Sips of Oregon Pinot Noir: Recently Sampled Wines
2011 Antica Terra Botanica Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., $75.
Moderate reddish-purple color in
the glass. Shy aromas of black cherries, rosebush and flint. Middleweight flavors of black cherries, black
raspberries, cola and rose water, with a flowery undertone. Well-balanced ripe tannins and a focused, chalky
finish leaving behind a lively fruit impression. Not the drive, extract and power we have come to expect from
Shea Vineyard in this vintage, but still a wine of interest. Tasted the following day from a previously opened
bottle, the nose was very perfumed and flowery with hints of oak and spice, the wine was smooth and soft on the
palate, and some appealing spice had been added to the flavor profile. Very good.
2011 Big Table Farm Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.6% alc., 519 cases, $38. A combination of new, once
used and neutral barrels from all Pinot Noir sites. Some aspect of whole cluster and the result of sur lie aging.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Very fragrant with scents of red cherries and wild
strawberries. Fresh, bright and refreshingly juicy with flavors of red cherries, raspberries on the vine,
watermelon, and toasty oak. Light and delicate, but charming with electric acidity. The best Willamette Valley
bottling from Big Table Farm in a few years. Good (+).
2011 Big Table Farm Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.6% alc.,$45. A collaboration with Don, Johanna, Lynne
and Perry who farm this vineyard.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the
glass. The nose opens gradually, revealing aromas of dark cherries, violets,
spice and brewed tea. Very satiny and seamless on the palate with a tasty core
of fresh cherry fruit enhanced with accents of savory herbs. Modest weight, with
very supple tannins, leaving behind a combination of cherries and green salad
on the finish. I like this wine a lot for its easy manner. A very admirable effort in
this difficult vintage. Very good.
2009 CAW Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.9% alc., $36.
color in the glass. This wine reflects the relatively warm 2009 vintage in the Willamette Valley. Aromas of
black cherries, tomato and beet. Flavors of black plum, black cherry and raisin. Plenty of concentration with
balanced tannins, but lacks the verve that Oregon Pinot Noir is known for. Too ripe for my taste. Decent.
2011 Cooper Mountain Vineyards Life Willamette Valley Organic Wine
13.0% alc., 200 cases, $35. Aged in 30% new and
40% second-use French oak barrels. No sulfites added during
winemaking. Certified organic by Oregon Tilth. Biodynamic® by
Demeter®. This bottling began as an experiment in 2002, but has
become very popular. Consumers are advised to drink this wine
upon acquisition, although the winemaker believes it will hold up
well for short-term aging.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in
the glass. Very fruity nose featuring bright aromas of cherries, strawberries and
red fruit punch. Flavorful and forward, offering tastes of dark red and blue
berries, red plum and a complimentary savory herb note. The tannins are well
managed and the acidity brings life to the fruit. An excellent food wine in a Beaujolais style. Good.
2010 ROCO Marsh Estate Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $50,
screwcap. Vineyard owned and farmed by Doug and Pat Marsh. Clone 115 and Pommard on Riparia
rootstock, irrigated, planted in sedimentary sandstone, sustainably farmed.
Light garnet color in the glass.
Aromatic, with clean scents of cherries, tea leaf and compost. Light in weight and easy to drink, but the flavors
of woody cherry, red berry, black tea and green leaf don’t particularly appeal. Decent.
2010 ROCO Private Stash No. 8 Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $70,
screwcap. From Wits’ End Vineyard.
Light garnet color in the glass. Shy, but pleasant aromas of dark
cherries and berries. Delicious core of red fruits with accents of spice, sassafras, graham and nutty oak. Juicy,
elegant and charming, displaying balanced fine-grain tannins and a short, but satisfying finish. Interesting
textural magic. Noticeably lighter in this vintage. Very good.
2010 Seven of Hearts Special Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
alc.,112 cases, $42. A blend of several vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton, Eola-
Amity Hills and Chehalem Mountains AVAs. Volcanic and sedimentary soils.
Clones 114, 115, 667, 777, Pommard, Wädenswil and Mariafeld. Aged in 27%
new French oak barrels.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy,
but pleasant aromas of black cherry preserves and musk. Well-endowed with a
core of delicious dark cherry and dark red raspberry flavor. Silky and seamless
on the palate with restrained tannins and noticeable finishing power. The wine
is slow to evolve in the glass and was considerably better the following day from
a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Decant if you must drink now. Very