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King Estate Winery
by
Terry Sullivan

King Estate WinerySummary: At the southern tip of the Willamette Valley AVA, lies the rolling, vineyard, covered hills of King Estate Winery. Wine enthusiasts can enjoy a wine tasting and restaurant among the breathtaking views of the estate. Those who live close-by should visit in each season to discover how the scenery changes. Our visit was during November.

From Territorial Highway, a white on blue sign marks the entrance to King Estate. Situated on a hill to your right lies the restaurant, tasting room and winery. The road to that hilltop meanders through vineyards. During our mid-November visit, most of the vines had lost their leaves. The vineyard hillsides offered a stunning view of the vines’ architecture.

Jenny Ulum, PR associate, greeted us just before entering the restaurant and tasting room area. A greeting area is just inside the door and the tasting counter in a dark cherry colored wood is straight ahead. Jenny spoke about the founders of the winery, father and son duo Ed King Jr. and Ed King III. The founders had a love for fine wine and an entrepreneurial character. In 1990 they purchased the property and a year later founded the King Estate Winery.

King Estate WineryWhile learning about the King family, we were handed a flute of the 2008 Sparkling Pinot Gris. We were awaiting the arrival of the Winemaker/COO Brent Stone (pictured left). The sparkling wine had a central column of tiny bubbles and offered apple notes on the aroma and taste. The finish was clean and refreshing.

Winery

King Estate WineryBrent gave us a tour of the winemaking facilities starting in the lab. We learned that there is a team of four winemakers that help craft the 150,000 cases of wines. As we strolled through the winemaking areas, we observed a few of the 3,500 barrels and over 300 tanks. Brent mentioned that the winery makes many small batches of artisanal wines.

The wine production consists of three labels. The Inscription label, the The King Estate label and the Domaine label. The Inscription and some King Estate wines are made with grapes from the estate and vineyard partner grapes. Some of the King Estate wines use grapes from single vineyards. The Domaine label is for wines crafted with grapes from the estate and represent the best of each year's harvest.

Tall old-world styled doors lead into a tank room. The stainless steel tanks contrast with the dark honey colored wood beams and ceiling. The barrel room has some larger wooden tanks and many barriques. While in a barrel room, Brent grabbed a thief and took a 2019 Pinot Noir from a barrel for us to taste. We also tasted a few other wines from different barrels. These wines were only harvested weeks ago and are already showing promise.

In addition to the traditional winemaking vessels, we also saw a cement egg and cement cubes.

Vineyards

King Estate WineryThe total property covers 1033 acres of which 470 acres are undervine. Pinot Gris is the most widely planted grape with 300 acres. Pinot Noir grapes cover another 167 acres. There are smaller plantings of Muscat and Gewürztraminer. The grapevines are between 800' and 1150' in elevation. The vineyards and property are certified biodynamic by Demeter.

Brent wants the public to know that King Estate Winery’s vineyards are sustainable, organic and biodynamic. The winery also crafts small batches of wines from estate vineyard grapes, some based on the clone and rootstock.

Wines

King Estate WineryWe tasted a few wines at the tasting counter and a few with our lunch in the restaurant area. Our tasting at the tasting counter began with the 2018 Domaine Pinot Gris Willamette Valley AVA. This light yellow colored wine had 13.5% alcohol and only 4 g/L of residual sugar. The wine spent some time on its lees. It offered grapefruit and lemon on the aroma and taste. The finish was crisp and fruity with just a small hint of sweetness.

The 2017 Steiner Block Pinot Gris Willamette Valley AVA spent some time in the concrete egg.
It had a light yellow color and had 13% alcohol. The aroma was citrusy and the taste was reminiscent of lemons and grapefruit. The wine had a crisp and fruity finish and was cleansing.

King Estate WineryThe 7 Rows Pinot Noir Willamette Valley AVA 2016 had 13.5% alcohol. The wine draws its name from seven rows in Block 11A on the estate, planted with Clone 115, that produced the fruit for this wine. The wine was a translucent dark red color with a dark pink hue. Raspberries and baking spices were noted on the aroma and taste. The wine had a medium to full body and medium tannins. The finish was fruity with cinnamon and cloves.

The 2015 Domaine Pinot Noir Willamette Valley AVA, with 13.5% alcohol, was a translucent ruby color. Raspberries and strawberries were on the taste along with a hint of baking spices. The wine had a medium body with medium tannins. The fruity finish yielded to cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.

King Estate WineryWe had two wines paired with lunch. For lunch I ordered the Tuscan Kale salad with goat cheese, toasted almonds, shallots and a citrus vinaigrette. A piece of grilled salmon was added to the top of the salad. Kathy had the Dungeness Crab Cakes with lemon aioli and herb salad. Both of these were paired with our last two wines.

The 2016 Mountain Block Rosé of Pinot Noir Willamette Valley AVA was a red color with a slight orange hue. Raspberries and strawberries were on the aroma and taste while the finish was very fruity. This a a great 3P wine good for a porch, patio or pool. It paired well with the salmon.

The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc had a light yellow color. Citrus and lemon grass were on the aroma. The taste had notes of lemon, grapefruit, kiwi, lemongrass and a faint hint of pineapple. The finish was crisp and very fruity. It matched well with the kale salad.

Wine enthusiasts visiting King Estate Winery can relax in a beautiful wine country setting. There are several wines to taste with some from just a few rows within a block in the vineyard. Be sure to consider enjoying the onsite restaurant.

King Estate Winery
80854 Territorial Hwy
Eugene, Oregon, 97405

GPS: N43º 51.7337’ W123º 15.0774’

For visitor and additional information about King Estate click here.

 

Article written November 2019



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