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Carlton Cellars 2017 Pinot Blanc

When Dave met Nick...

Just 14 years old, the Carlton Cellars winery was a lifetime in the making. Way back in 1968, a couple of guys became fast friends in the Army. One grew up to be Nick Peirano, the proprietor of Nick’s Italian Café in McMinnville. The other? Dave Grooters, a technology entrepreneur famous for his infectious enthusiasm.

Over the years, they stayed in touch. And as Nick’s became “the winemakers’ clubhouse” (as James Beard called it), Dave started flying across the country to hang out. Before long, he knew he wanted to join the club. “Every time I’d visit Nick, there’d be these great winemakers, there’d be dancing on the counters, there’d be food and wine and frolicking, and I thought this is how Oregon was all the time.”

By 1995, he’d sold the software business and pitched in at crush with winemaker Ken Wright. For the next eight years, he commuted back and forth from Pennsylvania learning the wine business – even meeting his wife, Robin, on a plane! Before long, he (and she) were hooked. Grapes were planted in 2003 on the famed Savannah Ridge east of Carlton and a winery built in 2007.

As Dave likes to say, wine is about friends – after all, that’s why it comes in a bottle too big to drink by yourself!

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Carlton Cellars, Carlton, Oregon
2017 Pinot Blanc

I believe that Pinot Blanc is the best white wine varietal grown in Oregon. It is perfectly suited to our climate, making a refreshing, clean, mineralic wine that is wonderful with so much of the local food in Oregon. And yet, it can be hard to find sometimes — likely to due confusion after years of mislabeled Melon de Bourgogne. True Pinot Blanc only started to be planted in Oregon in the early 1990s.

This Pinot Blanc, just a one-acre block, was planted in 2009 on the picturesque Savannah Ridge estate vineyard in the heart of Yamhill-Carlton AVA. But from this one block comes some amazing fruit. In fact, Dave Grooters has admitted that this is his favorite wine of all the whites they make!

The Carlton Cellars Pinot Blanc is a juicy wine bursting with grapefruit and pineapple flavors. It is no simple wine though, with an interesting leesiness and refreshing acidity along with a strong underlying minerality. This is the perfect spring wine, a great match for soft cheese, salads with creamy dressing and flaky fish!

A Cellar 503 selection in April 2021, Environmentally Conscious Wines Yamhill-Carlton | Pinot Blanc