King Estate’s “Acrobat” Wines

by artfuldiner on June 22, 2015

in Artful Diner Mini Review, Opinion, Wine

King Estate 1The King Estate Winery, founded in 1991 by Ed King, Jr., and his son, Ed King III, is located just southwest of Eugene, Oregon. The family winery, which specializes in producing Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, as well as a small amount of Chardonnay, is dedicated to certified organic and sustainable farming methods.

King Estate is the largest production winery in Oregon and is also one of the most beautiful. The hilltop winery overlooks 1,033 acres, which includes 470 acres of organic vineyards, as well as 30 acres of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

The winery has always highlighted the importance of producing food friendly wines and has a fine-dining restaurant on the grounds that sources organic ingredients from the estate gardens. During the 1990s, King Estate published two cookbooks, each of which focuses on recipes designed to pair with their two core varietals, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

King Estate’s New American Cuisine King Estate Pinot Gris Cookbook and New American Cuisine King Estate Pinot Noir Cookbook were written in conjunction with the 13-part New American Cuisine television series broadcast by PBS and other public television stations nationwide. In 1997, New American Cuisine was nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award for best national cooking series. The cookbooks contain recipes contributed by world-renowned celebrity chefs, including Alice Waters, Roy Yamaguchi, the late Charlie Trotter, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

King Estate 2But getting back to the wine… Wine writer Matt Kramer of The Oregonian considers King Estate the benchmark producer of Pinot Gris (aka Pinot Grigio) in the country. In the 2007 edition of Wine & Spirits magazine’s annual restaurant poll, a survey of only the top Zagat-rated restaurants across the United States, King Estate Pinot Gris was the number one ranked domestic wine in the Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio category, and number two overall in the category, the highest rank for an Oregon producer in the 18-year history of the poll.

King Estate’s “Acrobat” label, launched in 2009, was specifically designed to offer wine lovers quality wines at reasonable prices. From its inception, Acrobat has been a huge success. So much so, in fact, that just last year (2014), King Estate announced that their wildly popular Acrobat Wine would be separated into a new division of the company, which would include the brand’s own winery and licensing, new director of winemaking, and designated sales team.

WINES OF THE MONTH - July 2015-1And just one sip of the 2013 King Estate Acrobat Pinot Gris will be enough to demonstrate why the winery’s various vintages of Pinot Gris are so highly regarded. This is really a wonderful wine, garnering 90 points from both the Wine Enthusiast and Wine & Spirits. It’s crisp, balanced, and quite refreshing but, at the same time, downright luscious on the palate. There’s a remarkable depth of flavor here; and, although descriptive terms are often overdone and overblown, the hints of apple, pear, melon and touch of vanilla are palpable. The finish is both long and generous.

As Wine & Spirits notes, this wine is surely “a steal at the price.” Originally going for $13.00 – $14.00 a bottle, I’ve picked it up for as low as $11.95 per. No question, you might want to lay in a case, as the 2013 Acrobat Pinot Gris is perfect for summertime quaffing and/or dining.

WINES OF THE MONTH - July 2015-2And speaking of steals… the 2012 Acrobat Pinot Noir, which will set you back around $20.00, is an incredible bargain. Ranked #78 on the Wine Spectator’s list of the top 100 wines of 2014, and collecting 90 points, the 2012 King Estate Acrobat achieves an all-too-rare goal in this age of exorbitant oenological inflation: It delivers a high quality Oregon Pinot Noir at an eminently affordable price.

In the glass, it dazzles with its deep garnet color and aromas strawberry, black cherry and sweet spices. Since it is aged for six months in 18% new French oak barrels, the palate detects hints of wood and vanilla along with bright fruit flavors and earthy notes. Light-bodied but beautifully balanced with velvety tannins and a remarkably fresh acidity, this is also a marvelously food-friendly wine that is ready to be enjoyed in the present moment without need for cellaring.

If you can’t find the 2012 Acrobat Pinot Noir, you might settle for the 2013, which is also quite good… although not AS…



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