Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lemelson Vineyards Tikka's Run Pinot Gris (2007)

Many of the wines that I've reviewed to date have been from vineyards that both Clare and I visited on our honeymoon, such as Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Prive Vineyards, and Sokol Blosser. We visited many vineyards and purchased quite a lot of wine.  As we near our second anniversary, we still have some bottles left from our vacation, which we now open on special occasions or, just when we want to have a really good wine.  With respect to the Tikka's Run Pinot Gris from Lemelson Vineyards, it was the latter occasion ... we wanted a really good wine.  And we got what we wanted.

I can still remember visiting the winery at Lemelson Vineyards during our honeymoon.  Like many Oregon vineyards, Lemelson has strived to ensure that its winemaking is as environmentally friendly as possible.  They use multiple fermentation vessels, allowing the grapes from each vineyard block to ferment separately.  The vineyard uses gravity -- rather than pumps -- to move the wine at very low pressures, helping to preserve the aromas and flavors of their wines.
Lemelson Vineyards sets itself apart from all of the other Oregon vineyards with what it calls a "one-of a kind mobile stainless steel sorting platform." This platform, which resembles the bridge of a vessel, moves along the fermentation vessels.  On this platform, the winemakers can sort through the grapes to pick out those clusters that they want to use for their wines, like the Pinot Gris grapes used for the Tikka's Run.

The grapes for the 2007 vintage of the Tikka's Run comes from Lemelson's Chestnut Hill Vineyard and from its Wascher Vineyard.  While both of these vineyards are in the Willamette AVA, they have different soils and are at different elevations.  The Chestnut Hill vineyard has volcanic soil at about 900 feet, while the Wascher vineyard has sedimentary soil and a lower 300 feet elevation.  The fermentation of the wine began in the tanks, with some of the wine being transferred to oak barrels during the late stages of fermentation.  

The Tikka's Run Pinot Gris pours a nice light gold color, which is very appealing.  The winemaker notes that the aromas remind them of passion fruit, green apples and Asian pears, along with Meyer lemons and chalk.  For me, however, I think the aromatic elements speak more of apricots and a little melon.  The winemaker also notes that the taste of the wine has almond and red apple.  Once again, I found that there was some apricot, melon and even a little fennel. The wine itself coats the tongue in a way that is more suggestive of a dessert wine than a wine one would ordinarily drink with a meal.  The sugary sweetness of the wine leaves the drinker with a finish of apricots that is very enjoyable. 

Like most Pinot Gris wines, the Lemelson Vineyards Tikka's Run Pinot Gris pairs well with mild white fish, like rockfish, along with other seafood, such as oysters or crab.  The Tikka's Run also pairs well with very spicy dishes, providing a sweet complement to the heat of the peppers.

Clare and I purchased this wine when we were at the vineyard in Willamette Valley and I have to admit that I have not seen it in any stores.  Lemelson wines are available over the Internet and at some larger wine stores. 


For more about the Tikka's Run Pinot Gris, check out the winemaker's notes.

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