Wednesday, January 8, 2020

2018 Amity Vineyards White Pinot Noir: Elegance in a Bottle

White Pinot Noir? In short, red grapes can make white wine as the color mainly comes from the skins. If you press red grapes lightly, with little to no contact with the skins, you can get white, or pale pink, juice. You've probably drank "white" Pinot Noir before, if you've enjoyed Champagne, which sometimes is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, or even a Blanc de Noirs which is a white Champagne made from just Pinot Noir grapes. However, outside of Champagne and other sparkling wines, white Pinot Noir is more of a rarity. However, based on the quality of the 2018 Amity Vineyards White Pinot Noir, let's hope others decide to produce such wines.

The first vineyards, in what would become the Eola-Amity Hills AVA in 2006, were planted by Jerry and Anne Preston of Amity Vineyards in 1971. The primary grapes were Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Pinot Blanc. Amity would then be purchased in 1974 by Myron Redford and Janis Checchia, becoming the first bonded winery in 1976. Myron's goal was to produce first class Pinot Noir. About thirty years later, in 2014, the winery was sold once again to Ryan Harms from Union Wine Company & his brother, Eric Harms. He is continuing the tradition of producing quality Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, and Riesling.

It appears that one of the new wines that Ryan Harms is now producing is a White Pinot Noir, the first vintage apparently being 2015. I recently enjoyed the 2018 Amity Vineyards White Pinot Noir ($25), the first vintage of this wine I've tasted. The winery feels this was an excellent vintage, "with wines drinking fine in their youth, but with the ability to improve with age in the bottle." To produce this particular wine, the Pinot grapes, 69% from the Willamette Valley and 31% from Eola-Amity Hills, were harvested in the morning and then whole bunch pressed, though using a light press. It's fermented in stainless steel and then aged sur lie for a time.

At 13.9% ABV, this wine has a light pink color, almost like a Rosé, and on the nose, there's a blend of white fruit flavors, including tropical notes. Take a sip and you'll be impressed with its complex melange of rich fruit flavors, including melon, pear, pineapple and a hint of cherry. There is so much happening in your glass. Everything is well balanced and it's pure delicious, definitely excellent on its own though it will pair well with food too. Good acidity, a lengthy, pleasing finish, and you'll crave a second, and third, glass. I drank this wine with Thanksgiving dinner and my family and friends all loved it, asking where they could buy some. I later bought a case of this wine. Highly recommended! 

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