The first time I heard of an Oregon winery making a wine with Washington State fruit, it sounded a little odd. Why would an Oregon winery buy grapes from so far away when they are smack in the middle of some of the best Pinot Noir vineyards in the world? It seems a little bit of a reach.
Then I realized that I suck at directions. There is only a four hour drive between Willamette Valley (the center of Oregon winemaking) and Columbia Valley (the center of Washington’s vineyards). That is pretty much the same distance between Napa and Paso Robles in California; that’s a trip wineries in Napa Valley like Mark Herold do every harvest.
A little bit of wine education for you: the region on the label (here it’s Columbia Valley) is where the grapes were picked. Under US law, it doesn’t matter where the winery is located. That’s one of the reasons that a Pennsylvania winery like Stone & Key Cellars can produce a wine like this:
North by Northwest is the Columbia Valley brand owned by King Estate, best known for it’s Oregon Pinot Noirs. The brand has been kicking around since 2005, but it’s making inroads into the East Coast only recently. Like many Columbia Cabernet, it’s got amazing fruit in the bottle and equally attractive price on the label.
This wine sports an attractive bouquet of cocoa, graphite, and toasted apple wood. The palate is deeply extracted with dense boysenberry notes followed by Asian five spice and a finish that turns up the sweet vanilla and plum notes. Under $20, this is a steal.