Patrick J. Comiskey tasted King Estate’s 2017 Paradox, a barrel-aged Willamette pinot gris, for W&S October 2019, and the 2018 version of the wine for the W&S August 2020 issue. Both appeared in our August issue in the US Pinot Gris Specialists focus section, and both were a stylistic departure for King, whose gris are typically oak-free. Both vintages handle the new approach well, but differently: oak rounds out the texture of the 2017 but doesn’t play a role in its flavors. The 2018 showed much more oak character at first, but as the wine opened Comiskey found a beautiful wine built to last underneath.
King Estate’s Paradox is just that, for King Estate, and for pinot gris. It has some classic elements—it’s crisp, bright and racy, with apple and pear flavors at its core—but the wine has been aged on the lees for five months, in oak barrels, a treatment that makes it rounder and more phenolic. With notes of ripe, salted apples and a fruit-skin grip, it’s a complex gris. (W&S 10/19)
This vintage of Paradox is more overtly oaky than the 2017, but give it time. Tasted after a day open, it had become more restrained and intriguing. By day three, the wine had turned absolutely stunning, with nutty lees slipping like a sheath around the oak and rendering the wine firm, structured and layered. It was such a performance that I felt bad to have opened it. Cellar it, as it’s clearly built to last.
Every week, our editors highlight a wine that intrigued them in our blind panel tastings, expanding on their tasting note in this space. These are entirely editorial choices; there are no paid placements. Subscribers can also access the original tasting note by searching here.
This story appears in the print issue of August 2020.
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