Founded in 1990, King Estate has gained a worldwide reputation for great Pinot Gris. The massive estate is located just southwest of Eugene, Oregon and their production has grown to 350,000 cases anually. King Estate had a massive 314 acres devoted to Pinot Gris and has 143 planted to Pinot Noir. King Estate current has two winemakers, Spencer Spetnagel and a recent hire, Brent Stone. I interviewed Spencer last year and he was just an awesome guy to talk wine with. Spencer joined King Estate for the 2012 harvest and in two short years has moved up the ranks to winemaker. Spencer has a background in marketing and has previously worked at Ravenswood before going back to school and working on an enology degree at Lincoln University in New Zealand for three years. He then returned to Ravenswood, serving as contract winemaker. In 2009 he took an assistant winemaker position at Bargetto, the oldest winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where he met his wife. Brent came to King Estate in 2011 as Lab Manager and has a degree in environmental science from Utah State University. He has also completed the two year program at Washington State University in enology and viticulture.
Last year I tried a very exciting Pinot Gris vertical dating back to the 2005 vintage. The vertical showed the wonderful aging potential for the varietal. The recent releases from King Estate were highly impressive, none more so than the 2015 King Estate ‘Domaine’ Pinot Gris (WWB, 93) which is one of the highest rated wines of its kind that I have sampled in the past year. This wine had wonderful richness, concentration and minerality. Also look for the 2013 King Estate ‘Domaine’ Pinot Noir (WWB, 93) which showcases beautiful red fruit and vibrant structure in this challenging vintage. Look for these wines
2015 King Estate Pinot Gris- The 2015 King Estate Pinot Gris is a fantastic warm vintage bottling from this estate. Aged in 100% steel tanks, the nose reminds me of cashew, ripe pear and honeydew melon. There is nice depth and concentration on the mid-palate, yielding bright flavors of Gala apple, starfruit, green papaya and mango accents laced lime and unripe cantaloupe. The range of flavors is outstanding, as is the strong mineral streak. Drink this outstanding wine within the next six years. Drink 2017-2023- 91
2015 King Estate 'Domaine' Pinot Gris- The 2015 'Domaine' Pinot Gris by King Estate is an awesome follow-up to the outstanding '14 bottling. Having a golden edged hue, this wine was 100% steel fermented prior to bottling. This impressive wine has an intense bouquet of white raisin, honeysuckle, lychee, white peach and hints of poached pear with nutmeg. There are rich flavors of starfruit, honeydew melon, lychee, baking spices, Pink Lady apple and a lingering, 30 second plus finish. Energetic, lithe and delightful on the tongue, this wine dazzles. Drink 2017-2025- 93
2014 King Estate Pinot Noir-The 2014 King Estate Pinot Noir is another impresive bottling from this winery. The wine was sourced from three different vineyard lots and was aged in french oak for eight months prior to bottling. There are aromatics of red cherry, red raspberry, black tea and hints of rose petsls. The Pinot Noir has flavors reminiscent of red cherry, pomegranate, red raspberry, lavender and hints of blood orange rind. This shows excellent poise and weight from this warm vintage. Drink 2017-2025- 90
2013 King Estate 'Domaine' Pinot Noir- The 'Domaine' Pinot Noir by King Estate weighs in at 13% alcohol and sat 18 months in 50% French oak prior to bottling. The resultant wine begins with aromatics of black cherry, guava puree, cram-pomegranate and suggestions of baking spices. The palate is rich and lithe, displaying flavors of ripe strawberry, red cherry, pomegranate seed, Mandarin orange and hints of forest floor. Mineral driven and intense, this gorgeous Pinot Noir will have a long life, as I can see this cellaring well into the next decade. Drink 2017-2028- 93