On a recent visit to Bergström our expectations were high. Several Willamette Valley vineyard owners had previously expressed their admiration for the estate’s wines and one brave competitor took us aside and said “everyone talks about the wonderful Pinot Noirs at Bergström, but be sure not to miss Josh’s white wines. They are equally outstanding: you’re in for treat.” Indeed, Bergström’s 2008 O Riesling is a treat. It led the charge at our tasting and immediately captivated all of us. O is a light, lively, pleasantly fruity Riesling that kept us coming back for more. Scents of rose petal, quince, and lime tantalize the nose, and in the mouth O races across the tongue and slips ever so easily down the pleading throat. High on flavor, polish and charm, O is also thankfully beautifully balanced; it finishes dry with hints of citrus to balance the wine’s pure, elegant fruit. For optimum enjoyment, we suggest giving O a moderate chill (40º-50º F) before consuming. Enjoy!
Given the genial reception O afforded us and the wine’s blithe charm, we can think of no better aperitif than the 2008 Bergström O. For many wine drinkers Riesling is the perfect way to begin an evening or event, and O lends plenty of credence to that thinking. However, a wine as pure and refreshing as Bergström O would be ill served if relegated to a sole position in life. Besides, wine as affable as O can turn an ordinary meal into a special event. We suggest serving Bergström’s O with seafood, salads, chicken, or turkey. It offers beautiful accompaniment to sautéed sea scallops; grilled salmon; and roast turkey, served with onion and sage stuffing and all the trimmings. We recommend it, too, with a highly charged chicken salad, prepared with grapes, walnuts, and plenty of fresh rosemary and thyme. You may also want to serve O with a salad of proscuitto and pear, served on top of organic greens with toasted walnut aioli. This versatile Riesling also pairs more easily than Chardonnay with mildly spicy fare, so why not be daring? We think you will be glad you did.
Bergström Wines proudly bills itself as Growers of Quintessential Oregon Pinot Noir since 1999, and anyone remotely familiar with world class Pinot Noir will attest to the validity of the statement. However, Bergström’s proclamation may well be the most profound understatement in the world of wine today. At the very least, this declaration tells only a small piece of the Bergström story. Founded by Oregon surgeon John Bergström and his wife Karen in 1999, Bergström Wines has in less than a decade worked its way to the highest echelon of American producers of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling. Under the direction of Josh Bergström, John and Karen’s fourth child, Bergström wines have become the benchmarks by which American producers of Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Chardonnay are now measured. Considering the wealth of talent and terroir in Oregon and California, the Bergströms’ meteoric rise may come as a bit of shock to those accustomed to the glitz and glamour of Napa Valley or the high powered marketing techniques of the large, corporate owned wineries whose wares can be found in every grocery store. Although Bergström has built its international reputation primarily on Pinot Noir, each of the estate’s many wines reflects the friendly, dynamic personality of Josh Bergström, the chief Winemaker, Vineyard Manager, and General Manager of Bergström Wines. The burly, good natured Bergström is as energetic as he is engaging. Not only does he fashion a staggering portfolio of world class Pinot Noir from up to 15 different vineyards, including the now famous Bergström vineyard that lies just outside the winery door, Josh makes one of the finest Chardonnay wines made in America. The estate’s Sigrid Chardonnay is a splendid, polished wine that is reminiscent of Puligny-Montrachet. It has even been compared favorably to the legendary Premier Cru wines of Burgundy’s Domaine Leflaive. And if that is not all, Josh Bergström exploits four of the oldest Riesling vineyards in Oregon, including a 45 year old plot on ungrafted rootstock, to craft O and Dr. Bergström Rieslings. Each expresses the unique terroir of these old vines and Josh Bergström’s inherent talent as a winemaker. Bergström fulfills the family’s aspiration of growing quintessential Pinot Noir, and more. In pursuit of excellence, Bergström’s estate vineyards are farmed biodynamically. At Bergström, they believe “the winegrowing process must be a natural one, respecting progress of the growing season, harvesting the fruit by hand only when it has reached physiological maturity and allowing a fermentation to take place that is driven by the vineyard's indigenous yeast strains.” Moreover, they believe that “Oregon Pinot Noir must have purity of fruit that can only be achieved through non-industrial, artisan winemaking.” One sip of a Bergström wine is evidence that this winery means what it says. Enjoy!
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