More Juicy 2010 Oregon Pinot Incoming
In 1988, Robert Drouhin, of the negociant firm Domaine Joseph Drouhin, established vineyards and a winery in
the Dundee Hills of the Willamette Valley. He declared that there were only two places in the world he would
grow Pinot Noir - Burgundy and Oregon. This initial Franco-Oregon undertaking gave immediate credibility to
the Oregon wine industry. Since then, there have been a number of important contributions of Oregon to the
success and popularity of Pinot Noir in the New World:
* Oregon’s early winegrowers set the nation’s strictest labeling standards in the mid-1970s.
* Pinot Noir winemakers from all over the world have gathered at the Steamboat Pinot Noir Conference held at
Oregon’s famous Steamboat Inn on the Umpqua River for over 20 years, encouraging the scope of Pinot Noir
production in the New World.
* Oregon’s emphasis on matching variety to climate. Pinot Noir was planted in Oregon only after extensive
study of climate and grape ripening.
* Vertical trellising has been the standard practice in Oregon for Pinot Noir since the first plantings, following
the model of the northern, cool climate vineyards of Europe, particularly Alsace. Oregon also pioneered
dense planting of vines which has become widespread in California as well as Oregon.
* Oregon was the first to import certified Dijon clones of Pinot Noir into North America.
* Since Oregon was virgin territory for wine grapes, the original vineyards were planted on their own roots
allowing evaluation of wines from what are now rare vines.
* Sustainable viticulture has been the standard in Oregon for decades, and two certifications in particular have
been highly successful: the LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology) program initiated by Ted Casteel of
Bethel Heights Vineyard and Oregon Certified Sustainable.
* The Oregon wine industry has embraced gentle handling during winemaking, convinced that it is vital in the
successful vinification of cool climate varieties.
* Oregon, more specifically, Oregon State University, developed a formula for accurately predicting vineyard
yields in the early stages of the growing season. This may have been the most important factor in Oregon’s
wine quality success.
* Oregon was the first in the New World to embrace the exclusive use of French oak barrels. Oregon is the
only place outside of France that a French cooper (Francois Frères) has established a stave mill, conditioning
native Oregon oak for use in Burgundy-styled barrels.
In 1985, a tasting in New York compared 15 of the top 1983 Oregon Pinot Noirs with a similar number of high
quality French Burgundies of the same vintage. Wines were tasted blind by members of the press and wine
buyers from prominent restaurants and wine retailers. Tasters were asked to label the origin of each wine,
Oregon or France, and to rank their five favorites. The judges were surprised to find that they were unable to
distinguish Oregon Pinot Noir from Burgundy. The number one ranked wine was from Oregon, and all five of
the top ranked wines were from Oregon. Similar tastings have followed and often the result has been the
same, such that Oregon wines now stand on their own.
It is remarkable to consider how far Oregon viticulture has progressed. As Lynn Penner-Ash, who has spent 26
years in Oregon, told me, “Nice to know we’ve learned a lot and come a long way since the cool, wet year of
1997 which was comparable to 2010 and 2011 in my opinion.” That is not to say that every Oregon Pinot Noir
was a success in 2010. Some vineyards did not reach full phenolic ripeness which resulted in under ripe
aromas and flavors with hi-strung acidity.
A boatload of wonderful Oregon Pinot Noirs from the 2010 vintage have reached me of late and I am privileged
to review them so favorably. If you want mature phenolic flavors at lower alcohols, if you prefer elegance and
class in the glass, if you embrace refreshing acidity, and if you enjoy Pinot Noir that is charmingly approachable
upon release yet age worthy, you have come to the right place. Get poppin’.
A few Pinot Noirs from the solid 2009 vintage are still available in the marketplace and are included here as
well. Some early 2011 releases indicate this vintage should be appealing as well.
Alexana Winery Owned by cardiologist, Dr. Madaiah Revana, Alexana Winery is named after his
daughter, Alexander Revana. The 80-acre property in the Dundee Hills has 51 acres of Pinot Noir planted to
several clones in the Revana Vineyard. The winemaker is accomplished veteran Lynn Penner-Ash. A modern
winery and tasting room are located on the property at Northeast Worden Hill Road in Dundee. Annual
production is 5,000 cases of Pinot Noir (from estate and sourced fruit), Riesling and Pinot Gris. T website is
2010 Alexana Revana Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.1% alc., 1,654 cases, $42.
A blend of eight clones.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely nose offering aromas of
black cherries, black raspberries, and subtle oak spice, fading a bit over time in the glass. Modest but
appealing richness featuring well-spiced black cherry and dark berry fruits with a hint of dried herbs in the
background. A wine of attractive finesse with mild tannins and a fruit-filled finish. Balance is spot on.
2010 Alexana Signature Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., 236 cases, $75. A barrel selection from estate fruit.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy nose picking up
interest and intensity over time in the glass offering alluring aromas of
dark red cherries and berries accented with nutmeg spice. Seamless
and soft in the mouth, even creamy, with a full-bodied core of deep red
cherry and berry fruits backed by well-integrated oak. Similar to the
regular bottling in flavor but more stacked and packed. Remarkable phenolic
ripeness and intensity at a relatively low alcohol percentage.
Ayoub Vineyard A small boutique producer of Pinot Noir from the 4-acre Ayoub Vineyard densely planted
in the Jory soils of the Dundee Hills to clones 667, 777, 114, 115 and Pommard 4. Mohamad “Mo” Ayoub
established his vineyard in 2001. Veteran Robert Brittan (Brittan Vineyard, Winderlea), is the winemaker. Pinot
Noir is also produced from purchased grapes. Visit www.ayoubwines.com.
2010 Ayoub Murto Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.1% alc., $49.
reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose starts out with lovely aromas of cherries and balsam, then evolves
over time to reveal very ripe fruit aromas including raisin and becomes somewhat pungent. The light weight
core of darker cherries and berries has substantial structural bones and an appealing lift of acidity on the
lengthy finish. Much better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle showing resolution
of the pungency, more intense fruit expression and becoming overall more enjoyable. Good.
2010 Ayoub Estate Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
$50, heavy bottle, wax closure.
Light ruby red color in the glass. Very seductive
aromas of oak-kissed black cherries and dried rose petals. Middleweight charge
of black cherry fruit with a citrus underbelly. Seamless and elegant, with good
clarity of fruit and very accommodating tannins. Still appealing the following day
from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. A bright, crisp, light offering that
mirrors the vintage quite well. Very good.
Bergström Winery In 1999, Josh Bergström returned to Oregon after a postgraduate program in
viticulture and enology in Burgundy and founded the Bergström label with his physician father, John Bergström,
M.D.. In 2001, Kendall Bergström and her husband, Paul de Lancellotti joined the business, the de Lancellotti
Estate Vineyard was planted, and a new winery was constructed at the top of Calkins Lane in the Chehalem
Mountains. Bergström Winery now biodynamically farms five estate vineyards and sources fruit from Shea
Vineyard and Temperance Hill Vineyard. Production is 9,000 cases annually of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. A
tasting room at 18215 NE Calkins Lane in Newberg is open daily. The website is www.bergstromwines.com.
The Bergström Pinot Noirs are usually full-bodied, decadent and powerful expressions of Pinot Noir with
generous oak accents. The three 2010 wines reviewed here all have a distinct oak imprint which seems to
dominate the delicate fruit core of the wines at this early stage. I would cellar these wines for a year or two to
allow for more oak integration.
2010 Bergström Cumberland Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $42. The winery’s flagship
blend. Primarily sourced from de Lancellotti, Shea and Bergström vineyards.
Moderately light reddish-purple
color in the glass. Aromas of black cherries, spiced dark berry jam, and mocha java. Fresh and juicy, modest
in weight, featuring a core of dark red and black cherries and berries with a noticeable topcoat of oak. About
the same the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Decent.
2010 Bergström Bergström Vineyard Dundee Hills AVA Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $80. Yields were
less than 0.9 tons per acre in this vintage. This 13-acre site was planted in 1999 and is certified Biodynamic®.
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Very shy fruit on the nose with primarily oak-driven aromas. Bright
cherry core wrapped in supple tannins finishing with flourish of oak. Juicy and vivid with a good cut of citrus
peel acidity in the background. The charming fruit is somewhat buried in oak at present. About the same the
following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Good.
2010 Bergström Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $50.
Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. The nose has a noticeable oak imprint. Light in weight, even
a bit shallow, featuring delicate flavors of dark red fruits buried in coffee-scented oak. An elegant style that
needs time to fully integrate the oak, but currently does not have enough Pinot singing. Decent.
Bomb Wines/Carden Cellars Two labels, Bomb and Carden, targeting different markets. Both are
high-end wines with the Bomb label for those who appreciate a modern, artsy approach with labels designed
by New York artist Jason Borbay. The Carden labels are sleek and luxe and target a more traditional client.
Both labels offer Oregon Pinot Noir and Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon.
Grapes are sourced from top vineyard sites in the Willamette Valley (Pinot Noir) and Washington State
(Cabernet Sauvignon). The winemaker is renowned Tony Rynders, formerly the winemaker at Domaine
Serene. Currently Bomb/Carden is in the process of acquiring vineyard land to plant as a joint venture with
winemaker Tony Rynders. The inaugural Pinot Noir release was from the 2009 vintage. Production in 2012
was 2,000 cases. Visit www.bombwines.com.
2009 Bomb Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 496 cases, $50.
From several vineyards with a range of soils, elevations, vine age and clones.
50% Yamhill-Carlton District, 32% Eola-Amity Hills, 13% Chehalem Mountains
and 5% Ribbon Ridge appellations. Aged 14 months in 60% new French oak.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Well-perfumed with scents of
black cherry juice, dark berry jam, and dark red rose petals. Delicious black
raspberry essence that is well spiced with an earthy, mildly oaky undertone.
The fruit really makes an impression on the mid palate. Plenty of body yet soft
in the mouth and easy to like. This is the bomb. Very good.
Carabella Vineyard A top notch Oregon producer of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. The 49-acre
Certified Sustainable Carabella Vineyard was planted in 1996 and is located on the southeastern side of
Parrett Mountain in the Chehelam Mountains AVA in the Northern Willamette Valley. The vineyard includes
seven Pinot Noir clones including Pommard, Wädenswil, Dijon 113, 114,115, 667 and 777. Proprietor and
winemaker Mike Hallock, who is also a geologist, trained as a winemaker in Colorado, and made his first
vintage from the Carabella Vineyard in 1998. Visit www.carabellawine.com.
Mike really nailed it in this vintage. If you like Pinot Noir with aromatic interest, finesse, soft tannins and
impeccable balance, in other words, classic Pinot Noir, these are wines you should acquire.
2010 Carabella Estate Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 550 cases, $37. 6 blocks
including Pommard, Wädenswil, and Dijon clones. Each block fermented separately.
reddish-purple hue in the glass. The nose wows you with bright, perfectly ripe cherries and dark
berries. Very polished and elegant in style, with delicious cherry and strawberry flavors accented with
complimentary spice, cola and oak. A high class offering with beautiful balance that reeks of pinotosity.
Still great the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2010 Carabella Dijon 667 Clone Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 65 cases, $54. First harvest
from 667 block. Yield 1/2 ton per acre.
Medium dark ruby color in the glass. Appealing aromas of darker
cherries and berries with a touch of brown spice. Impressive attack of black raspberries with a hint of spice
and toasty oak. Soft and smooth on the palate with admirable length. A seamless wine that tastes like the best
berry jam you have ever had. I have rarely encountered a single clone 667 Pinot Noir this good. Needs a little
time to integrate the oak. Very good.
2010 Carabella Inchinnan Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir
alc., 150 cases, $54. Dijon 114,115 and Wädenswil clones cropped to
ridiculously low levels.
Moderate light reddish color in the glass. Brightly
perfumed with aromas of fresh cherries and sandalwood. Very soft and
elegant with marshmallow tannins supporting a well ripened array of red
fruits. This wine won’t overpower but it will seduce with a sneaky appeal.
Not as big a wine in this vintage as usual, but still very charming.
Cornerstone and Stepping Stone Cellars Napa Valley’s Craig Camp and partners enlisted noted
Oregon winemaker Tony Rynders to craft Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley beginning with the 2008
vintage. Camp had already been producing wines from the Napa Valley. Craig uses his contacts from time
spent in Oregon to acquire top notch vineyard contracts. A Willamette Valley Chardonnay was introduced with
the 2010 vintage. Stepping Stone wines are meant to be easily approachable upon release while the
Cornerstone wines have more power and longevity. Tasting is available in Yountville and by appointment in
Oregon. Visit www.cornerstonecellars.com.
2010 Stepping Stone Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 137 cases, $30. The painting on the label is
“Color of Life” by Oregon artist Janet Ekholm. Sourced from all six Willamette Valley sub-AVAs with the
majority from Yamhill-Carlton and Eola-Amity Hills. Aged 13 months in 35% new French oak.
color in the glass. Demure aromas of black cherries and toasty oak. Mid weight core of dark cherry fruit
becoming more vibrant over time in the glass. Soft in the mouth with mild tannins and some length on the
earthy, fruit-driven finish. A straightforward, accessible wine showing a tad more oak than I prefer but
otherwise solid. Good.
2010 Cornerstone Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 498 cases, $50.
Sourced from all six Williamette Valley sub-AVAs with the majority (68%) from
the Yamhill-Carlton District. Aged 15 months in 62% new French oak.
reddish-purple color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of black cherries and dark
berry compote with a hint of smoky oak. Not as expressive as it will be with
more bottle age, yet showing enticing flavors of dark cherries and raspberries
pulled into line with fine acidity and tannin. Finishes dry with a flourish of
cherries. Nicely composed and balanced and a worthy cellar candidate. Very
2010 Cornerstone Willamette Valley Chardonnay
13.5% alc.,166 cases, $35. 50% Yamhill-Carlton and 50%
Chehalem Mountains. Aged in 24% new French oak for 16 months sur lies. 80% malolactic fermentation.
straw color in the glass. Enticing aromas of peach, butter pecan and toasty oak becoming more intense over
time in the glass. Flavors of white peach, baked pear, grilled lemon and toffee are broad in the mouth and
nicely supported by well-integrated acidity. The finish is dry and refreshing. A polished, very well crafted wine.
Elk Cove Vineyards One of the oldest wineries in the Willamette Valley, Elk Cove Vineyards was
founded in 1974 by Pat and Joe Campbell, M.D.. The Roosevelt Estate Vineyard was the first planting,
established in a protected valley where the namesake Roosevelt elk migrate each spring. Joe made the wine
at Elk Cove while practicing medicine for 20 years until his son, Adam, took over in 1999. The winery’s focus is
on the Pinot “trilogy”: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, all of which are consistently excellent. A total of
230 acres are farmed. The tasting room offers panoramic views of the Willamette Valley and is open daily.
2010 Elk Cove Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., pH 3.55, 7,227 cases, $29.
A blend from several vineyards including Pommard and Dijon clones. Vine age 9 to 37 years, yield
1.6 tons per acre.
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of fresh, dark red cherries,
raspberries and strawberries leap from the glass. The rich flavors echo the nose, with a well-balanced
backbone of acidity and tannin, and a strong, firm finish. A showy wine with surprising
richness for this vintage and the low alcohol level. One of Oregon’s consistently solid value-priced
Pinot Noirs. Produced in quantity and widely available. Good (+).
2010 Elk Cove Vineyards La Bohème Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
alc., pH 3.67, 353 cases, $48. This vineyard was planted in 1985 and is now a
17-acre high density site composed of vines selected from the original Estate
Pommard planting. This vineyard rises to 800 feet, high above the Elk Cove
property, making it one of the highest elevation sites in the Willamette Valley.
Yield 1.55 tons per acre.
Light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Demure fruit
aromas of strawberry and cherry with seasoned oak in the background. Oakkissed
dark red berry and cherry fruits with good intensity, creating an
impression on the mid palate and persisting with moderate richness on the
finish. A note of red licorice is evident. A sophisticated offering of considerable
appeal. Very good.
2010 Elk Cove Vineyards Clay Court Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.60, 352 cases, $48.
This vineyard is located in the Parrot Mountain area of the Chehalem Mountains AVA. Acquired by Elk Cove
Vineyards in 2009, this 15-acre vineyard was planted in 2001 to Dijon 115, 777 and Pommard. The soils are
dark red Jory in type. Yield 1.75 tons per acre.
Light reddish-purple color in the glass. Uplifted aromas of dark
red cherries, spice and sandalwood. Well-spiced mid-weight cherry essence with nicely integrated acidity and
gossamer tannins. A wine of style and grace with plenty of cherry talking. Much better later in the day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle. Very good.
Evesham Wood This winery is Russell Raney’s legacy, now owned by his protégé, Erin Nuccio. Located
in the Eola Hills west of Salem, Raney founded this label in 1986. The 13-acre estate vineyard, Le Puits Sec
(“The Dry Well”), has been organically farmed from the beginning and non irrigated since it was established.
Raney was heavily influenced by Burgundian winemaking techniques and his admiration for the French is
shown in the French names he has used for his wines through the years. The wines are noted for their
elegance and restraint, and their full expression of terroir. Since taking over in 2010, Erin has kept all of
Raney’s winemaking and vineyard management philosophies in place. Three vineyard designated Pinot Noirs
from purchased fruit are offered (Temperance Hill, Mahonia, and Illahe) in addition to estate wines. Visitors are
welcome for tasting by appointment. Visit www.eveshamwood.com for more information.
2010 Evesham Wood Le Puits Sec Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $36.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherries, balsam and spice lead to a
refreshing and bright mouthful of crisp red berry, red plum and red raspberry fruit with a hint of herbs in the
background. Elegantly styled with soft, delicate tannins, lively acidity, and an appealing kiss of cherry on the
finish. Not quite as good as other bottles I have sampled, but still Very Good.
2010 Evesham Wood Cuvée J Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., 150 cases. $44. Exclusively from Le Puits Sec
Vineyard. Aged in 40% new French oak. Unfiltered.
purple color in the glass. Wonderfully perfumed with fresh scents of
black cherries, briar, compost, rose petal and spice. Well-endowed with
attention-getting flavors of black cherries, kirsch and spice. Riper with
more body, more structural bones, and less noticeable acidity than the Le Puits
Sec bottling. Incredible length on the generous finish. Very age worthy. A real
crowd pleaser and one of the best wines I have sampled from Oregon in this
Hyland Estates In 2007, Danielle Andrus Montalieu and Laurent Montalieu, along with partner John
Niemeyer, added the 204-acre Hyland Vineyard in the McMinnville AVA to their estate vineyard holdings.
Hyland Vineyard is one of Oregon’s largest and oldest vineyards, dating to 1971 when four families planted this
property. The vineyard has been a source of fruit for many notable producers in the Willamette Valley. Over 47
acres are planted to own-rooted Coury “clone” Pinot Noir, with newer plantings that include additional grafted
Coury “clone,” as well as Pommard and Dijon 777, 115, 667, 828 and 114. Soils are volcanic Jory and Nekia.
Noted viticulturist Joel Myers manages the vineyard. The inaugural releases from the 2008 and 2009 vintages
were produced at the NW Wine Company in Dundee where an adjacent tasting room is open daily. Visit
2009 Hyland Estates McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
pH 3.60, TA 0.58, $35. Aged in 10% new French oak from multiple coopers.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Very shy upon opening and
much more aromatically pleasing the following day from a previously opened
and re-corked bottle showing bright Bing cherry and cranberry fruit. Moderately
rich, forward and alluring with smooth and supportive tannins and a velvety
mouth feel. The core of well-ripened cherries and berries is accented with notes
of cola, mocha and spice. The pedigree of the fruit really shines through in this
beauty. Very good.
Patricia Green Cellars Located on a 52-acre estate in the Ribbon Ridge AVA, this winery was launched
in 2000 by owners Patty Green and Jim Anderson, producing a broad selection of Pinot Noir wines from
vineyards in the Ribbon Ridge, Dundee Hills, Chehalem Mountains, and the Yamhill-Carlton District. Patty
began her winemaking career picking grapes at the historic Hillcrest Vineyard outside of Roseburg. She
worked her way up to winemaker within two years, and after stops at Ashland Vineyards and Girardet Winery,
she became the winemaker at Torii Mor Winery where she established her reputation for outstanding Pinot Noir
during her six year tenure. She then launched Patricia Green Cellars with a focus on Pinot Noir. Small
amounts of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are also produced. The wines are in good retail distribution and
available on the website at www.patriciagreencellars.com.
2010 Patricia Green Cellars Estate OId Vine Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $40.
From the 26-acre Estate Vineyard featuring multiple vine ages and clones.
Moderately light reddish-purple
color in the glass. The nose is closed for business, only hinting at aromas of cherries and oak. Essence of
dark red berries and cherries with complimentary oak in the background. Smooth, with a good cut of acidity on
the finish which has some length. About the same the following day from a previously opened and re-corked
bottle. This wine is still tight and should benefit from cellaring. Fine but not exceptional. Good.
2010 Patricia Green Cellars Notorious Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Medium reddish-purple hue in the glass. Shy, delicate aromas of pie
cherry glaze with a hint of java and dark chocolate. Very pretty core of dark
cherries and dark red berries with a topcoat of oak-derived vanilla and coffee,
showing a glorious finish that persists through several encores. Well-honed
tannins, a caressing texture and very evocative in character. Should improve in
the cellar. Very good.
Penner-Ash Wine Cellars Lynn and Ron Penner-Ash craft their impressive lineup of Pinot Noirs in a
gravity-flow winery located on 80 acres in Newberg, Oregon. Lynn, whose winemaking career began at Rex
Hill Winery in 1988, has a touch with Pinot Noir and her wines have garnered well-deserved praise over the
years from the wine press. She is a graduate of UC Davis and first developed her skills in California working at
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Domaine Chandon and Chateau St. Jean. She has spent 26 years in Oregon.
Penner-Ash has enjoyed tremendous growth, progressing from 125 cases of Pinot Noir in 1998 to 9,000 cases
of Pinot Noir, Syrah, Viognier and Reisling in 2011. The estate vineyard surrounding the winery is Dussin
Vineyard, planted to 114, 115, 667, 777 and Pommard clones in 2003. Penner-Ash wines are sold through an
allocated mailing list with limited retail distribution. Visit www.pennerash.com.
2010 Penner-Ash Dussin Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., pH 3.79, TA 0.52, $60. This estate vineyard is planted in
sedimentary and volcanic soils to Dijon and Pommard clones on a
southeastern slope. Aged 10 months in 38% new, 29% one-year-old,
29% two-year-old and 4% neutral French oak.
Moderately light reddishpurple
color in the glass. Very shy aromas of dark red and black berries
with a hint of oak-derived mocha. Delicious heart of richly flavored spicy black
plum and boysenberry fruit with a topcoat of cherry cola, vanilla and mocha java.
Well-behaved tannins make for easy approachability. Very silky and seductive.
Still great the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2010 Penner-Ash Shea Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
alc., pH 3.87, TA 0.50, 500 cases, $60. Released July 2012. Almost
equal parts Pommard, 777 and 114 clones, sourced from multiple blocks
at Shea Vineyard. The Wädenswil did not make into the 2010 blend.
Cold soak was shorter than normal (3 days) due to botrytis and coldness
of the fruit when it came in. Fermented in 2-ton stainless steel tanks with
hand punch downs. Aged in 25% new French oak, 25% once-filled barrels, and
50% seasoned barrels.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass.
Beautifully perfumed with aromas of dark stone fruits and berries with a touch of
oak. Ambrosial flavors of black cherries and black raspberries with a touch of
spice. The fruit is perfectly ripe and vivid. Excellent concentration with firm matching tannins, exhibiting deep
cherry flavor in a lasting finish. This is a “Wow” wine that really emotes. Still terrific the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle when my wife and I happily polished it off. A 2012 All-American.
Roots Wines & Vineyard Roots is a family affair owned by Christian (Chris) and Hilary Berg. Chris
became interested in wine when his parents bought a manufacturing company in Tualatin, Oregon and the
family moved west from Illinois. The Berg family acquired a 20-acre property near Yamhill in the Yamhill-
Carlton District located in the same area as Shea Vineyard. In 1999, they planted a 7-acre estate vineyard to
Pinot Noir and a small amount of Pinot Gris. Clones 113, 114, 115 and 777 were established in the Willakenzie
soil. Chris developed his winemaking skills working at Archery Summit Winery. In 2001, Chris and Hilary
moved to the Yamhill property and took over its management when their parents retired to Arizona. They
launched their winery, Roots, named after a term derived from the French word racine (Chris was born in
Racine, Wisconsin) which means “roots.” By 2006, the vineyard was in full production and together with
purchased grapes, a total of 2,000 cases were produced under three labels: Roots, Racine and Klee. The
couple’s goal is to make affordable, quality wines. Besides the wines reviewed here, there are single vineyard
Pinot Noirs from Carlton Hill, Leroy, 49 Rows, and Apolloni vineyards and a “Crosshairs Cuvée from Leroy and
Cherry Grove Vineyards. For more information and wine availability, visit www.rootswine.com.
Chris uses indigenous fermentations, endorses some whole cluster, and uses on average 30% new oak. All
the wines reviewed are well-mannered with mild tannins, attractive aromatics and easy accessibility. They
represent very good value.
2010 Roots “The Dude” Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., 50 cases, $35. Sourced from
Saikkonen Vineyard in Ribbon Ridge.
Light reddish-purple color in the glass. Attractive scent of fresh cherries
and baking spice. Light, juicy and elegant, but a bit shallow and flat with modest flavors of cherries and
raspberries backed by soft tannins. May just be tight, but it doesn’t wake up my palate. Decent.
2010 Roots Estate Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 125 cases,
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. The aromas of black cherries and
sandalwood leap from the glass. Very tasty with a moderately rich core of dark red and purple berry
preserves finishing long with a good shaft of acidity and notes of cranberries and pomegranates. A
generous wine that is very user-friendly. Very good.
2010 Roots Saffron Fields Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 74 cases, $35.
Evocative perfume of black cherry pie glaze with hints of oak
and slate. Delicious, deeply flavored essence of perfectly ripe
dark cherries nicely spiced with a complimentary note of oakdriven
mocha. Striking flavor on entry, expanding in waves on
the palate, and finishing with a taunting, memorable intensity. Still great two
days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle when I finished the
bottle with dinner. Exceptional.
Shea Wine Cellars I recently wrote about my summer visit to Shea Vineyard (www.princeofpinot.com/
winery/121/). Here are the reviews of the 2010 Shea Wine Cellars Pinot Noir wines. The wines are all block
designated except for the Estate (a blend of grapes from the entire vineyard) and Homer (a barrel selection).
I found the lineup a little more uneven in this vintage. Not surprising, as I have found Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir
from this vintage produced by other wineries to be uneven as well, with both superb and just average wines.
The Shea Wine Cellar wines, even the Homer, are quite approachable now offering restrained tannins and
appealingly silky textures. The aromas have not caught up with the flavors yet. I would give them another year
or two in bottle and then drink up. The wines don’t have the fruit intensity of 2009 and my only concern is that
the wines do not have the extraction to match the relatively high percentage of new oak. In two of the wines
tasted the following day after opening, the wines had taken on a darker and deeper oak character. That said,
there are some appealing wines in the lineup and some of the wines have textures to die for.
2010 Shea Wine Cellars Shea Vineyard Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., 3,475 cases, $40.
All clones planted at Shea Vineyard (Pommard, Wädenswil and several Dijon). Aged in 47% new French oak.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Open and forward on the nose with aromas of red and black
berries, black cherries and spice. A charming and likable wine with flavors of blackberries, black cherries and
Hoison sauce with a hint of anise. Very soft tannins and a satiny mouth feel. My only nit is that the wine is a
bit shallow. Tasted twice. Good.
2010 Shea Wine Cellars Shea Vineyard Block 7 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 300 cases, $56. Wädenswil clone. From a 5.2-acre nonirrigated
parcel on a steep, south-facing slope. Aged in 64% new French oak.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Very shy nose offering
delicate aromas of blackberry pie, coconut and violets. Very soft and
seductive in the mouth, showing admirable elegance. Delicious middleweight
flavors of dark red and black cherries and berries wrapped in supple tannins,
finishing dry with some length. The silky texture is the most striking feature of
this wine. The aromas should appear in this wine over time. Very good.
2010 Shea Wine Cellars Shea Vineyard Block 23 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 265 cases, $56. Pommard clone. From a 3.2-acre non-irrigated parcel on a south-facing
slope. Aged in 80% new French oak.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of
black cherries, black raspberries, oak and rose petals emerge very reluctantly over time. Plush core of black
fruits with a hint of pepper and tobacco. Earthy and mysterious with noticeable oak. Very soft in the mouth.
Even more oaky the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Decent.
2010 Shea Wine Cellars Shea Vineyard Block 31 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., 240 cases, $56.
67% Pommard, 33% Wädenswil. Aged in 67% new French oak.
Moderately dark reddish-purple hue in the
glass. The most expressive nose in the lineup with glass-filling aromas of dark red and black stone fruits and
berries accented with a hint of spice and a floral note. Delicious mid weight essence of blackberries and
cherries with a complimentary earthy bent. Well-integrated oak and a velvety mouth feel. Tasted the following
day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, there was more oak intrusion. What this means for the
future of this wine is unclear but it is irresistable now. Very good.
2010 Shea Wine Cellars Shea Vineyard Block 33 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 250 cases, $56.
Dijon 777. From a steep, south-facing parcel. Aged in 60% new French oak.
Moderately dark reddish-purple
color in the glass. Muted aromas of dark berry preserves, tea leaf and balsam. Well-ripened essence of
blackberries, ollaliberries and plum reduction sauce with faint oak in the background. Soft in the mouth with
pillowy tannins and some length on the finish. Solid but not exceptional. Good.
2010 Shea Wine Cellars Shea Vineyard Homer Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 450 cases, $82. 56% Wädenswil, 31% Dijon
777, 13% Pommard. Aged in 81% new French oak. A blend of the best
barrels in the cellar and always the biggest, most structured wine in the
lineup, needing several years to reach a peak drinking window.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure but
pleasing aromas of black raspberries, blackberries and spice. The most
structured wine in the lineup and built for the long haul. Also, displays the
most length on a brambly blackberry finish. Very polished with a velvety
mouth feel and complimentary smoky oak. More approachable than usual for
this bottling, but should get even better with more time in the cellar.
Stoller Family Estate Bill Stoller was born into a Yamhill Valley farming family and through his success
with Express Personnel Professionals, which he co-founded in 1983, he was able to make investments in the
Willamette Valley wine industry. He obtained part ownership of Chehalem Wines in 1993 and the same year
he purchased a 373-acre former turkey farm owned by his father and uncle. A total of 200 acres of closely
spaced Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have been planted since the property was acquired. It is now the largest
contiguous vineyard in the Dundee Hills. Stoller Vineyards was founded in 2001 and the name was changed in
2012 to Stoller Family Estate. The change reflects the evolution of the property, maturation of the winegrowing
team, and fulfillment of Bill Stoller’s founding vision. Stoller has Oregon’s first LEED-certified, solar-powered,
gravity-flow winery which opened in 2006. Winemaker Melissa Burr has been on board since 2003. A tasting
room was recently opened at the winery which uses 100% of its energy from the site. Production is a little over
5,000 cases annually, all of which is estate grown. The property has three renovated guest homes that can be
rented by visitors. Visit www.stollerfamilyestate.com for more information.
2009 Stoller Family Estate SV Estate Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.81, TA
0.51, 3,642 cases, $45. A selection of the best vineyard blocks and barrels in the cellar. Aged 10 months in
40% new and 60% neutral French oak. Pommard, Wädenswil, and Dijon 115, 667 and 777.
reddish-purple color in the glass. A medium-bodied wine of considerable charm featuring aromas and flavors
of black cherries, kirsch, and spice, well-managed oak and restrained tannins. Quite elegant, yet flavorful,
showing the ripe fruit flavors typical of this vintage. Well-crafted and desirable. Very good.
2009 Stoller Family Estate Cathy’s Reserve Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.90, TA 0.49, 88 cases, $100. Sourced from the
oldest section of the property, a 4.6-acre block planted to Pommard clone.
100% de-stemmed, 7-day cold soak, native fermentation, aged 10 months in
100% new French oak. Four barrels were selected.
Dark reddish-purple color in
the glass. Deep, full-bodied, dark fruited, and earthy, offering a dense core of
dark red and black fruits, a firm tannic backbone and impressive persistence on
the satiny finish. Soft and luscious on the palate, but rather brooding at this
stage. This is a connoisseur’s wine that will benefit from several years of
cellaring. Very good.
White Rose Estate Greg Sanders took over the established 12-acre White Rose Vineyard in the
Dundee Hills in 2001. The vineyard is well situated with several prominent producers nearby including Archery
Summit Estate, Domaine Serene and Domaine Drouhin Oregon. Self-rooted Pommard clone was planted from
1978 to 1981 and Dijon 115 was added in 2001. The soil type is volcanic Jory series. Greg was inexperienced
as a winery owner and winemaker when he assumed ownership of the vineyard, but he has made remarkable
strides, and today is producing superb Oregon Pinot Noir. Greg is a Burgundy fanatic who uses Burgundy’s
Grand Crus as his model in crafting his wines. The important difference is that he crafts wines that are more
drinkable early than Grand Crus which often need twenty years to open, yet his wines will age extremely well.
He began experimenting with whole cluster fermentations in 2004 and today uses a high percentage in his
estate wines. His wines since 2008 have been stunning. Greg now works in tandem with Jesus Guillen, a self-taught
winemaker who managed the estate since his arrival in 2002. For more information, read my article at
www.princeofpinot.com/article1149/. The website is www.whiterosewines.com.
These are distinctive wines with striking aromatics that are exotically spiced, cherry driven and reflective of
whole cluster inclusion. Beaune in the USA.
2009 White Rose Estate Winemaker’s Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., pH 3.70, 48 cases,
$N/A. Jesus Guillen’s two favorite barrels in the cellar (Block 1 of White Rose Vineyard in Dundee Hills AVA
and 1 barrel of Bell Road Vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains AVA). 60% whole cluster. 4-day cold soak, 7
days of post-maceration skin contact. Total 17 days of skin contact. Aged 15 months in 100% neutral French
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely perfume of fresh black cherries, black raspberries,
gingerbread and stunning spice. Moderately rich core of perfectly ripe black cherry flavor with hints of spice,
vanilla cola and new oak. Veers slightly to the ripe side which is understandable in this warm vintage. Silky
with enough well-honed tannin to age well but not so much that you can’t enjoy the wine now. Very good.
2010 White Rose Estate Dundee Hills AVA Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., pH 3.71, 239 cases,
$50. Part of the winery’s appellation series of wines. 80% White Rose Vineyard (115) and 20% Vista Hills
Vineyard (667). 44% whole cluster. 19-20 days of skin contact. Pressed off in an old world, half-ton, wooden
basket press. Aged 15 months in French oak. Racked once after malolactic fermentation and then again
Very light ruby red in color. Delicate but pleasing aromas of red cherries, baking spices, pine
resin and sandalwood. A ballet dancer of a Pinot, light on its feet, feminine and very charming. Flavors of
slightly confected iced cherries are crisped by bright acidity and supple tannins make for easy drinking. Exotic
spices add intrigue. A signature Dundee Hills Pinot Noir. Tasted twice. Very good.
2010 White Rose Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., pH 3.61, 500 cases, $30. A
blend from 3 sub-appellations of the Willamette Valley, 4 different vineyards (White Rose Vineyard,
Durant Vineyard, Luciole Vineyard and Kason Vineyard), 9 different vineyard blocks and 6 different
clones. 28% whole cluster. Total skin contact 19-31 days. All wine basket pressed. Aged 15 months
in 14% French oak.
Light red rose color in the glass. Effusive aromas of dark red cherries, spice,
sawdust and stem. A step up in body and intensity featuring bright red cherry essence with
gregarious spice including clove, carrying over to the long and refreshing finish fueled by bright acidity.
Perhaps a touch under ripe, but I find it irresistible: it’s what the vintage gave. Very good.
2010 White Rose Estate White Rose Vineyard Whole Cluster Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.3% alc., pH 3.57, 97
cases, $95. Yields 0.5 tons per acre from blocks 1 and 3 planted from
1978 to 1982 with self-rooted Pommard clone. 100% whole cluster.
5-day cold soak, 10 day fermentation, 9 day post-maceration skin
contact. Pressed off in an old world, half-ton, wooden basket press.
Aged 15 months in French oak. Racked once after malolactic fermentation
and then again just before blending.
Moderately light red rose color in the
glass. Intoxicating aromas of fresh baked cherry pie and sandalwood. A
cherry bombast that is soft and smooth on the palate with mouth-filling
presence, tamed and focused tannins, crisp, well-integrated acidity, and an
intense, cherry-driven and spicy finish that won’t quit. The whole-cluster driven spice is very enticing to me. A
beguiling wine that was still remarkable the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
Willful Wine Co. Daedalus Cellars was formed in 2000 and released wines from purchased grapes for
ten years. The owners and winemakers, Aron Hess and his spouse Pam Walden, split up in 2009. She bought
him out of the Daedalus and Jezebel labels that they shared when they were married. At about the same time,
a 7-acre vineyard they had planted started to bear fruit, so she opted to create a new label, Willful Wine Co. in
2012, to replace Daedalus and feature the estate vineyard rather than purchased fruit that characterized the
Daedalus label. Pam now manages the estate vineyard and is one of the few female winemakers in Oregon
who also owns her own vines. The vineyard is densely planted to 2400 vines per acre with 12 different clones
of Pinot Noir grapes including Pommard and a selection of Dijon clones.
Aron helped out with the first harvest in 2011, her first fully in charge of winemaking, but the fifth harvest she
has worked in the cellar. She had a harvest assistant help with some of the Jezebel lots, but she did all the
work herself on her estate Pinot Noir. As the name of the label implies, she is determined and pertinacious.
The Willful Wine Co. Pinot Noir and Jezebal brand wines (fruit-forward and value-priced) are available for
tasting at the Dundee tasting room at 990 Highway 99W. Pinot Noir production is anticipated to increase to
1,500 cases within four years. The website is w14.wineweb.com (or soon, www.willfulwine.com). Also check
2011 Jezebel Oregon Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., 1,900 cases, $18, screwcap. A blend of fruit from Willamette
Valley vineyards and vineyards in the Applegate Valley of southern Oregon. Cropped at 2 to 3 tons per acre.
Mostly aged in neutral French oak with a small portion in stainless tanks.
Moderately light reddish-purple color
in the glass. Oak-dominated nose with delicate aromas of darker red cherries and berries. Shallow, but
pleasing flavors of deep red cherries finishing with a dry, tart cherry skin flavor. Very light and delicate with
bright acidity, showing a topcoat of oak. Decent.
2011 Jezebel Oregon Blanc
12.5% alc., 595 cases, $14, screwcap. Riesling, Pinot Gris and
Gewürztraminer are co-fermented in stainless steel with periodic lees manipulation. 7% Pinot Blanc
and 3% Muscat are included.
This is a wine fashioned in the style of California’s Caymus
Conundrum and equally appealing. Nearly clear in color, this wine offers an array of scents including
muscat grape, white peach, banana and guava. A crowd pleaser with flavors of white peach and
tropical fruits with modest richness and length. The flavors are most akin to Pinot Gris of all the
varieties included. At 12.5% alcohol, one can enjoyed a few chilled glasses of this wine with no
repercussions. A great apperitif. Good.
2011 Willful Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
alc., 370 cases, $35. Released September 2012. First vintage from
a 7-acre estate, densely planted, vineyard of 12 clones. 100% de-stemmed.
2-week cold soak. Native fermentations and minimal use
of new French oak.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the
glass. Perfectly ripe black cherries and cranberries are the theme
here. Aromatically fresh and well-perceived on the palate, with a generous
fruit core and a refreshing spark of lemon peel acidity on the finish. This wine
grows on you over time in the glass. The firm tannins are supportive rather
than dominating, but will benefit from some time in the cellar. Still solid the
following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Very good.
Winderlea Vineyard & Winery In 2006, Bill Sweat and Donna Morris, a wealthy East Coast couple
from the financial-services industry, left the East Coast for Oregon and the next year bought the Goldschmidt
Vineyard, renaming it Winderlea Vineyard. The name Winderlea is derived from a Vermont property the couple
owned and is a German word loosely translated as “valley protected from the wind.” The husband and wife
team developed a passion for Burgundies in the 1990s and found Oregon Pinot Noir was the next best thing.
They brought on Robert Brittan, the winemaker at Stags Leap Winery for 16 years, to assist Bill and direct the
new Pinot Noir program.
A stunning metal and glass tasting room and winery was built and positioned to take advantage of panoramic
views of the Dundee Hills and the Willamette Valley to the East. The tasting room is environmentally friendly
employing many passive energy management techniques including solar hot water and solar panels for much
of their energy needs. In 2008, Winderlea Vineyard earned LIVE and Salmon Safe certifications and in 2009
they began employing biodynamic practices to augment the existing organic farming methods. For more
information, visit www.winderlea.com.
The wines reviewed here are all very well crafted, showing restrained tannins for easy approachability and
bright acidity for refreshing drinking at the dinner table. An extremely impressive lineup from a diverse number
of vineyard sources.
2010 Winderlea Dundee Hills Vineyards Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $38. From three old
vine vineyards in the Dundee Hills.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Essence of barely ripe
red cherry fruit clothed in toasty oak. Modest richness, silky tannins and soft in the mouth. A standard issue
Pinot Noir that leans heavy on oak. Decent.
2010 Winderlea Crawford Beck Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $48.
Prominent scientists, David and Jeanne Beck, moved to Oregon from New Jersey in 2005 and bought a 48-
acre property with 15 acres of vines in Jory soils. 11 acres of Pinot Noir are planted to 115, 60, Swan and
Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. The nose and palate feature dark red
cherries and berries sprinkled with dried herbs and flower petals. Notes of forest floor and tar are also evident.
On the lighter side, but juicy and pleasant with polished tannins. Good.
2010 Winderlea Meredith Mitchell Vineyard McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
$48. Planted in 1988 by owners Susan Meredith and spouse Frank Mitchell on a 104-acre site located
at 450 to 650 feet elevation in the Coast range foothills of the McMinnville AVA. The 25-acre vineyard is
primarily planted to own-rooted Pinot Noir Pommard clone, with smaller blocks of Pinot Blanc (1996)
and Pinot Gris (1995). Soils are rocky, broken basalt, sedimentary in type.The vineyard is managed by
Susan and Frank.
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely aromas of pie cherries with a
fragrant floral note. Darker cherry, berry and plum flavors enter strong and finish long. The fruit is striking in
purity and made me sit up straight in my chair. A welcome underlying cut of acidity urges another sip. Simply a
2010 Winderlea Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., $48. Sourced from Block 21 on West
Hill. Wädenswil and Pommard clones.
Moderately light reddishpurple
color in the glass. Brimming with aromas of ripe red cherries
and berries with complimentary oak. Plush in the mouth with an
explosion of bright fruit on the mid palate, finishing like a three hour
movie you don’t want to end. Admirable integration of oak which adds a touch
of dark caramel and spice. The tannins are lacy and the acidity brings the
fruit into focus. A complete wine.
2010 Winderlea Murto Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $48. Located to the west of Winderlea Vineyard. Owned and farmed by Mike and Robin Murto.
Planted in 1978 on a south-facing parcel at 400 to 700 feet elevation. Clones are Wädenswil, Pommard and
Medium purple color in the glass. The nose is quite alluring with the scent of boysenberry jam. Deft
balance between richness of black berry and plum fruit flavors, and acidity and tannins. Features the darkest
fruit profile in the 2010 lineup. A thrust of citrus-infused berries is featured on the generous finish. Very good.
2010 Winderlea Winderlea Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., $54. Formerly
the Goldschmidt Vineyard. 20 acres planted in 1974 in Jory soils. Ideal southwestern exposure.
reddish-purple color in the glass. An aristocratic wine with upscale aromas of well-ripened black cherries and
black raspberries. The intensely fruity palate features earth-kissed dark cherries, raspberries, plum and purple
grapes. A citrus-infused acidity brings lift and vibrancy to the wine. Quite enjoyable now, but has the structure
and balance to indicate it will benefit from further cellaring. Very good.
2010 Winderlea Ana Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.1% alc., $48. This
vineyard is located on a north-south ridge at 350 to 450 feet. Owned and farmed by Andy Humphrey,
the vines are own rooted and date to 1976. Pommard and 777 clones.
Moderate light ruby red color in
the glass. Cherries are the theme is this outstanding wine. Aromas of fresh pie cherry glaze and rose
petals. The discreetly concentrated core of juicy cherries is accented with hints of exotic spices, clove
and a kiss of oak. Soft and smooth in texture with gossamer tannins. Finishes with a flourish of
cherries. Like cherry pie day at cooking school - cherries, baking spices and very interesting results.
2010 Winderlea Winderlea Legacy Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., $75. This wine highlights the favorite
characteristics of the estate vineyard.
Light reddish color in the glass.
The nose offers a terrific blast of crushed cherry perfume with a hint of
spice. Delicious essence of ripe, dark red cherries with a sidecar of
raspberries and pomegranates. A citrus-laden underbelly brings the
wine to life. Lacy tannins, well-integrated oak and an appealing elegance
completes the picture. Like red lingerie, sure to attract attention.
Winter’s Hill Vineyard John and Lena Winter resettled in Oregon from Illinois in 1961, acquiring a
former fruit and grain farm in the Dundee Hills. Peter and Emily Gladhart (the Winters’ daughter) and their son
Russell planted 12 acres of own rooted Pinot Noir in 1990. A second phase of planting on phylloxera-resistant
rootstocks followed in 1997. The estate vineyard is now 35 acres nestled in a 150-acre farm, and includes
Pommard, Wädenswill, 114 and 115 clones of Pinot Noir. Winter’s Hill is bordered to the East by Domaine
Serene, to the South by Stoller Family Estate, and to the North by Vista Hills. The first wines were released
from the 1998 vintage. Production has gradually increased over the years, and includes the Pinot trio of Pinot
Noir, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. Peter Gladhart’s daughter-in-law, Delphine Gladhart, joined the family
business in 2004 and has been the winemaker ever since.
A winery and tasting room are on property and visitors are always greeted by one of the owners. A restored
oak savannah surrounds the winery and tasting room and offers the opportunity to enjoy a picnic or talk a walk
to view the wildlife. Visit www.wintershillwine.com.
2009 Winter’s Hill Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 1,200 cases, $25.
Exclusively from estate grapes. 100% de-stemmed, aged 12 months in oak. Offered in both
traditional bottle and recyclable 5 gallon keg format.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the
glass. The nose holds your attention with an array of scents including dark red cherries and berries,
tea leaf, iron and oak. Quite pleasurable on the palate with a discretely concentrated core of darker
cherries and raspberries, with a hint of red licorice and oak. Plenty of minerality in this modest wine
with appealing restraint. Very good.
2009 Winter’s Hill Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.46, 800 cases, $34. Exclusively from grapes
grown in the Winter’s Hill Vineyard. 100% de-stemmed, aged 18
months in oak.
Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. More
deeply colored and richer in flavor than the Willamette Valley
bottling, featuring dark red and purple stone fruits and berries. Very
nice earthy underpinning. Well-matched tannins and a long, satisfying finish.
A complete, impeccably balanced wine. Very good (+).
2011 Winter’s Hill Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
13.5% alc., 550 cases, pH 3.15,
$16. Whole cluster pressed, fermented in stainless steel tanks, no malolactic fermentation.
Very faint straw
color in the glass. Aromas of crabapple, hay and biscuit. Flavors of green apple, grapefruit and lemon with
piercing, tart acidity that is electric. Hard to cozy up to the shrillness in this wine. Needs mollifying food.
Decent at best.