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WBW #10 - Belle Pente Reserve Pinot Gris 2003

The door opened and my husband walked in.

“Hello… How was your day?” He looked down at the sauce pan I was stirring.

“Is that a cube of butter? Oh my god what are we having for dinner?”

“It is Wine Blogging Wednesday. I’m making the dish for us to taste with the wine. Sturgeon with beurre blanc sauce. It will be perfect with the Belle Pente Pinot Gris”.

This is the 10th Wine Blogging Wednesday tasting. The tasting is White Pinot hosted by Alice of My Adventures in the Breadbox.

I’ve got to put WWB in my calendar. I didn’t remember until Lenn blogged the reminder. Last Saturday, I prepared some fresh Taylor Shellfish mussels from University farmer’s market which would have been perfect with a Pinot Gris but I forgot.

I knew exactly what I would taste; an Oregon Pinot Gris. Oregon has been making stellar Pinot Gris since the varietal was first introduced to the state back in 1965. Oregon’s climate is similar Alsace with long northern summer days and a cool autumn. The Oregon style is between the Italian Pinot Grigio which is light and acidy and the more rich floral Tokay-Pinot Gris style of Alsace. I love them! Plus there are many Oregon Pinot Gris available here in the Pacific NW.

The harder task was to decide which one to taste. Adelsheim, Chehalem, A to Z, King Estate, Willakenzie are all great Pinot Gris which I have tasted. But I wanted to try something new. Avalon Wine has a great site on Oregon wines and includes a great write up on Oregon Pinot Gris. Their write up on Pinot Gris also includes several interesting recipes. The Stark Street Sturgeon recipe caught my eye. Perfect, I decided to swing by our local Whole Food's Market to pick up the sturgeon and an Oregon Pinot Gris.

They had several interesting ones. The wine buyer said that the Belle Pente would be good with halibut, salmon and even pork topped with applesauce. Perfect. Sturgeon tastes similar to pork.

pinot2.jpgMy wine is Belle Pente Reserve Pinot Gris 2003 - Willamette Valley. I was intrigued to find out that the winery is located in Carlton. My uncle Chris lived in Carlton and my family spent several summer vacations visiting Carlton when I was in high school. This was back in 1971 just as the area was starting to plant grapes in the Yamhill Valley.

Some information about the winery from the label:

Belle Pente (bell-pont) means “beautiful slope” – a perfect description for our south-southwest facing hillside overlooking the misty shrouds of Oregon’s coast range mountains. Our vineyards are planted with the traditional grapes of Burgundy and Alsace, and wines are made gently and naturally to highlight varietal fruit flavors and unique characteristics of each vineyard site.

The tasting notes on the back of the bottle:

Willamette Valley Reserve Pinot Gris is blended from the finest blocks of our Estate and other specially selected Yamhill County vineyards. The grapes are harvested late to achieve a high degree of ripeness and maturity. Following a long cool fermentation in large oak ovals and neutral oak barrels, the wine is aged sur lie to gain body and complexity.

Their website has some notes on the 2002 release. They model their wine after the Grand Cru Alsace style. And they do it well.

The color is golden yellow. There is good fruit with hints of pear and tropical fruit with some hint of mineral. There has a medium body and good balance of alcohol which makes the wine stand up to well to food. It is excellent wine and I highly recommend it.

And the sauce? It was very good. Even hubby who was originally aghast loved it. The wine and the dinner made an ordinary weekday special.

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