Heat Wave Salve: Pine Ridge, Forefront, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2011

This Thirsty Thursday needs to cool it.  My car thermometer claimed it hit 93F today…in Oregon…in May!  My black, leather seat and I are now one.  We’ve already exchanged vows.  Slightly worse, my family had to evacuate their home: raging fires swept through Southern California today (ok…that’s far worse).

They’re fine.  But we could all use a drink.

Tonight I turn to a native Pinot Gris produced by Pine Ridge.  They call this line “Forefront” (I’m sure that sounded brave during marketing meetings…”Oh, now what. We’re Californian.  Hey! Let’s make Pinot Gris in Oregon! That cutting-edge sense of adventure will appeal to our Caucasian male, desk-job slave, marketing demographic of 30 to 50 year olds. Genius!  Now let’s be indecisive and slap an austere, slick, yet generic label with four fonts on it”).



Sarcasm aside, Pine Ridge makes good wine for little money.  This Willamette Valley Pinot Gris from 2011 costs under $13.

The stuff in the bottle is legit.  Nighttime hand-harvested and sorted grapes were pressed immediately into stainless tanks, where they fermented without any malolactic or oak interference.  What we have here is pure Pinot Gris.

Appearance: It looks clear, like icy lemonade, with minor legs.

Aromas: It smells present but not intense.  Imagine slightly briny sea salt sprinkled on fresh mint leaf, with lemon juice and light honey.

Palate: At first I think I’m drinking a pillow. Then it feels blissfully dry, acids cling to my gums, and a fine dollop of warm alcohol follows (thanks late Indian Summer), leading to a medium body.

Flavors: Honeydew melon and white pear lead.  But then lean lemon juice and white pepper cut in.  It wraps up with a slightly fizzy, flinty finish. Mouthwatering. Long.

Pine Ridge’s Forefront is very good (4 of 5) quality.  It’s long length saves an otherwise quiet start.  The fact they trusted the fruit and fermented a dry, clean gris is commendable.  So when you’re baking, chill down with this.


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