Approaching the charming lodge-style tasting room at the La Velle Vineyards in the trees we marveled that there were grapevines in the forests; a foreign concept to us in the High Desert eastern side of Washington (and Oregon). Off of the parking lot, in the lower gardens is a labyrinth; I want one in my yard someday.
Micaela, Wine Club & Special Events Manager, poured for us. Explaining that La Velle is primarily known for its Riesling as we tasted first Pinot Gris and then, to our astonishment, a 2013 White Pinot Noir before getting to the Riesling; all lovely. I had no idea Pinot Noir was made in a still white style! This is a very pale pink, well-balanced and fruit forward wine. Our journey to discover Oregon Pinot Noir had just provided another pleasant twist!
Onto the reds, we began with a 2011 Four Brothers Pinot Noir (Clones 115, 117, 777 & Pommard) summed up as plums, quite nice. Winemaker Matthew’s Reserve, also 2011, is Clone 777; darker fruit came to mind, but I didn’t find it as nice as the Four Brothers. Moving onto the 2010 NW Duet, 50% each of Pinot Noir and Malbec, we tasted granny smith apples, pie cherries and some citrus. The remaining reds are produced with Washington fruit (the Malbec was too); it was interesting to me to note many differences in style from the wines we typically taste from the same vineyards in Washington.
We finished with a semi-sweet Riesling with a moderate body and nice acid balance. A delightful end to this informative tasting. I can see why La Velle has a reputation for Riesling; both the dry and the semi-sweet are great wines. We learned a bit more about the Pinot Noir wines and took home a White Pinot Noir as well as a Four Brother’s. Sharing the bottle we brought home with friends over the Fourth of July weekend we realized we should have taken home more of the White Pinot Noir.