By Chris Wright
on 7.5.13
Photo by Union Wine Co

If you produce videos like this one, our inclination is going to be to like you. And if you’re proud of a product, but want it to be “accessible”. And if you embrace your underdog status (as an Oregon winery, “we’re not California, and we’re not France, and we’re OK with that”). Ditto pairing craft brewing techniques with small-scale industry for a high-efficiency business model, something we love about so many American wineries, breweries and distilleries. And then there’s this:

“At Union we don’t get too caught up in wine scores, the best French oak barrels or whether our sweater vest clashes with our ascot. We simply make good wines for our friends, and we embrace the challenges and excitement of the coordinates of where we reside. Fussiness bores us.”

Color us smitten.

So yes, we had hopes for their 2012 Underwood Pinot Noir ($12). Mind you, they were bro hopes, bare of the usual pretension that comes with a wine tasting. This was more along the lines of counting on a buddy as a wingman after slinging back a few oat sodas at the local bowling alley. Clutch, but definitively pinkies down.

It’s worth noting that (1) pinot noir is the rock star of reds, (2) Union Wines are exclusively grown in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, and (3), that the Willamette Valley has almost exactly the same latitude as France’s Burgundy region, the official home of the best pinot noirs in the world. This is, how do you say, important.

The Underwood pinot noir was dark purple, nearly black, in the glass, with a prevalent translucence that made its edges almost pink against the light. It had a nose full of fruitiness, mainly plum; on the tongue, more bright fruits were all over the place: plum, cherries and raspberry were the most prevalent. A warm spice lingered on the tongue. This is a wine that hits the sweet spot in flavors, not so complex that it intimidates the tastebuds, yet certainly not boring.

We were also able to sip some of Union’s two other lines, Kings Ridge ($13-$18) and the more upscale Alchemist ($28), and they were similarly delightful. The decantered fact here is that there’s plenty to love about these wines. We’ll take pretension-less quality any day (in fact, we’ve been taking it every day since we got our bottles). Thanks, Oregon.

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