A man walks into a fine wine shop, takes ten minutes to peruse the shelves, scratches his head, furrows his brow and then says, "Madam? Inspire me." While I find pleasure and comfort in routine, I find in my "old" age equal pleasure in stepping outside of the box. Enter Anne Amie and their special Pinot Noir Blanc wine. And, no, that's not an oxymoron. Pinot Noir, like any red grape, can take the form of "blanc" just so long as the winemaker presses the juice from the skins so quickly after harvest that the pigment of the skin doesn't impact the color of the wine - creating a white vin from red fruit.
Whilst frolicking, tasting and learning at Pinot Camp last July, I had the rare opportunity to taste Anne Amie's "Prisme" Pinot Noir Blanc for the first time. Winemaker Tom Houseman was running around the giant tent at dinner, trying to find me to taste this 2008 vintage elixir of life. It is named after the word prism, which means the splitting of white light into its various colors - or essentially what Tom does with Pinot Noir grapes from their finest Pinot Noir vineyards to create this special wine. I had to know what this Anne Amie treasure was like, and Tom was on the task.
Prisme tastes like Burgundy - on both the white (Chardonnay) and red (Pinot Noir) sides of the spectrum. (It is the perfect convergence of my favorite wine experiences, offering a taste of Burgundy at the roots of Oregon soil.) The nose is pretty, warming and childhood-memory inspiring: for me that translates to a bouquet of white and yellow flowers (honeysuckle, dandelions and gerber daisies), creamsicles and nutmeg. The palate offers not only ripe pear, savory yellow and tart granny smith apple, and meyer lemon citrus fruits, but also a toasty/creamy, cheese rind and ginger spice essence comes to bear due to 18 months of aging on the lees in French barrels. A helping of ripe raspberries and just a teaspoon of blueberry flavors dance along the finish, a flavor profile I am not unhappy to experience when tasting great Champagne made with an extra helping of Pinot Noir, actually.
Thankfully, Prisme has officially landed on our Massachusetts shores, just in time for the holidays.
"Sir? I have just the thing...."