Oregon’s Pike Road Winery has more than 20 partner vineyards in the Willamette area, using those grapes to produce a huge range of bottlings from numerous AVAs in the region. We were fortunate to recently try three new releases. Let’s dig in.
2020 Pike Road Chardonnay Willamette Valley – A delightful chardonnay with all the fixins: fresh apple, lemon curd, orange cream, and a touch of tropicality — guava, mainly — on the finish. Very light vanilla notes indicate someone had a deft touch with the barrel. Hints of fresh herbs add some complexity to an otherwise exuberantly sunny and fruit-forward palate, though the spice-laden kick doesn’t ever come close to dominating. The finish, however, finds a floral/grassy balance that feels both cleansing and adds a pleasing, moderate complexity. Outstanding value. A / $18
2021 Pike Road Pinot Gris Willamette Valley – Pretty and floral, with notes of honeysuckle, green apple, melon, and sweet clover honey all in a swirl. As with the chardonnay, there’s a tropical element here, more on the pineapple bent, pairing well with the floral qualities of the wine. A gentle bitterness on the finish helps to temper some of the wine’s exuberance and bring it into balance, though there’s so much bright fruit here that the wine will certainly not disappoint anyone looking for a summertime “porch pounder” experience. B+ / $16
2019 Pike Road Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard – This Yamhill pinot noir bottling has a stronger earth-heavy bent than the typical Oregon bottling, giving it some gravity and heft. Notes of charred brassicas and some oak give weight to the darker fruit core of black cherries and black raspberries. Some meatier notes on the finish distract on their own; this wine shows best when paired with a meal. B+ / $50