Saturday, March 14, 2015

Go West tasting in London Praises Illahe Vineyards

Wines of West Coast U.S.A.
That's the wines of California, Washington State and Oregon. This has been an big growth market of late, as people turn their backs on overpriced Bordeaux and Burgundy. The West Coast of the USA has looked far better value for great Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. That's not to say there are not plenty of other grape varieties thriving from these regions.
Whilst still not what you would call 'inexpensive', they do offer far more bang for your buck than the more illustrious French appellations. That said many of these wines are not trying to emulate their European contemporaries. They are proudly of their place, reflecting their own terroirs and wine making philosophies.
I spent the day mostly assessing wines not readily available in the U.K. (being fairly familiar with what is available), and I was very impressed, espescially with the wines of Oregon but each region had something special to offer. Here are my favourites.

Winery of The Day
Illahe Vineyards, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Every wine from this producer was a star. I am desperately trying to find them an importer. We need them in the U.K.
Viognier 2014.
Sublimely Vibrant and rather flirty. All that you'd want your viognier to taste of. Ripe white peach, a hint of apricot and florally perfumed. Just enough acidity to give it a back bone and a lovely dry finish. I'd drink it now. No need to age it.
Estate Pinot Gris 2013
Pleasantly surprising levels of complexity for a Pinot Gris. Flavours of pear and peach but also an earthy, savoury back drop that gives this wine more depth than one might expect.  It finishes fresh, with minerality and good acidity.
Pinot Noir 2013
A beautifully simple, eminently drinkable Pinot Noir. Vibrant red cherry and raspberry fruit on both the nose and on the palate. Clean as a whistle, fresh as a daisy and pretty as a picture.
Pinot Noir 'Percheron' 2012
Tremendous. Aromas of black cherry, french polish and a touch of vanilla. On the palate the is deep black cherry and raspberry fruit and vanilla with glorious mouth feel due to the fantastic balanced tannin and wonderful acidity. The finish is lightly spiced and has a mineral quality.
Pinot Noir 'Project 1899' 2012
Made without the use of electricity or machinery. Hand harvested, transported to the winery by horse and cart, hand destemmed, foot crushed and no temperature control.
All this gives us an oustanding wine. Dense flavours of damson, strawberry and liquorice. Plump, rounded tannin and a great juicy, lengthy finish. Incredible wine.

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