As a long-time connoisseur of French Burgundy, Dr. Donald Olson set out on a journey to create world-class wine in his beloved state of Oregon. In 1993, he founded Torii Mor as a tribute to his late son Leif. With its roots in the forefront of Oregon's wine industry, Olson Estate Vineyard, planted in 1972, is one of the oldest vineyards in Oregon. Sitting high in the Dundee Hills Appellation at 800 feet on just under fifteen acres of Pinot Noir, the fruit of Olson Estate was the main focus of Torii Mor's first vintage. From its modest beginnings in 1993 of no more than 1,000 cases, Torii Mor has matured into an ultra-premium producer of Pinot Noir with an annual production of 15,000 cases.
Since its beginnings in Burgundy, Pinot Noir has long been considered one of the most "terroir" expressive varieties of grape. This strong tie to the earth was something Dr. Olson wanted to convey when he decided on a name for his new venture. Borrowing from the Japanese, "Torii" refers to the ornate gates often seen at the entrances of gardens. "Mor," meaning earth, was then chosen as homage to Dr. Olson's Scandinavian heritage. By joining these two distinct languages, the name Torii Mor and a romantic image of a beautiful gate to the earth was created.
Late in 2004, Jacques Tardy joined Torii Mor as head winemaker. With his Burgundian heritage and five generations of winemakers in his family history, Jacques brought the experience and style for which Torii Mor is now recognized. With a keen focus on structure and balance, the elegance of Jacques' wines has branded Torii Mor as one of the top-ranked producers of Pinot Noir in the United States.
Learn More About Pinot Blanc
Pinot Blanc (pee-no blahnk)
Pretty and Simple
A mutation of the Pinot family, Pinot Blanc was once commonly mistaken for
- it looks quite similar on the vine. But true Pinot Blanc lacks most Chardonnay
characteristics. The grape is most at home in
where it is used both in blends as well as a sole varietal. It's also found
in Italy where it's called Pinot Bianco.
Wine made from Pinot Blanc often has fuller-body, but it is not a grape known for its
aromatics. The fragrance of a Pinot Blanc is typically neutral and subdued.
The delicate aromas that are present are most often apples, pears, some minerality.
It's a refreshing wine with good acidity. It is also the base variety for Cremant
d'Alsace (the sparking wine of Alsace).
Summing it up
Successful Sites: Alsace, Italy, Oregon
apple, pear, nut, minerals, light, dry, pleasant
Learn More About Oregon
Like many other states, Oregon itself is an AVA of note. An Oregon wine can simply state "Oregon" as its place of origin, which typically means the grapes came from multiple smaller AVAs within the state.
Beyond the main AVAs of Oregon, like Willamette Valley, Rogue and Umpqua, smaller regions are gaining ground. Some you may see on the label include:
Walla Walla Valley AVA
– these are most often associated with Washington State, but technically they run over the state lines into Oregon. Most wineries only use a small fraction of grapes from the Oregon side in order to maintain a Washington State wine, but you may see some Oregon producers sourcing grapes from those small overlapping AVAs.
Southern Oregon AVA
– encompassing the Rogue and Umpqua Valleys, this AVA is a large area where many producers are experimenting with Syrah.