I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest the problem that people have with OregonPinot Noir, is that for the most part it tends to be quite “pricey”. With that out of the way, I’m not exactly setting myself up for success by starting this review with a slur against Oregon, so maybe I should explain myself a little deeper before I start getting angry hate-mail: It’s well reputed that Pinot Noir is already one of the more expensive and finicky grapes to grow. That’s problem #1, since Pinot is the most prized grape in Oregon. Problem #2 is the fact that the climate in Oregon doesn’t exactly always co-operate, with vineyard managers constantly being tested to ensure grapes reach the optimum levels of ripeness before picking. All these additional costs obviously add up, which in-turn get passed on to the customer…unfortunately!
A to Z market themselves as having "Aristocratic Wines at Democratic Prices" (which is a slogan I’ve always liked). In that same vein, Oregon has been having a tough few years, bearing in mind the economy, and also going back to my first point about the generally high price-point. For the last few harvests, there’s been a sizeable quantity of fruit being left on the vine unpicked, as wine distributors tighten their belts and focus on more affordable brands/regions. No doubt it’s a big shame, but I want to see some real attempts at clever marketing by the Oregon wine industry, before I start to feel too bad for them…
Founded in 2002, A to Z has grown into Oregon’s fastest growing winery.I’m pretty sure I’ve tasted through all the A to Z line, and never found a dud in the bunch. Check them out. The quality is always consistent.
All A to Z wines are bottled with a screw-cap closure, and in-fact were the first Oregon winery to bottle all of their wines with a “twisty top”, even though it’s more expensive than a cork.
Place (click map for larger image)
The name A to Z comes from the way the winery chooses to source their grapes/wine i.e. what is basically an A to Z list of 30 different wineries from all over Oregon. A to Z Wineworks will never reveal who they’re buying their juice from, in order to preserve the reputation of those wineries. These different lots of wines are then blended to achieve the taste they’re looking for.
Oregon has over 700 vineyards planted. It’s third in the United States for number of wineries, and fourth (after California, New York and Washington) in the country for gallons produced. Oregon currently has around 400 wineries (based on 2008 stats).
Wine has been part of the Oregon landscape since the 1840s, but only really gained significant momentum since the 60s. Obviously Prohibition (1920-1933) didn’t help matters too much!
Pinot Noir currently dominates (by a long-shot) in terms of vine plantings in Oregon, followed by, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling and then Cabernet.
Stewed strawberries, black cherry, very complex with spice notes of vanilla, nutmeg and subtle tree bark on the nose. The palate shows black cherries, ripe raspberries, cola and allspice. Light tannins and soft earthy tones. Lovely smooth texture that really stays with you. I feel it stays true to the Oregon style of Pinot, even though it’s such a complex blend of different vineyards. Certainly not a fruit bomb!
Often considered the ultimate food wine, you can very rarely go wrong pairing with Pinot Noir. The A to Z Pinot Noir has a terrific balance and would pair excellently with many smoked meats or sausage, also leaner meats such as veal, turkey or duck. Also give thought to dishes with complimentary ingredients such as mushrooms, truffles, rosemary, thyme, oregano, cloves, allspice and nutmeg.
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