We recently took a group ski trip to Mount Bachelor, which is outside of Bend, Oregon. Sadly, we just didn’t have time to add on a side trip to the Willamette Valley, but we did manage a pit stop at Safeway to grab a couple bottles. Although it seems embarrassing to admit we settled for the grocery store in such a wine-rich region, we appreciate Safeway for its localized selections. Since Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir are two noteworthy varietals in this region, we opted for these. We grabbed a bottle of the King Estate Pinot Gris, one of my personal favorites, and Willamette Valley Whole Cluster Pinot, both 2014.
After the first day of skiing we felt a bit ragged, mostly from the previous day’s travels. After two flights from Ft. Lauderdale to Portland, then a 3-hour bus ride from Portland to Bend, we were flat out tired! We popped open the Pinot Gris. This bright, crisp fruit forward white was the right remedy for snapping us out of our fog. While many may not agree, we personally like Pinot Gris and other unoaked whites chilled to the point where the glass gets misty. Tonight was no exception. It was especially refreshing and curative, and I felt the travel weariness dissipate with each sip.
Moving on to red, I went into the Whole Cluster Pinot with relatively neutral expectations. I have found that Oregon Pinots tend to have a more earthiness quality than my palate typically appreciates. So, I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It was more fruit driven, with cherry and berry notes, and a lingering finish. Thanks to it being on sale, we walked away with this one for under $20, making it even more appealing! Oh, and the King Estate was under $15, also on sale.
Both of these bottles are winners for the price, and I have found them at my local Total Wine.