One of the largest production wineries and production facilities in Oregon,with perhaps the most recognized is that of King Estate Winery in Eugene Oregon. I find it amazing that after many years living here, I had never been to the King Estate Winery, one of the few in fact here in Oregon that I hadn’t personally visited. But today that is no longer true, as I have visited “The King”.
Driving through the impressive gate, up the long road through the vineyards, suddenly there it was, as massive stone building, the King Estate Winery. It looked just like the pictures, however as I got nearer, it dwarfed my memory in size. This is a massive beautiful and stunning building. Sitting like a citadel at over 1000 feet above sea level, the views are spectacular, even in the dead of winter, with wisps of fog floating down below.
This impressive winery has only been in operation 21 years and has become most famous for their Pinot Gris, of which it produces and sell over 200,000 cases annually. King Estate Pinot Gris can be found at some of the most impressive restaurants throughout the United States. The estate consists of a total 1,033 acres, with 470 acres in organic vines along with about 30 acres in fruit orchards. They also produce their own vegetables, for use in their restaurant,
When you enter the Visitors Center, you will be greeted by the staff, who will assist you on either a guided tour followed by a tasting tour of wines in the tasting room, or just the tasting. I was actually signed up for a tour of the production facilities, which was very informative, as well as impressive. It took approximately a half an hour, and is well worth your time.
Returning I was ushered into the tasting room, and proceeded to work my way through the white and red flights of King Estate wines. Now I must say that I am a big fan of King Estate Pinot Gris, and not only will order it quite often in restaurants, but also keep a stock in my wine cellar. What made me fall for this white was the crispness, clarity and fruit, which is fermented in stainless steel only. That being said, was I ever surprised when I was served their Paradox Pinot Gris, fermented in stainless, then aged in French oak barrels, (new and neutral) for 16 months. I first noticed the golden color, and after a quick swirl and sniff, found a pleasant aroma of vanilla, pear, nutmeg and possibly lemon. My first sip awarded me with a rush of peach, spice, pineapple and lemon, with crispness and light lengthy tannin finish.
Another surprise and well worth a taste, and a case to take home is their Blanc de Gris and Blanc de Noirs. These are touted by the winery as great for the holidays, but my bottles are in the wine cellar, for any evening by the fireplace, or a summer afternoon on the deck. My tasting notes tell me the Blanc de Noirs awarded me a very lengthy apple/spice finish followed by a “pleasure sound” coming from deep within my throat, and of course a rather large smile.
Moving on to their Pinot Noirs, the two that really perked up my senses were the 2009 Blackjack 777 Dijon Clone and their 2009 Domaine Pinot Noir Block 4C Clone 538. Both of these are excellent representatives of Oregon Pinot Noir in the finest state, in my opinion. They each showed the layered fruit, the depth and length I look for in a great Pinot Noir. A few of these also traveled home to my wine cellar, and when stocking my shelves with the booty of my weekend, I decided it just might be time to stay home a bit, and open some of my wine wines, beginning with King Estate.
Drink wine responsibly, and often!