WINE WATCH TASTING NOTES: This wine delivers with fresh red fruit flavors, like raspberry and ripe strawberry intermixed with a touch of earth and exotic spice. There are distinctive earthy flavors of Oregon, mushroom and forest floor with a richness to the fruit on the palate and well-built structure you usually do not see with Pinot Noir at this price, notes of oak and vanilla nuances rounding out the finish. Finish 35+ TASTING DATE 9/15/19
King Estate is located southwest of Eugene, Oregon near the town of Lorane. The 550 acre Estate provides a spectacular mountain vineyard site with elevations ranging from 800 to 1,000 feet and cool prevailing northwest winds that moderate vineyard temperatures. Well-drained Bellpine and Jory soils cover gradually sloping hillsides. The Estate has 350 acres that have exceptional vineyard potential; planting of the vineyards has been underway since 1992. When completed, King Estate will have one of the most clonally diverse vineyards for Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay in North America. The majestic winery, which reflects the architectural tradition of a French château, encompasses approximately 100,000 square feet. The winery is equipped with contemporary technological advantages, including computer controlled refrigeration, along with traditional old world amenities such as an underground barrel aging cellars. King Estate Winery is a "winemaker's winery" - designed and equipped to facilitate the painstaking production methods necessary to craft the finest wines. Varietals produced include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and a tiny amount of Cabernet Sauvignon - there are both regular and reserve bottlings made of each of the three major varietals. The Estate also offers a unique culinary program with an excellent laboratory in which to experiment with countless pairings of Pinot Noir with food. Stephanie Pearl Kimmel, Culinary Director at King Estate, is currently spearheading the publication of the King Estate Pinot Noir Cookbook which is the second in a series of cookbooks that was initiated by the King Estate Pinot Gris Cookbook.
The winery is completely funded by the King family - both Ed King Jr. and his son Ed King III have played active roles in the founding and the development of the winery. Ed King Jr. was born in 1921 and was raised on his family's wheat farm near Dodge City Kansas. In 1943, after graduating from Kansas State University with a degree in electrical engineering, he worked as a designer of Navy aircraft electronics throughout World War II. In 1948 Mr. King started his first company manufacturing special components for aircraft and missiles. During the Korean Conflict that company grew to nearly 1,000 employees. It became the world's largest supplier of certain types of transformers. He sold that company in 1958 and one year later started the King Radio Corporation. King Radio designed, manufactured, and marketed navigation, communication and identification equipment, including auto-pilots and radar for both civil and military aircraft. The corporation grew to be one of the worlds foremost suppliers of electronics for private, corporate, and commercial airline aircraft. With six factories in the Kansas City area, Florida, and Singapore, the company employed 4,000 people. Mr. King sold King Radio to the Bendix Division of Allied Signal in 1985. A creative genius and true entrepreneur, Ed King, Jr. continues to hold many patents still valuable to the aircraft industry today. Mr. King was also an active pilot for forty years and flew his own jet until age 71. He is very proud to have assisted the Rutan Brothers in accomplishing their dream of circumnavigating the globe by airplane on one tank of fuel. Using King's products exclusively for navigation, flight control, and communication, their Voyager aircraft flew around the globe on one tank of fuel in 1986. The King name is proudly emblazoned on the side of the Voyager which now hangs in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Extensive travels in France and Italy fueled Mr. King's interest in fine wine. His decision to develop King Estate, made in conjunction with his son, Ed, and other family members, was born out of his love for fine wine and great entrepreneurial challenges. In 1990 Ed King III began the actual planning phase of King Estate. Tens of millions of dollars have been invested over the past six years to develop a Pinot Noir program completely focused on producing the highest possible quality Pinot Noir. Believing the world market for exceptional quality Pinot Noir will continue to grow, the family has insisted that no time, effort, or capital will be spared to insure the success of this project.
King Estate's mission is to produce varietal wines through meticulous fruit selection, impeccable winemaking practices, and judicious blending. The winery's thorough, professionally-managed grower relations program focuses on developing the highest quality fruit from many of Oregon's finest vineyards. The winery will continue to buy grapes from these carefully selected vineyards even after its own vineyards are completely planted and bearing fruit. It is felt that diversity of grape sources will help to achieve greater complexity in the wines and will assure consistency of quality across vintages. In order to craft the highest possible quality wine, each lot of grapes is vinted separately from harvest to final blending. Currently, the winery has thirty-six long term Pinot Noir contracts with outstanding Oregon vineyards. Brad Biehl, King Estate's Associate Winemaker and Director of Grower Relations, works closely with each vineyard manager to insure the highest possible quality of fruit from each vineyard. Visits are made to each vineyard at regular intervals throughout the year to monitor every phase of viticultural activity. As harvest nears, four King Estate grape samplers routinely collect fruit from each vineyard to insure that the Pinot Noir is harvested at precisely the right moment. With total commitment to delivering the harvested Pinot Noir grapes to the winery in absolutely optimal condition, King Estate even utilizes refrigerated tractor trailers to transport the precious cargo. Possibly no one else in the world goes to this level of care to protect the true essence of Pinot Noir.
The newest wine from King Estate is this entry level Pinot Noir from a selection of estate fruit and purchased fruit from select growers. Inscription is the best value in a Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley. The King family has sourced the Pinot Noir grapes for this wine from some of the most acclaimed vineyards in Oregon's Willamette Valley. This is classic Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, with lush red fruit and flavors of forest and earth - a showcase for the unique and authentic place of Oregon in the wine world. These 100% Willamette Valley Pinot Noir grapes are meticulously hand-sorted. Each lot is fermented in small batches with up to 20% whole cluster inclusion. Stainless steel fermentation with daily punch downs and pump overs is followed by malolactic fermentation. These distinct vineyard lots are barrel-aged for 8-10 months in French oak before we make the final blend. Near-perfect harvest conditions capped another outstanding growing season at King Estate. Bud break came on April 22nd followed by bloom right on time in late June. Heat spiked in August but never broke the 100-degree mark. Cooler temperatures in September and October created ideal conditions to let the fruit hang and flavors intensify. Harvest on the estate began on September 21st and ran through October 22nd, yielding 1,536 tons of fruit. Rain held off, with only trace amounts falling before the harvest was in.