Some wines from an Oregon label I wasn’t familiar with came my way the other day, and while I haven’t finished tasting through them, the first two were standouts. They were from Vista Hills Vineyard & Winery, a family-owned property that has been operating for 15 years. Vista Hills is growing pinot noir and pinot gris on 42 acres in the Dundee Hills in the Willamette Valley. Along with its own winemaker, Dave Petterson, Vista Hills uses “guest winemakers” from the region to craft its wines. Its 2008 “Treehouse” Pinot Noir, $28, is a lovely, balanced wine with moderate 14.2 percent alcohol. The overall impression is one of elegance rather than power, the style more Burgundian than American brawn that has become so fashionable in pinot noir. The tastes suggest raspberry, black cherry and tea with nuanced oak and good balancing acidity. A pleasure to sip.
Also notable is the 2008 “Treehouse” Pinot Gris, $18, a fresh and vibrant wine loaded with tropical fruit, including pineapple and mango, lemon and lime peel. Alcohol, again, is modest at just 12. 5 percent. (Wines received as press samples.)
Separately today, The New York Times has an interesting look at the growing movement toward organic winemaking in the Willamette Valley.