Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 26, 2018

2017 Kelley Fox Wines, Pinot Blanc, Freedom Hill Vineyard, Coast Range, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
This impressive white, 100% Pinot Blanc, from Kelley Fox reveals elegant white Burgundy character and finesse, it comes from one of Oregon’s most prized vineyards, Freedom Hill, a site revered for Pinot Noir with many famous wines being made from this site’s grapes, but in recent vintages the Pinot Blanc from here has really shined, especially this one! Planted back in 1982, Freedom Hill is one of the top vineyards in the Willamette Valley set into the coastal range, which is cooler, but with great exposures making for wonderfully complex Pinot Noir(s) like those of Mark Vlossak of St. Innocent and Ken Wright, but it also has some of America’s best Pinot Blanc vines too and Kelley Fox just released her exciting version. In the past few years, I think Pinot Blanc has taken over as Oregon’s best single varietal white wine, with the wines of the mentioned Ken Wright and John Paul’s at Cameron Winery convincing me of such, so I was thrilled to get a few bottles of Fox’s 2017 to taste, and I was not disappointed, this is a glorious example, full of personality, energy and depth of flavors. Kelley Fox’s Pinot Blanc from Freedom Hill Vineyard in Dallas (bordering the Eola-Hills A.V.A.) was planted, owned and is farmed by the legendary growers, the Dusschee family. The soil here is Bellpine, a marine sedimentary silt, clay and loam that is very well-drained which helps with concentration and depth. This is (a) true, as mentioned, 100% Pinot Blanc, with absolutely no Auxerrois in this bottling, and it was produced much the same way as one would produce a fine white Burgundy style Chardonnay, as it was whole cluster-pressed after picking, then It was settled in tank for a couple of days before racking to neutral (no new) Burgundy oak barrels (of 228L size). The Fox Pinot Blanc fermented completely in these barrels un-inoculated, meaning it was allowed to finish with full malos and to full dryness for a medium/full bodied wine with textural pleasure and rich detail, while still preserving enough natural acidity to be vibrant and mineral driven with a crisp focus. Beautifully detailed and textural throughout the palate unfolds with layers of apple, peach and lemon fruits along with hints of fig, vanilla, a hint of dried herbs, white citrus blossoms, honeycomb and wet stones, making for an opulent wine that excels with air in the glass, it’s light golden/yellow hue adding a visual highlight and all the while staying focused, classy stuff this. I have been tasting through the latest set of Kelley Fox’s offerings and these are truly great wines, this Pinot Blanc is one of her best, but don’t miss out on her thrilling whole cluster Ahurani Pinot Noir 2016 either, both gorgeously expressive and outstanding values, absolutely world class.
($30 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive