Willamette Valley Wine Country: Left Coast Estate

Before you enter the tasting room at Left Coast turn around and take in the magnificent view of this impressive Estate.

Full disclosure here, I have been a fan of Left Coast since tasting their wines last year. My interest in Left Coast was first peaked by a bottle of their White Pinot Noir. At the time I had to ask myself, why would someone take perfectly good Pinot Noir grapes and make a white wine from them? The answer was easy to understand after enjoying a bottle of this white wine for the first time. I had the opportunity to visit Left Coast Estate during the Wine Writers Educational Tour (WWET) of Willamette Valley when the winery hosted our group for dinner and wine tasting of other Oregon wine varietals.

Arriving just before sunset and being ushered into the tasting room for dinner I wished that I had more time to explore the beautiful grounds of Left Coast Estate.

The Estate

As you drive up the long and meandering road to the Left Coast tasting room you get a sense of just how expansive the estate really is. Left Coast is more than just an estate winery, it is also a fully functioning farm with 150 acres of vineyards spread out over the 356 acre farm. The vineyards are mingled among Oregon oaks, fruit trees, vegetable gardens, fields of beautiful wild flowers, and helping to pollinate it all are the estate bees. Roaming the land you will see ducks and other wild fowl along with chickens doing their part to help the biodiversity of this land.

A hand drawn estate map of Left Coast by Cali Pfaff of the ownership family.
Image from Left Coast

This location was discovered in 2003 by Left Coast founders Suzanne Larson and Robert Pfaff who laid out a plan to turn the property into more than just a family farm and winery, but a place that would endure for generations to come. At Left Coast they are “Working to fulfill our commitments to the strengths and benefits of biodiversity, we strive to be the best possible stewards of the land.” Left Coast Estate is LIVE (Low Impact Viticulture and Ecology) and Salmon Safe certified, and participates in the groundbreaking program “Salud” that guarantees basic healthcare to seasonal field workers. The winery and vineyard are 90% solar powered, constituting the 2nd largest agricultural solar grant in Oregon.

Situated on the 45th parallel, Left Coast Estate vineyards are planted on varying slopes, elevations and soils which brings distinction and complexity to each of their wines. The Estate is home to approximately 150 acres under vine including; Pinot Noir (61%), Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier, Syrah, and Viognier.

“The vineyard is divided into eight unique microclimates, each with its own set of characteristics based on soil type, exposure and elevation ranging from 225 ft to 510 ft above sea level. There is not one terroir at Left Coast but many, allowing our wines to showcase multiple personalities of Willamette Valley wines, bound together through the thoughtful work of Luke McCollum in the vineyard and Joe Wright in the cellar.” Quote from Left Coast’s Website.

Left Coast Estate is home to 11 vineyards including ‘Field of Dreams’ which is the largest at 22 acres.

Planted in 2007/2008 ‘Field of Dreams’ includes varietals of Pinot Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay (Clones Musque, 76, and 96), Piont Noir (Clones 828, Pommard, and Wädenswil), Pinot Meunier
Photo from Left Coast Estate Website

Dinner Featuring Other Oregon Varietals

During the WWET in Willamette Valley we tasted a large variety of Oregon Pinot Noir. The dinner, hosted by Left Coast, was a welcome opportunity to taste some of the other varietals that the Willamette Valley offers.

A Welcome glass of Left Coast Estate Brut Rosé of Pinot Meunier 2015

Dinner included many items from the Left Coast Estate and gardens as well as other local ingredients.

I wanted to personally thank Left Coast Estate for hosting us for dinner and wine tasting. Dinner was prepared by Robert Pfaff, Chef Carolynn Andringa and other members of the Left Coast team.

‘Other Varietals’ enjoyed in order of Wine Service:

  • Left Coast Estate Brut Rosé of Pinot Meunier 2015
  • Chris James Cellars ‘Prost!’ Willamette Valley Sparkling Wine 2017
  • Helioterra Arneis Redman Vineyard Ribbon Ridge 2017
  • Helioterra Melon de Bourgogne Willamette Valley 2017
  • Minimus Kerner Johan Vineyard Van Duzen Corridor 2018
  • Bryn Mawr Dolcetto Eola-Amity Hills 2017
  • Left Coast Estate Pinot Meunier ‘High Acres’ Willamette Valley 2016
  • Origin Cabernet Franc Eola Springs Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills 2017
  • Left Coast Estate Rôtie Syrah Noir Willamette Valley 2016
  • Bryn Mawr Tempranillo Eola-Amity Hills 2014
  • Chris James Cellars ‘Cuvée Blanc’ Müller-Thurgau Willamette Valley 2017

Writing about each of these wonderful Willamette Valley wines will be saved for another post. However, I would like to thank the winemakers for sharing these other varietal selections with us.

Representing the wines served from Left to Right:
Rachel Rose-Winemaker, Vineyard Manger-Bryn Mawr
Suzanne Larson Pfaff-Proprietor-Left Coast Estate
Beth James-Proprietor-Chris James Cellars
Anne Hubatch-Winemaker, Proprietor-Helioterra
Laura Cusick-Winemaker-Craft Wine Co. (Orgin & Minimus)

Left Coast Estate’s Winemaker (who was not able to attend) Joe Wright joined the team in 2011. “He was drawn to the diversity of Left Coast Cellar’s 356 acre estate and is now devoted to carefully producing exclusively estate-grown wines that reflect the special characters of their sites.”

Left Coast Proprietors, Robert and Suzanne Pfaff, Emily and her husband, CEO of Left Coast Estate, Taylor Pfaff
This wonderful family welcomed us into their winery and gave us a seat at their tables with open arms and their generous hospitality was greatly appreciated.

Visiting the Pfaff family and beautiful Estate of Left Coast was definitely a highlight of my WWET Willamette Valley trip. I truly can’t wait to return and spend more time exploring the vineyards, gardens and grounds, as well as try more of their remarkable Oregon Wines.

Left Coast Estate is located at 4225 N Pacific Hwy W, Rickreall, OR and the tasting room is open daily from 12-5 and Friday form 12-8. You can learn more about Left Coast on their website.

Prior to my visit to Left Coast Estate I spent the summer enjoying some of their wines.

Left Coast Estate White Pinot Noir is now a wine that I look forward to getting the new vintage each year. The 2018 is made from 93% Pinot Noir and 7% Pinot Blanc, It was fermented and aged for five months in 100% stainless steel.
This almost clear white wine draws you in with aromas of peach, citrus, and a grassy wildflower meadow. With the first sip you get notes of fruits from an orchard, pear, cherry and stone fruit with a lovely silky honey and mineral finish. I hope that Left Coast continues to make this perfect Summer sipping wine.
The 2018 Rosé is a drier wine made from 76% Pinot Noir and 24% Pinot Meunier. What makes this Rosé stand out is that it was barrel fermented and aged in 100% French Oak for six months. The nose is laden with strawberry and earth mixed with lovely vanilla citrus aromatics. Each sip of this unique Rosé exhibits the same flavors apparent in the aroma with the addition of a richer earthiness and well balanced tannins. This is not your typical Rosé and perhaps not everyone’s style of pink, but it is a wine that everyone should try at least once. I personally loved it.
This first vintage of Suzanne’s Reserve Estate Chardonnay, is a heavily oaked Chardonnay (22 months in French Oak) and is filled with buttery and nutty flavor. I loved the spiced honey notes that floated on top of a sweet pear aroma. Perfectly balanced with just the right amount of acidity and salty mineral hints on the finish. I have a second bottle of this wine tucked away to enjoy this Fall with a hot bowl of homemade soup and fresh baked bread.

Sample wines reviewed in this blog post were supplied by Left Coast but the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Have you visited Left Coast Estate in the Willamette Valley or had the opportunity to taste their wines? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comment section.

Images © Drink In Nature Photography and Drink In Life Blog.

2 Comments on “Willamette Valley Wine Country: Left Coast Estate

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed the dinner, wines and warmth we experienced during the #WWETwv visit to #LeftCoastEstate! You have captured the evening in perfectly delightful detail. Thank you.

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