English Estate Winery is the oldest vineyard in the Vancouver area. Wine grapes at this vineyard were first planted in the 1980’s by Carl D. English who had the foresight to take cuttings from the now-defunked Salishan Vineyards in La Center (which closed in 2006).
His great-grandfather, Carl S. English, purchased the land that English Estate Winery occupies in 1903. The family has reinvented itself over the years, proving to be excellent stewards of the agricultural plot that has been entrusted to them for the last 111 years.
Carl D. English passed away in the fall of 2010 but his legacy lives on in the vintages he lovingly created and the grown children who have taken up his vision to produce award-winning wines with a strong Pinot Noir focus.
Monday night his 2008 Pinot Noir was on the tasting line-up being poured by Andee, who presides over the tasting room with ease and abounding hospitality. She informed us that this vintage is made of 100 percent Estate grapes (as are the majority of English Estate’s wines) and no oak. Carl D. was a purist with his Pinots, desiring that the essence of the grape be the shining star in each vintage. You’ll find cherry on the nose and a dry finish. Pinot is a lighter wine and this certainly came through as a traditional Pinot.
Prior to the 2008 Pinot we tasted the Rose de Noir made from 100 percent 2013 Pinot Noir grapes. It was dry with a hint of strawberries and a touch of residual sugar. I could see it as a lovely brunch wine or aperitif on the patio on an August day.
Andee next poured us Carl D.’s daughter’s 2012 Pinot Noir. She chose to add oak to her vintage giving it a bolder flavor which I preferred but it’s definitely a palate preference. There are several vintages of Pinot Noir available to taste so, for a Pinot fan, a line-up of available vintages would make a terrific five-taste pour though you might then miss out on what proved to be my favorite because I’m a Cab girl at heart.
English Estate has ¼ acre of its vineyards planted with Cabernet Sauvignon. Their Chief Factor’s Favorite is a blend of 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 Pinot Noir (both Estate, of course) and Cabernet Franc sourced from Yakima. This was bold and tannic with just the right amount of acid, giving it the full-bodied mouth feel I adore. After the tasting, Chief Factor is the one we chose a glass of while enjoying the wine-making perspective of Carl D’s son, Carl, who became the winemaker for English Estate after his father’s passing.
Our tasting finished up (or so we thought) with Raspberry Delight made with Riesling and Clark County-sourced berries. Carl told us that they steam-extract the juice for their fortified dessert wines. It’s a longer process but a pure way to capture the essence of the fruit and a more efficient way of separating it from the pulp.
When Carl arrived in the Loafing Shed (tasting room), he brought with him a small carafe of their Pinot Gris which will be released this Saturday at English Estate’s 111-year birthday celebration. This Pinot Gris, with its pale blush color from a few hours in contact with the grape’s skin, is light and refreshing with a hint of rhubard on the nose. My mind immediately went to a fire after cross country skiing but I suppose, considering we’re heading into summer, a hot day on a boat would make more seasonal sense.
English Estate hosts music from 7-9 pm every Friday year round with catered food on this night only (unless otherwise noted). Another unique feature of English Estate is that they’re the only winery in Clark County that’s open on Monday evenings. From 4:30-7 pm every Monday night you’ll find their doors open, a friendly, cozy atmosphere waiting to greet you and glasses of their available wines for the special price of $5.00 each.
This Saturday from noon-6 pm join English Estate Winery for their 111-year anniversary party and the release of their Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Marguerite blend consisting of Sauvignon Blanc, Gevürstraminer and Semillon – all estate grown. BIBB Fest will also be going on wherein people decorate one of the winery’s signature Bag in a Beautiful Box and a People’s Choice Award and $50 gift card is bestowed upon the winner.
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