Sadly, we don’t see a lot of Oregon wine here in Ontario. If you go to the LCBO website and type “Oregon” into the search box, you’ll find a grand total of six wines; if you refine this product search with an “advanced search” for “USA – Oregon” you’ll come up with 70 listings, but that includes wines that are no longer available, available online only, discontinued products, whiskeys and beers. Conversely, the same search for “California” will bring up close to 700 products – and looking around the LCBO’s shelves I would say most of them are still available. So to see a wine from Oregon is a bit of a treat… and something other than a Pinot Noir is an even bigger one (as that seems to be all the LCBO brings in from Oregon). So isn’t it thrilling to see an Oregon-based wine coming onto the general list shelves of the liquor monopoly, and – surprise, surprise – it’s not a Pinot Noir. The premium Pinot Noir producer Sokol Blosser has two wines that have broken that barrier: Evolution and Meditrina – a white and red blend respectively – and both under $20.
These wines are non-vintage blends – which means they are made for style and are not to be hampered by vintage variations in weather. The grapes, I also surmise from the literature found online, don’t all come from Oregon, but they are blended and made right there in the “We Love Dreamers” State. Evolution is in its 15th Edition and is a blend of nine (yes, I said nine) different grapes: Pinot Gris, Müller-Thurgau, White Riesling, Sémillon, Muscat Canelli, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Sylvaner… seems like a bad pun to say “that’s a mouthful” but it is. The nose is floral, tangerine, pear, honey, peach and I’m sure you’ll be able to pick out a few more – heck, with all those grapes in there, you could spend all day giving an answer to the question: “What do you smell?” The palate is also fruit-filled with mac apple pear taking charge, along with some floral and honey sweetness. This is a perfect wine to remember that summer is around the corner – even on the coldest day of winter.
The red wine is named after the Roman Goddess of Wine and Health, Meditrina, an interesting blend of “west coast grapes.” Sokol Blosser takes their beloved Pinot Noir (looking at their website they currently have six different bottlings of this grape, all from different vineyards) and add Syrah and Zinfandel. The result is a wine with a pleasant inviting nose and a palate that screams “feed me.” Aromas of plum, cherry, raspberry and red licorice are followed on the palate by Pinot’s earthiness along with plum, black cherry, cassis and cranberry. That cranberry element brings along with it the acidity that makes this a wonderful food pairing wine… and one should not forget the tannins which are not intrusive but do carry the wine along to its tasty finish.
Sokol Blosser Evolution – $16.95, #206870 (***½ = Good)
Sokol Blosser Meditrina – $16.95, #206888 (**** = Very Good)