Updated: May 20, 2020
I just returned from a visit to Willamette Valley, Oregon. Love that area! Not only for the fabulous wine but also for its pure beauty. The trees are so tall and gorgeous. My husband and I took advantage while we were out there with a challenging hike (at least it was challenging for me) to Saddle Back mountain.
If you can tell from this picture, we reached what appears to be the top only to have to descend in order to climb up again to the real peak of the hiking trail. It was a bit cloudy when we arrived at the peak, but the views were still amazing.
Saddleback Mountain hiking trail in Oregon.
After a beautiful hike like this, it’s the perfect time to relax with a nice Pinot Noir. One of our stops was to Duck Pond winery where we are members. Many wineries have memberships that give you discounted pricing on wine and special member parties. Since we live in Illinois, these parties are just a big tease for us and we dream of how cool it would be to actually go to one. So…we did it this time. And it was really cool!
Not only did we have wine, but we had wood fired pizza from a local pizza truck and enjoyed a musician playing cover songs on acoustic guitar. Fantastic!
We were able to sample each wine from the June wine club release — 6 in all. The Pinot Noir grape was used in 5 of the 6 wines (yes, Pinot Noir does exceptionally well in this area of the country…and world).
Pinot Noir Blanc
They released a Pinot Noir Blanc which is a white wine using the Pinot Noir grapes. They are able to keep the wine “white” by removing the skins from the grapes right away. This keeps the taste of the wine light, crisp and refreshing. If the skins were left on, the tannins from the skins would give the wine a dry and more bitter taste which is what you get from a red wine.
Rosé of Pinot Noir
They also released a Rosé of Pinot Noir. With this wine, they do a light press with the skins still on the grapes to give it a light pink color. The skins are removed early in the process to keep that light color and to keep it crisp and refreshing. This is a great spring/summer wine and a great way to kick off the season.
The one wine that did not include the Pinot Noir grape was a Pinot Gris which is a white grape. It is a special Pinot Gris developed for Duck Pond’s 25th Anniversary this year.
Pinot Noir x 3
The last 3 wines in the tasting were all Pinot Noir. The winemakers developed 3 distinctly different Pinot Noir wines by choosing different combinations of the Pinot Noir grapes that they grow in 6 of their vineyard locations.
One of the wines included Pinot Noir from their 2 highest vineyard sites.
Another was a single vineyard Pinot Noir.
The last included Pinot Noir from each of their 6 vineyard sites to commemorate their 25th Anniversary.
The Pinot Noir grape picks up different flavors based on the soil it grows in and the environment — sun, cloud, heat, cool. This is why each vineyard site can impart different tastes, while at the same time still retaining the distinct Pinot Noir characteristics — light red in color, medium body, cherry fruit with vanilla toast flavors.
Try Pinot Noir from the same region, but different vineyards to see what is similar and different about them. Even though there are differences, do the Pinot Noir characteristics still come through?