Touraine, a wine region in the heart of the Loire.
Vineyard sources: The Gamay comes from Havlin Vineyard in the Van Duzer corridor with its marine soils and maritime breezes that provide a cooling effect in the evening from the daytime summer heat. The Cab Franc is sourced from Mae’s Vineyard, owned and farmed by Herb Quady, in southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley, a site that produces very balanced fruit.
Flavor profile: Soft, floral aromatics lead to bright juicy flavors of cherry, pomegranate, and savory spice.
Production/Availability: Leah made only a few hundred cases but this one was just released so should be in decent supply for a bit.
Drinkability: Enjoy slightly chilled. It is ready to drink anytime.
Food Pairing: Spicy, rich Asian dishes (especially noodles), smoked salmon, beet salad, or kabobs.