12 Days of Oregon Pinot Noir – Day 3: A to Z Wineworks
On the home page of the A to Z Wineworks website, I’m instantly drawn to their featured quote, “We are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence. We are not at all interested in just being good.”
A to Z Wineworks has an interesting history. Founded in 2002 by four friends who just happened to be associated with four of some of Oregon’s most well-known and well-established wineries; such as, Archery Summit, Chehalem, Eyrie and Domaine Drouhin Oregon, the goal of A to Z Wineworks was to build a brand with dependable quality that would be offered at a great value. Achieving their goal with recognized and applauded success allowed them to grow production while maintaining their quality and value.
In 2006, the four friends welcomed an additional Oregon wine veteran, Michael Davies, as winemaker, and they partnered with the Coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich, to purchase the existing REX HILL Vineyards and Winery (established in 1982). Rex Hill and A to Z share state-of-the-art facilities located in Newberg, Oregon. It’s noted on the A to Z website, “A to Z has worked with more than 100 vineyards across the state always offering assistance for sustainability certification that the group expects to be achieved within three years of partnering. Today, A to Z has two viticulturists on staff and uses biodynamic principles to farm all owned or long-leased vineyards.”
The 2014 A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir is just $19 dollars a bottle. With a name that suggests their wines are, indeed, blended from many vineyards across the state (after all – they do work with more that 100 vineyards), Davies’ winemaking talents shine when the perpetual balance of this Pinot Noir is exposed. Ripe tannins and solid, vibrant acidity round out the mix of red and black fruits like cranberry, raspberry, blackberry and even a hint of blueberry. Cola and violets on the palate are highlighted by earth and minerals that beautifully add just the right amount of complexity and depth. This is a super easy-drinking wine – it’s medium bodied, fresh, balanced and just waiting to be paired with a myriad of foods.
When asked about the 2014 A to Z Pinot Noir, Davies states, “Our goal is to offer wines that present the Essence of Oregon: quality wine expressing a specific vintage for a specific varietal in Oregon. We want A to Z wines to serve as a perfect introduction to Oregon wines by offering a quality experience for a good value, stimulating a interest in Pinot noir and Oregon wine.”
Tip for visitors to Oregon: Rex Hill is where you’ll find A to Z (there’s a big Rex Hill sign that’s visible from the main road), and with their unique approach to offering an unparalleled experience filled with multiple components, from aromatics to education, a winery tour is highly recommended and should be booked in advance by calling Rex Hill. It’s an experience that out-of-town visitors won’t soon forget and should most certainly not miss.