This was our second gathering of Oregon Pinot Gris (the first was in June 2008), and like the first time, these all emerged as excellent values, and while interesting on their own, were even better with food. Most were relatively shy on the nose.
Though two bottles received no points, it was difficult to fault any of them, with nearly all having balanced acidity and great textures. Our top wines were only separated by a few points.
First Place: A to Z Wineworks Pinot Gris 2016 (Oregon). A bit of spritz, then notions of used sponge, tennis ball, strawberries, alcohol swab, band aid, bathroom medicine cabinet, and an artificial quality. Tasted very different from the rest, with a pleasing journey of apple crisp, a hint of fall, and lime skin on the finish. Darker. Andy, Ali, and Kristin's favorite, with a total of 25 points. Cathy's bottle. About $17.
Second Place: Primarius Pinot Gris 2016 (Oregon). This one had the most color, with just a hint of pink, and offered scents of starch, potato, fishiness, smoke, and ash tray. Very different compared to the others, with that smokey quality very evident, plus dried herbs and ground dark spices. Cathy's favorite of the night. Received 22 points. David's bottle. About $15.
Third Place: Foris Pinot Gris 2016 (Rogue Valley). Tasters found aromas of fresh summer corn and white peach. A little brighter than some of the others. Had a more consistent flavor throughout, with some brightness and silkiness, then ending a little darker. Earthier, but not funky. Reminded Ali of a cocktail. An elderberry note, then a pleasant bitterness on the finish. Mark's favorite. Received 19 points. Kristin's bottle. About $16.
WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Gris 2017 (Willamette Valley). A clean smell, like laundry on the line or clean sheets. A rubber band taste, but not in a bad way, with plenty of fruit, reminiscent of lychee, stone fruit, and grass. Good texture, good balance, and good flavors. David's favorite. Received 18 points. Ali's bottle. About $18.
Erath Pinot Gris 2016 (Oregon). Scents of honeydew, a hint of citrus, bubble gum, and a little bit of a burn. Shows plenty of fruit on the palate, with that bubble gum quality again, not unlike guava and other tropical fruits. Smooth, though with a shorter finish. Cathy found it "kind of bland." Would be a crowd pleaser at a party. No points. Mark's bottle. About $14.
Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Gris 2016 (Willamette Valey). A hint of spritz in the glass, with a nose suggesting bleach or other cleanser, and a dusty/crushed rock quality. Maybe some wet grass. Darker in the mouth, but not heavy, with flavors of pop rocks, white peach, and honey. Kind of saccharine on the finish, with a fake lime note, or Fruit Stripe gum. No points. Andy's bottle. About $16.