Ken and Kathy Slusser were originally in the custom home construction business in Northern California and Kauai but in 1995 they fell in love with winemaking and purchased their 51 acre vineyard in the fir covered Eola Hills near Salem, Oregon. Converting the vineyard into a successful operation required lots of hard work. They grafted most of the existing vines over to Pinot Noir and planted additional acreage of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. After seven years selling grapes to other winemakers, Ken and Kathy decided they needed to get into the wine production side of the business. Their first release was a 2000 Pinot Gris and then a 2001 Pinot Noir.
While they mostly produce Pinot Noir, they also produce a great Pinot Gris that is 94% Pinot Gris and 6% Chardonnay. Their 2006 Kathken Vineyards Pinot Gris is 100% stainless steel fermented. It has a clear color with a up-front nose of grapefruit and citrus. The palate presents a round mouthfeel with balanced acidity and grapefruit, pear and tropical fruit flavors. It has a pleasing mouthfeel that gives way to balanced acidity. This wine is very Alsatian in quality with rich structure and minerality. This wine is stainless steel fermented and aged in 100% French oak barrels. The wine is ready to drink now and for the next 1-2 years.
This wine is met to be enjoyed with pasta, salads and seafood. The tasty fruit up front and balanced acidity on the finish makes it a wine to be enjoyed by all.
This wine won a Bronze medal at the 2007 NorthWest Wine Summit. Previous vintages are regular award winners. Other wines available form Kathken Vineyards are a selection of Pinot Noir and a new blend of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah called “The Remedy”. They also have a late harvest Pinot Gris called Dolce de Daneen (their daughter is Daneen), a Rose from Pinot Noir and a port-style Pinot Noir called Jolie’s Juice.
This wine can be found locally at UNWINED Wine Shop in San Jose.