2011, though challenging in many ways, appears to be a year of above average-fruit quality. The vines bore a lot of fruit, and with the late season it became worrisome that all the fruit would ripen, so measures needed to be taken. In a late year like 2010 and 2011, we really ride the razor’s edge, waiting with bated breath to see how ripe the fruit can get before the rainy season begins. In an effort to ensure that fruit fully ripens, it is often necessary to cluster thin, dropping clusters of otherwise perfect grapes in order to ensure that fewer clusters fully ripen and develop concentrated flavors. Often cluster thinning enhances the character and concentration of flavors in the remaining grapes since the vines are stressed and have less fruit to focus their energy on. In the end, the harvest at our 470 acre certified organic vineyard at King Estate can be characterized as a year of lower than typical yields but high quality. It is always a difficult decision to drop so much fruit on the ground, and it comes at a great economic expense, but it is also the only decision if you want to improve quality, harvest good fruit, and ultimately make the best wine possible in a challenging year. The goal is to overcome whatever obstacles are presented to make the best wine we can.
“The 2010 Pinot Noir Signature Collection was tasted from a barrel sample. It displays a more expressive bouquet … excellent depth and concentration, ripe red and black fruit flavors, and a medium-long finish. It reflects the excellence of the 2010 vintage.” – Dr. Jay Miller, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Those of you who enjoy our Acrobat Pinot Gris & Pinot Noir won’t be surprised to hear that the June issue of Wine & Spirits Magazine has some hefty value-oriented praise for the wines. Acrobat was recognized as one of 50 Value Brands of the Year and one of only 17 American brands. With over 8,000 U.S. wine brands for their editors to choose from, that’s a big honor.
WHAT: Ready-to-drink Oregon Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir from King Estate’s entry-level brand.
STANDOUTS: An exuberant 2009 Oregon Pinot Noir ($18) with juicy red fruit and the stuffing to match, and a bright, succulent ‘09 Pinot Gris ($12) with a lean, refreshing grip.
WHERE: Based in Eugene, with fruit sourced from all of Oregon’s viticultural regions.
WHEN: Open the Pinot Noir with a smoked trout salad; pour the Gris anytime.
Led by King Estate Winery, Oregon makes breakthrough in Wine & Spirits Magazine’s Annual Restaurant Poll:
Each year Wine & Spirits Magazine surveys sommeliers and beverage managers at America’s top Zagat-rated restaurants. The survey asks them to examine 4th quarter sales and list their best selling overall brands and products by category. The survey shows the top performing brands in America’s top restaurants, a key slice of data that reveals much about the strength of a brand in one of the most competitive environments for wine sales.
Last year Oregon set a new record for the state with three wineries in the Top 50 Brands and this year did one better with a total of four. Those wineries are:
12. King Estate
32. Elk Cove
43. Domaine Drouhin
Our Domaine Pinot Noir is our finest red wine made from our best estate fruit. We vinify each organically farmed estate lot separately and then our winemakers arduously evaluate them lot by lot, and select the handful that will make about 1,000 cases of wine for the vintage.
Some wine lovers live by scores alone, some don’t have much regard for them at all, but most agree, when all the critics see it the same way, it says something undeniable about the wine – that it probably tastes pretty good.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100 Wines of 2010 has just been published, and for the second consecutive year, Jon Bonné and the Chronicle, have selected our Signature Pinot Gris as one of their Top 100 Wines of the Year.
The December issue of Wine & Spirits Magazine just hit newsstands and we have three 90+ point scores listed for Signature and Acrobat Pinot Gris, and Domaine Pinot Noir. Earlier this year Wine & Spirits also named us one of the 2010 Wineries of the Year, and on another occassion selected us as one of the 2010 Top Value Brands.
This is the second year in the life of Acrobat, the brand we introduced last year with the 2008 vintage. Acrobat showcases Oregon’s preeminent varietals, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. The inaugural release was extremely well received, earning 89 points or better from all of the major publications, and heralded for its unprecedented value by the press and trade. Much more importantly, you, our wine-loving friends, gave us great feedback about the wines and we flew through the first vintage. We set out to deliver affordable wines of quality, and the response we got from the public indicated that we hit the nail on the head.
By Sous Chef Benjamin Nadolny
Suggested Pairing: 2003 Signature Pinot Noir
By Sous Chef Benjamin Nadolny
Suggested Pairing: 2008 Acrobat Pinot Gris