Saved from Arsenic by the King; Adventures in Drinking Locally

Last week-end I was staying in Corvallis, Oregon, and stopped by the hotel bar for a glass of wine at the end of the day. As I perused the list, something struck me as familiar. Seaglass, Menage a Trois, Concannon, Beringer, Sutter Home. ‘Where have I seen this list before?’ Then it dawned on me. Every wine on their list was on the much publicized ‘Arsenic List,’ wines that supposedly have dangerously high levels of arsenic in them.

‘Excuse me, bar keep, do you have anything a little less arsenic-y?’

She took my question in stride as she reached under the bar. ‘Well, I do have a local wine.’

Let me remind you, I’m in Corvallis, Oregon. ‘Go on,’ I said with anticipation.

‘It’s a Pinot Noir,’ she continued.

Again, Corvallis, Oregon. ‘Bar keep, set me up.’

King Estate is in Eugene, Oregon just south of Corvallis. Like many wineries in Oregon, they practice organic and sustainable farming. They have the largest organic vineyard in the world. By any standards, but especially by Oregon standards,  King is a large producer with an annual production of around 125,000 cases. They are known for their Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. I had the former.  It presented earthy coffee aromas with tangy, spicy, red berry flavors, and a lovely finish, to the wine and to the day.

Even if I hadn’t seen the article about the alleged high levels of arsenic in wines, I would not have wanted any of the wines on the list. None of them is particularly interesting. But, more importantly, when given a choice, drinking locally is always preferable in Oregon.