I recently had the opportunity to try some lovely wines from Raptor Ridge Winery and was pulled in immediately by their Pinot Gris. Located in Newberg, Oregon, and just a quick drive from Portland, I decided that a visit to the winery was in order. I rounded up some girlfriends on a Saturday, we hopped in the car, and we were greeted at one of the most lovely vineyards in the area.
Although it was foggy, rainy, cloudy – all things Oregon – on this particular day, we did have a couple dry spots where we were able to step outside and enjoy the lovely views. Scott Shull, founder and winemaker, tells us that on sunny, clear days, there is a fabulous view of Mount Hood.
It was a good day to come – A local musician was playing guitar, Scott was pouring barrel tastings, and the tasting room was quite full. In speaking with Scott, you can easily get a grasp of his true passion for the winemaking process. Up with the sun, and spending hours on the tractor. It’s a job of passion, creativity, and down and dirty hard work. That enthusiasm really comes through in the wines being poured.
We all had our favorites – My friend Meghan and I leaned towards the 2014 Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris ($20), a medium-bodied wine with aromas of orange, apricot and lemon. It was a good vintage for the winery, the ideal weather led to their largest production to date.
Another favorite of mine, and my friend Laura, was the 2013 Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir ($45). I’m a fan of light pinots, and especially lean towards the 2011 and 2013 vintages. This pinot gives us flavors of cherry, pomegranate, and plum with a backbone of baking spices and chestnut, and bright acidity.
Deann leaned towards the bigger pinot – The 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir ($45) has a nose of ripe fruits – blackberry, dark cherries, plum, with a bit of licorice and black tea to round it out. (92 points Wine Spectator)
Also, not to be missed is the 2013 Folin Vineyards Tempranillo ($35). While the pinots tend to lean towards the more feminine side, this tempranillo carries the more masculine aromas of tobacco, pine sap, and charcoal, but it’s rounded out with hints of strawberry and cherry as well. Be sure to pair this one with your Mexican food!