Jul 24, 2013

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In The Glass: Youngberg Hill Oregon Pinot Blanc 2012

YH Pinot Blanc and feetIt was 93 degrees in Oregon’s Willamette Valley today.  What’s a wine gal to do on a steamy hot summer day like today? It’s simple: open a Youngberg Hill 2012 Pinot Blanc, pour some into a stemless Riedel, and plant oneself into an Adirondack…shoes off, feet up.  Swirl. Sip.  Savor.  It’s the ultimate way to end a summer day.

Youngberg Hill is located in Oregon’s McMinnville AVA (a sub-AVA of the Willamette Valley), and as you may already know, it’s one of my favorite Oregon wineries.  They’ve got a beautiful Inn (which doubles as their tasting room) at the top of the vineyards with a view of the valley and surrounding mountains that is simply unmatched.  They have a total of 21 acres of vines – 16 is planted with Pinot Noir and 5 is Pinot Gris.  They don’t irrigate and they started practicing organic farming in 2003.  Youngberg Hill is currently LIVE (Low Input Viticulture Enology) certified, and they are striving towards biodynamic farming practices. Having met owner Wayne Bailey on several occasions and witnessing his passion for the vitality of the vineyards at Youngberg Hill first-hand, Wayne is serious about his “pragmatic grape growing philosophy” – an agricultural philosophy that is “seriously organic” and “holistic.”

YH Pinot BlancFruit was sourced from Yamhill Valley Vineyards, from some of the oldest Pinot Blanc vines in the Willamette Valley. Yamhill Valley Vineyards is located in the McMinnville AVA about three miles from Youngberg Hill.  2012 was an ideal year in the Willamette Valley; drier conditions than the previous two years and a warmer than average ending to the season (along with cool nights) all helped ripen the fruit beautifully while developing higher sugars – resulting in rich, complex flavors.  The oak regimen on the 2012 Pinot Blanc was 50% neutral oak (which adds depth and complexity) and 50% stainless steel (which keeps it fresh and crisp) – making this wine perfect with food {Oregon Dungeness Crab} or on its own.

Youngberg Hill 2012 Oregon Pinot Blanc ($18) ~ aromas of pineapple, pink grapefruit and fresh cut limes immediately reminded me of life in the tropics (I used to live in the Bahamas), and similar flavors were vibrant and zippy on the palate. The mouthfeel is silky and elegant, and the ending lingers beautifully with its solid acidic backbone.  This is my kind of Pinot Blanc.