By Mark Jacklich, Wine Steward at Bentley’s Grill
With the new year upon us we all are looking to make a little change. That being said, we have two new additions to our wines by the glass list at Bentley’s Grill.
Mahonia 2009 Pinot Gris
Our first new wine comes from Mahonia Vineyards in the form of Pinot Gris. The South Salem Vineyard was first planted by founder and owner John Miller in 1985, over the hearty and volcanic Jory and Nekia soils of the Vineyard site.
The name “Mahonia” comes from our state flower Mahonia aguifolium, commonly called Oregon grape because of its cluster of blue berries. With focus on sustainability and support of local community programs, it was easy to get on board.
The Mahonia 2009 Pinot Gris spends half of its time in barrel and the other half in conventional stainless steel. This gives the gris a soft, lush mouth-feel and added weight while still letting the true varietal characteristics show. Aromas of apple, pear, citrus, and orange blossom persist through a clean, crisp palate with subtle notes of vanilla.
Wildaire Cellars 2009 Tempranillo
The other addition comes in form of a varietal that seems to be picking up speed as of late in Oregon. Sourced from Folin Vineyard in Southern Oregon’s Rouge Valley AVA, Wildaire Cellars 2009 Tempranillo hits the palate with a smooth entry that gives way to a wash of firm tannins that meld with flavors of currants, plums, and vanilla.
Tempranillo is considered the noble grape of Spain and is traditionally used in producing Rioja. The Tempranillo grape is a thick, black skinned varietal that does well in high elevation and warmer weather. With Folin Vineyard set 1300 to 1450ft elev. coupled with the warmer climate of Southern Oregon this varietal thrives in the silty clay and sandy clay loams in which it is planted.
With both of these wines being approachable and a little away from the norm, I encourage you to expand your palate whether you are a casual wine drinker or a seasoned “cork-dork” like myself.