Areté at Iris Vineyards
Willamette Valley Oregon
The philosophy of Areté comes from Ancient Greece and refers to excellence of any kind. This philosophy guides the Iris Vineyards team to endeavor to excel at constant attention to their vineyard practices, wine quality, and hospitality. Their goal is to produce fresh, fruit-forward wines that honor the land and the full potential of the grape.
When I tasted two of their wines I felt that they achieved the excellence they strive for. If I were a judge and could issue scores, they would both receive a score of 100 from me.
Willamette Valley is home to this 870-acre winery owned by husband and wife Eugene, Oregon natives, Pamela Frye and Richard Boyles.
Winemaker Aaron Lieberman’s winemaking philosophy is “to create bright, fruit-forward wines that honor their source with crisp acidity and low alcohol.”
2020 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
I tasted the 2020 Pinot Noir with a lineup of International Pinot Noirs. For me, it’s beneficial to do this, because this is an immediate way to understand wine profiles from different regions.
Pinot Noir from Oregon is very unique and different from what we have in Southern California. While the Pinots in Southern California are very bold and fruit-forward, the Pinots from Oregon are lighter and more elegant. Softer yet very flavorful. Sometimes you get forest floor sometimes it is a very floral flavor.
Another example of Arete, this Pinot Noir is perfection. The grapes came from a variety of vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Perhaps it is due to the climate conditions as 2020 was a slightly warmer year than average. It was a late-blooming year, later harvest year topped off with wildfires during the fall ripening period.
Oregon is considered by many to be the perfect area for growing Pinot Noir grapes. The Oregon Pinot Noir wines are typically light to medium-bodied with bright acidity, silky tannins and are lower in alcohol. This wine boasts complex flavors including cherry, raspberry, mushroom, and forest floor, plus vanilla and baking spices. It has a long, smooth finish that lingers in your mouth allowing you to enjoy it even longer.
This wine is super- affordable priced at $23.99 and worth every penny!
2020 Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
The fruit was whole-cluster pressed into stainless steel tanks to settle for a day before racking (winemaker speak for moving) to another stainless tank for fermentation. A week later after fermentation, it was racked again and chilled for cold stabilization (to stop the fermentation process) and prevent secondary fermentation. These practices help to produce a wine that is vibrantly acidic and fruit-forward.
This excellent wine is crisp with strong minerality and has citrus aromas along with pear and apple aromas that this varietal is known for. Due to a cool summer, the natural acidity was close to perfect with unprecedented structure and density.
And another beautiful thing about this wine is that it retails for $15.00!!