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While my in-laws were driving north nine hours on I-81 yesterday through the mid-Atlantic states, I was frying sweet Italian sausage for ziti and baking peach strudel. FullSizeRender-10

I opened a bottle of Acrobat Pinot Noir from the all-organic King Estate in the southern tip of the Willamette. Every American Viticultural Area has its own climate, soil and topography. The Willamette’s cool maritime climate is well-suited to growing delicate Pinot grapes, and the King Estate has dedicated 143 acres to the grape. Last March ATF, for the first time in the 33-year history of the Willamette Valley AVA, approved the Estate’s request to expand the area to include their winery. FullSizeRender-11

Since my relationship with Pinot started with Erath, I can’t help but use it as a baseline for comparison. Whereas Erath has a transparency that approaches colorless at the rim and dances lightly across the palate, Acrobat Pinot is a rich red in color, delivering a punch of oak and herbs on the tongue. That enabled the wine to hold its own against the spicy sausage dish and pasta with tomatoes I served. WineEnthusiast contributor PAUL GREGUTT @paulgwine says, “This well-built, aromatic wine smells of fresh raspberries. The mouthfeel is soft and smooth, the tannins subtle and the finish kisses you goodbye with a lick of milk chocolate.”

THE CRUSH, Book 1 of An Oregon Wine Country Romance, is now preordering here for Oct. 25 delivery.