Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Native Flora 2017 Jumping Ship Pinot Gouges, Eola Amity Hills

Pinot Noir is a grape with more than 1000 registered clones, according to Jancis Robinson’s Wine Grapes. There are also various Pinot mutations, such as Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Meunier, to name a few. But have you heard of Pinot Gouges?  I had not until I tasted one in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. This unique grape is not Pinot Noir nor is it Pinot Blanc. Pinot Gouges is a mutated Pinot Noir and the Native Flora 2017 Jumping Ship Pinot Gouges, Eola Amity Hills is the Please The Palate wine of the week.

Native Flora is a 33-acre property sitting at 800 feet elevation in the Dundee Hills. Scott and Denise Flora founded Native Flora in 2005 and produce premium estate wines in limited quantities. The Pinot Gouges is definitely very limited in quantity. Native Flora only made 68 cases of this wine.

Pinot Gouges was first discovered in Nuits-St.Georges in Burgundy by Henri Gouges in 1936. Found in 1er Cru La Perrière, he located a vine with white clusters. He cut off a branch of the mutated grape and propagated the vine, which produced white clusters as well. The grape continues to be cultivated in La Perrière as well as in the premier cru vineyard of Clos de Porrets-Saint-Georges. Today the Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-St.-Georges 1er Cru La Perrière is a white wine made from Pinot Gouges, however Pinot Gouges is not written anywhere on the label.

Today there are 10 acres of Pinot Gouges in Burgundy. Pinot Gouges arrived in Oregon in the 1980s and a small plot, approximately half an acre, was planted in the Eola-Amity Hills by John Zelko of Zivo Wines. Scott Flora took cuttings of the Pinot Gouges and planted two acres on his property in the Dundee Hills.

The Native Flora 2017 Jumping Ship Pinot Gouges, Eola Amity Hills is a light gold color wine with bright aromatics. On the palate, the wine is restrained with high acidity. It has a lovely weight on the mid-palate and a long finish.

Sadly, the 2017 is sold out but the 2018 is now available, also sourced from the Eola-Amity Hills vineyard. But beginning in 2019, the Native Flora Pinot Gouges will be sourced from the estate vineyard in Dundee Hills.