The Tumwater estate is on Pete’s Mountain, an off-the-radar site just south of Portland in the eastern foothills of the Cascades. I chatted with Pascale King, who manages the property, about the wines and the prospect for Pete’s Mountain becoming an AVA. It is being worked on, she said, but will probably be the “Willamette Falls AVA” if/when it is certified.
There are three other wineries nearby, King explains – Pete’s Mountain winery, Campbell Lane and Twill Cellars. Tumwater has about 26 planted acres and just added six new acres of Chardonnay, which King calls “the star grape of the site”.
No argument from me. I came to the same conclusion before Pascale and I touched base. The wines speak loud and clear for themselves.
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Tumwater 2022 Barrel Select Chardonnay – Consistent with past vintages, this is a juicy mouthful of delicious nectarines, peaches and light suggestions of tropical fruits – papaya, guava and pineapple. It’s accented with a lick of caramel and hints of barrel toast, but it’s clearly the fruit that is the star here. Flavors fade into a trailing finish of lemon meringue. 297 cases; 13.4%; $45 (Willamette Valley) 92/100
Tumwater 2021 Black Label Reserve Chardonnay – The reserve gets an extra year in bottle prior to release, along with one quarter new French oak aging. It’s more focused and lean than the the 2022, but that’s no criticism. The compact fruits include apple and kiwi, and the barrel flavors are well-integrated and lifted by supple acidity. There is an underlying creaminess as it trails out the finish. This seems a good candidate for cellaring over the rest of the decade; for drinking now, decant it! 200 cases; 13.3%; $70 (Willamette Valley) 94/100
Tumwater 2022 Estate White Pinot Noir – If you’re looking for a light, elegant white wine you’ve found it. Loaded with spicy pear fruit that might fool you into thinking it’s Pinot Gris, this carries those flavors across and down the palate. Despite the low alcohol, it’s got grip and a palate-tickling graininess that is quite captivating. The finish is crystal clear, still fruity and backed with zesty acids. 257 cases; 12.7%; $55 (Willamette Valley) 92/100
Tumwater 2021 Prince Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir – This vineyard was first planted by Dick Erath in 1983, and some of those old vines may still be part of the mix. For such a young wine it seems to be drying out, its berry fruit flavors slightly faded, like a sepia photograph, and astringent, woody tannins. That said, it’s balanced and a good drink, though not likely to improve. Drink over the next couple of years. 305 cases; 13.6%; $60 (Dundee Hills) 90/100
Tumwater 2021 Estate Pinot Noir – This lovely, aromatic wine really shows the special nature of the site. It’s a sexy mix of power and precision. Nine months in 20% new oak adds a buttery softness to the mouthfeel, and smoothes out the finish. Sharp accents of beetroot, forest floor and fungus are nicely integrated into the cranberry/cherry fruit. 910 cases; 13.2%; $48 (Willamette Valley) 92/100
Tumwater 2021 Black Label Reserve Pinot Noir – This reserve is aromatic and beautifully balanced, which can be said of this entire lineup. This reserve is brimming with mountain fruit flavors of wild blackberries and highlights of forest floor, bark and earth. The length is exceptional, with details falling into place as it sashays down the palate, adding a dusting of baking spices along the way. Juicy acids keep it fresh and lively. Young and already delicious, this is a wine to track over the next decade or longer. 150 cases; 12.9%; $70 (Willamette Valley) 94/100
September is one of the most exciting times of the year for us Tumwater. It's harvest season where our labor and patience pay off with a glut of fruit from our pinot noir & chardonnay vines. We're excited to see the fruit mature and then gather for producing our wines. It's satisfying and exhilarating all at the same time with a flurry of activity, knowing that these grapes produce the wines that we all enjoy. It makes us grateful and excited for the years to come.
Yesterday we picked our Chardonnay! Adrienne who oversees our fields managed the picking. Tasting the fruit, he said it is "perfect." We expect this year to be a fantastic vintage based on the flavors that our chardonnay. Here is a short video from our day.
Photos From The Harvest
Announcing Sparkling Wine Rose Brut. This wine embodies the flavors of summer and fresh baked goods to which we say yum! Take in the aroma of Bing cherries, bakers yeast & red plum before savoring the delicious flavors of strawberry-rhubarb pie, brioche & cranberries. Your palette will be saying délicieuse. Come in and taste at any of our events.
Vineyard Viticulture Specialist and Manager Bruno, is monitoring the grapes very carefully every day here at the Vineyard. They are checked for sugar and content to determine timing for the grape picking to ensure the best quality of the wine produced from these grapes. The harvest began last weekend for the Pinot Noir varietals here at the vineyard and next week it will be time to pick the Chardonnay!
View from the Chardonnay Grapes along the hillside at Tumwater Vineyard in West Linn
Our Vineyard Viticulture Specialist and Manager Bruno, checking the grapes back in early springtime
The Chardonnay grapes at Tumwater Vineyard the beginning of the growing season, look how cute and tiny they were?! May 2020
The Chardonnay grapes at the end of the growing season, plump and full of sugar and sunshine. Almost ready to pick, October 2020
The collection of the current harvest of Pinot Noir (red wine) grapes in bins that will safely transport the grapes to our winemaking facility where they will be crushed and turned into juice
Stay tuned for more pics of Harvest Time at Tumwater Vineyard to come!
We are overjoyed to announce the arrival of our 2018 Estate Grown Stainless Steel Chardonnay. It has been a true privilege to have seen our own vines grow to fruit bearing maturity and raise a glass of wine that truly is from our own backyard.
The fruit used for this wine was harvested in late September of 2018. Ample hours of sun and warm temperatures mixed with cool nights of last summer helped shape 2018 into a fabulous vintage with wonderfully concentrated flavors. The vines were stressed just enough to produce something truly magical. The fruit was picked and whole-cluster-pressed on the same day, then the juice was settled and fermented slowly at low temperatures. With notes of key-lime and lots of citrus, bright with fresh pineapple and white peach, this wine is as refreshing as it is decadent.
Come by the barrel house to sample our new 2018 Estate Grown Stainless Steel Chardonnay, $15 in our wine flight, $7 a glass and $22 a bottle.
Love Paella? Join us and Crown Paella at Tumwater Vineyard - Friday, August 3rd from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Enjoy appetizers, paella, dinner and dessert with 2 glasses of Tumwater Vineyard wine. (Full Menu and ticket)
Price is $85 per person
$80 per person for Wine Club members, maximum 2 tickets at discounted rate
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