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Large Review of 2009 & 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs With a Few from 2008 & 2011


The 2009 and 2010 vintages of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir are now in the marketplace. There are many wines to get excited about. The 2010 vintage has been a surprise despite the dodgy weather during the growing season. That said, the quality is not as even as 2008 and 2009, and some wines are under ripe and lacking in color and flavor intensity. The 2009 wines are almost universally dependable and ready for drinking now.

Critiquing Pinot Noir from Oregon, or California for that matter, is like splitting hairs. The quality is at an astonishing high level from a majority of producers and the highest rated wines are all to be recommended. I have taken somewhat of a jaundiced view of the numerical scores in today’s wine publications because there are too many Pinot Noirs rated 90 or above. Scores above 90 are so commonplace that they hold little significance. That said, there are more wines deserving of high accolades than ever before. This review offers an astonishing number of great wines. Especially noteworthy are the large number of outstanding Oregon Pinot Noirs priced at $35 and below. 2010, despite its challenging weather and low yields, has turned out to be one of Willamette Valley's greatest vintages. "Ten is Zen." Lush, ripe fruit at lower alcohol percentages with perfectly matched acidity and tannins. Stock up while the limited supply is still available. With the 2011 vintage, fifty years since the first Pinot Noir vines were put in the ground in the Umpqua Valley by Richard Sommer, Oregon Pinot Noir has entered the Golden Age.

I have written a short summary for wineries I have not previously featured in the PinotFile. The wineries whose wines are reviewed here and are featured at this year’s International Pinot Noir Celebration include Anne Amie Vineyards, Cristom Vineyards, Domaine Serene, Luminous Hills, Rex Hill Vineyards and Winery, ROCO Winery, Scott Paul Wines, and Tyee Wine Cellars.



A to Z Wineworks

2010 A to Z Oregon Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $20, screw cap. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of oak-kissed cherries with a hint of spice and acacia. A fruity and uncomplicated wine with lighter weight flavors of red cherries and raspberries framed by bright acidity. Won’t turn your head, but pleasant and easy to drink. Decent.

Adelsheim Vineyards

2009 Adelsheim Elizabeth’s Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $37.99. A barrel selection from some of the finest lots in the cellar. Mostly estate grown fruit. Named for Elizabeth Edel, the daughter of David and Ginny Adelsheim, the winery’s founders. The portrait on the label is by Ginny Adelsheim. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose is complex and well endowed with vibrant aromas of dark red cherries, leather, dried rose petal and berry granola. Tasty essence of fresh black cherries and black raspberries with a lingering cherry and mineral driven finish. Delicately structured with crisp acidity and dusty tannins. Better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Should be a cause for celebration in a few years. Very good (+).

Anne Amie Vineyards

2010 Anne Amie Vineyards Cuvée A Oregon Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., $25, screw cap. · Light garnet color in the glass. Delicate aromas of red cherries and berries with hints of nutmeg and oak. Light, bright and refreshing, with flavors of strawberries and cherries. Nimble with zingy acidity and very reserved tannins. A fine Saturday BBQ wine. Decent.

2009 Anne Amie Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.56, TA 059, 2,600 cases, $35, screw cap. Released November 2011. Pommard and multiple Dijon clones. 100% destemmed, 7-21-day cold soak, extended maceration, on the skins for 28-40 days. Free-run and light pressings combined, racked to barrel and aged for 10 months in 21% new, 20% 1-year, and 50% neutral French oak barrels. The wine was aged 12 months before release. · Light reddish-purple color in the glass. Very appealing nose, with bright aromas of black cherries, black cap raspberries and even a hint of grilled peaches. Mid weight core of dark red cherries and berries picking up heft and interest over time in the glass. Well-balanced and easy to drink, with a pleasingly fruity finish. Good (+).

2009 Anne Amie Vineyards L’iris Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.56, 260 cases, $75. Release date August 2012. Sourced from the finest blocks. Aged 18 months. Multiple vineyard sources including Anne Amie Estate. Clones are Pommard and Dijon 777, 115 and 828. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, aged 18 months in 20% new, 40% 1-year and 40% neutral French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered followed by extensive bottle aging. · Light reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of dark red, spiced berries and cherries. Elegantly composed flavors of black cherries, black raspberry jam and anise, lifted with bright acidity, wrapped in suave tannins, finishing long and smooth. The impression is one of finesse and nuance rather than power. Definitely age worthy. Very good.

2009 Anne Amie Vineyards Prismé Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir Blanc

14.1% alc., pH 3.31, TA 0.59, 404 cases, $45, screw cap. Released May 2012. Sourced from Anne Amie Estate and Rainbow Ridge vineyards. Pommard and Dijon 115 clones. Aged 18 months in 25% new, 25% 1- year-old, and 50% neutral French oak barrels. Free run juice with no skin contact, entirely barrel fermented, lees stirred, and aged on the lees in oak barrels for 18 months. · Pale yellow color in the glass. Very aromatic with vivid scents of crème brulée, golden apples, buttered brioche, honeysuckle and baked pear. Substantial and delicious with full-bodied flavors of pear, white peach, golden apple, citrus, nutmeg and brown butter persisting on the generous and lengthy finish. Reminds one of Chardonnay but different. Creamy mouth feel with good underlying acidity. A remarkable wine that confirms the saying that Pinot Noir is a white wine masquerading as a red wine. Very special and quite unique.

Antica Terra

Here is winemaker Maggie Harrison’s description of the 2010 vintage. “As we sat across from our accountant, a 30-year veteran of the industry and self-proclaimed Oregon wine visionary, he leaned comfortably back in his chair, cracked his knuckles, and with almost a gleam in his eye predicted it (2010) would be a ‘bloodbath’ for the Oregon wine industry. This moment and its surreal, cinematic quality captures the apocalyptic mood that attended our experience with the 2010 vintage. It felt like we were in the grasp of a once in a lifetime weather phenomenon. Everything we did in the vineyard, from the thinning of the first primordial clusters to the final uncertain strolls through the vine rows, assessing ripeness, was carried out in the context of a certain failure. As we sat with our families during the 4th of July festivities, we were still waiting for bloom and the accumulation of heat was gauged at 20-30 percent behind the ten-year average. The best guesses by local climatologists was a slim chance of equaling the ripeness achieved in even very cool vintages like 2005. The effect of all this on the Oregon wine community was palpable. We watched the sons and daughters of winemaking families bite their nails as they earnestly confided their concern that, ‘we might not make it through this.’ “

“Even as we basked in the warmth of the Indian summer that filled October, birds descended in pestilential numbers to decimate an already tiny crop and ominously punctuated the already uncertain mood. In retrospect, perhaps only the vines, with their biological desire for ripeness, knew better. If one takes a careful look at the past twenty years, one can see that the weather we experienced in 2010, is relatively normal. There are countless examples of terrifyingly cool growing seasons saved at the last instant by a few unexpected, balmy weeks at the end of October. Enduring this year after year, in an eerily repetitive scenario reminiscent of the movie, ‘Groundhog Day,’ each vintage as frighteningly intense as the last, is the essence of making wine in Oregon.”

“As in 2008, yields were very low. Poor fruit set, combined with draconian thinning and the tariff exacted by birds, left us with less than half the wine to offer compared with previous years. But the wine that we have is exqusite. The 2010 wines share the concentration of 2008, but are slightly less tannic and about a half-degree lower in alcohol (13% as compared to 13.5%). This slight dip in alcohol translates into wines of perfect pitch that resonate more clearly than anything we have produced before. The experience of making these wines has shown us the beauty that can emerge when the weather pushes us and our vines further than we thought was possible.”

2010 Antica Terra Erratica Willamette Valley Rosé

13.0% alc., $50 (sold out). This wine has serious intentions, sporting a heavy bottle and wax top. Named for the giant rocks that are carried on the backs of glaciers and left to rest hundreds of miles from their true home. The juice is macerated on the skins for a little over a week. Between day 6 and 8, the aromatics of the fermentation reach a peak of expression and at this point, just before it becomes red wine, the juice is siphoned from the fermenters and sent to barrel, where the juice finishes its fermentation and ages on the lees for a year before bottling. In a conventional sense, this is not how rosé is produced. · Light orange-red color in the glass. Lovely and seductive on the nose, with delicate aromas of fresh strawberries, pomegranate, rhubarb, herbs, oak and even pear. Creamy and substantial, with vivid flavors of strawberries and red currants with a hint of oak-driven mocha and vanilla. Delicious and inviting, with a refreshing lift of acidity on the finish. A perfect compliment to grilled salmon.

2010 Antica Terra Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $50. This wine is based on fruit from the 11-acre Antica Terra Vineyard. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of fresh plums, violets, forest floor, tea, and toasty oak. Very soft and smooth in the mouth, with luscious flavors of black plums, blackberries, herbs and mocha java. Supple tannins and moderate acidity make for a pleasing palate experience. Very good.

2010 Antica Terra Botanica Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., $75 (sold out). Built around fruit from Shea Vineyard in the Yamhill- Carlton District where grapes are sourced from 8 acres of Pinot Noir split between East and West Hill. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Delicate aromas of black cap raspberries and plum sauce waif from the glass. Round, rich and Rubenesque, yet very smooth, seamless and light on its feet, offering delicious flavors of black plum, black raspberry and spice, caressed by gossamer tannins. Amazing flavor at a modest alcohol level. Perfect integration of oak and impeccable balance. Approachable now, but can go the distance. America, this is a Pinot Noir we can be very proud of. Winemaker Maggie Harrison is in it to win it!

Beaux Frères

2009 Beaux Frères The Beaux Frères Vineyard Ribbon Ridge AVA Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $80. Large formats available. First released in 1991. Primarily Pommard and Wädenswil clones planted on their own roots between 1988 and 1995 in a 23-acre vineyard. Farming is organic and biodynamic and the vines are not irrigated. · Moderately light reddish-purple color and slightly hazy in the glass (unfiltered). Riper fruit profile with aromas of dark plums and berries with notes of peat, tea leaf, and sawdust. Medium weight core of dark red and black fruits with a subtle stem, brier and savory mushroom accent. Rather austere and unappealing upon opening, but considerably better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Unique among Oregon Pinot Noir offerings for its “Burgundian” style with Oregon charm. Very good.

Beckham Estate Vineyard

A small, family owned and meticulously farmed vineyard in Oregon’s Chehalem Mountains. The winery’s mission is to grow and craft exceptional Pinot Noir that expresses the beauty of the site and the individuality of the vintage. The vineyard is owned and farmed by Andrew and Annedria Beckham and Andrew does the winemaking. The vineyard is planted to Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon 115 clones. The two wines reviewed here clearly reflect their respective vintages with the 2010 less ripe, lighter and more delicate, and the 2009 riper, darker fruited, and more structured. Ripe or less ripe, take your pick. Either way, this is a producer to put on your watch list.

2009 Beckham Estate Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 250 cases, $32. Inaugural vintage. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of darker fruits including black plum with a hint of toasted oak. Well-structured core of black raspberry, plum and black currant fruits with a hint of brewed tea, becoming more mellow over time in the glass. Very ripe, smooth and mouth filling with impressive length on the finish. Very good.

2010 Beckham Estate Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 275 cases, $32. Released April 2012. Yields 2.5 lbs per vine. 100% de-stemmed, whole berry fermented, aged 11 months in 35% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Very enticing aromas of fresh pie cherries, red plums and baking spices. Discreetly concentrated flavors of red cherries and berries with a hint of baking spice, offering hi-tone acidity and mild tannins, leaving a memorable fruit-filled impression on the finish. Lighter weighted than the 2009 bottling but offering more transparency, finesse and charm. Very good (+).

Big Table Farm

2010 Big Table Farm Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., 203 cases, $38. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Attractive aromas of red fruits, spice, sweet oak and pipe smoke. Light in weight with crisp and juicy red cherry and red berry flavors with farm-driven notes of tar, green garden and salinity. Decent.

2010 Big Table Farm Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., 146 cases, $45. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Perfumed with oak-kissed, fresh Bing cherries. Tasty core of dark cherries on a light and elegant frame with subtle notes of spice and oak. Finishes strong with a black cherry flourish. Good.

2010 Big Table Farm Resonance Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.6% alc., 125 cases, $48. Label features Ronnie the steer at Big Table Farm. 75% whole cluster, aged sur lie in 30% new French oak barrels for 10 months. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. The nose is a little tight, but offers attractive scents of dark red cherries and strawberries. A transparent wine of great pedigree and delicacy, with inviting flavors of pie cherries and ripe strawberries caressed by supple tannins and crisped by bright acidity. A very charming wine that won’t knock your socks off with powerful extraction, but offers a gentile, extremely enjoyable drinking experience.

Brittan Vineyards

2009 Brittan Vineyards Gestalt Block Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $39. From an estate vineyard located on a south facing mountainside in the McMinnville AVA. · The dense, deep purple color in the glass shows what is to follow. Heady aromas of very ripe purple plum and black grapes. Lavishly fruited with more body than typical for Oregon Pinot Noir. Ripe, tooth-staining intensity with endless waves of sweet, purple fruit balanced by firm tannins and a vivid, citrus-driven acidity. Not for me personally, but done well in its style. Good.

2009 Brittan Vineyards Basalt Block Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $39. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Subdued aromas of dark red fruits, herbs and pine. Middleweight flavors of dark red cherries and berries with a hint of citrus on the finish. Softer, more restrained than the Gestalt Block bottling, offering a creamy texture and inviting drinkability. This is more to my liking. Very good.

Carabella Vineyard

2010 Plowbuster Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $20. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherries, strawberries and violets. The flavors echo the aromas in a moderately light style. A simple but pleasing wine that is soft in the mouth and finishes with a kiss of cherry. Consistently one of Oregon’s best valuepriced Pinot Noirs. Good.

Note: I was a bit shocked when I saw the alcohol percentages on the following two wines. I don’t recall seeing alcohol levels this high ever on an Oregon Pinot Noir although I am sure there were a number from the 2003 and 2006 vintages. I contacted owner Cara Hallock (spouse Mike Hallock is the winemaker) and she told me the following. “We too were shocked by our 2009 alcohol levels. In the Willamette Valley and at our site, we had an unusual 105 degree heat wave for a few days at the end of August. We are dry-farmed and 100% estate, so our wines are very true to the vintage. Irrigated vineyards were able to give the vines some water during the heat spike. We thought we would get bad reviews and that the customers wouldn’t be happy. But thankfully we got a good review from the Wine Advocate and many customers prefer the wines to our favorite, which is the 2008 vintage.”

2009 Carabella Estate Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

15.7% alc., 350 cases, $37. Warm summer at this vineyard site. Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon clones 113, 114 and 115 fermented separately. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely effusive nose composed of aromas of sweet Bing cherries, fresh raspberries, tea leaf and sandalwood. Delicious and intensely flavored black cherry bombast that is akin to Pinots from the warmer parts of the Russian River Valley. Despite its muscular nature, the wine retains a nimbleness and is neither roasted nor jammy. The alcohol never rears its head, but the acidity is slightly lacking on the relatively flat finish. A meal in itself that is hard to resist. Very good.

2009 Carabella Estate Inchinnan Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

15.7% alc., 90 cases, $54. A select blend of 2 barrels of Wädenswil clone, 1 barrel of Dijon 115 clone and 1 barrel of Pommard clone. The name comes from the vineyard site, formerly part of the historic Inchinnan Farm, a hazelnut orchard still owned by the McDonald family. A select blend from the Carabella Estate Vineyard. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. More earthy and savory than the regular Estate bottling and more reticent to reveal its charms. The nose is well nuanced with aromas of black cherries, black raspberries, mushrooms, spice and graham. Dusty black cherry flavors are complimented by savory herbs. Well-proportioned tannins and acidity, and a touch more refined and sophisticated than the regular Estate bottling. Not at all ponderous. Even better the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.

Cooper Mountain Vineyards

2010 Cooper Mountain Vineyards “Life” Willamette Valley Organic Wine

13% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.55, 180 cases, $35 (sold out). No sulfites added during winemaking. Biodynamic® by Demeter®. Aged in 40% new French oak, unfined. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with scents of fresh black cherries with a hint of grassy herbs and spice. Juicy and bright, with medium weighted flavors of dark red fruits including cherries, cranberries and even pomegranate. Crisp and refreshing with excellent tension. A different take on Pinot Noir that is quite pleasing and one of the best organic wines I have sampled. Good.

2010 Cooper Mountain Vineyards Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.59, 2,100 cases, $24. Aged in 32% new French oak barrels. Made with organic and Biodynamic® grapes. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas are oak-driven and include brewed coffee and straw. Delicious core of cherries and red berries. Relatively light in weight with substantial oak and fruit tannins, finishing lively with some length. Crisp and juicy. The oak sheen overshadows the fruit at this stage. Less oak is evident the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. If you pop the cork now, I recommend decanting. Should develop better integration of oak over time in the cellar. Good.

2009 Cooper Mountain Vineyards Mountain Terroir Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.57, 290 cases, $45. Biodynamic® by Demeter®. Aged in 35% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose veers to the ripper side with aromas of black fruits, plum cake, and oak. Delicious and luscious with mouth filling presence. Pure and polished with a generous core of purple and black fruits accented by anise (oak), spice and loamy earth, framed by well-balanced fine-grain tannins and acidity. This wine shows a little more oak that I would prefer at this stage, but the fruit purity is very striking. Will benefit from another year or two in the cellar. Very good.

Cristom Vineyards

2010 Cristom Mt. Jefferson Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $24.99. Unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry and red berry jam on toast with a hint of wood spice, fading over time in the glass. Light in weight with an appealing crispness, offering a core of red cherries partnering with a subtle note of dusty sage and other savory herbs. The gripping tannins are mildly astringent and overshadow the fruit. Decent.

2009 Cristom Eileen Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $44. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Rich aromas of red berry jam and cherry leather which are long and persistent. Delicious array of perfectly ripe fruits including black cherries, black raspberries and plum with well-proportioned tannins. A touch of spice rounds out the appealing flavor profile. Darkest in color and the most endowed wine in this vintage lineup for Cristom, this is a beautifully composed and balanced wine.

2009 Cristom Louise Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $44. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark red fruits, forest, and wood shop rise from the glass. Tasty core of dark red cherries and berries with a hint of stem. Builds in intensity over time in the glass. Plenty of body and backbone, with a mild grip of tannin, this is a seamless wine that has a way to go before it reveals itself. Very good.

2009 Cristom Jessie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $44. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with scents of black cherries and dark red raspberries with a hint of oak. A gentle, comforting style, with lighter weight flavors of cherry pie filling and a hint of charcoal and spice. Soft in the mouth with noticeable length on the finish. Very good.

2009 Cristom Marjorie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $59. Planted on its own roots and the only vineyard resurrected rather than replanted when Gerrie obtained the property in 1992. 8-acres, 3 clones. Phylloxera has taken its toll so production is limited. 16th vintage. · Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. The nose is well-fruited, showing aromas of red cherries, strawberries and spice. An elegant, feminine wine that is flat-out delicious. Middleweight flavors of dark red cherries and red berries, accented by the slightest oak and spice, and robed in firm but silky tannins. Very soft like the hair of an angel. In short, a party of velvet-edged red fruits.

Dion Vineyard

Three generations have farmed Dion Vineyard, which provides premium wine grapes to a number of wineries throughout Oregon. Small quantities of wine are produced under the Dion Vineyard label. Located in the northern Willamette Valley, Dion Vineyard is 60 acres planted principally to Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Some of the vines, rooted in Laurelwood soil, are over 30 years old. The owner and winemaker is Kevin Dion Johnson and the wines are vinified in McMinnville.

2009 Dion Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 200 cases, $21. 4-day cold soak, inoculated, barrel aged in 33% new French oak for 13 months. 5 Pinot Noir clones from vines that are between 9 and 25 years of age. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of wood-kissed cherries with a floral accent. Medium weight flavors of cherries, spice and sandalwood in a soft and sultry style with fine-grain tannins. An easy drinker. Decent.

2009 Dion Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Reserve Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 97 cases, $32. A 4-barrel selection aged in 50% new French oak barrels for 13 months. The barrels were selected for overall highest quality of the vintage as well as for the blend. First Reserve bottling. Clones 115, 667, 777 and 114. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with fresh aromas of dark red cherries and berries with complimentary oak spice. Substantial flavors of dark cherries and berries wrapped in generous tannins. Very soft and seamless on the palate with welcoming hi-tone fruit on the big, persistent finish. Very good.

Dois Irmãos Winery

This is a value-priced second label of Coelho Winery, an excellent producer of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir owned by Dave and Deolina Coelho. The wines carry Portuguese names reflecting the owners’ heritage. Brian Marcy of Big Table Farm is a consultant to Dave Coelho who is the winemaker.

2010 Dois Irmãos Winery Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., 2,058 cases, $40. Released March 2012. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Alluring scent of fresh red berries, red plums and spice. Straight forward flavors of cranberries and red cherries with a touch of herbs. Mild fine-grain tannins and lively acidity. Lacks for a little intensity and ripeness which reflects the vintage, but is a fine daily drinker. Good.

Domaine Serene

2010 Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Chardonnay

13.4% alc., $55. Inaugural release. Only available through restaurants and boutique wine retailers. Composed of several different Dijon clones from estate vineyards in the Dundee Hills, primarily Cote Sud. Aged 17 months in 72% new French oak barrels. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Lovely and delicate aromas of lemon curd and jasmine. Soft, even slightly creamy in the mouth, with pleasing flavors of pear and citrus zest with a very subtle oak underpinning. An understated wine of great charm, that teases gently with finesse. Very good.

2008 Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $65. The winery’s flagship wine sourced from estate vineyards in the Dundee Hills and Eola-Amity Hills. First vintage was in 1990. A blend of 40% Pommard, 51% Dijon, and 9% Wädenswil clones sourced primarily from estate vineyards grown in the Dundee Hills (70%) and Eola Hills (30%). Aged 17 months in 72% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Upon opening, smoky oak and campfire aromas and flavors dominate the fruit. Tasted later in the day from an opened bottle, the wine had blossomed in an extraordinary fashion, with oak receding to the background as a pleasing mocha note, and luscious black cherry and black raspberry fruit marching to the forefront to saturate the mid palate with flavor. A satiny mouth feel leads to a generous, long, and dry finish. I suggest you decant this wine if opened now, or patiently cellar to allow the oak and tannins to further integrate. A great assembly of Pinot clones that will please any Pinot aficionado.

Dominio IV

A producer of Biodynamic® and Demeter® family grown wines including Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Syrah and Viognier at a winery located in McMinnville, Oregon. Most of the grapes are grown at the estate Three Sleeps Vineyard in Mosier, Oregon. The three principals are Patrick Reuter (winemaker), Leigh Bartholomew (vineyard manager) and Liz and Glenn Bartholomew (owners of Three Sleeps Vineyard). Dominio is Latin for a feast and Spanish for a territory or dominion. The IV refers to 4 people, 4 seasons, 4 climates, and 4 quadrants of the labyrinth. Each wine has a title, the meaning of which is related to its profile and may be anything from a song title to book. Visit www.dominiowines.com.

2009 Dominio IV The Slow Walk of the Wind Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $25. · Light and red-toned in the glass. Aromas of brier, oak, cut flowers, red licorice and rose petals with little fruit showing up. Moderately light core of cherry and red raspberry flavors with a slightly confected and vegetal tone. Pleasant, with mild tannins and easy quaffability. Decent.

2008 Dominio IV Pondering Ptolemy Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $32. Pommard clone. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Restrained aromas of dark red fruits with notes of sassafras, molasses and oak. Drinks lighter than expected by the color, offering a silky palate impression and reasonably good length on the finish. Features dark red berries and cherries accented by oak with lively acidity and ripe tannins. Like many Pinot Noirs from Oregon in the 2008 vintage at this stage, the wine is a bit closed and needs coaxing through decanting to fully reveal its charms. Good (+).

Evesham Wood Vineyard

I did not get a chance to review the 2010 vintage wines of Evesham Wood but you get the idea of this producer’s quality from these outstanding 2009 Pinot Noirs. Winemaker Erin Nuccio of Evesham Wood has called 2010 the “Vintage of the Century.”

2009 Evesham Wood Cuvée “J” Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $44. Made from organic grapes, Certified Organic by Oregon Tilth. Non-irrigated vineyards. Unfiltered. · Moderately light reddishpurple color in the glass. Plenty of Pinot singing on the nose with vivid aromas of black cherries, raspberries and a hint of herbs and spring bouquet. A cherry bombast with the slightest hint of herbs and oak in the background that supports rather than detracts. Impressive mid palate intensity with well-balanced t n’ a. A classy wine that is seamless and seductive. Still fine the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.

2009 Evesham Wood Le Puits Sec Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $36. From the 13-acre estate vineyard planted in 1986. Certified Organic by Oregon Tilth. · Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Brooding aromas of dark cherries and berries with riffs of forest floor and oak. The lightest weighted wine reviewed here, but plenty of signature Pinot flavors of dark cherries, plums, cassis and sage. Soft tannins with likable finesse, finishing bright and citrus-laden. Very good (+).

2009 Evesham Wood Illahe Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $30. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of oak-kissed black cherries. Bright and juicy with a core of earth-toned black cherries and raspberries with an underpinning of oak, tutti-fruity, and spice. Elegant with an uplifting finish. Needs time to full integrate the oak. Very good.

2009 Evesham Wood Temperance Hill Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $30. · Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. A series of ever-changing aromas rise out of the glass including ripe dark cherries, fresh raspberry tart, sassafras and Herbs de Provence. The flavors echo the nose with a noticeable savory bent of pine, leaf and bramble. Plenty of nuance and character with remarkable aromatic persistence on the finish. Still great the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Very good (+).

Gresser Vineyard

A family owned and run vineyard and winery located next to the Chehalem Ridge Natural Area southwest of Portland, near Forest Grove, Oregon. The vineyard is planted on a steep slope at about 900 feet elevation. The two Pinot Noirs reviewed here are from the estate vineyard which is farmed organically. The vineyard is planted to UCD 29 (a Jackson clone) and Dijon clones 113 and 115, making up a unique clonal mix for an Oregon Pinot Noir vineyard. The wines are extremely well priced considering the high quality. Visit www.GresserVineyard.com.

2009 Gresser Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 392 cases, $18. Released May 2011. UCD 29, Dijon 113 and 115 clones. Aged 16 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Light reddish-purple color in the glass. Subdued aromas of black cherries and verbena. Lighter weight flavors of black cherries and cranberry with a hint of spice. Soft in the mouth with supple tannins and some length on the pleasing finish. Good (+).

2009 Gresser Vineyard Vineyard Select Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 246 cases, $24. UCD 29, Dijon 113 and 115 clones. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with the aroma of fresh dark red pie cherries. Delicious medium-weight dark red berry and black cherry flavors caressed by ripe tannins. Elegant with a very soft mouth feel and aromatic persistence on the long and flamboyant finish. An exceptional wine at this price point.

iOTA Cellars

Iota means “small quantity” and represents the winery’s focus. Johanna and Don Sandberg moved from Minnesota to Portland in 1999 and the following year moved again to their vineyard site. Lynne and Perry Pelos, relatives and partners of the Sandbergs, also moved west from Minnesota to California and are involved in the vineyard and wine business. The Pelos Sandberg Vineyard is located in the northern Eola Hills of Yamhill County outside of Amity, Oregon. The property sits in the Van Duzer corridor. 11.5 acres are planted to Pinot Noir. The vines are non-irrigated and LIVE-certified. Grapes are currently sold to Rex Hill and Big Table Farm with some portion of the vineyard retained for the iOTA estate Pinot Noir. The 2009 wine reviewed below is the fourth vintage. This release, plus previous releases, can be purchased using the website order form at www.iotacellars.com.

2009 iOTA Pelos Sandberg Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 476 cases, $36. Clones are Pommard, Wädenswil, and Dijon 777 and 667. The wine was aged for 10 months in 45% new 3-year air-dried French oak barrels and aged an additional year before release. · Medium plum-garnet color in the glass. Enticing aromas of freshly picked dark berries with a hint of oak (cigar box and toast). Inviting mid palate richness offering flavors of blackberries, marionberries and plum with a subtle note of tar and brier. Admirable finesse with a refreshing cut of acidity on the moderately long finish. Very good.

Kelley Fox Wines

2009 Kelley Fox Wines Maresh Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $39, screw cap. Grapes are sourced from a block of the Maresh Vineyard planted in 1970. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose makes you want to dive into the glass, offering hi-tone scents of fresh pie cherries, baking spice, graham and petrichor. Medium weight flavors of dark red cherries and raspberries with an oak sheen and a refreshing cut of citrus peel on the long finish. Soft, dreamy tannins and easy approachability, but displaying the balance to age. A feminine wine with curves. Very good.

Laura Volkman Vineyards

2009 Laura Volkman Jacob Estate Oregon Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.70, 125 cases, $50. Clones 777, 115 and 114. Aged in 35% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Brightly perfumed with aromas of black cherries, strawberries, spice and herbs. Delicious core of perfectly ripe black cherries with a hint of spice, truffle and sandalwood in the background. A magical wine that is soft on the palate, exhibiting impeccable balance, and finishing with a cherry-driven flourish that is dry, persistent and extremely satisfying. Drinking perfectly now.

Lenné Estate

Steve Lutz has knocked it out of the ballpark in 2010. The wines are crafted by Owen Roe’s David O’Reilly, whose 2010 The Kilmore was reviewed in this issue and was ridiculously good. Steve is a dedicated farmer who produces wines from his special vineyard that seem to speak to me in every vintage.

2010 Le Nez Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc.. Infant wine of Lenné. 100% estate fruit with same yields as Estate Pinot Noir. All five Pinot Noir clones planted at Lenné. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Wood-kissed cherry and strawberry aromas with a hint of spice, rose petal and vanilla. Very showy aromatics. Middleweight flavors of black cherries with a subtle herb and spice accompaniment, backed by ripe tannins, complimentary oak and offering a velvety mouth feel. A highly approachable wine that is not an afterthought. Very good (+).

2010 Lenné Estate Yamhill-Carlton District Oregon Pinot Noir

14.0% alc.. The best barrels from each harvest. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Enticing aromas of black cherries, darker berries, sassafras, sandalwood and coffee. Hits the palate with remarkable intensity, offering delicious, slightly sweet flavors of black cherries, black raspberries and ripe strawberries which persist on the long, dreamy, citrus-toned finish. Good structural bones and balancing acidity. 1 to 2 years from super stardom, although you can indulge yourself now.

2010 Lenné Jill’s 115 Yamhill-Carlton District Oregon Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 60 cases. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Brooding, darker cherries and berries on the nose offering more pleasure over time in the glass. Full-bodied and highly pleasurable flavors of black plum and black raspberry wrapped in firm tannins and underpinned with complimentary oak. Speaks more of the soil. I am not usually a fan of single Dijon clone Pinot Noir, but this wine is a head turner.

2010 Lenné Kill Hill Yamhill-Carlton District Oregon Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 36 cases. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Clean aromas of dark berry jam and wine cellar. Ripe, fuller bodied flavors of blackberries and black cherries with some fig leather. Intense and mouth coating with a richly fruited finish. Big boy tannins need time to soften. A distinctive expression of this vineyard that will benefit from decanting if drunk now. Very good (+).

2010 Lenné Karen’s Pommard Yamhill-Carlton District Oregon Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 60 cases. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Deep aromas of black cherries and black raspberries with a hint of oak-driven toast and java. A luscious core of dark red and black fruits is powerful and ripe, wrapped in balanced tannins and brought to life with bright acidity. A riff of exotic Middle Eastern spices really perks up the palate. A very ageworthy wine that needs to shed some oak, but offers a mesmerizing drinking experience even now.

Luminous Hills

Luminous Hills Vineyard is located in the southwestern portion of the Yamhill-Carlton District. While the appellation is known for sedimentary soils, Luminous Hills lies within a transition zone and overall, the vineyard is about 65% sedimentary and 35% volcanic. The foundation of the vineyard is Pommard with large blocks of Dijon clones 777, 667 and 115. The vineyard is farmed sustainably and is LIVE-certified. The owner and winemaker is Byron Dooley.

2011 Luminous Hills Aura Rosé of Pinot Noir Estate Grown Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., residual sugar 0.18%, $21. Released April 6, 2012. Pommard and 777 clones. Aged in 67% neutral French oak barrels. A combination of direct press and saignée off the lots from the same sections of the vineyard. · Very pretty pink-orange color in the glass. Aromatically pleasing with scents of fresh strawberries and raspberries with a hint of pink grapefruit. Delicate but flavorful, with a mild refreshing tartness. The core of strawberry, raspberry, and blood orange flavors is framed by discreetly firm tannins and the dry finish has surprising length. A serious rosè that has some perseverance. Very good.

2010 Luminous Hills Estate Grown Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 329 cases, $28. Released February 15, 2012. 115, 667, 777 and Pommard clones. Low yielding vintage. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of perfectly ripe black cherries, tea leaf and stem waif from the glass. Delicious essence of black cherries with riffs of black raspberries and spice. Full-flavored and sensuous, with pinpoint balance and a special finish in which hauntingly aromatic cherries return for what seems like an eternity. Kissed by an angel.

2010 Luminous Hills Lux Estate Grown Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 112 cases, $35. Released February 15, 2012. Exclusively Pommard and 777 that combines dark fruited notes from the Pommard on lower elevation sedimentary soil coupled with the intense redder fruits of the 777 on the upper elevation Jory soil. The two clones were co-fermented. Aged in 23% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Hi-tone and pure aromas of black cherries and black raspberries. Delicious mid palate fruit offering a mélange of dark red and black berries, stone fruits and black grapes. Supple tannins make for easy drinking now. Impeccable balance and very polished. Hard to top the Estate Grown bottling, but this one does with slightly more flavor and length. Crazy good at a modest price. Will be one of my 2012 All-Americans.

Lumos Wine Company

Dai Crisp and his spouse PK McCovy launched the Lumos Wine Company in 2000. Since 1999, Crisp has been managing Temperance Hill Vineyard, an 100-acre site in the Eola Hills. Grapes are sourced from the family’s home Wren Vineyard, Rudolfo Vineyard and Temperance Hill Vineyard, all of which Crisp manages using organic-based fertilizers, certified organic fungicides and mechanical cultivation rather than herbicides. Lumos is the first Food Alliance Certified Winery making wine only from Food Alliance Certified vineyards in Oregon. Lumos shares winery space with Dominio IV in McMinnville.

2011 Lumos Chiquita Oregon Pinot Noir Rosè

12.4% alc., 114 cases, $20. From Wren and Temperance Hill vineyards. · Medium rosy red color in the glass. Enticing summer perfume of fresh strawberry glaze, red cherries, blood oranges and pine. Fresh and tangy with good body and substance for a rosè. Flavors of strawberries, tart cherries and a hint of citrus with a lively cut of acidity on the refreshing finish. Very good.

2009 Lumos 5 Blocks Oregon Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 504 cases, $24. Aged 15 months. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Primarily cherry aromas which build in intensity over time in the glass. Tasty mid weight flavors of dark cherries and raspberries with hints of cola, cocoa and spice. Juicy and refreshing with supple tannins and well honed acidity. A pleasure to drink. Very good.

2008 Lumos Temperance Hill Vineyard Oregon Pinot Noir

688 cases, 13.6% alc., $32. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. This is a curious wine because upon opening it has very attractive ripe, rich fruit aromas and flavors, but over time oak and peppery notes take over and it loses some appeal. Sweet black raspberry and black cherry flavors dominate, framed by lively acidity and firm tannins. Delicious upon opening with impressive length, the wine becomes ponderous and rather ordinary over time. Tasted twice with the first bottle unappealing due to marked reduction and dominate oak presence. Second bottle is Good.

Owen Roe Winery

2010 Owen Roe The Kilmore Yamhill-Carlton District Oregon Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 988 cases, $42. Sourced from Lennè and Merriman vineyards. Aged in 33% neutral, 39% 2-year and 28% 1-year French oak barrels. Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon Clones. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Subdued but very pleasing aromas of black cherries, black raspberries, plum and violets. Hits the mid palate with enormous tenacity, offering delicious black raspberry, marionberry, cola and vanilla cream flavors which linger on the spiced, fruit-scented finish. Very soft and alluring in the mouth. Plenty of Pinot singing in this sensational wine that is ready to drink now.

Penner-Ash

2009 Penner-Ash Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $40. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of raspberry preserves jump out of the glass and hold on over time in the glass. Delicious array of dark red cherries and berries, especially black cap raspberries. Seamless and elegant with mild tannins and easy approachability. I really liked this Willamette Valley blend which is one of the best I have tasted from this or any vintage. Impressive length for a blend. Very good (+).

2009 Penner-Ash Dussin Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $50. From a vineyard adjacent the winery in the Yamhill- Carlton District. Volcanic and sedimentary soils. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Subdued, but pleasant aromas of dark red and black berries with complimentary notes of forest and timber. Mid weight flavors of black cherries supported by moderate fine-grain tannins and perfectly matched acidity. A highly enjoyable and sophisticated offering that is potentially better and more age worthy than the Willamette Valley bottling. Like all great wines, it takes on more interest and intensity with time in the glass. A seamless, serious wine of endless charm.

Ponzi Vineyards

2010 Ponzi Vineyards Tavola Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 5,900 cases, $25, screw cap. Released October 2011. Sourced from seven estate vineyards and includes fruit from sustainably-grown vineyards in the Willamette Valley. 100% de-stemmed, extended cold soak, native yeast fermentation, light pressing just before dryness to ensure a softer, fruit-forward style. Aged for 11 months in 25% new French oak barrels. Bottled without fining and filtration, and aged in bottle for 5 months before release. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Pleasant and nuanced on the nose, displaying aromas of redder fruits including raspberries, rose petals, and subtle oak. Medium weight array of sweet red Pinot fruits with a riff of savory herbs. Mild tannins and silky in the mouth. A good introduction to Oregon Pinot Noir. The day I sampled this, it was 90ºF, and after reviewing the wine, I put some ice cubes in my glass. This blunted the aromatics but softened the tannins and brought out the fresh red raspberry and red cherry flavors. Good.

2009 Ponzi Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 5,350 cases, pH 3.69, $35, screw cap. Released April 2011. Sourced from 10 vineyards with the largest portion from Ponzi’s Aurora Vineyard (38%). 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, lightly pressed at dryness. Aged 11 months in 30% new French oak barrels and bottled without fining or filtration. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Reasonably intense aromas of fresh dark plums and berries with a hint of oak and violets. Light in weight, but quite flavorful, with an array of blue and black berry flavors, enhanced by supple tannins and well-honed acidity. A solid, dependable wine year in and year out. Good (+).

2009 Ponzi Vineyards Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.65, 1,350 cases, $60. Released September 2011. A blend of LIVE Certified Sustainable fruit from Ponzi’s Aurora, Madrona and Abetina vineyards, as well as fruit from Linda Vista, Lazy River, Gemini and Lemelson vineyards. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, 7-day post fermentation maceration. Aged 20 months in 50% new French oak barrels, then racked and bottled by gravity without fining or filtration. The wine was aged for 5 months in bottle before release. · Light garnet color in the glass. Brooding aromas of ripe dark red cherries and berries with a hint of forest floor and flint. Delicious core of wellripened dark red and purple stone fruits and berries supported by firm fruit tannins and framed by uplifting acidity. Silky in the mouth and easy to drink, with some finishing persistence. Not a blockbuster, but enough core fruit to draw your attention. Will benefit from further bottle aging and has excellent long-term aging prospects. Very good.

Purple Hands

Owner and winemaker Cody Wright is the son of noted Oregon winemaker, Ken Wright. His stepfather, Rollin Soles, runs Argyle Winery, and his mother, Corby Stonebraker-Soles, now married to Rollin, is a partner in ROCO Winery. Cody grew up in the Williamette Valley and worked at wineries in Oregon, New Zealand and Australia. He now divides his times as assistant winemaker at ROCO Winery and his own label, Purple Hands. The Purple Hands name and label reference the contrast between winemakers’ wine-soaked cellars, clothes and hands, to formal attire that winemakers don for wine events. The label for the Purple Hands Pinot Noir comes from a black and white photo of Ken Wright and Mike Etzel at a tuxedo dinner depicting their purple-etched hands contrasted with their tuxedos. Purple Hands wines are sold online at www.purplehandswine.com.

2010 Purple Hands Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.69, $30, screw cap. Sourced from Stoller Vineyard in the Dundee Hills. Clones are Wädenswil and 777. 95% de-stemmed, 6-day cold soak, aged 9 months in 10% new and 90% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Very aromatic with bright scents of dark cherries and berries, plum, wood spice and herbs. Medium weight flavors of brandied cherries, red plums and savory herbs. Juicy and crisp with mild tannins and an uplifting finish. Good (+).

Rex Hill

Rex Hill is celebrating 30 years in the Willamette Valley. Founded by Paul Hart and his wife Jan Jacobsen, they retired in 2007 and sold the winery to A to Z Wineworks, a winery owned by Bill and Deb Hatcher, Cheryl Francis, and Sam Tannahill.

2009 Rex Hill Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.54, 369 cases, retail $48, available at $34.99. The best fruit and ensuing wines from prized vineyard sources around Oregon’s Willamette Valley (Jacob-Hart, Sims, La Colina and Roserock). Aged 11 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Bright and fruity on the nose out of the gate offering aromas of very ripe dark fruits. Middleweight core of black plum, black raspberry and blackberry flavors with a complimentary hint of spice and oak. Silky on the palate with well-honed tannins and some length on the finish. A fruit-driven wine that veers to over ripeness (especially evident the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle), but will appeal to those who welcome this flavor profile. Good.

ROCO

2009 ROCO Private Stash No. 7 Wits End Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 250 cases, $70. · Medium reddishpurple color in the glass. Deeply aromatic, filling the glass with scents of deep black cherries, plum, raisin and cut flowers. Hits the mid palate running and keeps on going. Striking fruit intensity and purity, exhibiting flavors of black raspberries, black cherries and black currants that linger on the generous finish. The flavor profile veers to the ripe (dark) side, but never enters overripe territory. Still sporting substantial tannins and will benefit from a few years in the cellar. Always a distinguished wine and this vintage is no exception.

Scott Paul

2010 Scott Paul Audrey Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., $69, screw cap. A barrel selection of the finest, most elegant, silkiest wine in the cellar. Sourced from the winery’s blocks at Maresh and Nysa vineyards. · Light garnet color in the glass. Delicate but attractive scents of red cherries, herbs, oak and straw. Soft, elegant and charming in the glass with layers of red cherry, strawberry, red raspberry and cranberry fruits. A delicate, subtle wine with gossamer tannins that reflects the vintage and achieves the winery’s goal beautifully. Did I say elegant? Very good.

2009 Scott Paul La Paulée Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., $32, screw cap. Finest lots of the vintage from the winery’s blocks of Maresh Vineyard. Indigenous yeast fermentation. Aged 10 months in 20% new French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light deep red color in the glass. Lovely perfume of dark cherries, herbs and mocha java. Plenty of body and weight with multiple layers of fruit that really jump out. Rich flavors of fresh dark cherries, raspberry coulis, mocha and sandalwood with gossamer tannins, bright acidity and easy drinkability. Could use a little more time in the cellar to shed its oak sheen but very hard to resist now. Pick any superlative you want.

2008 Scott Paul La Paulée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $32, screw cap. Finest lots of the vintage from Maresh, Ribbon Ridge and Momtazi vineyards. · Medium garnet color in the glass. Demure nose initially, picking up intensity over time in the glass, offering aromas of red cherries, red strawberries and herbs including sage. Middleweight core of red Pinot fruits with a hint of spice and oak wrapped in firm but caressing tannins, finishing with impressive fruit intensity. Seductively soft in the mouth. Suggest decanting if you choose to drink now. Very good (+).

Seufert Winery

A boutique winery located in Dayton, Oregon, specializing in vineyard-designated Pinot Noir from purchased grapes. The owner and winemaker is 4th generation Oregonian, Jim Seufert. Vineyard sources are top notch and prices are reasonable. For more information and to purchase, visit www.seufertwinery.com.

2009 Seufert Vista Hills Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., $35. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Complex array of aromas including red cherries, spice, oak, pine, and sandalwood. Soft in the mouth with a core of red cherry flavor accompanied by a savory mushroom, pine and herbal accent. An interesting farm-driven wine with silky tannins and easy drinkability. Good.

2009 Seufert Winery Bishop Creek Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $30. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Bright aromas of fresh black cherries with the slightest hint of herbal oak. Mid weight core of earth-kissed black cherries backed by firm, fine-grain tannins and offering a flavor packed, lush and lengthy finish. Very good.

2006 Seufert Winery Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc.. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Ripe fruit aroma profile that takes some coaxing to emerge. Delicious and substantial core of black cherries, black raspberries and plum sauce supported by husky tannins. Bright acidity brings the fruit into focus and balances the tannins, and contributes a citrus toned berry finish of some length. A thoroughly enjoyable drink that beautifully reflects the warm vintage, displaying its good points (ripe, luscious fruit) without its bad qualities (high alcohols, over ripeness).

Seven of Hearts

Byron Dooley crafts marvelous wines from both his estate Luminous Hills Vineyard and sourced fruit under the Seven of Hearts label.

2010 Seven of Hearts Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 469 cases, $20. Pommard, Wädenswil, and Dijon 114, 115, 667 and 777 clones sourced from several Willamette Valley sub- AVAs. Aged in 22% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose is nicely fruited with aromas of dark red and black stone fruits and berries. Earthbound flavors of black raspberries, black cherries and plums wrapped in firm supporting tannins, finishing with a fruit-driven flourish. A solid wine for everyday drinking. Good (+).

2010 Seven of Hearts Lia’s Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 77 cases, $35. This prized vineyard was formerly known as Jacob-Hart. This blend is a coferment of some of the vineyard’s oldest and best blocks grown on Jory soil. Pommard, Wädenswil and Mariafeld (UCD 23) clones. Aged in 22% new French oak barrels. Released March 15, 2012. · Light in color. Subdued but teasing array of red Pinot fruit aromas. Light and elegant core of tasty darker raspberry and cherry fruit with a hint of spice and sandalwood. Opens nicely in the glass with ever-expanding flavor. Supple tannins make for easy drinking now. Very good.

2010 Seven of Hearts Armstrong Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5%alc., 98 cases, $35. Released March 15, 2012. Vineyard farmed by owners Dough and Michelle Ackerman. 50% Pommard and 50% 666 with 67% whole cluster fermentation. · Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Very bright and enticing aromas of fresh berries and rose petals. Big-boned core of purple and black berries and black plum with a subtle oak underpinning. The fruit is overshadowed by the prodigious tannins now, but there is enough fruit presence to grab your attention. More body and fruit than the Lia’s. Needs more time in the cellar, but very promising. Very good (+).

Siltstone

Joel Myers is mentioned in the first article in this issue about the “Coury clone.” In 1979, he graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Geography and Environmental Science. His first job was a harvest position in the vineyard owned by David Lett at The Eyrie Vineyards. He subsequently became a full-time vineyard and cellar manager. Joel met Louise Bernards, a teacher and artist from a local farm family, who was working for the Letts as well. They were married in 1981, and traveled to Switzerland, where Joel worked with Dr. Werner Koblet, David Lett’s colleague from University of California at Davis. Koblet was one of Europe’s leading researchers in viticulture. Joel developed extensive knowledge of vine physiology, disease control, and clones and returned to Oregon with a renewed interest in the potential for Oregon viticulture. In 1984, he founded Vinetenders, a company specializing in vineyard management. Vinetenders currently manages over 500 acres of prime vineyard property in the northern Willamette Valley. Joel launched his label, Siltstone, with the 2000 vintage and has carried on the brand successful with his wife Louise, and sons Joey, John and David. The wines are sourced from Guadalupe, Blacktail and Hyland vineyards and include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Riesling. The wines are sold by contacting john Myers at 971-241-2548. The website is www.stilstonewines.com.

2008 Siltstone Guadalupe Vineyard Oregon Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., 380 cases, $28. Released May 2011. Viticulturist Joel Myers’ own label. His company, Vinetenders, manages Guadalupe Vineyard for owners Jim Stonebridge and Kathleen Boeve. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Evocative aromas of red berries and cherries on a bed of mesquite. Vibrant flavors of red raspberries and Bing cherries with a hint of caramel and spice that fan out nicely on the palate in an elegant presentation. Very forward for this vintage. Long, scented aftertaste. An exceptional wine of great pinotosity.

Sineann Cellars

2010 Sineann Resonance Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Oregon Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 400 cases $42, Vino-Loc glass closure (love this!). Small crop, low production. Vineyard farmed by Kevin and Carla Chambers using biodynamic techniques. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of red berries, red cherries, potpourri and the slightest oak. Herb-flecked red berry flavor in a light and elegant style finishing savory and juicy. Velvety in the mouth and long and ephemeral on the finish. A delicate wine, yet flavorful, offering immense charm.

Stevenson-Barrie

2008 Stevenson-Barrie Freedom Hill Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $32. The Duschee Family planted this vineyard in 1982. Produced and bottled by Panther Creek Cellars in McMinnville. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark red cherries, black raspberries, brier, oak and spice. Earthy, slightly smoky, dark red fruited with an oaky edge. Mid weight core with firm tannins and very good length. Hard to get my arms around this wine, but may blossom with more time in the cellar. Good.

2008 Stevenson-Barrie Temperance Hill Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $32. · Marked reduction with aromas of sulfur, burned wood, and flint. Black cherry flavor backed by firm tannins and a significant oak underpinning, showing a sulfur hangover on the finish. Re-tasted the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was unchanged and still significantly reduced.

2008 Stevenson-Barrie Shea Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $32. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Subdued aromas of black fruits with a hint of herbs. The dark red and black berry core has some charm but is imprisoned in tannins at this point. Pretty linear now, and in need of a few more years in the cellar. About the same the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. The best of the 3 Stevenson-Barrie wines tasted here. Good (+).

Tyee Wine Cellars

2009 Tyee Wine Cellars Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $23.99. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Well perfumed with aromas of black cherries, bark, balsam, rose, sage and spice. Brisk and lively on the palate with medium weight flavors of black cherries and black raspberries backed by ripe tannins and offering some staying power on the finish. Good (+).

2009 Tyee Wine Cellars Estate Barrel Select Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $34.99. · Moderately light reddishpurple robe. Reserved but enticing aromas of a bowl of crushed dark red cherries, plums and berries. A very polished wine with grace and elegance, yet offering a substantial rush of sinfully delicious and perfectly ripe dark red cherries and berries that persist on the crisp and juicy finish. Combines power with finesse. Youthful, and will benefit from more time in the cellar. Not the blockbuster that the 2008 vintage was, but very representative of the vintage.

Westrey Wine Company

2009 Westrey Abbey Ridge Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 219 cases, $33. Aged in 22% new French oak barrels. · Light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark red and black berries with spice, floral and forest floor notes. Moderately intense mid palate presence showing power without weight with many subtle flavor nuances. Beautifully balanced with perfectly ripe and well-spiced berries returning to haunt the extraordinarily long finish.

2009 Westrey Justice Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 321 cases, $26. From a vineyard adjacent Bethel Heights Vineyard. Dijon 667 and 777 clones. 27% whole cluster. Aged in about 30% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Enchanting perfume of fresh dark raspberry glaze with a lovely rose petal garnish. Vivid, discreetly concentrated core of an array of spicy berry fruits supported by ripe, well-integrated tannins, finishing with a long and graceful finish. More body and spice than Victoria’s Secret runway.

2009 Westrey Oracle Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.58, TA 0.55, 844 cases, $23. Westrey’s first estate vineyard is located just north of Abbey Ridge Vineyard. 76% primarily Dijon 777 with small percentages of five other Dijon clones and 24% 32- year-old Pommard clone. Indigenous yeast fermentation. Aged in 20% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Very fresh aromas of black raspberries and boysenberries with a hint of Asian 5-spice. Delicious dark red cherry and dark berry flavors with a forest tone. Gripping tannins dwarf the fruit initially, but the flavors gain intensity and interest over time in the glass. Like the other two Westrey vineyard-designates, this wine displays a lavish and persistent finish. Not extremely approachable now and will benefit from further bottle aging. Very good (+).

WillaKenzie Estate

2010 WillaKenzie Estate Estate Cuvée Estate Grown Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.65,TA 0.50, $28, screw cap. Aged 10 months in 20% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Fruity nose offering an array of ripe, dark cherry, plum and berry aromas. Pushes the ripeness envelope with medium weight flavors of dark raspberries, black plum sauce, and black currants with a hint of vanilla cola and oak. Softly textured with firm, ripe tannins, lacking a bit in acid-driven vibrancy. Quite approachable now. Good (+).

2009 WillaKenzie Estate Aliette Estate Grown Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $39. This vineyard was the first planted at WillaKenzie and is named after the mother of owner Bernard Lacroute to reflect the feminine nature of the wine. 100% Pommard clone. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Subdued aromas of red cherries and berries with a floral riff. Medium weight flavors of red cherries and raspberries underlain with toasted oak, ending with a cherry-laden finish. Mild, fine-grain tannins, bright acidity, and substantial tannins that tend to overwhelm the delicate fruit. Good (+).

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