A First Course in Wine: From Grape to Glass. Copyright 2013; Race Point Publishers, NY. 224 pages. Forward by Mario Batali.

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Wines for a Jack$on (Under $20) - Amity Vineyards Pinot Blanc, Willamette Valley Oregon

Pinot Blanc is a popular grape to grow in cooler climate areas such as Oregon, Washington, France, Germany, and Italy.  Wines produced from Pinot Blanc typically exhibit crisp citrus flavors of apples and pears with notes of almonds and cream.  At one time, Pinot Blanc was thought to be related to Chardonnay, but after numerous genetic tests, this theory has been eliminated.  There are suspicions that many of the Pinot Blanc vines planted in Australia are actually Chardonnay vines.  Tests are underway to finalize this hypothesis.

The main winegrowing areas of Oregon

The main winegrowing areas of Oregon

Willamette Valley is one of Oregon’s sixteen approved viticultural areas (AVAs), and is also the largest zone in the state.  Red Jory clay is a distinct type of volcanic soil found in certain vineyards that is said to aid in vine development.  Many of the area’s best vineyards are grown on this type of soil.

Amity Vineyards Winery, founded in 1974, is one the area’s premier wineries, specializing in varieties such as Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, Pinot Blanc, and Riesling.   Winemaker Myron Redford has been at the helm since the winery’s conception and is responsible for many of the estate’s award-winning wines.  He is also at the forefront of the organic wine movement in Oregon boasting to be the first winemaker to produce a sulfite-free wine made from organic grapes.

The 2006 Amity Vineyards Pinot Blanc starts out bright and clean on the nose with strong notes of petrol, straw, and

Amity Vineyards Pinot Blanc from the Willamette Valley, Oregon

Amity Vineyards Pinot Blanc from the Willamette Valley, Oregon

lemon peels.  ‘Petrol’ is often used to describe wines that seem oily and viscous in nature, usually associated with grapes such as Riesling and Gewurztraminer.  On the palate, flavors of peach and pear are dominant with secondary flavors of herbs, grass, and almonds.  There is a sharp ‘zing’ of acidity that is noticeable in the back of the cheek, inducing the appetite.

The bottle is quite pleasant and I would recommend pairing this wine with light pasta preparations, cheeses, smoked meats, and herb dishes.

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