An Oregon wine from perfect fruit

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Oregon's finest: The 2012 Elk Cove Vineyards Pinot Gris is sourced from fruit grown throughout Willamette Valley, Oregon. Pinot Gris that heralds from this region may be some of the most attractive wines found anywhere. | Photo by Mary Compton

While Willamette Valley, Oregon, is recognized as the Northwest breeding ground for Burgundian style Pinot Noir, the whites of Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc that herald from this region may be some of the most attractive wines found anywhere. Pinot Gris is believed to be a clone of Pinot Noir and has a residence around the world, although best known in the French region of Alsace and Friuli-Venezia-Giulia in Italy.

Pinot Gris is a bit like an unknown relative who can make a very favorable impression once they are allowed to speak. In Oregon it has a soft spoken and enticing personality that is unlike its Italian counterpart. There are no raw elements in this white but instead it offers an elegant and fruit-driven style that is appealing by itself.

Elk Cove Vineyards is a family-owned and operated winery founded by Pat and Joe Campbell in 1974. It remains one of Oregon’s oldest producers and is located in Northern Yamhill County. Elk Cove owns over 600 hundred acres of vineyards spread out over five vineyard locations. Winemaking is under the guidance of one of the Campbell’s children, Adam, who is focused on viticulture and growing perfect fruit.

Elk Cove is well known for their single vineyard Pinot Noirs but their Pinot Gris tips the chart with its alluring flavor profile capturing the attention of consumers and the wine press.

The 2012 Elk Cove Vineyards Pinot Gris is sourced from fruit grown throughout Willamette Valley and from the estate vineyards. This is one of the first releases from what is sure to be a memorable vintage along the North Coast. Aged in stainless steel this wine has a fragrant aroma of spring flowers while retaining a vibrant character of orange zest, peach blossom and quince. The maturity of these grapes is perfect and not overdone, which lends to a wine with many levels of freshness. No need to intellectualize about this wine, but just sit back and savor this wine during a warm summer evening.

Suggested Retail: $16.99

W. Peter Hoyne has been a wine journalist for over 20 years, covering stories of national and international significance. While his professional relationships in the wine industry have allowed him to share a unique perspective of wine, he is also intrigued by the culinary aspect and harmony that exist between wine and food. As a wine advocate, he is committed to consumer education and is focused on upcoming trends and American wine-buying habits.