2021 Mijita, Pinot Gris, Zenith Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills AVA, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
The bring and fresh, almost lighthearted skin contact Pinot Gris from Mijita is crisply focused on the palate and stays away from the funk and overtly savory elements sometimes found in orange wines, it is easy, delightful and ready to please with a mix of citrus, peach and apple fruits on the palate. The color is copper and amber in the glass and there is very delicate aromas of wet rock, fuji apple skins and fine herbs, it adds a hint of strawberry after it opens, but stays very a white wine in flavor and personality, making a nice dry example that goes nicely with picnic and or outdoor cuisine. Not overly serious and or vinous in the mouth at this stage, it is delightfully refreshing and weightless, perfect for the beach or by the pool with friends. The Mijita Zenith Vineyard Pinot Gris was skin fermented all naturally seeing hours of maceration to extract the pretty hue and was aged in used barrels for short period to preserve vibrancy and clarity of the flavors. I am excited to see what Mijita has coming in the next of releases, after trying this one, and the Gamay, which is an old world style, almost Moulin à Vent in character.
Winemaker Lizzy Esqueda’s first two wines are tiny micro releases under her Mijita Wine Co. label, featuring this skin contact Pinot Gris “orange wine” or Romato and her vibrant and charming Gamay Noir, which I really loved and reviewed back in November of 2022, both are from the 2021 vintage, which is starting to create a buzz with the Oregon natives. New on the Oregon wine scene, as noted here, Esqueda, who has been putting in the time in at Grochau Cellars, says her wines are “bright, textural wines made with grapes that are organically and sustainably farmed.” Her single vineyard Gamay comes from from young vines at Abbey Road Farm Vineyard in Yamhill-Carlton, set on marine sediment soils, similar to what is found at the famous Zenith site, and made in a transparent and open style. Pinot Gris, along with true Gamay Noir, are big hits in Oregon these days and the grapes thrives here with many outstanding examples from which to choose, and these skin contact versions are taking off. There’s a lot new stuff going on in Oregon, especially in the Willamette Valley, and a whole new generation of young women winemakers, like Lizzy Esqueda and Jessica Wilmes of Fair Moon Wine, who are creating fun and unique wines and who are exploring lesser known varietals and natural winemaking, and it is a great time to explore there latest stuff.
($28 Est.) 88 Points, grapelive