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WIDWD: A Pair of Evesham Woods

What I Drank With Dinner (WIDWD)

With each of bottle of Evesham Wood wine enjoyed at our table, I am becoming a more devout fan of this Oregon producer. Back in October, I opened an Evesham Wood 2006 Pinot Noir and was quickly taken with this wine along with their story. So it was with some anticipation that I opened two bottles of Evesham Wood during the week, a 2005 Le Putis Sec Pinot Noir and a 2006 Blanc du Puits Sec Pinot Gris/Gewurztraminer.

Both wines are comprised of fruit from Evesham Wood's estate vineyard, Le Puits Sec, which is French for "the dry well". This is fitting not only for the dry well on their 12 acre site, but also for the fact that Evesham Wood practices dry farming in the vineyard (only natural precipitation waters the grapes). And no surprise that they are charter members of the Deep Roots Coalition (DRC), a group that practices natural methods in the vineyard and cellar. Le Puits Sec is certified organic by Oregon Tilth and vineyard practices follow a biodynamic approach.

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The '05 Le Putis Sec Pinot Noir (13%) was served with a delicious mushroom risotto, which is one of Kari's specialties. The medley of mushrooms comprised of porcini, shitake, crimini, and wood ear varietals. This time, Kari took a page from Jamie Oliver's playbook, cooking the risotto and mushrooms separately, adding them on top of the Italian rice before serving. This provided for a more textured mushroom, as their distinctive flavors tend to get masked, if not lost altogether, when cooking in the risotto.

The Evesham Wood pinot noir was an amazing accompaniment to the mushroom risotto. The pinot had a beautiful color and on the nose brought notes of strawberry fruit and hints of earthiness. There was bright fruit on the start, with good acidity throughout, and some firm tannins on the finish. The fruit and earthiness of the wine married well with Kari's mushroom risotto.

We really enjoyed this wine. In fact, I am intent on getting another bottle or two to set down for a few years, as it should only get more elegant with age. At $30.99, this is a reasonably priced Oregon pinot noir considering the quality of the wine. Being reminded of the price, I should consider getting half a case - that much more to enjoy in the years ahead.

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The '06 Blanc du Puits Sec 85% Pinot Gris / 15% Gewurztraminer was a delicious wine, especially as a starter on several nights when Kari and I were getting various dinners together. The blend of pinot gris and gewurz offered nice floral fruit on the nose with mineral notes and crisp acidity throughout.

I seem to recall buying this at Whole Foods for around $15, which means there is hopefully more to be picked up on my next visit. With spring upon us here in Seattle, the Blanc du Puits (12.5%) will be a fun wine to enjoy on the deck outside as temperatures warm and the sunshine lasts later into the evening.

Besides enjoying Evesham Wood wines, I appreciate the story behind the who, what and where of this winery. On their web site, Mary and Russ Raney make it clear that they are focused on high quality and low quantity:

"At Evesham Wood, small is beautiful. Because it is essential for us to maintain a high level of personal involvement and quality control both in vineyard and cellar, we never intend to go much beyond our current 4,500 case annual production...At Evesham Wood it is not our objective to produce wines with mass appeal."

But it was the following statement that caught me by surprise:

"You may also notice that we don’t post wine reviews from national publications on our site. Although we do submit samples (when requested) to a few wine writers, we feel that it may be counterproductive to post their reviews, even when favorable, because the wines reviewed are more often than not already in short supply, thus forcing us to turn away some unhappy customers."

What a refreshing approach in the midst of so many wineries and winemakers who just can't talk enough about their latest positive reviews, state fair medals or 90+ point awards. I encourage you to find a bottle of Evesham Wood pinot noir and enjoy a glass of their wine with slow food and good company. But please hurry, because those 4,500 cases go fast amongst a small but loyal base of customers.


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