Explore Oregon Wines: Wineries | Varietals | AVAs | Cellar 503 Selections

Eyrie Vineyards

Eyrie Vineyards 2014 Pinot Gris

Where it all began...

When people speak of David Lett, they usually speak in hushed, reverent tones. After all, he's the founding father of wine in the Willamette Valley; the first to plant Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris.

Not only that, but Eyrie is also the first urban winery in Oregon. In the 1970s, they took over an old turkey processing plant in downtown McMinnville in the early 1970's and have been there ever since.

David was passionate about wine but he was also a practical man, believing that wine had been made for thousands of years without all the bells and whistles and Eyrie wines would be made in the same way. No refrigerated tanks or fancy equipment. Organic, dry-farmed grapes, natural yeast and little-to-no additives, letting the grapes speak for themselves.

His son, Jason Lett, continues his father's legacy proclaiming proudly that "fundamentally nothing" would change about the approach to the grapes in the vineyard and the winery. High on that list of values? Staying small, in order to stay close to the grapes. If ever there was an Oregon winery that could have grown into a corporate titan, Eyrie is it - but that's just not the Eyrie way.

Eyrie Vineyards

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Eyrie Vineyards, McMinnville, Oregon
2014 Pinot Gris

Over 50 years ago, David Lett was the first to plant Pinot Gris anywhere outside Europe, and he did it right here in the Willamette Valley. And it's just as beloved as their world­ famous Pinot Noir. In fact, the majority of Eyrie's 8000-case production is Pinot Gris.

Of course, this is not your typical Pinot Gris. Jason Lett ages the Pinot Gris 3 to 4 times as long as most Pinot Gris -- on its own natural yeast lees, and the wine is allowed to go through full malolactic fermentation. As a result, the wine is soft and supple but well balanced by a good amount of acid.

It has complex aromas of fruit and minerals mixed with honey. It is crisp and rich and lively with a long, clean finish.

As wine writer Matt Kramer wrote: "Lett pioneered both Pinot noir and its white wine cousin, Pinot gris, the two grapes that define Oregon wine today. But just as important, he established the very tone of Oregon winegrowing: artisanal, individualistic, even idiosyncratic ... "

A Cellar 503 selection in March 2017, Urban Wineries Outside Portland Dundee Hills | Pinot Gris