Pale straw-gold; pineapple, jasmine, white rose, grapefruit on the nose; nectarine, melon-cantaloupe, yellow apple, grapefruit, lemon-lime, peach, hint of honey on the palate.
Dry to off-dry; the honey notes and fruitiness gives this a sweetness factor, while the grapefruit and acidity is a balancing counterpoint. Medium body. The fruit came from 30 different Oregon vineyards; individual components were fermented separately to give the winemakers palate a palette for the blending. Malolactic fermentation was blocked to push the freshness and purity of the fruit.
Today, A to Z Wineworks is Oregon’s largest winery and the top-selling Oregon wine brand. It was started in 2002 by four friends, Oregon wine industry veterans Deb Hatcher (Eyrie), Bill Hatcher (Domaine Drouhin Oregon), Sam Tannahill (Archery Summit), and Cheryl Francis (Chehalem). The two couples worked in the Hatcher’s kitchen to build the original blend, a pinot noir that was honored by Food & Wine magazine as the Best American Pinot Noir under $20. With such recognition for quality and value, A to Z wines production grew quickly, with grapes for their various varietals now coming from some 100 Oregon winegrowers. More than 85,000 cases of this pinot gris pour were made.
According to the A to Z website: “In 2006, the group welcomed another Oregon wine veteran, Michael Davies, as winemaker, and partnered with Gregg Popovich (Coach of the San Antonio Spurs) to buy REX HILL Vineyards and Winery (established in 1982). 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.”
In 2014, A to Z Wineworks became the only winery in the world certified as a B Corporation, a demonstration of deep commitment to transparency, accountability, and social, environmental and economic improvement. B corporations are to business what fair trade certification is to coffee or USDA organic certification is to milk. Certification requires meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. The goal is to redefine success in business beyond bottom line numbers. A to Z pays 100% of its workers above the local living wage and pays 100% of full-time employee health benefit programs. More than 50% of management are women or individuals from under-represented populations.
The winery’s dual mission statement is to offer “Aristocratic Wines at Democratic Prices” and deliver “The Essence of Oregon.” The efforts twice have been named one of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines of the year; this pinot gris is a perennial Best Buy. Visit their website to get the inspiring complete picture (links below).
A to Z Wineworks Oregon Pinot Gris 2016 is true to the richer French style of pinot gris, as opposed to the lighter, more citrus focus of an Italian pinot grigio (both are made with the same grape). This is easy drinking, crowd pleasing, food friendly. It is tasty enough to be a solo sipper, or pair with wide range of food—chicken (lemon chicken would be outstanding with the wine’s honey notes); spicy Asian foods; seafood, shellfish, sushi; pork; roasted vegetables; tacos; cheese pizza with veggies and pineapple toppings; Thanksgiving dinner leftovers. $14-15