Crafted from within arguably my favorite New World wine region for Pinot Noir, Rainstorm Wines is out to make it rain red with their Pinot Noir and Pinot Noir Rosé. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to sample both styles of wine, produced from the same grape variety sourced from two different sub-appellations.
Oregon as a whole presents an ideal opportunity for crafting fine-tuned Pinot Noir, given its relatively cool climate and Terroir. For Rainstorm’s Pinot Noir and Pinot Noir Rose, grapes were harvested from both the Willamette and Umpqua Valley’s — each bringing unique flavors and complexity to the final wine products.
Better still, Rainstorm Pinot is priced fairly, at about $15 per bottle. Given that Pinot Noir is a relatively difficult grape to grow, that’s a solid price point.
As Rainstorm puts it, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is classically more “Old World,” seeing as how the vines here sit at slight elevation in a cooler, fog-swept landscape. These grapes grow in largely clay and alluvial-based soil, and in conjunction with the vine positioning on a ridge-line, drainage here is ideal for producing low-yield yet highly concentrated grapes of an earthy complexity.
On the other hand, grapes sourced from Rainstorm’s Umpqua vineyard bring a completely different kind of flavor and aroma to the table. Umpqua is traditionally a bit warmer, which naturally is going to quicken the rate at which grapes ripen while bringing that ripe, big-fruit-forward palate to the table. Vines here in Umpqua also grow in predominantly ancient volcanic-based soil, which also forces the grapes to work a bit harder for their nutriment, further enhancing flavor concentration at harvest.
As mentioned above, the Rainstorm Pinot Noir is a 50% Willamette and 50% Umpqua Pinot Noir blend. If you taste closely, you can detect the distinct differences between the grapes.
The nose is inviting, with subtle nuances of rock-rose, ripe red cherry and strawberry. The opening palate is classic Oregonian Pinot, bright, refreshing acidity backed by ripe red fruit and alluvial mineral tones over a light body. As the palate progresses, expect more hints of strawberry, cranberry and raspberry with subtle white pepper spice and damp forest floor. The finish is soft, medium-short and somewhat floral, with red cherry and soft tobacco detectable from a years worth of oak aging.
Food Pairing: Pair this bad-boy with medium to heavy bodied fish or poultry dishes. Teriyaki Salmon or Seasoned Chicken Francese are both ideal choices.
Love the color of this wine! A beautiful sockeye-salmon based hue with medium intensity and great clarity. The nose is delightful, with bits of strawberry, carnation and dragon fruit aromas.
Make sure you chill this Rose well prior to serving! This is a completely dry Rose wine — an easy drinker.
The opening palate is bright and refreshing, with touches of strawberry, light acidity, pomegranate and daisies over a light body. Bits of melon with a raspberry backing become more evident as the palate progresses with some intriguing mineral tones shining through the lighter-body. Some citrus becomes evident towards the close, with strawberry and soft raspberry dominating a short finish.
Food Pairing: This is a crisp, light and refreshing summer-style Rose. Go with light fish dishes with citrus marinades, such as Grouper or Snapper. Shellfish is also a great choice, alongside Fresh Grilled Veggies.