“How do you select your Direct To You wines?” is a question I’ve been asked many times as a wine & spirits specialist here at ABC Fine Wines & Spirits. Although I knew the basic answer, only after becoming a wine & spirits supervisor do I really know the process intimately. As with nearly everything else at ABC, it’s a team effort, and I’m proud to be a part of the “Wine Team.” Recently I was tasked with sourcing new wines from New York State (see my last blog about Wagner wines) and a new Pinot Noir from Oregon, which became our newest Direct To You wine: The Portland Wine Project PDX Pinot.
Sometimes we seek out wine producers and sometimes they seek us out when we are looking to create a new Direct To You wine. Often it’s just a call from an old friend who has found a new source of great juice and is interested in creating a wine particularly for us. This is what happened when Athena Pappas, of Boedecker and Pappas wines, reached out to us with an idea for a new Oregon Pinot Noir, from Willamette Valley, in the impressive 2014 vintage.
I believe Athena came up with the name “Portland Wine Project PDX Pinot” just before we tried the wines. Our team went through about four winery samples to find the right product for our stores. Then our Purchasing Department finalizes the label and name, making sure it’s available to us and not already used. Then we look at pricing and quantities to order for all of our stores, while considering which stores should carry it. I was sent an early rendition of the label and loved its elegant simplicity, and the team agreed. PDX was also memorable, the airport code for Portland, and we hope to expand the line into Oregon whites as well. All in all, it was a team effort and we’re proud of creating this new Direct To You wine.
In my glass I notice a light ruby-garnet color that is a little transparent as we expect with the Pinot Noir grape. Bright cherry and loamy earth scents jump out of my glass, as if I’m eating those cherries in a musty wine cellar. Tart acid dominates on the palate with red currants and pomegranate rolling off of my tongue. There is a strong minerality of slate and chalk, which creates a long finish. Smoky white pepper emerges after a little airing, along with subtle floral notes like violets and lilacs. There is an earthy richness on the finish without being fully Burgundian. Velvety soft tannins coat my mouth finding balance between fruit and acid notes. This is very classic Oregon Pinot, with a foot in both New and Old Worlds, not quite the same as its California cousin fruit bombs, nor as its rustic French ancestors.
Pinot Noir is one of those grapes that just pairs perfectly with a cheeseboard as it can accompany a number of different styles of cheese. The cheese mellows the inherent acidity in Pinot Noir while the fruit acids soften some of the stinkier properties of certain cheeses. I’d pair this wine with any of our brie options, the Emi Van Gogh Aged Gouda. Spanish Iberico, and our Amish Buttermilk Blue Cheese. Cheers!
Daniel Eddy, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits Wine & Spirits Supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @abcWineDanE