King Estate Winery is located southwest of Eugene, Ore. The winery was founded in 1991 by Ed King, Jr. and his son, Ed King III. The estate itself, at 1,033 acres, is Oregon Tilth Certified Organic and includes 465 acres of vineyards, as well as 30 acres of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Matt Kramer of The Oregonian and Wine Spectator considers King Estate the benchmark producer of Pinot gris in the country.
In addition, King Estate bottles highly regarded Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In 2005 they expanded into Washington with the NxNW label. Here’s the skinny on a few wines from this stalwart producer:
2011 Domaine Pinot Gris, $26.00
King Estate’s Domaine wines are made exclusively with organically grown grapes from ther estate vineyard. Each vintage reflects the unique terroir of this special piece of earth. One of America’s finest white wines, the Domaine Pinot Gris is 100 percent steel tank fermented and sur lie aged for an extended period of time. The result is a complex nose with aromas of nectarine, vanilla, honeydew, key lime, papaya, mango, lychee, apricot, honey, clover blossoms and guava. Flavors of white peach, grapefruit, melon, star fruit, pineapple and lychee are nicely balanced by crisp acidity on the finish.
2009 Domaine Pinot Noir, $65.00
The winery’s Domaine Pinot Noir is produced in very limited quantities and exemplifies what Oregon Pinot Noir can be when quality is championed above all considerations. Opens with strawberry, brambleberry and plum aromas colored by spicy touches mocha, caramel, hazelnut, sweet raisin and rose petal. On the palate, ripe raspberry and cherry play against tangy cranberry and orange citrus. The wine has a soft entry and a long, viscuous finish.
2012 Signature Pinot Gris, $16.99
King Estate’s signature series is based on a core of organically grown estate fruit with additional fruit sourced from sustainably grown vineyards throughout the Willamette Valley. This wine opens with floral notes of grapefruit, honeydew melon and lime. The palate is filled with lemon, lime, green apple, peach and pineapple fruit flavors with a hint of spice.
2011 Signature Pinot Noir, $26.00
You get toast, oak, black cherry, baking spice, leather, pomegranate and grapefruit on the nose with ripe raspberry flavors backed by touches of eucalyptus and tobacco leaf. Soft tannins come through on the lingering finish.
2012 Acrobat Rosé, $11.99
Grown responsibly in the gorgeous hills and valleys of Western Oregon, the value-priced Acrobat label spotlights wines that work wonderfully with food of all kinds but are equally satisfying on their own. This stainless steel fermented rosé of Pinot Noir offers candied apple and lime on the nose that gives way to raspberry and red pear with notes of wild strawberries, wet limestone and passion fruit. On the palate, red pear and black plum are complemented by pomegranate and cherry pie, finishing with gala apple.
2011 NxNW Riesling, $12.99
North by Northwest represents wines made from inland grape growing appellations of the Columbia River Basin of Oregon and Washington. The NxNW winemakers have developed
strong, creative relationships with growers and fellow winemakers in the Columbia River Appellation and throughout the northwest viticultural region, leading to this richly textured wine from the Horse Heavens Hills AVA. Aromas of peach, jasmine, clover and graham cracker segue into flavors of apricot, mango, lychee, lemon meringue and citrus. The finish is lush and round with balancing acidity.
2012 NxNW Chardonnay, $13.99
Made with hand-harvested grapes that are whole cluster pressed, slow fermented and sur lie aged five months. The wine is aged in 20 percent new French oak, resulting in a wine with pear and red apple aromas colored by vanilla and lightly toasted oak. That toast and vanilla comes through on the palate along with peach and tropical fruit with a hint of toffee.