September 8, 2011

Foris Vineyards from Oregon Wine Tasting

Foris Winery and Vineyards

“Showcase the purity of fruit, underscore the rich textures and vibrant flavors that are derived from well farmed fruit, and don’t mess it up in the winery.”

That’s their motto and goal.


On Tuesday, we will be fortunate enough to have Steven Canter here from Foris.

Steven is the cellarmaster at Foris. He and his wife and children actually live on Maple Ranch. Foris truly is a family endeavour!

Steven has been the winemaker at Quivira, Torbreck and Davis Bynum, among other places. Before joining the wine world, Steven made his living in music.

We’re thrilled to have him visit our store!

Foris Winery and Vineyards is family-owned and family-managed. Ted and Meri Gerber first bought land in the remote Illinois Valley in 1971 with the intention of growing grapes. In 1974, they planted their first vines. For a number of years they supplied fruit to various vintners throughout southern Oregon. In 1986, they began making wines under their own Foris label.

Meri massed away in 2000 after a lengthy illness, and in 2003, Ted married his present wife, Terri. Terri runs the administrative side of the business.

Alicia Gerber, Ted’s daughter grew up in and around the winery. She studied childhood development in college and went out into the “real” world for a while. During her mother’s illness, she returned to the winery to help out and has never looked back. She loves gardening, so she’s right alongside her father in the vineyards. She lives on Maple Ranch in the foothills of the Siskiyous Mountains with her son and daughter.

Terri’s daughter, Heidi and her husband, Brian and their daughter are also part of the family, living at Cedar Ranch Vineyards.

The entire family is involved in the day-to-day operation of the vineyards and winery.

The Vineyards

Over 35 years ago, the Gerber family began planting their first vineyard in the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains. Only 7 miles from the California border, Foris is the southernmost vineyard in the Pacific Northwest. They are one of Oregon’s pioneering winemaking/grape-growing families. Today, they have over 178 acres of estate vineyards located just 25 miles from the Pacific Ocean in Oregon’s Rogue Valley Appellation.

All of the estate vineyards are within 3 miles of each other and the winery.

Gerber “Home” Vineyard – the original vineyard for the family. Eighty acres with 25 acres planted to grapes. This is their best Gewürztraminer vineyard.

Maple Ranch Vineyard – 112 acres, 43 planted to grapes. This is their best vineyard, especially for Pinot Noir. Great drainage that never puddles water.

Cedar Ranch Vineyard – 74 acres, 47 planted to grapes. Planted to Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. This is their newest vineyard. They originally farmed it 20 years ago for the US Marshall service after it was seized as part of a drug bust.

Holland Vineyard – this small vineyard is adjacent to the Gerber Vineyard, but has distinctly different soil. Riesling is thriving here. 12 acres, 8 planted to grapes.

Three Creeks Vineyard – adjacent to Maple Ranch. 250 acres with 55 planted to grapes. Planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. A young planting of Riesling is promising.

The Wines

The White Wines

Foris Rogue Valley Pinot Gris 2009 (Oregon) $13.99 - A fabulous Alsatian-style Pinot Gris from this small winery. Aromas of pears, apples and stone fruits. Medium-to-full-bodied with a rich texture. Crisp acidity with fresh fruit flavors of minerals, spices, Asian pears, quince, lime and honey. The flavors hint at sweetness (that’s the fruit talking), but the wine is definitely dry. Zippy acidity. Long, pleasing, spicy finish. Stainless steel fermentation. Aged sur lie. Food pairing - seafood, shellfish, poultry…drinks well on its own.

Foris Rogue Valley Pinot Blanc 2009 (Oregon) $14.99 - Wonderful Alsatian-style Pinot Blanc from this small winery. Elegant & excellent wine from this lesser known variety. Full feel in the mouth. Medium-to-full-bodied. Well-balanced acidity. Rich aromas of stone fruits (peaches), minerals and honeysuckle. Spicy flavors with notes of minerals, peaches, pears. Long, lingering tasty finish. Pinot Blanc loves cool climates & poor, thin soil - Foris has both in this tiny corner of the Rogue Valley in Oregon. Food pairing - seafood, shellfish, smoked fish, ham, turkey. 764 cases made. Aged sur lees for 5 months.

Foris Rogue Valley Gewürztraminer 2008 (Oregon) $13.99 - We love this Alsatian-style Gewürz from this small winery in Oregon’s southwestern corner. Wonderful aromas of pears, apples and stone fruits. Flavors of bright, fresh, crisp citrus fruits (lemons, limes), plus tropical fruit, Asian pears, minerals and that quintessential Gewürz peppery spice. Dry. Crisp acidity. Long, clean, crisp finish. Whole cluster pressed and cold-fermented. 1,229 cases made. Food pairing – ham, Thanksgiving-style meal, smoked fish, spicy Asian fare. Drinks well on its own!

Foris Fly-Over White 2008 (Oregon) $11.99 - This is a delicious, easy-drinking wine that will pair well with Thanksgiving Dinner and many other foods. Aromas and flavors of pears, apples, figs and baking spices. Medium-bodied with a nice softness from aging on lees. Crisp, clean finish. Blend of 61% Pinot Blanc, 22% Pinot Gris and 17% Chardonnay. Fermented and aged on their lees in stainless steel for 3 months. The lees are stirred bi-weekly to add richness and enhance the fruit flavors. 832 cases made. Food pairing – Thanksgiving Dinner, smoked salmon, shellfish, roasted chicken or duck. Drinks nicely without food.

The Red Wines

Foris Rogue Valley Pinot Noir 2008 (Oregon) $19.99 - This still earns a “WOO-HOO, 4 STAR!” Excellent Pinot from a great vintage! Aromas of perfectly ripe cherries, strawberries & raspberries. Subtle red & dark berry flavors. “Woodiness” that resembles a rosemary bush. Spicy notes on the mid-palate. Crisp acidity. Silky, soft & smooth in the mouth. Long, lingering finish. Aged in new and once-used French oak. Bottled unfiltered. 566 cases made. Food pairing – Drinks well on its own! Pair with grilled or roasted meats and veggies! Excellent with salmon! Wall Street Journal, “Best Buy”

Foris Maple Ranch Pinot Noir 2008 (Oregon) $28.99 - This is a classic expression of Maple Ranch Pinot Noir and the Foris “house style” from a landmark vintage! Aromas and flavors of red berries, black cherries and distinctive spices, including anise, cinnamon and clove. Excellent acidity. Smooth finish. 501 cases made. 100% Maple Ranch fruit. 12 different clones of Pinot Noir used. Balanced use of French oak. Food pairing – beef tenderloin, Cornish game hens, ripened cheese, salmon, etc.

Foris Fly-Over Red 2008 (Oregon) $12.99 - This is a delicious red at a great price! The fruit is from Washington (60%) and Oregon (40%). The idea is to get great grapes at a lower price from Washington and make a wonderful wine from them! Aromas and flavors of dark berries, cherries, mocha and cocoa. This has chewy tannins and some weight to it. Blend of 55% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. 4,583 cases made. Food pairing – hearty meals, stews, roasts, etc.

The Dessert Wines

Foris Rogue Valley Late Harvest Muscat 2007 (Oregon) $14.99 - This is a delicious, sweet wine that is still light and lithe on its feet. Aromas and flavors of pears, honey, orange zest, jasmine and citrus. Nice acidity to balance the fruit and sweetness – this helps keep the wine lighter. Mouthwatering finish. 100% Muscat. The hungry bears sometimes determine when these grapes must be picked. Whole cluster pressed and cold-fermented. The fermentation is stopped by dropping the temperature to keep the wine sweet. 327 cases made. Food pairing – Drinks well on its own! Any fruit dessert, from sorbet to tarts to apple pie!

Foris Rogue Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Port 2006 (Oregon) $13.99 - We really love this dessert wine! Aromas of sweet currants and raisins. Flavors of currants, raisins, brown sugar, black cherries….nice acidity on the long, lingering finish. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the famed Del Rio Vineyard in eastern part of the Rogue Valley AVA. Barrel aged in neutral oak barrels for 19 months. This is a “ruby” port that will age well. Food pairing – chocolate desserts, pumpkin pie. Drinks well on its own.

No comments: