Saturday, August 4, 2007

Willamette Valley Vineyards

Today brought a trip to Willamette Valley Vineyards, perhaps one of my favorite wine producers due to their great service, famous Pinot, and diverse portfolio of varietals--all done well. In fact, I'm such a fan, I'm a stockholder (see the bias coming out?) WVV is the largest producing winery in the state of Oregon and was one of the founders of this appellation. They are known for their Pinot Noir's, they have a darn good Pinot Gris (Wine Spectator best buy), a good Riesling, and an up-and-coming Chardonney. For the dessert wine conniosuers, can't beat their semi-sparkling muscat frizzante...marketed under the Tualatin Estate label.

The trip today was to pick up the most recent shipment from the Oregon Wine Guild premier cru, a wonderful wine club that bring a red and a white every other month, with no membership fees, free reserve tastings, and a 20% discount on the shipments plus all wine purchased through the winery. Today's shipment included the 2006 Riesling as well as a 2004 Griffin Creek Cabernet Franc. Of course, stopping by the winery, a tasting was required. For some reason they were opening the really good stuff for us--we got into the 1998 Freedom Hill Pinot and the 1999 Karina Vineyard Pinot, in addition to the standard fare. After the winery, a group of us proceeded to the Vina's for a BBQ, and that is where we cracked open the wine that I'll be reviewing today -- 2002 Griffin Creek Cabernet Sauvignon.

Griffin Creek is the label WVV uses mostly on the bigger reds, as the grapes come from the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon so the Willamette Valley label can't be used. This cab is a gorgeous dark red, almost burgundy, and as could be expected from a big red like this had good legs on it. The nose had strong peppery notes, and on the second glass after it had opened up a bit I started picking up some toffee and leather aroma. Upon tasting, it has a warm spicy feel with a lingering finish. After opening up, I detected a jammy fruitiness that could be overpowered by the bold spice if you aren't careful. For the technical details...the wine retails for $35, fermented in 100% stainless and barrelled in 50% new oak. It's 14.6% in alcohol and 886 cases bottled. This is a great wine meant to be consumed with heavy food.

That's it for now--you'll be reading more about WVV in the future though (we have a lot of their wine to drink).


  1. I just got the WVV's Pinot Gris 2007 at Costco for under $8 and I'm super excited to try it when my husband gets home from work. I always excited to find great, cheap wine. Also, I have been looking all over for the Frizante, which I tried at WVV a few months back at a chocolate and wine tasting, but can't find it. Someone told me Roth's IGA carries it, but I'm East Multnomah County where we don't have Roth's. Any ideas?

  2. Thanks for the comment! Under $8 for the Pinot Gris is a steal. It's highly rated year after year and is always delicious. In terms of the Frizzante, I've had a lot of success finding it at Safeway. Remember it's marketed under the Tualatin Estate label and probably will be hiding in the sparkling section.