Cooper Mountain Vineyards 

Karen Sanderson, the area rep for Oregon's Cooper Mountain Vineyards, visited Boise last week, offering the chance to taste through a number of their wines. They own over 120 acres of vineyards, some dating back to 1978, which in terms of the region makes them wine producing pioneers. But what really sets them apart is their dedication to organic farming. In fact, they've taken it a step further, becoming the first Northwest winery to embrace Biodynamic viticulture.

To quote the winery blurb, "Biodynamic viticulture is a holistic approach to farming that takes all of nature's forces into consideration and teaches us to heal the earth with natural preparations and attention to the energies that impact the health and life of the vine." And while some may dismiss it as "voodoo farming," it really is the next logical step beyond organic. In addition to not harming the earth with toxic chemicals, Biodynamics employs techniques to repair the damage already done. In that sense, it is the ultimate in sustainable agriculture.

The belief at Cooper Mountain is that healthy vines produce grapes superior in character and depth of flavor. As always, the proof is in the bottle, and their 2003 Reserve Pinot Gris ($13.99) makes a case for their belief. The aromas are rich and creamy with nice peach and melon fruit, and floral honeysuckle and rose. The flavors are lively with green apple, currant, apricot and melon fruit, and a silky texture that caresses the tongue. The smooth finish continues to echo those flavors over and over again.

Cooper Mountain is best known for their Pinot Noir, the 2003 Estate Pinot ($12.99) being their most recent release. It opens with nice cherry aromas with a touch of mint and herb. A fruit forward charmer, with lots of cherry and berry fruit, touches of leather and anise, and soft tannins on the finish. Not an overly complex wine, but with enough going on to make it interesting at a price hard to beat. :

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