River’s Edge Winery 2017 Aligoté

When the ocean breeze comes in

Hidden in the northwest corner of the Umpqua Valley is the small-and-wonderful town of Elkton (population: 198). West of Eugene, just 30 miles from the Pacific Ocean, it’s colder and wetter than much of the Umpqua.

One of the “hundred valleys of the Umpqua”, the Elkton Valley gets daily summertime sea breezes and fog to cool down the grapes. And that means that wines from Elkton always stand out.

Today, there are just five wineries in the Elkton AVA (a wine region recognized by the federal government in 2013 as producing unique wines) – and River’s Edge was the first. Mike and Vonnie Landt were biochemists who wanted out of the lab. They fell in love with the Elkton precisely because of its unusual growing climate, as well as the 1970s era vines planted on the property that became River’s Edge.

After establishing the winery in 1998 – and commuting across the country to make wine – they made the move permanent back in 2005.

And they’ve never looked back!

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

River’s Edge Winery, Elkton, Oregon
2017 Aligoté

Haven’t heard of Aligoté? Don’t sweat it – there are only six vineyards in the United States growing it. Once upon a time, Aligoté was nearly equal to Chardonnay in France’s Burgundy region. But when phylloxera struck in the late 1800s, Chardonnay won out in the replanting effort.

For decades, Aligoté was dismissed as a simple wine, suitable for French winemakers’ families and the vineyard workers. But today, Aligoté is making a comeback, with nearly a dozen American wineries producing their own editions (four of them Cellar 503 partners!) and elite French wineries releasing $100+ bottles.

This Aligoté from River’s Edge has citrus aromas and golden apples balanced with a nice kick of minerality. There is less citrus here than other lighter style wines, but its time in oak gives this wine a richness that stands up well to cream-based dishes and gooey cheese. (Seriously, this is a mac-and-cheese wine!)

A Cellar 503 selection in August 2019, Umpqua Valley AVA Elkton | Aligoté

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