Did you know Portland was more than just Pinot? It could be the coolest wine city in the US!
Whenever Oregon comes up in polite wine conversation, everybody immediately thinks and talks about Pinot Noir. Now, we have absolutely nothing against Pinot Noir, in fact we love it like crazy, but it made us kinda mad that so many other wine varieties that have found a home in Oregon get
Whoa, hang on there. The title said Portland! So what is it about Portland that has our panties in such a twist. Well, to be brutally honest, Portland is also more than the quirky star of the hit series Portlandia. Portland has a buzzing wine scene that is pushing the boundaries of what wine can be. The urban winemakers in the city are a collection of quirky, eccentric, rockstars, young guns, artists, and rebels that make it a movement. Most of their grapes come from vineyards around the state, which is pretty cool because the winemakers in Portland become an even greater representation of what the state can do for wine. So when we say Portland, we mean Portland and Oregon at the same time. So what can Portland and Oregon do? Well...
Oregon makes some really meaty full bodied red wines
You'll find a lot of Syrah coming from urban wineries in Portland. A lot of them, Like Fausse Piste, seem to have a knack for finding really awesome vineyards with big, badass, full bodied Syrah. There are a ton of full bodied red wines coming out of Oregon though, and a lot of these wines are made of some ass kicking grapes you may never have heard of. Those with a keen sense of adventure will find that Oregon Tannat and Mourvedre can be delectable tannic monsters. You might also come across Baco Noir, which is a wild, sultry, inky, almost black wine that will drive you mad with lust.
Teutonic Wines is doing Mosel style in its own kickass way
We cannot get enough of the awesome Teutonic Wine Company. Really friendly folks who make wine for sharing with friends. Their wines are totally unique as well. Yes, the do carry some Pinot Noir (and its fantastic) but there is also the less familiar Pinot Meunier and Pinot Gris, as well as an awesome white blend they call Alsea. But the real stars are the Mosel inspired Riesling and Gewurtzraminer, which you can put up against real Mosel Rieslings made in collaboration with a German vineyard. Did we mention they also made a wine with a metal band? Thats just so cool!
Oregon shows that Tempranillo can have a home outside Spain
Oregon Tempranillo is out of this world. There is just something about a wine that finds itself in a perfect new home that is not too different from its old home, but different enough to make a huge difference. Whatever it is, the Oregon climate and terroir suits Tempranillo well. Our friends over at RAM Cellars have taken up the gauntlet and just run away with it. Their Tempranillo rocks hard. Its all full of crushed herbs, leather, meatiness, and fruitiness that make it so drinkable. Secretly though you'll want to hold on to this for years and let it evolve into something sublime, like pulling out a rare, vintage vinyl record.
Lets not forget the orange wines that are breaking through
A quirky city is bound to get on board with a quirky wine trend and then take it to the next level. We've been keeping our eyes open for the amazing orange wines coming out of Portland. Where else can we start besides the incredible Pinot Gris in a Ramato style from Fossil and Fawn. This is quietly becoming the superstar of the orange wine cult, the genre's Pink Floyd, its Metallica, its Dr. Dre.
But many wineries in Portland are not content with the conventional. We've been super stoked to get out hands on Fausse Piste's Duck Sauce, a skin contact Viognier that is as richly orange colored as its name sake and just as tangy. Once again our friends over at RAM Cellars are pushing the boundary with s skin contact Gewurztraminer. Its not out yet, but we've been able to see some pictures and its been making our mouths water.
Lets not forget the other things happening in Oregonian wine that we could go on about
We have to turn this part into a list, or we will be going on for hours and you will switch off. Its tiring going through all these awesome wines, but somebody has to do it (meaning you, and us too)!
- Don't forget the other Pinots! Oregon may be known for Pinot Noir, but their Pinot Gris is phenomenal as well. Rarer varieties like Pinot Blanc and Pinot Meunier are also stellar wines coming out of the state.
- Cabernet Franc could give Pinot Noir a run for its money. From Jackelope, to ENSO, to RAM Cellars, Portland wineries are making incredible Cabernet Franc wines that will transport you to a new world of delight. Sometimes fruity and jammy, sometimes crisp and reminiscent of dust and gravel, but always a real treat. Open your hearts, and you will fall in love.
- Grenache Blanc is our sneaky contender for the best white wine coming out of Oregon. For those who love Chardonnay they should also look for Grenache Blanc. Oregon's cooler climate does this grape a world of good and will keep you refreshed throughout the year.
We are so excited to see more of Oregon, what it can do, and the grapes that it produces. Portland based urban wineries are crushing it by pushing the boundaries, offering people new, exciting, and freshly earthed treasures. Of course a city famous for being quirky would offer up wild wines. Would you have it any other way?