Disclosure: The wines were provided to me as media samples. All opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.
Are you a fan of Pinot Noir? Oregon’s Willamette Valley is known for its quality, world-class Pinot Noir. A climate study made in the 1960s indicating the Willamette Valley, specifically the Dundee Hills region, had a similar climate to Burgundy. This climate study would lead a handful of pioneering winemakers to plant vines in the Willamette Valley in the 1960s and 1970s.
Sokol Blosser is one of those founding pioneer wineries that established Willamette Valley into today’s wine-growing region. Susan Sokol Blosser and Bill Blosser had a dream to grow and produce Pinot Noir. In 1971, they purchased 18-acres of an old prune farm in the Dundee Hills region and planted their first Pinot Noir vines. This was the beginning of the Sokol Blosser story. This year Sokol Blosser is celebrating 50 years as an Oregon Family Winery known for their Pinot Noir.
The Sokol Blosser Story
The Sokol Blosser story started with a passion for Pinot Noir, a dream, courage, and determination. After Susan Sokol Blosser and Bill Blosser planted their first Pinot Noir vines, they would harvest the first vintage in 1977. They always saw themselves as farmers first and stewards of the land. As they purchased more vineyard acreage over the years, the focus was on producing excellent Pinot Noir through environmentally-friendly winemaking practices.
Sokol Blosser was the first winery in 1996 to be certified Salmon-Safe (a program that promotes products produced without using pesticides that may cause runoff that harm salmon). In 2005, they received full USDA organic certification for their 72-acres of estate vineyards. Another major accomplishment came in 2015 with B Corp certification. (Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. <source>).
The second generation, Alex and Alison Sokol Blosser, took over the winery helm in 2008, becoming Co-Presidents. Alex is the winemaker and Alison CEO. They remain committed to continuing their parent’s legacy of crafting exceptional Pinot Noir through sustainable methods. Looking forward, they are also focused on growing their Champagne program, addressing the challenges of labor supply, testing different rootstocks to counter climate change, experimenting with other varietals, and reducing the carbon foot print with packaging options. Alex and Alison are raising their children (third generation) to appreciate the connection between the business and the land, nurturing and be good stewards of the land.
Sokol Blosser Winery is 50 years old this year. The family has a lot to celebrate and be proud of. If you are a Pinot Noir fan, you do not want to miss trying Sokol Blosser’s Pinot Noir wines!
2018 Sokol Blosser Old Vineyard Block Dundee Hills 50th Anniversary Pinot Noir
14% abv | $60 SRP (sample) | 100% Pinot Noir (100% certified organic grapes)
Hand-harvested, sorted, and 100% de-stemmed. Initial fermentation with ambient yeast, after nine days, inoculated with native house yeast — cap management via gentle punch downs. The wine was kept on the skins for an extended maceration of approximately 20 days, then pressed and barreled. The wine was aged in 100% French oak (25% new) for 16 months with minimal SO2 levels.
Medium ruby in color. Aromas of red fruit, toast, and spices. On the palate, medium(+) body, tannins, and acidity. Flavors of cherries, raspberry, dried herbs, vanilla, and allspice. Well balanced.
2018 Sokol Blosser Estate Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills
14% abv | $42 SRP (sample) | 100% Pinot Noir (100% certified organic grapes)
Hand-harvest, sorted, and de-stemmed. Fermentation was carried out with a combination of native house yeast, commercial yeast, and ambient/uninoculated yeast — cap management was performed with punch-downs and pump-overs. Post- fermentation, the wine remained on its skins for 17-29 days. The wine was aged in 100% French oak barrels for 17 months with minimal SO2 levels — 25% of the blend was aged in new oak, with the balance being aged in once used or neutral oak.
Medium ruby in color. Aromas of cherries, spices, toast, and vanilla. On the palate, medium(+) body, medium tannins, and acidity. Flavors of black cherries, forest floor, and truffles.
2012 Sokol Blosser Big Tree Block Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills
14.5% abv | $70 upon release; currently $95 (sample) | 100% Pinot Noir (100% certified organic grapes)
Fermentation was about 12 days with punch downs. Post-fermentation maceration extended for approximately 15 days. The wine was aged in 100% French oak barrels (42% new) for 17 months.
Medium ruby/garnet in color. Aromas of tart cherries, spices, and damp earth. On the palate, medium(+) body, medium tannins, and acidity. Flavors of red and black cherries, earth, toast, and finishing with a hint of mocha.
2018 Sokol Blosser Bluebird Cuveé, Sparkling
12% abv| $32 SRP (sample) | Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Early Muscat, Muller-Thurgau, and Riesling
This Brut style sparkling wine is made in the Méthode Traditionelle process. The juice was fermented 100% in stainless steel to retain the freshness and fruit characteristics. The wine aged on its lees for one year.
Pale straw in color. Fresh fruity and floral aromas on the nose. On the palate, fine bubbles, medium body with refreshing medium(+) acidity. Flavors of crisp apple, pear, and spices.
Food Pairing with Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir
Herb and Mustard Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Herb Farro – The wine’s elegant fruit characteristics, earthy, and spice notes complement the overall flavors of both dishes. At the same time, the vibrant acidity freshens and brightens the pairing.
- 2 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1.5 + oz. extra virgin olive oil + more for sautéing
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
- 2 teaspoons, heaping Dijon mustard I used 1 teaspoon Edmond Fallot Pinot Noir Dijon and 1 teaspoon plain Dijon
- Kosher salt
- 2 pork tenderloins ( about 1-1/4 lb. each)
In a shallow glass bowl or baking dish, combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, thyme, rosemary, mustard and two good pinches of kosher salt. Mix well to combine and add the pork tenderloins. Turn the tenderloins to coat them with the marinate. Marinate them in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
When you are ready to cook, remove the pork tenderloins from the fridge 15 minutes before and preheat the oven to 425 F.
Heat a large oven proof sauté pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sear the pork tenderloins on all sides for about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and roast for about 10-15 minutes or until instant-read-thermometer registers 145 F. Let the tenderloins rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Serve with Mushroom Herb Farro, recipe follows.
- 1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 cup farro (not quick cook) I like Bob's Red Mill Farro
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup shallot, finely minced
- 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, cleaned, de-stemmed, and sliced
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
In a Pyrex measuring cup add the dried mushrooms and pour 1 cup of boiling water over the mushrooms. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Drain the mushrooms through a fine strainer set over a bowl to catch and reserve the "mushroom water." Squeeze remaining water out of the mushrooms.
Cook farro according to the package directions. Shorten the directed cooking time by about 10 minutes. Drain any remaining water.
In a large nonstick sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they soften and release their liquid. Add the salt, garlic, and thyme. Continue to sauté until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.
Mix in the reconstituted dried mushrooms to the sauté pan. Add the wine and simmer until the wine is absorbed. Add the cooked farro and "mushroom water," simmering until the water is absorbed.
Just when the water has absorbed into the farro and mushrooms, stir in the Parmesan cheese, parsley and pepper.