The Cellar: Oregon Pinot Gris + Washington Rosé

Friday, July 12, 2013


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In preparation for next week’s ‘Evening with Wine’ tasting at the Providence Wine Academy (to which 4 tickets remain) I have tasted a slew of wines from Oregon and Washington. Unfortunately, not every wine makes onto the tasting menu. The following is a review of two wines; one that did and one that didn’t.

2012 Ponzi Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon

If there is one group of varietals that Oregon winemakers have embraced over the past 30-40 years and have become experts at vinifying, it is the Pinot varietals (Gris, Blanc and Noir). While the price-train may already have left on Pinot Noir, there still are a lot of great Pinot Gris’ and Blanc’s out there for under $20.

The 2012 Pinot Gris from Ponzi Vineyards is a great example. Ponzi is a 120 acre family business founded in 1970. This certified sustainable Estate is truly a family affair with several members of the Ponzi family taking

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active roles in every aspect of grape growing and winemaking. I have been a big fan of this wine for a while and while the 2012 vintage was outshined (just by a hair) during selection, it is still a solid effort and a wine I recommend you seek out. They achieved more ripeness in 2012 resulting in a slightly bigger wine than in previous vintages. It is a wine with more tropical fruit flavors and richer fruit. It spent its entire life in stainless steel which helped preserve its acidity making the wine come across fresh and lively.


2012 Charles & Charles Rosé, Columbia Valley, Washington

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The next wine is one of my personal ‘go-to’ Rosé wines so far this summer and one I couldn’t wait to place on next week’s tasting menu. The wine I am loving is the Syrah heavy Charles & Charles Rosé from Columbia Valley, Washington. The 2012 vintage is made up of 81% Syrah, 16% Mourvedre, 2% Cinsault and 1% Grenache.

Charles Smith is a self-taught winemaker who has already gained a lot of recognition in his relatively short winemaking carrier. A series of “Best New Winery” and “Winemaker of the Year” awards have propelled the guy to the forefront of a lot of peoples mind. Next week’s tasting will feature two of his wines, this Rosé and a Syrah. The Rosé is medium-bodied and delicious filled with watermelon, strawberries and spice. It has an acidic core that elevates the wine and keeps everything nicely balanced.



Steffen Rasch is a Certified Sommelier and Specialist of Wine. Feel free to email him at [email protected] with any wine-related question or sign up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.


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