White Rose Estate Review
Address: 6250 NE Hilltop Lane Dayton,Oregon 97114.
Phone Number: 503-864-2328
Tasting Hours: Summer 10:00-6:00; non-Summer, Sat-Sun 10:00-6:00 or by appointment
Region: Willamette Valley AVA, Dundee Hills AVA, Oregon
Reviewer: Rob Boss
Review Date: 11/1/2012
Reviewer: Rob Boss
After visiting wineries ranging from elegant (De Ponte) to grand (Domaine Drouhin) to ostentatious (Domain Serene), walking into White Roses dark log cabin is either disconcerting or refreshing. Chalk boards on the wall announce the days tasting flight. Rough wood surrounds the taster and one almost expects a sawdust floor. But thats intentional and first impressions can be deceiving: This is a modern, energy efficient building, set deep in the ground for insulation, with a gorgeous surrounding view. Depends on your point of view, but either way, dont miss tasting their lovely wines.
Winemaker Jesus Guillen poured for us in his modest tasting room. White Rose has not had exactly stellar products in the past; good, never great but well priceda decent second bottle or cellar buffer. Since he took over with the 2008 vintage, the quality has skyrocketed. Now White Rose is something worthy of planning a meal around for a special event.
Guillens flight began with his 2009 Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir. The vines are youngonly third leaf, planted in 2006. The wine had a lot of structure and it needed more time in the bottle to integrate. Wait another year, but its not going to mature into too much because the fruit is so young. Thats OK. Its still a delightful, broad brush stroked of crushed fruit and briars.
Next up was the 2009 Dundee Hills, which was fermented 40% whole cluster for a weedy, earthy, briary nose with an underlying spice character. Its a beguiling wine with cherry, bold strawberry and rhubarb flavors with a longa very longfinish.
The last wine of the day was the flagship 2009 White Rose Vineyard. This beauty is made from Pommard clones, originally planted in 1980. The winemaking is either daring or perhaps low-budget with 8% new and 92% neutral oak, with 60% whole cluster fermentation. The results speak volumes for themselves. Rhubarb, rose petals, cedar and tobacco dance on the nose. Theres a luscious, silky cherry and spice on the palette. This is a beautiful wine that will age elegantly for another ten years. 2009 was known for its simplicity, not its depth, but you cant tell that here.
Actually, thats part of what made White Rose such an exciting place to visit that day. From their humble, low budget beginnings the winery has made some real strides forward. 2010 and 2011 are generally better, if challenging, vintages for Oregon winemakers. Its going to be very interesting to see where Guillen takes White Rose in the coming years. Hes off to a roaring start.