The Dundee Bistro Wine & Bubble Bar Review
Address: 100 SW Seventh Street Dundee,Oregon 97115.
Phone Number: 503-554-1500
Tasting Hours: 12:00-8:00
Region: Willamette Valley AVA, Dundee Hills AVA, Oregon
Reviewer: Rob Boss
Review Date: 11/9/2012
Reviewer: Rob Boss
One of the first wineries in Oregon, Ponzi Vineyards has been in business for over forty years. Although their vineyards are mostly in the Chehalem Mountains AVA, they have a wine bar in the middle of Dundee, across from Argyle and adjacent to the Dundee Bistro, which they own. This works well for the touring wine taster because two of the foremost wineries are close to a good lunch. But thats another subject.
Sort ofsince the tasting room/gift shop is full of bottles from other wineries, available for purchase to drink in the restaurant next door. The wine bar offers the usual tasting flight, but also glass pours and beer, to celebrate the completion of a successful wine tour. Andrew Turner, the longstanding wine bar manager, is one of the most seasoned guides in the valley. He knows just about everybody and everywhere youve gone, and he knows everything about the wine he represents. More than that, he feels it, and his tasting flight presentation is one of the most engaging in the valley.
Andrew started us off with a 2011 Chardonnay. Its steel aged which is the best way to showcase fruit flavors. This one brought forth aromatics of apple, pear and bright peach, followed by peach and nectarine flavors. Its straightforward, easy to drink and enjoy.
More interesting was the 2011 Pinot Blanc aged mostly in stainless steel but with some neutral oak barrel aging to add depth. The result was lemon peel and white peaches in the nose, with lovely, rich peach flavors.
Planted in 1977, Ponzis Pinot Gris could be rightfully called old vine. (Old Vine is not a clearly defined term. Relatively Old Vine might be more accurate.) Honeysuckle and peaches leaped to the nose in the 2011 vintage. Theres some residual sugar but still blinking acidity at this point, so its ageable for a time.
Least interesting of the Ponzi whites was their 09 Reserve Chardonnay. There was the requisite buttered popcorn nose, which is still popular. On the palate were butter and apples. The flavors were rich, balanced but in the end just OK. My notes say, Reserve this one for relatives you dont like, which is harsh. A better way to put it is, A well executed style I dont like. If you like oaky Chardonnay, you wont be disappointed.
Cooler years make for a more delicate, lighter Pinot Noir and 2010 was one of those years. The Tavola Pinot Noir had a briary, brambly nose, like blackberries on the vine. Its a lovely, elegant wine full of light cherry flavors. A little more age will polish it and make it even more silky, but its beautiful now and for some of us, this is what Pinot Noir is all about.
The other side of the Pinot Noir coin is the 2009 vintage. A warmer year, the flavors are more intense, richer, the structure more muscular. Ponzis 2009 Pinot captures the essence of the vintage, with black cherry, ripe raspberry and red plum flavorstypical of the REDness of 2009. In that sense, 2009 is unique, but its also simpler, a little less complex than other vintages, and a good introduction to Oregon Pinot Noir for those who are graduating from Cabernet. Ponzi will bring in a new fan base with this one, even if the hardcore Oregon Pinotphiles will be drinking 2010 while theyre waiting for 2011.
The highlight of the visit was Dolcettoyes, a Willamette Valley Dolcetto. The short story is that its a gorgeous wine, with fascinating blackberry, rose, briar and spice in the nose. There were spicy, cherry pie flavors to fill it out. This one was a showstopper.
With a forty year track record, Ponzi has a base to build from, but there are plenty of wineries too impressed with themselves, who turn away customers to their competitors. That was definitely not the case here (and wed braced ourselves for it). Ponzi was a very nice experience that only got better: we went next door to Dundee Bistro for lunch.