Smooth and silky, delivering a root beer-like sassafras and anise character weaving through the blackberry, cherry and spice flavors with transparency and vibrancy. Picks up some cream and tobacco as the finish lingers.
Elk Cove Vineyards is one of Oregon’s pioneering Pinot Noir producers. It was founded in 1974 by Pat and Joe Campbell, a young couple with a vision for working the land and making wine. Both had grown up in families that supported themselves through agriculture, so the hands-on work involved wasn’t a surprise. Since Joe had earned a medical degree at Stanford University, he supported the family as an emergency room doctor on the night shift, while he and Pat tended the vineyards by day. Elk Cove wines were winning awards by the late 1970s, and the estate expanded. Today it is run by son Adam Campbell, and the estate has 350 acres of vineyards. Elk Cove produces a sizable portfolio of red, white and rosé wines, though they are especially known for their numerous Pinot Noirs, including several single vineyard wines.
Willamette Valley AVA was established in 1983, and it is the oldest appellation in Oregon. Oregon’s modern wine industry began in the Willamette Valley in the 1960s when artists, vagabond winemakers, and U.C. Davis oenology graduates looking for new territory started their own, small, off-the-grid wineries. The appellation is the state’s largest, and it extends 175 miles from Columbia River on the Washington/Oregon border to just south of Eugene, near central Oregon. The Willamette River runs through the area, helping to give the appellation a mild year-round climate. There are six smaller sub-appellations within this AVA, but altogether the Willamette Valley has the largest concentration of wineries in Oregon, as well as the majority of the state’s most famous producers. Pinot Noir is king here, followed by Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling. To most admirers of Oregon Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley offers the most distinctive wine choices in the state.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.