By Great Northwest Wine on June 27, 2015
Portland Wine Company’s reserve approach to the noble grape of Germany is not your grandmother’s Riesling — unless, by chance, her name is Brunhilda. The greenish hue of the drink comes with heavy vapors of diesel and petrol, joined by gooseberry, lychee nut and Thompson Seedless grapes. Across the palate it takes nerdy, nervy and succulent approach with fresh gooseberry, Granny Smith apple peel and lime pith. A bit of the petrol also trickles into the flavors, backed by a structure that’s a dry as bone and unusually lowin alcohol. The IRF Scale portrays this blend of Brooks Vineyard (66%), planted in 1976, and Cherry Grove Vineyard as “dry.” And the chemistry from this cool vintage reflects that rocket ship ride with the pH at 2.86, titratable acidity of 11.8 grams per liter and lemon/lime residual sugar down around 0.6%.
Production: 54 cases
Portland vintner Matt Berson works with Temperance Hill in the Eola-Amity Hills, Winter’s Hill in the Dundee Hills and Saikkonen Vineyard on Ribbon Ridge for this Pommard-leaning Pinot Noir, and the Antsy Pants reference represents the barrel select tier for Love and Squalor. It’s indeed a more reserved style of Pinot Noir with aromas of ripe strawberry, dried Montmorency cherry and dried apricots, backed by cherry wood, earthiness, eucalyptus and anise. On the palate, there’s a delicate approach with Bing cherries and pink raspberries, backed by sweet tannins, moderate acidity, a touch of straw and cherry pie filling. Berson holds back the Antsy Pants bottlings until he believes the time is right, and while this would pair well with grilled salmon, the wine’s structure and moderate ABV bodes well for the future.
Production: 75 cases
Matt Berson launched this edgy brand in 2007 under his Portland Wine Co., starting with a mere 65 cases. Now, he’s running at a clip of 1,800 cases, and this Riesling serves as a significant portion of his production. The dry-farmed vineyard sources include Brooks, which is poignant because the late Jimi Brooks helped mentor Berson, as well as other 40-year-old plantings such as Cuddihy and Sunnyside. Contributing diversity are Roncali near Eugene and Tunkalilla, the latter a younger site that joins Brooks Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills. Aromas of Ambrosia Salad, dried apricot, alyssum and dusty Granny Smith apple also pick up a pinch of spearmint. On the palate, there’s a marvelously dry and Grüner-like entry of Bosc pear, gooseberry, river rock and a touch of raw honey. Citrusy acidity more than balances the residual sugar of 1.3%, which reveals itself as a lick of Jolly Rancher Green Apple candy in the finish. Riesling geeks will appreciate the chemistry numbers of 9.7 TA, 2.92 pH and 10.6% ABV, and it slots in at “medium dry” on the International Riesling Foundation taste profile.
Production: 440 cases
About Great Northwest Wine
Articles authored by Great Northwest Wine are co-authored by Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue. In most cases, these are wine reviews that are judged blind by the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.