Do you enjoy wines from Oregon? This USA wine region is famed and admired all over the world! “The Oregon Originals” came to NYC this spring to showcase what the second generation of winemakers are doing! This collaboration is between the siblings of Elk Cove, Ponzi, and Sokol Blosser, who founded Oregon’s Willamette Valley during the early ’70s.
They came to NYC to share their passion for winemaking, the pride of their wineries and family, and also to showcase the incredible wines they produce. Although these names are big both nationally and internationally, they still maintain a family owned and operated business.
We first tasted wines from three different vineyard sites. La Bohéme was planted in 1985 in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. The soils here dry out quickly which produces a more concentrated wine, combined with steep slopes, and you have some pretty charismatic wines from this vineyard site! Madrona Vineyard is in the Chehalem Mountains AVA and contains a “windblown” soil producing wines with more pepper and anise. The Laurelwood soil can also produce more tobacco flavor and tannins in the wines. Lastly, we tasted from Old Vineyard Block which is in the Dundee Hills AVA and has volcanic soils mixed with clay and loam. They have deep soils here, so the vine doesn’t struggle as much, but this also creates an elegance and finesse in these wines.
Most of these wineries are sustainable or organic and believe in keeping to traditions while respecting the vine and earth. This is so important in winemaking to ensure the quality of the wines as well as the longevity health wise to the consumer and the wine. During this tasting, we compared “Hand vs Land” 2017 vintages for the first 10 wines. Each winemaker had to choose the best wine from each vineyard block, that also represented the different soils in the AVA’s.
Some of my favorites from the lineup of wines were
2017 Elk Cove Pinot Gris Estate- Fresh stainless steel made. Has nice texture and richness, with beautiful aromatics that build because of the blend of this wine which also includes a touch of Gewurztraminer and Muscat. $19
2018 Sokol Blosser Estate Dundee Hills Rose- Bottled in December and picked early, this wine is half dry with great acidity and a nice tartness. $25
2016 Elk Cove Mount Richmond Pinot Noir- This one comes from a 200-acre vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Using 30% new oak, you get a nice sweet bacon and vanilla note in this wine. $60
The wines from these three wineries are all stunning in very different ways. I think what’s important is to pay attention and look out for family-owned wineries. These wineries usually make slightly less wine, however, the quality and care that go into these wines is noticeable and appreciated. I really loved the 2017 Vintage from the La Bohéme area due to the wines bright red fruit notes, generous body and finish, and overall elegance. My second favorite vineyard out of the three would have to be Madrona because these wines were spicy and dark, which I really enjoy, but also had a seductive elegance to them as well.