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   The North-West region is better known as Washington State and Oregon. The Columbia and Snake rivers are vital for the wine industry.

The are lies to the south-east to the south-east of Seattle, on both sides of Portland. Wine-making in this region is a fairly recent phenomenon.

 There wew trials in the nineteenth century with native and hybrid grapes but the first Vitis vinifera varieties were not introducec until the end of that century. Wine-growing started to become larger in scale during the twentieth century thanks to a major irrigation project. The final real breakthrough for areas such as Oregon occurred in the 1970s, when serious-minded growers planted leading European varieties. Oregon’s Pinot Noir is now known worldwide thanks to investment by several leading French companies like Drouhin of Beaune.

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The climate in the north-west of the United States is moderate in Oregon but almost desert-like in Washington State where the dependence on irrigation is total.

The winters are also colder and drier in Washington State than Oregon. The soil varies widely, from loam in Oregon to layers of volcanic origin in Washington. The chice of grape variety is therefore extremely important.

Various varieties are grown in the two large AVAs of Washington State (Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley, and Walla Walla Valley), and West Pacific (inclunding Oregon, Willamette Valley, and Umpqua Valley). Pinot Noir with Chenin Blanc, Semillon, and Sauvignon Blanc, while Oregon also produces reasonable to good Pinot Gris.

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It goes without saying that there is much chaff among the corn in both area and results vary from years to years through changing weather, especially in Oregon. But by choosing fron the better wines you will find that are truly some great ones.

Oregon Pinot Noir

Some Pinot Noir wines from Oregon can hold their own against the best French wine. They are superb in colour, have seductive bouquets to red and black fruits such as blachberry, blackcurrant, redcurrant, and cherry, and touches of herbs and spices, including sweetwood, and a complex and harmonious texture.

They are also elegant with a refined taste. There may also be suggestions of truffle, exotic, woods, and a good balance between acidity, alcohol, fruit, and tannin, with a prolonged aftertaste.

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 These wines can be kept for at least five to ten years when they develop a nose of plum, fungi, humus, leather, and herbs. Drinking temperature is 53.6-57.2°F (14-16°C) when young and 57.2-60.8°F (14-16°C) when is mature.

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