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2011 Oregon Pinot Noir All-Americans Second Team


2008 Amalie Robert Estate Select Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 13.8% alc., $50. Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Subdued but pleasant aromas of mixed berries and black cherries with a violet note. Silky and earth-driven flavors of darker red berries and subtle baking spice, wrapped in supple tannins, with oak playing a complimentary role in the background. A classy wine with very impressive length on the aromatic finish. The most cellaring potential of the 2008 Amalie Robert Pinot Noirs and the one with the most Pinot charm. Available through the winery’s website at www.amalierobert.com.



2008 Argyle Nuthouse Reserve Series Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 14.0% alc., 3,200 cases, $42. The nose is reserved, offering delicate aromas of dark stone fruits and berries with complimentary oak. Vivid and intense red and black berry compote on the palate including a striking attack of black raspberry fruit on entry that lingers on the finish. Well-rounded, smoothly textured, with a lively acid underbelly. More approachable than the 2008 Argyle Reserve, but this wine will also benefit from cellaring. Do not overlook this well-priced beauty from a great vintage. Available through the winery’s website at www.argylewinery.com and select retail stores.



2009 Bergström Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 14.1% alc., $46. Moderately intense reddish-purple color in the glass. Complex perfume exhibiting scents of purple fruits, spice, cigar box and toast. A medium weight, tasty wine that offers layers of flavor including fresh plums, blackberries and Hoison sauce. The wine flows smoothly over the palate and lingers on the finish for what seems like 60 seconds. The wine displays hearty tannins now, but they are well balanced by the fruit and acidity. Shea Vineyard performed beautifully in this vintage and Bergström showcased this iconic fruit source beautifully. This wine will have many fans. Available through fine wine retail stores (the 2010 vintage is now offered at the winery at www.bergstromwines.com).



2008 Daedalus Cellars Maresh Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 12.4% alc., 24 cases, $60. Lighter redder-toned color in the glass. Intense aromas of dark red cherries and berries with oak in the background. Impressive mid palate flavors of ripe red cherries and berries with complimentary oak spice and toast. Seamless, sophisticated and classy with a capital C. Very light on its feet and elegant in style. Will be better over time as the oak integrates, but hard to resist now. Nothing like Pinot Noir from old vine fruit. Available from the winery at www.daedaluscellars.com.



2009 De Ponte Cellars Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 14.1% alc., 1,881 cases, $38. Full-on perfume of fresh boysenberries, potpourri, incense and Moroccan spices. Lip smacking black cherry and boysenberry essence with subtle oak, musk and spice undertones. Everything you want in a Pinot Noir: mouthwatering attack, bright acidity, ripe tannins, a lingering finish and impeccable balance. A stylish and sensual pleasure. Available through the winery’s website at www.depontecellars.com.



2009 Et Fille Maresh Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 13.8% alc., 103 cases, $42. Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Demure, but pleasing perfume of red and black berries, with hints of smoky oak and tobacco. A young, but sophisticated wine, with a stunning array of black cherry, red currant and red plum flavors robed in chewy tannins. The pedigree of the fruit is obvious. A powerhouse that is impenetrable now, still showing some unintegrated oak, and not ready for prime time. Like a new pair of Christian Louboutin shoes: able to attract plenty of attention. Available through the winery at www.etfille.com.



2008 Lange Estate Vineyards & Winery Freedom Hill Vineyard 13.5% alc., 250 cases, $60. Tasted in August 2010 and re-tasted recently in late 2011. Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Welcoming aromas of black plums, dark cherries, cassis, forest floor and damp earth. Soil-inflected core of intensely flavored black plum fruit that is beginning to shed its baby fat. Since last tasted the tannins have become softer, the oak has faded into the background, and the wine is exhibiting an amazingly long finish that has a bright cut of acidity. The wine has the balance for long-term aging. Put on your big boy pants when you open this one. Available only through the secondary marketplace. The winery is currently offering the 2009 version at www.langewinery.com.



2008 Ponzi Vineyards Aurora Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 13.5% alc., 50 cases, $100. Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Demure scents of dark red fruits, polished woods and brioche. Intense and mouth coating flavors of dark red cherries and raspberries, with a citrus note in the background. The massive fruit is largely buried in substantial tannins and the wine is not offering the whole package at this time. Much better two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. A little more showy than the companion Abetina Vineyard bottling. Cellar for at least 3 to 5 years and then open the wine on a special occasion. Available only through the secondary marketplace; sold out at the winery.



2008 ROCO Private Stash Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 13.5% alc., $75. Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. The nose is closed for business initially, opening up over time in the glass to reveal hi-tone aromas of red Pinot fruits and spice box. Pleasing middle weight dark red cherry and berry flavors with a hint of candied spice and Red Vines. The taste profile is more typical of Pinot Noir from the Dundee Hills. A classy wine with admirable elegance that is very smooth in the mouth and literally grows on you over time. Will benefit from decanting. Available from the winery at www.rocowinery.com.



2009 Roots Estate Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 13.9% alc., $29. Moderately light in color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with intense aromas of fresh cherry tart, pie spice and cardamom. The wine sports a delicious core of cherries set off by underpinnings of sassafras, baking spice and vanilla. Light, elegant and silky on the palate, with supple fine-grain tannins, and a refreshingly tart finish offering a hint of orange peel. Interesting interplay between the slightly grainy tannins and fresh fruit. This is far from a blockbuster, but hits all the right notes and offers immense pleasure. Still solid the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Available from the winery at www.rootswine.com and through limited retail channels such as www.winex.com and www.northwest-wine.com.



2009 White Rose Estate Whole Cluster White Rose Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 14.0% alc., 124 cases, $90. Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. This wine really grabs your attention with a festival of ripe and forward aromas and flavors including dark pie cherries and magic spice. Upon entry, the wine jolts your taste buds to action, offering substantial pleasure while displaying a seductive charm that carries over to the long and silky, cherry-soaked finish. Still mildly reserved, this marvelous juice should improve effortlessly over the next three to five years, and drink well for another five to ten years beyond that. Pick any superlatives you wish; my choice is “libidinous.” Available to wine club members at www.whiteroseestate.com.


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