Vic's farewell picks: 10 whites from Cascade foothills

 Victor Panichkul, Statesman Journal11:35 a.m. PDT May 26, 2016

(Photo: Victor Panichkul / Statesman Journal)

When I first came to the Willamette Valley in 2002, I fell in love with the wineries of the Cascade foothills.

I haven't been over there very much after those initial forays to Pudding River Wine Cellars and others nearly 14 years ago. So I thought it would be fitting for my last column to come full circle and write about 10 great white wines for you to try this summer from this part of the Willamette Valley, east of Interstate 5.

1. Pudding River Wine Cellars 2014 Viognier: Very floral aromas of honeysuckle, gardenia, peach skins and white pepper lead to flavors of apricot, citrus and white peaches along with traces of fresh-picked thyme. This dry wine literally blooms on your palate and finishes with a crisp refreshing acidity, $26, check your favorite wine store or find at the tasting room, 9374 Sunnyview Road NE, Salem, 503-365-0391,puddingriver.com.

2. Pudding River Wine Cellars 2014 Pinot Gris: Aromas of grapefruit peel and a hint of gardenia and fresh-cut grass lead to flavors of star fruit, melon, Asian pear and citrus with a subtle herbaceous note, hints of pepper and a crisp long finish, $19, check your favorite wine store or find at the tasting room, 9374 Sunnyview Road NE, Salem, 503-365-0391, puddingriver.com.

3. Piluso Vineyard and Winery 2015 Grüner Veltliner: This medium-bodied, food-friendly wine has aromas of peaches and crushed herbs and white pepper, flavors of lemon, grapefruit and white peaches wound around vibrant acidity, $22, check Roth's Sunnyslope, Vista or West Salem, or find at the tasting room, 6654 Shaw Highway Southeast, Aumsville, 503-749-4125, pilusowines.com.

4. Whiskey Hill Winery 2015 White Pinot Noir: This nearly clear Pinot Noir has just a kiss of pink, aromas of antique roses, dried cherries and pomegranate skin, and flavors of rainier cherries, citrus and hints of baking spice. The wine has vibrant acidity and a crisp finish, $25, available at the tasting room, 29510 S Barlow Road, Canby, 503-974-7143, whiskeyhillwinery.com.

5. Piluso Vineyard and Winery 2015 Pinot Noir Blanc de Noir:  This nearly clear Pinot Noir has a brush of peach, and it's unlike any white pinot I've tasted so far ... but in a good way. The wine has aromas of peach skin, jasmine, eastern spices and a hint of white pepper, flavors of pineapple and other tropical fruit and citrus, wound around crisp acidity and a nice long finish, $25, check Roth's Sunnyslope, Vista or West Salem, or at the tasting room, 6654 Shaw Highway Southeast, Aumsville, 503-749-4125, pilusowines.com.

6. Hanson Vineyards 2014 Riesling: This dry Riesling has aromas of pear skin, crushed herbs and dry straw, flavors of Asian pear, citrus and a trace of honeydew with modest acidity and a flinty finish, $15, available at the tasting room, 34948 S Barlow Road, Woodburn, 971-338-9760, hansonwine.co.

7. Hanson Vineyards 2014 Pinot Blanc: This dry wine has aromas of khaffir lime, lemongrass and a hint of green papaya, flavors of citrus and a hint of ripe papaya and a long, dry finish, $17, available at the tasting room, 34948 S Barlow Road, Woodburn, 971-338-9760, hansonwine.co.

8. Forest Edge Vineyard 2009 Chardonnay: This wine has a complex aroma of tropical fruit mixed with citrus and trace of sandalwood, flavors of pineapple, citrus, vanilla and butter with a creamy finish, $15, available on amazon.com or at the tasting room, 15640 S Spangler Road, Oregon City, 503-632-9463.

9. Christopher Bridge 2015 Sauvignon Blanc: Aromas of honey dew and freshly mowed lawn, flavors of pineapple, granny smith apple and citrus with a peppery finish and crisp acidity.

10. Forest Edge Vineyard Forest Mist: This white blend is a combination of 70 percent Chardonnay and 30 percent Pinot Noir, with a perplexing aroma that smells to me like wildflowers laced with granny smith apples and big citrus flavors evolving into white peaches and a dry, crisp acid-laden finish, $14, available on amazon.com or at the tasting room, 15640 S Spangler Road, Oregon City, 503-632-9463.

Thanks for letting me share my passion with you for the past 14 years. Remember, wine is not just a commodity to be consumed, it's something enjoy with friends and family and make lasting memories with. Cheers!

Victor Panichkul has been the wine, food and beer reporter and columnist for the Statesman Journal. He is putting his reporter's notebook to rest and will be Stoller Family Estate's new tasting room manager.