Erath Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris with the Last of Autumn’s Warmth

Mid-November has brought several hard frosts and most of the plants in my yard have given up their fight.  Our maple tree’s bright red leaves are now scattered on the ground and my flowers are dried and brown.

I was surprised to find a few hardy blooms who refused to give up, still mightily blooming in spite of the elements!

Like those hardy blooms, we gathered outside in spite of the chilly air for one last time, huddling around the fire for warmth, refusing to call it quits until the last log was just a glowing ember.

My wine had to be significant, to mark the occasion.  I turned to Erath, a favorite producer of mine from Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

I opened the Erath Pinot Gris Oregon 2012 and Pinot Noir Oregon 2011.  Dick Erath, the winery’s founder, was one of the first to see the potential for Pinot Noir in Oregon.  He has been making wine in the Dundee Hills longer than any other winery in that region.

The Oregon Pinot Gris was produced in a “no wood, no malolactic” style which allows the pure fruits to shine.  The nose is full of fruits with pear, apricot, and tropical fruits.  Honey notes add a touch of sweetness.  The palate also holds juicy fruits with crisp lemon and ripe pear, along with stone fruit, a bit of spice and a drop or two of honey.  The acidity keeps it lively, yet the palate remains soft and pleasant.

The Oregon Pinot Noir is the cornerstone of the winery’s portfolio, showing off the true characteristics of this varietal.  Grapes are sourced from several different sites in Oregon to create a straight-forward, easy to drink style.  Aromas are spot-on with fresh cherry, licorice, a hint of spice and a dose off that wonderful Oregon earth.  I even picked up notes of toasted marshmallow!  The palate is lush and velvety, filled with more cherry, some cranberry and a nice smoky-vanilla wrap, all lifted by bright acidity.

The delicious Erath wines added their positive spirit as we clung to the last little bit of warmth before the long, cold Iowa winter.

About the author: Sue Navratil

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