Pair This: LaVelle Vineyards Willamette Valley 2013 Pinot Gris and a 1956 Austin-Healey
LaVelle Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery and vineyard located in Oregon’s southern Willamette Valley just outside the city of Eugene. It’s the oldest bonded winery in the area, bonded in 1972. Vines on the property range in age from 40-years-old to just recently planted and consist of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Riesling.
Founder Doug LaVelle and his winemaker son, Matthew, work closely together to bring the South Willamette Valley a diverse selection of stellar wines from their estate vineyards in the Willamette Valley; as well as, sourcing fruit from Columbia Valley for some bigger, bolder wines and California for a Sauvignon Blanc. They even offer a couple wines from other regions of the world (an Italian Barbera D’Asti and an Argentinean Chardonnay) to give their loyal group of regulars a varied selection of wine.
They’ve got a Tap Room, with wine and beer on tap in town that offers a good selection of food, wine and beer. At their vineyard location in super small town Elmira, Oregon, is the winery, a tasting room, a unique labyrinth and plenty of lawn space for concerts, dinners and eclectic events that go on all summer long, with a select few happening during the fall, winter and spring months. Most recently, I attended their European Sports Car Show, where the well manicured grounds were covered with classics from staggeringly gorgeous 1950s era Austin-Healey’s and MGs to brand new Lamborghini’s and Lotuses – a sports car enthusiast’s dream.
Also a wine enthusiast’s dream (as I walked around oohing and ahhing over the sports car beauties), I sipped a deliciously well balanced LaVelle Vineyards Willamette Valley 2013 Pinot Gris. Aromas of honeysuckle, dried fruits (like papaya, mango and pineapple) were topped off with a hint of banana and citrus zest. All the fruit forward flavors were rounded out incredibly well by mid-palate subtle acidity that in turn gives it a beautifully smooth finish. It’s juicy and light in the mouth, with a truly appealing tropical flare. The urge to jump into a sky blue 1956 Austin-Healey, with its top down, was hard to resist. I would have loved to get a ride around the property while, yes, sipping the delicious Pinot Gris. Albeit, that couldn’t actually take place, but a wine gal can dream! The two would have been a perfect pairing.
With all the tropical goodness in the Pinot Gris, a few weeks later we ended up taking a bottle with us to enjoy at the Oregon Coast during our annual summer coastal camping trip. We go to the same campground and set up our pop-up camper in the same spot every year, and it’s never short of pure bliss. The wine we choose to take on our annual wine and food-centric camping trips are always well thought out, and as we sat fireside from our site and watched the sun set out over the Pacific Ocean, we were absolutely content sipping the delectable LaVelle 2013 Pinot Gris. All that was missing was the Austin-Healey.
Visit the Lavelle Vineyards Facebook page to keep up with their year round events and vineyard happenings here.