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Tumwater Vineyard

Pascale King
 
February 6, 2024 | Pascale King

Paul Gregutt’s Northwest Wine Guide

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

 

Time Posted: Feb 6, 2024 at 4:09 PM Permalink to Paul Gregutt’s Northwest Wine Guide Permalink

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