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2011 Oregon Pinot Noir All-Americans First Team


2008 Anam Cara Reserve Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 14.0% alc., 180 cases, $40. Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Very alluring aromas of dark plums, blackberries and black cherries with a hint of complimentary oak. Lovely core of earth-kissed and intensely flavored black cherry and black raspberry fruit. Ripe and sweet, round and polished. Silky smooth with perfect integration of oak and a glorious finish that lasts and lasts. Best Reserve ever from Anam Cara. Available in the secondary marketplace; sold out at winery.



2009 Antica Terra Estate Grown Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 13.6% alc., $100. Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. An engaging Pinot Noir with a gorgeous perfume of wild berries, Christmas spices, mesquite, underbrush and coffee. The allure carries through on the palate with layers of flavorful dark berries, savory additions of leaf and spice, an exotic note of musk, and a complimentary underpinning of smoky oak. Impeccably balanced and very sensual in the mouth. A beautiful food wine that was even better the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. If this Pinot were a lover instead of a wine, it’s one that would make you leave your family, abandon your job, and forfeit your hard-won respect in the community for just one more fling. Available through the winery mailing list at www.antica-terra.com.



2008 Beaux Frères The Beaux Frères Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 13.6% alc., $80. Moderately light in color with a red tone. The aromatics are relatively closed, revealing more toasty oak than fruit. The wine offers much more on the elegant palate, with discreetly rich and pleasing flavors of strawberries, cherries and oak accents that linger on the juicy finish. Well-integrated acidity and tannins offer a harmony that predicts 10+ years of longevity. Stunning the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle indicating the wine needs cellaring. There is nothing like older vine fruit. Available at www.beauxfreres.com.



2009 Coelho Winery Paciência Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 13.0% alc., 525 cases, $40. Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Bombastic aromas of black cherries, spice, seasoned oak, brier and rose petal. Stunning black cherry and black raspberry liquor-like flavor. Palate-staining, yet discreetly concentrated and light on its feet, finishing with large scale fruit flavors that last for a minute. Hints of allspice, oak and tar in the background. Still great the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. An instant festive occasion. Available at retailer Total Wine; sold out at the winery.



2008 Cristom Eileen Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 14.0% alc., 659 cases, $50. Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Subdued and mysterious perfume of black fruits, spice and stem. Fresh and juicy on the palate with very impressive extraction and a prodigious tannic backbone. The flavors of fresh blackberries, Hoison sauce and Asian 5-spice are reserved and take a back seat to the tannins at present. Still, there is amazing Grand Cru persistence on the huge finish. Tremendous potential here, but will take years to fulfill. Available from the winery at www.cristom.com and select wine retailers.



2008 Domaine Drouhin Laurène Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 13.9% alc., $65. Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. The fruit aromas have not completely arrived in the wine, so the scent of dark red cherries and berries is overshadowed by oak. Bright and lively flavors of black cherries, black raspberries, cola and sassafras led by oak undertones that are prominent at this immature stage. A serious, polished wine that is moderately intense and structured, yet displays an admirable elegance, finishing with remarkable length. You could drink a bottle now, but it would be a crime as the wine needs several years to emerge and shed its oak wrap. Drink the superb and more approachable 2008 Domaine Drouhin Willamette Valley bottling while you wait for the Laurène to mature. Available at the winery at www.domainedrouhin.com and from select wine retailers nationally.



2009 Laura Volkman Rachel Estate Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 13.7% alc., 125 cases, $50. Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. I had to look up some superlatives for this one. The perfume reminds me of the early summer first crop of fresh berries covered in vanilla pastry creme. Silky and elegant on the palate with well-mannered fine-grain tannins and intensely flavored core of black cherries, raspberries, sandalwood, vanillin, herbs and spice brought into focus by a good cut of acidity. The most appropriate superlative I could find was “heavenly.” Available from the winery at www.volkmanvineyards.com and retailer www.northwest-wine.com.



2008 Soter Vineyards Mineral Springs Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 13.8% alc., $40. Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Terrific nose with bright aromas of ripe berries, forest floor and good barnyard. Remarkably flavored in the mouth with a depth and richness of cherry and berry flavor that defies description. Soft and elegant with well-proportioned tannin and acidity. One of the best 2008 Oregon Pinot Noirs I have tasted and a superb cellar candidate. Available from fine wine retailers. The winery has the white label Mineral Springs Pinot Noir ($85) available at www.sotervineyards.com.



2009 The Eyrie Vineyards Original Vines Reserve Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 13.5% alc., $60. Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Enticing aromas of strawberries, raspberries and melon. Perfectly balanced with a charming array of Pinot fruits showing more restraint than the Estate bottling, but offering more long-term potential. The epitome of the “Eyrie style,” with a sexy silkiness, elegance and a touch of terroir-driven dried herbs on the finish. Showing a little oak vanillin now due to its young age. The harmony and breeding of this wine predicts a long cellar life ahead. An Oregon classic Available from the winery at www.eyrievineyards.com.



2008 Tyee Wine Cellars Estate Barrel Select Willamette Valley Pinot Noir13.5% alc., 100 cases, $35. Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Reserved but pleasing scent of fresh cherries and raspberries with a hint of spice and rose petal. Similar flavor profile to the Estate bottling but with more intensity, more persistence, and more sophistication. The perfectly ripened fruit has a dark red profile, the dry tannins and crisp acidity frame the fruit beautifully, and the silky finish makes a lasting impression. A perfect argument for the superiority of old vine Pinot Noir. The wine was still great the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, but I couldn’t report beyond this as I eagerly finished the bottle. An exceptional wine that is much more approachable than many reserve Pinot Noirs from Oregon’s 2008 vintage. A vin de garde for Oregon in 2008. Remarkably, still available from the winery at www.tyeewine.com.



2009 White Rose Estate White Rose Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 13.8% alc., 308 cases, $70. Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Glorious nose offering aromas of cherry pie just out of the oven, baking spice, and potpourri. The palate is long and elegant, featuring waves of dark cherries and magic spice with well-mannered dusty tannins and perfectly matched acidity. Spectacular the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. A very classy wine that speaks of low yields and old vine fruit and is a more than worthy successor to the wonderful 2008 vintage bottling of this wine. Available to winery wine club members at www.whiterosewines.com.


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