Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris 2021
As a clonal mutation of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris exhibits some red fruit character and texture depending treatment in the winery. Our version, created in an Alsatian style, exhibits fuller body and balanced minerality due to extended lees contact making it the ideal pairing for hard cheeses and charcuterie, fattier fish dishes, rich pastas, and roasted chicken. Smoked sausage or baked ham shine alongside
the tropical, textured nature of this wine and make for a traditional Alsatian pairing when served alongside hearty root vegetables.
In each vintage year, Raptor Ridge produces about 1000 cases of wines using traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques. High quality is the focus, not higher quantities. Raptor Ridge shares a twelve-acre estate with families of Raptors (buteos and accipiters)- birds of prey such as Red Tail Hawks, Kestrels and Sharp-Shinned Hawks. We are nestled atop a heavily forested ridge in the Chehalem Mountains 25 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon. Our foggy ridge is ideally suited to a naturally cool winemaking regime important in capturing delicate aromas and flavors. Our wines age in French oak with racking in synchrony with the full moon. Our goal is to deliver in our wines all of the natural flavor, delicate aromas and beauty offered by Oregons Willamette Valley winegrowing region.
Our winemaking philosophy has two tenets: one committing the winemaker to deep personal involvement with the vines and every barrel of wine; the other balancing science with tradition. Our approach to winemaking focuses as much on the vineyard as it does the cellar. Winemaker Scott Shull is personally involved alongside growers and field hands in pruning, trellising, cluster counting, cluster thinning, leaf pulling, quality monitoring, and all harvest decisions. Uniquely- during harvest, Scott is in the field picking fruit alongside seasonal workers, and personally transports the wine grapes back to Raptor Ridge were he oversees the "crush." Family and friends are involved in processing the fruit into fermentation vats while Scott personally adjusts nutrients, inoculation, fermentation processes, and wine handling procedures. Its Scotts philosophy to intervene as little as possible in the miracle of wine, while employing a full knowledge of fermentation science only to avoid diminishment of quality or removal of flaws.
One of Pinot Noir's most successful New World outposts, the Willamette Valley is the largest and most important AVA in Oregon. With a continental climate moderated by the influence of the Pacific Ocean, it is perfect for cool-climate viticulture and the production of elegant wines.
Mountain ranges bordering three sides of the valley, particularly the Chehalem Mountains, provide the option for higher-elevation vineyard sites.
The valley's three prominent soil types (volcanic, sedimentary and silty, loess) make it unique and create significant differences in wine styles among its vineyards and sub-AVAs. The iron-rich, basalt-based, Jory volcanic soils found commonly in the Dundee Hills are rich in clay and hold water well; the chalky, sedimentary soils of Ribbon Ridge, Yamhill-Carlton and McMinnville encourage complex root systems as vines struggle to search for water and minerals. In the most southern stretch of the Willamette, the Eola-Amity Hills sub-AVA soils are mixed, shallow and well-drained. The Hills' close proximity to the Van Duzer Corridor (which became its own appellation as of 2019) also creates grapes with great concentration and firm acidity, leading to wines that perfectly express both power and grace.
Though Pinot noir enjoys the limelight here, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay also thrive in the Willamette. Increasing curiosity has risen recently in the potential of others like Grüner Veltliner, Chenin Blanc and Gamay.
Showing a unique rosy, purplish hue upon full ripeness, this “white” variety is actually born out of a mutation of Pinot Noir. The grape boasts two versions of its name, as well as two generally distinct styles. In Italy, Pinot Grigio achieves most success in the mountainous regions of Trentino and Alto Adige as well as in the neighboring Friuli—all in Italy’s northeast. France's Alsace and Oregon's Willamette Valley produce some of the world's most well-regarded Pinot Gris wine. California produces both styles with success.
Where Does Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio Come From?
Pinot Gris is originally from France, and it is technically not a variety but a clone of Pinot Noir. In Italy it’s called Pinot Grigio (Italian for gray), and it is widely planted in northern and NE Italy. Pinot Gris is also grown around the globe, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand. No matter where it’s made or what it’s called, Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio produces many exciting styles.
Tasting Notes for Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio is a dry, white wine naturally low in acidity. Pinot Grigio wines showcase signature flavors and aromas of stone fruit, citrus, honeysuckle, pear and almond. Alsatian styles are refreshing, expressive, aromatic (think rose and honey), smooth, full-bodied and richly textured and sometimes relatively higher in alcohol compared to their Italian counterpart. As Pinot Grigio in Italy, the style is often light and charming. The focus here is usually to produce a crisp, refreshing, lighter style of wine. While there are regional differences of Pinot Grigio, the typical profile includes lemon, lime and subtle minerality.
Pinot Grigio Food Pairings
The viscosity of a typical Alsatian Pinot Gris allows it to fit in harmoniously with the region's rich foods like pork, charcuterie and foie gras. Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, with its citrusy freshness, works well as an aperitif wine or with seafood and subtle chicken dishes.
Given the pinkish color of its berries and aromatic potential if cared for to fully ripen, the Pinot Grigio variety is actually one that is commonly used to make "orange wines." An orange wine is a white wine made in the red wine method, i.e. with fermentation on its skins. This process leads to a wine with more ephemeral aromas, complexity on the palate and a pleasant, light orange hue.