Well-Made Oregon Wines That You Can Sip or Chug
Oregon’s Union Wine Company won’t dazzle you with the complexity of its wines, but they are well-made, clean, refreshing — and affordable. One line even gives you a choice of containers.
Union makes three brands of wine. The Underwood label is the least expensive and offers pinot noir and pinot gris in a bottle or a can that you can pop like a Pepsi and chug like a Corona. Kings Ridge is a step up, and Alchemist is the top label.
Overall, these are good — not "wow" — wines that are reliable, pleasant drinking and just generally well-made.
2012 Union Wine "Underwood" Oregon pinot noir ($5 per 375-milliliter can). Pretty good pinot with pungent, rooty aromas and a touch of pastel-like grapey-ness at the end.
2012 Union Wine "Underwood" Oregon pinot noir ($11). The bottle version is fairly close to the canned one, though perhaps it has a bit more-rounded cherry flavors.
My Pick of the Litter: 2012 Union Wine "Underwood" Oregon pinot gris ($5 per 375-milliliter can). Lots of soda-pop spritz helps make it a very refreshing, pear-flavored wine with some pineapple and lemon tastes blended in.
2012 Union Wine "Underwood" Oregon pinot gris. ($11) The bottle version doesn’t have the spritz, but it does have the balanced pear flavors and is very pleasant drinking.
2012 Union Wine "Kings Ridge" Willamette Valley pinot gris ($13). Another pear-flavored gris with a layer of chalky creaminess. Well-balanced and enjoyable.
2012 Union Wine Kings Ridge Willamette Valley riesling ($13). An interesting wine in that it has less of the typical riesling tastes, yet it provides the pleasant fruitiness one gets in biting into a white grape with some kiwi fruit flavors blended it. Good acidity and good balance.
2012 Union Wine Kings Ridge Willamette Valley pinot noir ($16). Enjoyable cherry flavors with a hint of graphite and some creaminess in the finish — nice drinking without being complex.
2012 Union Wine Alchemist Willamette Valley pinot noir ($23). Good fruitiness with cherry and cola flavors, some creaminess, long on the palate. Lightish in body, but still very flavorful.