Thursday night saw the inauguration of the Imbibe NY Wine Club, with only three members in attendance–Jenn, myself, and Farrel. Being so close to the 4th of July, we decided to begin with American wines, Pinot Gris from Oregon, of which we sampled three: Firesteed (2005), Bethel Heights (2006), and ElvenGlade (2006), all of which were so remarkably different, at times it was hard to believe they were born from the same grape.
Located in Willamette Valley, the Firesteed winery culls their selection of Pinot Gris grapes from a variety of vineyards (and regions) to produce this pale colored wine. With pear on the nose and legs running down the inside of my glass, this full bodied wine had a buttery texture and balanced acidity that finished quick, but not sharp. Favored by Jenn and Farrel, this bottle was found at Trader Joe’s Wine on 14th Street for $13.99.
Next, we opened a bottle of Bethel Heights, 2006, produced by two families who tend their own vineyards and make their own wine. From the Eola Hills, northwest of Salem Oregon, this Pinot Gris is produced from “Willamette Valley and Southern Oregon fruit” and came recommended by a sales rep at Union Square Wines ($15.99). The color of pale straw, this wine revealed minerals, green apple, and floral notes on the nose, and fine minerality, pear, and a bit of citrus on the palate. More complex that the Firesteed, this wine, finishing with bright acidity, got my vote for the night.
ElvenGlade, 2006, proved that more money doesn’t buy better wine. Also located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the ElvenGlade Pinot Gris exhibited honey and a touch of vanilla on the bouquet, with a slight buttery texture that finished a little nutty, but was overall flat on the palate. Sold for $19.99 at Crossroads on 14th Street, this overpriced bottle actually sat unfinished on the table at the end of the night. (A sinful act of biblical proportions, no doubt.)
Stay tuned. The wine club will meet again on Thursday at the beginning of next month.