The Dundee Hills is known globally for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and sparkling wines. But did you know the same attention to detail in winemaking, high quality grapes and perfect climate make it the ideal setting for some lesser-known but incredibly delicious white wine varietals? Spend the summer discovering Melon de Bourgogne, Müller-Thurgau, White Pinot Noir and other bright, refreshing and delicious wines in the hills! This is definitely the moment to add a new favorite to your cellar!
Our winemakers love working with these grapes, some of which are the first to be harvested each summer. We asked them what makes these varietals so special and they had plenty to say.
In warm years Pinot Gris will develop a richness, even an oily texture. In cooler years like 2019, the Pinot Gris from Dundee Hills has bright, crisp acidity. Generous growing conditions allow winemakers to pick at various points in the season if they wish, creating diverse styles of wines.
Our Pinot Gris winemaking is simple, and develops as the season and wine develops. Hand harvested, whole cluster press, fermented in mostly stainless steel, but we will use neutral French oak barrels to add texture and complexity to the final blend.” – Tim Jones, The Four Graces
“Each year I become more enamored of our Pinot Blanc. The combination of racy acidity and low alcohol with the texture and mouthfeel from clay and neutral wood fermentation makes this wine both fresh and light for the dog days of Summer and weighty enough for meals requiring more gravitas. Ready to drink now, the 2019 Pinot Blanc will also age for years in your cellar.”-Bill Sweat, Winderlea Vineyard and Winery
“Riesling is considered by many wine collectors to be the most noble of white wine grapes, and is known for expressing the soils on which it is grown. In the mostly volcanic soils of the Dundee Hills, the expressions range from stone fruit (apricot, peach) in warmer years, to crisper flavors (citrus, kiwi) in cool vintages. These wines are very food versatile and pair well with a range of cheeses and cuisines.
While some Riesling blocks were removed over the years in favor of varietals that generate more income for wineries, the Dundee Hills are still blessed with several very old blocks of Riesling, planted as early as the 1970’s, from which mostly dry Rieslings are produced, along with a smattering of off-dry and desert style wines.” – Bill Holloran, Holloran Vineyard Wines
White Pinot Noir
“White Pinot Noir is 100% Pinot Noir (yes… it’s the exact same grape variety used to make your favorite red wine!). It is made via meticulous handling to mitigate any influence from the grape’s skins. We utilize strictly the “Heart” of the pressing, with low pressures, and no rolling of the press. The Dundee Hills’ lower pigments and unique conditions deliver a truly white wine, having bright acidity, a core of minerality, and a distinct stone fruit, chamomile, and honey perfume.” – Tom Fitzpatrick at Élevée Winegrowers
Melon de Bourgogne
Meet De Ponte Cellars, the only melon de Bourgogne producer in the Dundee Hills
“The melon de Bourgogne vines were planted at De Ponte in 1975 – we still have the original 3 acres of original vines (previous head trained) and have since interplanted with new melon de Bourgogne vines. The wine is an absolute favorite of our customers – always vibrant, crisp and refreshing year after year. We also have been producing a traditional method sparkling with these grapes, it is another fantastic representation of the grape in a totally new format.” – Suzanne Baldwin Oliver, De Ponte Cellars
Meet Sokol Blosser Winery, the lone producer of Müller-Thurgau in the Dundee Hills
“Müller-Thurgau is a work horse varietal in Germany and the thinking these days is that it’s a cross between two types of Riesling. With early ripening and a big crop, it works well for the Willamette Valley! It’s a light and fruity wine, and tends to be on the low end for alcohol. Müller-Thurgau is the first thing we pick at Sokol Blosser, and it produces a lovely white wine with some nice apple and fresh pear nuances to it.” – Alex Sokol Blosser, Sokol Blosser Winery
Meet Native Flora, the single producer of Pinot Gouges in the Dundee Hills (and the world!)
“Pinot Gouges is the latest natural, spontaneous mutation of Pinot Noir. In 1936, a single vine in a Burgundy vineyard owned by Henri Gouges mutated from black grapes to white grapes. Fascinated, Henri cut, grafted and propagated it. It now grows in two places – its birthplace in Nuit St. George and Native Flora. With approximately 12 acres in the world, it is rare and unique, tasting like no other white wine. Native Flora produces “Jumping Ship” – the only wine in the world labeled “Pinot Gouges”. – Scott Flora, Native Flora