2018 BRANDBORG COASTAL CUVÉE
Grapes: Riesling/Gewürztraminer/Sauvignon Blanc/Pinot Gris
Location: Elkton, Umpqua Valley, Oregon
Winery owners: Sue and Terry Brandborg
Approximate retail price: $16
Color: Pale hues of golden straw, highly reflective
Aroma: Rich, complex fruit combined with floral notes, sharp minerality and a hint of spice
Taste: Crisp green and luscious yellow apple and tropical fruit with a hint of sweetness taken over with bright acidity and a long finish
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Elkton, a smaller American Viticultural Area located in Oregon’s Umpqua Valley, is known for its cooler microclimate and is proudly called home by Brandborg Vineyard & Winery. What started with a mere 5 acres of pinot noir more than 40 years ago has grown tenfold to 50 acres, all planted to pinot noir at an elevation of 1,100 feet.
Terry and Sue Brandborg searched far and wide for the perfect terroir to make the wines they had in mind. They finally settled in Elkton, and today their winery continues to go strong with their own winemaking facility and a beautiful tasting room.
At what remains a relatively small production winery, the Brandborgs work hands-on with their humble crew to make quality pinot noirs, a pinot noir rosé, dessert wines and an array of whites, from riesling, to sauvignon blanc, to one of my personal favorites: gewürztraminer. Gewürztraminer, a lesser known and often misunderstood varietal, can be made sweet, dry or off-dry; whichever way always bears enticing aromas of baking spices laced with pear, lemon, stone fruit and anise.
The winery’s Coastal Cuvée, a white blend of four varietals including gewürztraminer, is an enticingly delicious wine. Always a fan of the self-coined “Oregon Kitchen Sink” white blends, I have searched endlessly for the ultimate mixture. The Coastal Cuvée is a perfect example. Each varietal on its own has entirely different aromas and flavors, but as a blend, they sometimes contribute their individual attributes to a whole that eludes a satisfying experience – blending whites can be a tricky business that can go horribly wrong. As a result, when one comes across a wine like the Coastal Cuvée, they should stop everything that they’re doing and indulge.
Food Pairings: The Coastal Cuvée would nicely accompany salads with vinaigrettes and/or balsamic from tomato/watermelon to frisée with an egg on it, as well as shellfish (especially crab and crabcakes), any fruit or fruit salad, chicken or pork with a light sauce, and whitefish like tilapia or swordfish.
Certified Sommelier Stanley Browne owns Robust Wine Bar in Webster Groves.