Medium ruby color; red cherry, cranberry, raspberry, forest floor on the nose; cranberry, bing cherry, raspberry, blueberry, plum on the palate.
Dry; delicious; velvety tannins and balancing acidity (3.59 pH). All the fruit is estate biodynamic. Deliciousness is the adjective that dominates. This is how ethereal, Willamette Valley pinot noir is supposed to taste—refined, delicate, heavenly. This is why Miles Raymond (Sideways) was ecstatic about pinot noir, especially in the sequel novel, Vertical.
Cooper Mountain Vineyards owner Dr. Robert J. Gross is a psychiatrist, homeopath, and acupuncturist in addition to being a vineyard owner committed to organic and biodynamic farming. The enterprise began in 1978 when Dr. Gross and his wife, Corrine, planted their first pinot noir and chardonnay in the volcanic soils of Cooper Mountain. They sold grapes to other producers, then built their own winery and offered their first vintage in 1987. Today, Cooper Mountain Vineyards grows on 123 acres and produces five varietals—pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay, pinot blanc, and Tocai Friulano.
Cooper Mountain has a long history of organic, sustainable farming. Its vineyards were certified organic by Oregon Tilth in 1995 and certified biodynamic by Demeter in 1999. The winery was certified organic for operations and processing by Oregon Tilth in 2002. It became the first U.S. winery to gain label approval for a no-sulfite-added wine under new National Organic Program standards in 2002. It met the carbon neutrality challenge in 2010.
Gilles de Domingo is the winemaker. He earned a degree in oenology and viticulture from Bordeaux Aix, then worked in wineries around the world—New Zealand, Australia, South Africa—before coming to Oregon. He worked at King Estate and the Bridgeview Winery in the southern Willamette Valley before joining Cooper Mountain. Barbara Gross is the daughter of Bob and Corrine and now in charge of operations at Cooper Mountain. She earned a BS from the University of Oregon and is a graduate of the UC-Davis wine marketing program.
Cooper Mountain Vineyards Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2016 is wonderful expression of Oregon pinot noir; delicious and gentle on the palate; extremely delicious fruit—have I mentioned “delicious” enough times in this review? Pair with salmon, roast turkey, gruyère de comté cheese, trout with bacon, mushroom risotto, chicken with beurre rouge (made with pinot noir), grilled trout, wild mushrooms and polenta with goat cheese and herbs. Pinot noir can pair with almost all foods, save—maybe—very rich and heavily fat-marbled red meat.