2019 Keeler Skin Contact Pinot Gris
Region: Eola-Amity Hills < Willamette Valley < Oregon
Grapes: Pinot Gris
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic, certified biodynamic wine (Demeter); volcanic basalt soils; half the fruit was whole cluster fermented and fermentation took place in open top containers. The must remained on the skins and stems for 15 days prior to racking to concrete Dolia for 7 months aging; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal So2; 11.5% ABV; 125 cases
Winemaker: Gabrielle and Craig Keeler
We've worked with Keeler's Heart Pinot Gris, their entry-level orange wine that gets just 7 days on the skins. This is the big sister, with 15 days of skin contact. From vineyards flanking the southwest slope of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, butting up to the snow-capped Cascade mountains. This area of verdant woods/forests and buckets of rain conjures up cozy alpine images -- and its wines feel just right for fall and winter drinking.
Husband-and-wife team Craig and Gabriele have been farming organic and biodynamic from the start, with the goal of creating a holistic environment that would attract insects, owls and raptors, all the better to grow grapes using organic, Demeter biodynamic, LIVE certified and Salmon Safe practices. Oregon is way ahead of Cali in terms of commitment to environmental stewardship, but this level of care and investment in all the certifications is extreme (in a very good way!) even for Oregon.
The wines are extremely good as well, especially this glowing orange Pinot Gris that was half whole-cluster fermented, spends 15 days on the skins, then ages in concrete amphora -- so it's about as astringently dry as a young wine can be. But the fruit is pretty and crunchy, with candied orange rind, peach, lemon, dried apricot and some nice fall spice. We want this vibrant PG on our dinner table (or Thanksgiving table!) - the fresh, slightly honeyed fruit and vibrant acidity pair so well with all the transitional fall flavors, and would crush anything spicy. Amazing value for certified biodynamic orange wine of this caliber!