Oregon's Sokol Blosser Winery evolves with new blends

Sokol Blosser Winery Evolution White Wine NV 16th Edition, United States. (Supplied)

Sokol Blosser Winery Evolution White Wine NV 16th Edition, United States. (Supplied)

Christopher Waters, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:31 PM ET

Having driven across America to start a new life, Bill Blosser and Susan Sokol Blosser made an inauspicious entry into Oregon. Their 1968 Volkswagen Camper Van broke down en route and had to be towed into the state.

Thankfully, the mechanical failure wasn’t an omen of things to come.

As Alison Sokol Blosser explains, her parents’ passion for growing Pinot Noir trumped their basic knowledge of farming and winemaking — and the absence of an organized wine industry in Oregon. The pioneering vineyard they founded in 1971 has evolved to be one of Oregon’s most prominent wineries.

Alison and brother Alex have been running the business since their parents retired in 2008. She takes care of the business side, overseeing sales, marketing and administration. He manages the vineyards and winemaking.

Located 30 miles southwest of Portland, Sokol Blosser Winery has a new tasting room slated to open July 1, which will invariably extend its reputation. With neighbours Eyrie Vineyards and Domaine Drouhin Oregon, it is part of the elite Pinot Noir producers working in the Dundee Hills appellation.

But the family is likely better known for creating a unique white blend called Evolution, which was launched in 1998. A blend of nine different grape varieties, the exotic, aromatic wine is made in much larger volumes than the meticulously crafted estate grown wines by the family.

Grapes are purchased in California, Oregon and Washington to create the final blend, which mixes well-known varieties like Chardonnay and Riesling with less fashionable Germanic grapes, Müller-Thurgau and Sylvaner. Another offbeat angle to the wine is that it’s not bottled as a vintage-dated wine, which refers to the year that the grapes were grown. Instead, it’s made as a numbered edition. The 16th edition is the current release.

Sokol Blosser says the point of the wine is to be tasty and enjoyable. She used to joke at tastings that she’d give a bottle of the wine to anyone who could name all nine varieties used in production.

“One person managed to get it right… but it took him about an hour,” Sokol Blosser says, adding that people typically think that the boldly aromatic white wine grape Viognier is part of the blend.

“It’s not.”

The success of the whimsical white has inspired the addition of a red and a soon-to-be-released sparkling wine. These new additions to the family aren’t yet as widely available as the popular white, but production is ramping up to meet growing demand.

“We wanted Evolution Red to be as approachable and easy-going as the white,” she explains. “We’re very serious that our estate grown Pinot Noirs express our vineyard site, whereas we make the Evolution wines to be fun and enjoyable.”

Wines of the Week:

***

Rosemount Estate 2011 Diamond Label Shiraz, South Eastern Australia

BC $16.99 (302349) | AB $16.99 (302349) | ON $15.95 (302349)

The new edition of the Rosemount Diamond Label Shiraz offers decent spice and chocolate notes with some sweeter fruit flavours on the palate. It’s a well-made red that makes the most of its juicy fruit character. Grill kings, take note.

***1/2

Sokol Blosser Winery Evolution White Wine NV 16th Edition, United States

BC $19.99 (616938) | AB $18 | ON $16.95 (206870)

There’s a lot to like about this intensely aromatic white wine. A honeyed note nicely accents the mix of ripe peachy and tropical fruit flavours. The slightly sweeter style makes it a nice white with mass appeal that would be a great match for spicy dishes.

 


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