A last minute Tweet to me, asking if I’d like to try some Oregon Pinots, was all I needed to get me to Raincity Grill to try the wines of Amity Vineyards paired with expertly crafted entrees. Our pinot passionate speaker was Myron Redford, President & Senior Winemaker of Amity Vineyards.
Myron was originally from Seattle and was trained in wine making. He travelled to Europe and was introduced to Pinot Noir. In 1974 a winery in Oregon was available for sale. With the help of his mother, $15,000 secured his ownership of what is now Amity Vineyards. The vines were not originally Pinot Noir or Pinot Blanc, but would be over time. Myron was one of the people on a review board analyzing various clones of Pinot Noir and how they thrived and the type of wines they produced in Oregon. With this knowledge, he selected those clones that would show pinots potential in Oregon, and at his winery.
Our first pairing for the evening was House Cured Wild Sockeye Salmon, barigoule vegetable salad with Amity Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc 2008. The Pinot Blanc was bright in the glass of a medium lemon colour. Red delicious apple with some citrus aromas. Medium body, dry on the palate but with a roundness to it. More red delicious apple and lemon flavours. High acidity and a bit of sweet spice. This was a nice pairing with the lower acidity of the salad being complemented by the higher acidity of the wine.
The second pairing was Thiessen Farms Quail Terrine (bacon wrapped country-style terrine, house-made brioche and cranberry compote) with Amity Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2008. This pinot was deep ruby in colour. Nice nose. Light cherry, raspberry, violets and vanilla aromas. Medium body. Round with spice, cherries, and violets flavours up front and nice acidity, followed by vanilla on the mid-palate. Long length. This is one of Amity’s larger quantities of Pinot Noir, with 4000 cases produced. The grapes come from 7 different vineyards. The grapes are kept separate when picked and are fermented and aged separately. Finally these separate wines are blended to produce the final wine. The terrine was exquisite with the smokiness of the bacon and the savoriness of the terrine complementing the acidity and violet aromas and flavours of this wine.
Our third pairing was Nicola Valley Bison Flat Iron with plum jus, ‘helmers’ fondant potatoes, hazelnuts, and green beans with Amity Vineyards Winemakers Reserve Pinot Noir 2007. This wine is the top wine from Amity Vineyards. Barrel selected from the best barrels to drink in the future. This wine is not meant to be consumed yet. Full enjoyment comes with patience; 10 years if possible. The 2007 vintage has just been released and for the first time has 40% new oak. Past vintages used older, more neutral barrels for aging. This wine truly was a step above of the previous wine. Deep ruby red in colour. Violet, vanilla, and raspberries on the nose. Later on in the glass you picked up some strawberry leaf and smokiness. Lots of vanilla and vanilla up front. Hot and spicy mid-palate. Dry with tannins and astringency now, which should fade with aging. Medium length. Round with light body and soft tannins. Protein loves tannins in red wine, and the dark gaminess of the bison paired nicely with this Pinot Noir, making both a bit softer.
Our final pairing was dessert. Honey roasted apricot tart tatin with thyme ice cream paired with Amity Vineyards Late Harvest Estate Riesling 2007. This wine was made with botrytis affected grapes, which imparts a honey or marmalade flavour to the wine. This wine was light pear coloured. Petrol, peaches, and honey aromas. Good acidity on the palate with peaches, honey and petrol flavours. Medium body with long length. A tasty wine. The apricots in the tart tatin were very flavourful with the acidity of the late harvest Riesling adding additional lively complexity to this dessert.
You should be able to find the Amity Vineyards wines in the private liquor stores in Vancouver. Enjoy.