left coast cellars- There's more to this property than just wine
Although the wine is freaking amazing…
Are you a west coast junkie like we are? If so, meet Left Coast Cellars.
Located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Left Coast Cellars focuses exclusively on craft wines — 134 acres of estate-grown Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Viognier, and Syrah.
Left Coast Cellars And Willamette Valley's Soil
A Quick Primer on the Willamette Valley may be in order here if you’re not familiar with it.
The history of wine in the Willamette Valley dates back to the 1800s. The first wineries in the region were established by German and Swiss immigrants who were looking for a new place to grow their grapes.
The Willamette Valley is located in the northwestern corner of Oregon, and its cool climate and volcanic soils make it ideal for growing pinot noir. The region has become one of the most important wine-producing regions in the United States.
Left Coast Cellars is certified LIVE sustainable (essentially, this means they use fewer and less toxic pesticides and fertilizers). This is Oregon, after all. I’d be surprised if they weren’t some flavor of sustainable-organic-biodynamic.
Oregon pinots are characterized by bright fruit flavors, earthy notes, and silky tannins.
Some of Oregon’s most famous pinot noir producers include Willamette Valley Vineyards, Beaux Freres, and Domaine Serene. Oregon pinot noirs are perfect for pairing with food, and they also age well.
Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are the most widely planted red and white grapes in Oregon, and two of my all-time favorite varieties.
Oregon Pinot Gris is downright sublime, perhaps not quite as swoony as Alsace, but it bears no resemblance to the insipid bulk Pinot Grigio that drains out of Italy.
I adore Pinot Noir in any of its terroiristic styles. But Oregon Pinot Noir is unique (to my palate, anyway) in that it’s a Goldilocks wine. It’s earthier and less overtly fruity than California Pinot (not as much sunshine in Oregon), but not quite as earthy and funky as Burgundy. It’s just right.
Left Coast Winery's Hiking Trails
At Left Coast Cellars there are over two miles of hiking trails. It’s a birding hotspot (with over 87 different bird species spotted on the property).
Left Coast Cellars refers to their hiking trails as the Oak Savanna.
You’ll hike through their majestic oaks and take in the beauty of the property.
Children and dogs welcome on the trail. The trail is typically open from Memorial Weekend until October.
There is no fee to hike the trail. But you will be required to stop by the tasting room to check in.
Left Coast Cellars- The Wine
We tasted two Left Coast Cellars Pinots. These two are the most interesting wines I’ve tasted in recent weeks. Consider us impressed.
Left Coast's The Orchards Pinot Gris /90 points
100% Pinot Gris. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. The Orchards Vineyard is planted on the site of an historic apple and pear orchard, dating back to the pioneers who settled Oregon (think Oregon Trail, circa 1840s).
I poured this wine at room temperature (because I forgot to put it in the fridge), and while I don’t usually enjoy tepid whites, in this case, I was rewarded in spades for my memory lapse.
Good gravy, what Oregon can do with Pinot Gris! A beautifully expressive nose of yellow apple, lemon curd, pears, minerals, and (even though it doesn’t really make sense with the stainless steel ferment and age) vanilla.
Dry with an energetic vein of acid. The ABV comes in at 13.7%, but it didn’t feel hot, or out of whack. Concentrated and elegant flavors of perfectly ripe pear, honey-crisp apple, lemon, and vanilla.
I only wish the layered finish had gone on for a smidge longer, but you can’t have it all.
Left Coast's Cali’s Cuvee Pinot Noir /91 points
100% Pinot Noir. Fermented in stainless steel, and aged for nine months in 10% New French Oak; the balance in two, three, and four-year French oak.
Insanely approachable. A slightly bashful nose of red cherry, strawberry, red currant, raspberry, vanilla, nutmeg, and violets.
Dry and beautifully balanced, with a softness that begs you to pour another glass. The flavors mirror the nose, with the addition of rhubarb and red plum, with a finish of minerals and white pepper. 13.5% ABV.
Left Coast Cellars Final Tasting Notes
Tasting these two wines reminded me how much I love Oregon, and especially Oregon wines. I’m thinking about joining an Oregon Wine Club (not one single winery, but a club that curates a variety of Oregon wines).
If you’re looking for something similar that you can buy now, we’ve got you covered.
Roserock by Drouhin Oregon Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir 2021
Pinot Noir from Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Purple Hands Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir 2021
Shea Vineyard drapes over 140 acres of rolling hills in the Willamette Valley’s Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Dick Shea first planted the Back Block in 1989 and then replanted it in the mid-90s to eliminate the problem of phylloxera, a microscopic insect that feeds on grapevine roots. This fruit is some of the most coveted in the state. Cody sources from the highest elevation Shea block.
This is a vibrant, flavorful and uplifting pinot with citrus peel, dried flowers, nutmeg, raspberries and red currants on the nose. Medium-bodied, with very fine, focused tannins and crisp acidity. Tasty red fruit and spice throughout.
I was surprised to see it on Wine.com. Get this wine before it’s gone.
King Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Gris 2021
Pinot Gris/Grigio from Willamette Valley, Oregon
Elk Cove Pinot Gris 2021
Pinot Gris/Grigio from Willamette Valley, Oregon
With ripe pear, honey and citrus on the nose, this wine opens lush and juicy with white peach, lemon curd and honeydew melon leading to an elegant finish of lemongrass and slate.
This is an excellent Pinot Gris from one of the region’s standard-bearers. Made with 100% estate fruit that was whole-cluster-pressed into stainless steel tanks, the straw-coloured wine smells like white peaches and toasted coconut. Pear and peach flavours are joined by hazelnuts on the rich, full palate. The wine’s zippy acidity is like a surprise ending to a movie.
WS90 Wine Spectator
Luscious yet crisp and refreshing, with lively apricot, fresh fig and spice flavors that finish on a polished note.
WE90 Wine Enthusiast
The aromas start out light, with notes of herb, pear, star fruit and other tropical fruits. Broad-feeling flavors follow, showing depth and layering. There’s pleasing balance to it all.
Left Coast Cellars FAQ
Taste Wine Like A True Armchair Sommelier
Spice up your next party with our FREE wine tasting guide! Learn what to look, smell, and taste for while appreciating your favorite bottle. We’ve also included a printable tasting notes template and a tasting wheel.