Sips of Recently Tasted Oregon Pinot Noir
2010 Antica Terra Antikythera Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.1% alc., 440 cases, $100.
Released October 1, 2013.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of dark red
cherries and berries and espresso. Middleweight core of black cherry fruit buried in charred, smoky oak. The
tannins are soft and the juicy finish is pleasing with good mineral-laden acidity and length. There is not enough
fruit in this delicate wine to stand up to the oak. Smokers should like this wine. Tasted previously on January
19, 2013 with a similar impression.
2011 Antica Terra Botanica Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., $75.
Moderately dark reddish-purple
color in the glass. Very shy, but pleasant aromas of black cherry, forest floor and oak. Good dark red fruit
presence in the mouth with an earthy, cedary oak undertone. Substantial tannins with lively acidity and some
length to the vibrant, oak-tinged finish. On the austere side in this vintage. I like the flavor of this wine but the
oak and tannins are out of balance with the modest fruit. About the same the following day from a previously
opened and re-corked bottle.
2011 Antica Terra Ceras Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.7% alc., $75.
Moderately dark reddish-purple hue in the glass.
Nicely blessed with aromas of cherry, red plum, spice and rose petal with a
touch of fine oak. Beautifully composed and harmonious with a delicious mid
weight core of dark cherry and blueberry fruits backed by an oak imprint. Very
polished and sophisticated, juicy and invigorating with plenty of potential.
Definitely seems to have been made with some whole cluster fermentation.
A to Z Wineworks
2011 A to Z Oregon Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $15, screwcap.
Moderate ruby red color in the glass. Pleasant
aromas of black cherries and oak spice. Refined, brisk and elegant, featuring flavors of cherry and raspberry
with a shadow of oak in the background, finishing with a flourish of cherry and a kick of citrus-laden acidity. A
little too much oak on board for my taste with the oak becoming more evident the longer the wine sits in the
2010 Cristom Marjorie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.59, 363 cases, $55. This vineyard
was originally planted in 1982 and is one of the oldest vineyards in the
Eola-Amity Hills AVA, and home to some of the oldest vines on the
Cristom estate. It is situated on a gently sloped east facing hillside
between 480 and 615 feet above sea level. Named for owner Paul
Gerrie’s mother, the first single vineyard estate Marjorie was released in
1994. The soil is primarily Jory in type. Phylloxera struck the vineyard in 2000,
and beginning in 2007, replanting was initiated with Dijon clones 113, 115, 777,
Pommard and Wädenswil grafted onto phylloxera-resistant rootstocks. The
vineyard produces very small, concentrated clusters. Aged 17 months in 53% new Burgundian cooperage.
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Bombastic and exotic aromas of red and black cherries, whole
cluster spice and floral notes, smoky oak, incense and licorice. Delicious core of cherry fruits which are broad
in the mouth and supported by integrated notes of spice, fennel, anise and mocha-laden oak. A special wine
that is built for the long haul, with firm, fine-grain tannins, refreshing acidic verve and a lengthy finish of great
energy. A whole cluster triumph that really impressed me.
2011 IOTA Pelos-Sandberg Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.9% alc., 767 cases, $38. 11.5-acre vineyard planted to
Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon 667 and 777 clones. The vineyard, first planted
in 2002, sits at 300 to 500 feet elevation, and is dry farmed. The family run
winery was established in 2006. Johanna Sandberg is co-winemaker and
owner. The wine contains all four planted clones. Aged 10 months in 3-year, airdried
French oak barrels and an additional 10 months of bottle aging. Unfined
Moderately dark reddish-purple color and unfiltered appearance
in the glass. Lovely aromas of fresh black cherry pie glaze, Christmas spice,
and earthy flora. Full, deep and plush on the palate with remarkable flavor
intensity in this cool vintage. The flavors of black cherry and black raspberry are complimented by a touch of
smoky oak. The tannins are nicely balanced and the finish is noticeably persistent and aristocratic, urging you
to take another sip.
Ken Wright Cellars
Ken Wright’s wines are impressive in 2012 and he believes these are his best wines ever. Vineyard sources
are superb. The wines do need decanting if opened now, or more time in bottle for full expression as shown by
the gradual evolution of aromas and flavors in the glass over time.
2012 Ken Wright Cellars Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
725 cases, $45. Sourced from three blocks ranging in elevation from 450 to 600 feet, originally planted in
1989. Willakenzie sedimentary soils. Vineyard is owned by Dick and Dierdre Shea. Pommard and Wädenswil
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Muted aromatically with delicate scents of autumnal forest
floor, pine forest and dark red berry fruits. More expressive on the palate with moderately rich flavors of red
and black raspberry, pomegranate, black cherry and plum. Nicely balanced tannins and acidity, with a juicy
texture and a big, cherry hard candy finish. Very young and primary, becoming more giving over time in the
glass. Check back in another year or two.
2012 Ken Wright Cellars Guadalupe Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 400 cases, $45. This vineyard was planted in 1989 in Willakenzie soils. Clones are Wädenswil
and Dijon 115. Small berries and clusters are typical. Owned by Jim Stonebridge and Kathleen Boeve and
managed by Joel Myers.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy, but pleasing aromas of black
cherry, sassafras, raw beef and spice. Very smooth on the palate with a tasty core of sweet cherry and
raspberry fruit. Very juicy, with balanced, supple tannins, and bright underlying acidity lifting the soprano finish
that is flush with cherry flavor. This wine needs time for full expression.
2012 Ken Wright Cellars Meredith Mitchell Vineyard McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 310 cases, $45. This
vineyard was planted in 1988 to own-rooted Pommard clone. Yamhill
soil - silty loam over basaltic bedrock. Owned and managed by Susan
Meredith and Frank Mitchell. Typically produces small berries and
clusters and is well-structured, requiring a bit more aging.
dark reddish-purple hue in the glass. A wide array of aromas appear in
the glass, including black raspberry, forest floor, bramble, leather, vanilla and
spicy oak. Very soft and smooth on the palate with ripe flavors of red and black
raspberries, Satsuma plum and cherry. Impressive depth of flavor and a
persistent finish that is almost painfully intense. The tannins are firm and muscular and make an appearance
on the finish. Much better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with more
integration of tannins. Tremendous aging potential. I find wines from this vineyard to be in the upper echelon
of the Willamette Valley.
2012 Ken Wright Cellars Abbey Claim Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., $45. 17 acres
planted to Pommard, 777 and 115 at an elevation of 450 feet above sea
level. Soils are varied but primarily ancient marine sediments among the
oldest in the Willamette Valley. The vineyard is owned by Ken and
Karen Wright and managed by Mark Gould.
Moderately dark reddish-purple
color in the glass. The nose is subdued and slowly evolving with aromas
of dark fruits including spiced plum with a hint of earthy flora and oak. Flat-out
delicious on the palate with attention-grabbing flavors of dark cherries and black
raspberries accented by baking spice and an echo of oak. Discreetly
concentrated with modest, firm tannins, and a lovely texture that is pure velvet. Beautifully composed with the
balance for long-term aging.
Proprietor and winemaker Steve Lutz told me the following about his 2011 vintage wines. “Oddly enough,
though there will be much hype about the 2012 vintage wines which are plush and reminiscent of the 2006
wines, I see the 2011 wines following in the footsteps of the 2007 wines. They are not very developed on the
nose or palate yet, but every time I sit with them, I see promise and they really capture me after I have had
them open for a day or two. The 2007 vintage turned out to be one of my favorites even though the wines
started out quite lean, very similar to the 2011 wines. The 2012 vintage could have been great, but we had a
week of warm east winds in September that completely changed the nature of the vintage, pushing it away
from being like 2008 and towards being like 2006.”
2011 Lenné Estate Le Nez Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH
3.73, 642 cases, $30. Released May 31, 2013. Harvested November 1, 2011. Aged in 21% new
French oak barrels. Infant wine of Lenné Estate.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Very
aromatic with hi-tone scents of black cherry, spice, and sandalwood. Middleweight flavors of cherry
and red berry with a complimentary touch of oak. Forward and easy to drink with very supple
tannins and a light finish.
2011 Lenné Estate Kill Hill Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.67, 76
cases, $55. Released November 14, 2013. Primarily clone 667. Harvested October 26, 2011. Aged in 66%
new French oak barrels.
Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, spiced plum,
currant, raisin and nutty oak appear over time in the glass. Delicious core of black cherry and dark wild berry
flavors with some underlying spice and a touch of oak. Ripest, fullest, and darkest fruited wine in the lineup
with plenty of juicy sap. The tannins are nicely integrated and the finish is long and robust.
2011 Lenné Estate Jill’s 115 Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.50, 50
cases, $55. Released November 14, 2013. Harvested November 1, 2011. Aged in 25% new French oak
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of wild berries and forest floor lead to mid
weight flavors of black cherry and dark red berries wrapped in modest tannins. The finish offers an appealing
carry-over of juicy cherry fruit. Solid, but not very giving, even the following day from a previously opened and
re-corked bottle. Give this wine at least another year in bottle.
2011 Lenné Estate Karen’s Pommard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
pH 3.76, 75 cases, $55. Released November 14, 2013. Harvested November 1, 2011. Aged in 50% new
French oak barrels.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Explosive aromas of Bing cherries,
cherry syrup, cassis and espresso-laced oak. Grand mid palate intensity with a huge, bombastic finish. Dark
cherries are featured with accents of dark chocolate, and oak-driven caramel and spice. Firm but not
astringent tannins allow for drinking now, but this wine is clearly a few years away from prime time. Appealing
the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, but still moody.
2011 Lenné Estate Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Noir 13.5% alc., pH 3.70, 642 cases, $45. Released November 14,
2013. Harvested November 1, 2011. 30-acre vineyard on a steep
south facing slope east of the town of Yamhill. Shallow soils, dense
spacing and diverse clonal mix (Pommard, 115, 114, 777 and 667).
Best barrels of each harvest. Aged in 40% new French oak barrels.
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely, fresh and vibrant aromas of
cherry, red raspberry, cherry tart and Christmas spice opening nicely over time
in the glass. Round and polished, elegant and restrained, featuring flavors of
red berries and cherries and a hint of Moroccan spice and sous bois. Soft, but
evident tannins, and nicely integrated acidity. The finish is highly satisfying offering a flourish of spicy cherry
fruit. Extraordinary the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. A dancing Pinot that is a
fabulous food magnet.
2011 Penner-Ash Dussin Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.3% alc., pH
3.76, TA 0.53, $60. From the estate vineyard located on a southeast sloping hillside surrounding the winery.
Volcanic and sedimentary soils. Harvest Brix 20.8º-22.6º. Aged 10 months in 38% new, 28% 1-year-old, 25%
2-year-old and 9% neutral French oak barrels.
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. The aromas arrive
slowly in the glass, offering notes of black cherry, forest floor, and oak spice. Mid weight core of oak-toned
black cherry and plum fruit flavors. Very elegant and polished in style, with a soft mouth feel and balanced
tannins. Very likable, although showing a moderate oak sheen at this time which should moderate with more
Winemaker Tina Hammond crafted two of the greatest Oregon Pinot Noirs that I have tasted in recent memory.
She noted in her fall 2013 newsletter the following. “Without a doubt, the 2012 vintage will go down in Oregon
history as one of the greats! Our growing season started off cool with a late spring, then a wonderful summer
abundant with sunshine. Summer was followed by a long, beautiful fall with cool nights, giving us a window to
choose our perfect harvest dates.” Privé Vineyard has a new website designed to give a bird’s eye view into
life on the vineyard and in the winery. The photo gallery displays a year in the life of a grape at Privé Vineyard.
The two Pinot Noirs reviewed here are crafted from the north and south blocks of the old vine estate. Extreme
crop thinning and extra small berry size in 2012 led to the development of flavors that winemakers who make
Pinot Noir long for. A reserve bottling, the 2012 Joie de Vivre, is a combination of both le nord and le south,
and was offered in a beautiful etched bottle (132 bottles, $90). A fruit-forward Willamette Valley Pinot Noir was
also offered in 2012 (150 cases, $35), as well as a Ruby Pinot Port that has spent 11 years in barrel, produced
in the Solera style (50 cases, $50). A 2012 Syrah and Malbec from Walla Walla are also available.
Privé Vineyard is one of Oregon’s best reflections of terroir. Although the north and south blocks of the
vineyard are separated only by the Hammond’s home, the two wines are noticeably different.
2012 Privé Vineyard le sud Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., 75 cases, $65. 100% Pommard clone planted in
Jory soil on a southwest facing hillside.
Moderately dark reddish-purple
color in the glass. This wine defies description. The nose is heavenly
with broad aromas of black cherry, black raspberry tart, exotic rose
petal, potpourri and a hint of truffle. Upon entry, the wine explodes with
a delicious array of fruit flavors including black cherry and black
raspberry with many nuances adding complexity including spice, rose hips tea,
sassafras, vanilla and nutty oak. Not overwhelmingly rich but exceedingly
flavorful with a royal presence, offering silky tannins, appealing barrel presence,
and a finishing array of fruit that returns for several encores. Balance is spot on so this refined wine will age
beautifully. I could go on, but you get the idea. Orgasmic.
2012 Privé Vineyard le nord Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., 100 cases, $55. 100% Pommard clone planted
in Jory soil (rootstock dates to 1980) on a southwest facing hillside.
Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose is complex and
captivating initially, with aromas of black raspberry, black currant,
licorice, spice and purple rose petals. The wine hits the mid palate with
an unctuous core of black cherry and black raspberry fruit caressed by
soft tannins and brought to vivid heights with bright underlying acidity. Very
smooth and sexy, with a gorgeous finish replete with perfectly ripened
blackberry fruits. Darker fruits, earthier and a little more sap and tannin than the
le sud, with more evident acidity and a brighter finish. This wine is like le sud’s teenage sister - more
rebellious, untamed and immature. Much better when re-tasted later in the day. Awesome.
Raptor Ridge was founded in 1995 by Annie and Scott Shull. The winery gets its name from the many families
of raptors (red-tailed hawks, kestrels, sharp-shinned hawks, and owls) that share the winery’s 27-acre estate.
The vineyard is named “Tuscowallame,” the indigenous word for “place where the owls dwell.” This 18-acre
estate vineyard includes blocks dedicated to Pinot Noir clones 115, Wädenswil, 667, 777, Pommard and 114.
A small amount of Grüner Veltliner is also planted in the site’s Loess-based Laurelwood soils. Located on the
northeastern side of the Chehalem Mountains, 10 miles north of Newberg, Oregon, the winery is known for
Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Total production is about 8,500 cases annually which includes wines from the estate
vineyard and grapes sourced from Aubre Vert, Bellevue Cross, Carabella, Goodrich, Gran Moraine, Harbinger,
Meredith Mitchell, Olenik and Shea vineyards. The winemaker is Scott Shull. Raptor Ridge is a supporter of
¡Salud! (a charity that I also support) donating 10 cents for every bottle sold to the ¡Salud! Foundation for
vineyard worker healthcare in Oregon. Raptor Ridge Winery was the first winery to employ this practice. Visit
the website at www.raptorridgewinery.com for more information.
2011 Raptor Ridge Estate Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., <600 cases,
$50, screwcap. Released May 2013. Grapes harvested at ripeness on October 25, 2011, just before the fall
rains at 21º Brix. 10-day cold soak, inoculated with Williams Selyem liquid yeast culture, aged 9 months in 27%
new French oak barrels. A selection of the finest barrels.
Moderately light red color in the glass. Nicely
perfumed with aromas of strawberries, cherries, spice and graham. Delicate but flavorful, featuring red fruits,
baking spices and the slightest oak, finishing with a very juicy, citrus-driven finish. Impressive balance and
integration of oak. Judged in the context of the vintage, this wine is quite reflective and enjoyable.
2011 Raptor Ridge Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
<935 cases, $45, screwcap. Released September 2013. 49% Estate, 17%
Meredith Mitchell, 12% Shea, 10% Aubre Vert, 7% Goodrich and 5% Olenik
vineyards. Harvest between October 18 and November 2, 2011. Diverse yeast
program, 19 day fermentation, aged 9 months in 18% new French oak
Effusive scents of dark red cherry pie glaze with a hint of toasty
oak. Mid weight dark cherry and plum fruit is featured backed by supple tannins,
juicy acidity and complimentary oak. Slightly more fruit intensity and finish than
the Estate bottling. The finish is worth special mention as it is strikingly long and
lush. This wine will continue to develop and pick up interest with another year or
two in bottle.
2012 Raptor Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 1825 cases, $28, screwcap. A blend
of grapes from several vineyards including Meredith Mitchell, Shea, Aubre Verte, Goodrich, Olenick,
Atticus and the Estate.
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Appealing aromas of spicy
marionberry jam, blackberries and a hint of oak vanillin. Discreetly concentrated flavors of spiced
berries, pomegranates, and plum with echoes of oak and vanilla in the background. Soft in the
mouth and easy to drink, with restrained tannins and refreshing acidity. A touch shallow on the mid
palate and finish.
2012 Raptor Ridge Gran Moraine Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., 127 cases, $45. Released
November 2013. Willakenzie soils.
Moderately dark reddish-purple
color in the glass. The nose is extravagantly appointed with bright
aromas of fresh black cherries, black berries and a hint of oak. Rich
and sappy, but not jammy, with deep, mouth coating flavors of
blackberries, black cherries and Hoison sauce with many additional
nuances including spice, vanilla and cola. Very soft and luxurious on the palate
with a firm, but not astringent tannic backbone, and a long, long finish. Still
needs time to fully integrate the tannins but this wine is brimming with pleasure.
2012 Raptor Ridge Estate Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
alc., 276 cases, $55.
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. A complex and chameleon nose that
changes in the glass over time. Aromas of black cherry, dark berry jam, marzipan, humus, earthy flora and oak
emerge. The boysenberry, black cherry and black plum fruit has a glass-filling presence but the wine is
endlessly gentle. A little sous bois adds interest. The tannins are muscular but not astringent and need time to
soften and integrate. The wine becomes significantly better over an hour’s time in the glass. Great potential
here long term.
Solená and Hyland Estates
Long time Oregon winemaker and business owner, Laurent Montalieu of Northwest Wine Company, is
celebrating his 25th harvest and the 10th anniversary of Northwest Wine Company, one of the most
technologically advanced custom winegrowing and winemaking operations in the Northwest. Laurent and his
wife, Danielle Andrus Montalieu, and business partner John Niemeyer, are one of Oregon’s largest vineyard
owners (625 acres) and wine producers. In the last year, Domaine Loubejac and Wildewood vineyards were
acquired adding to the historic and coveted Hyland Vineyard that was bought in 2007. Since founding
Northwest Wine Company in 2003, the trio has created Oregon’s premier custom winemaking facility and the
state’s third largest producer with over 122,000 cases made in 2012. Northwest Wine Company is home to
over 40 labels including proprietary labels such as Brella and Kudos, as well as custom winemaking for notable
producers such as Four Graces. In 2011, the trio launched Hyland Estates which offers several varietals
including Pinot Noir and a bottling of the Coury clone. In 2012, the Soléna Estate production facility was sold
to Jackson Family Wines, but the Montalieu’s retained the Soléna label. All the wines reviewed here were
vinified by winemaker Laurent Montalieu.
2010 Hyland Estates McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., pH 3.64, $35. Released May
31, 2012. From blocks 1, 3, 5 and 6 in the Hyland Vineyard, planted in 1971, 1979, 1984 and 1989
respectively in mainly volcanic Jory and Nekia soils. Clones are Coury, Wädenswil and Pommard. Harvest Brix
23.9º. Aged 18 months in 38% new French oak barrels.
Medium reddish-purple robe. Aromas of black
cherries, spice, tea leaf and underbrush lead to an earth-kissed black cherry core with accents of black currant,
plum and truffle. Silky and easy to drink with modest balanced tannins and a long and refreshing finish. Still
pumping out the aromas and flavors the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2011 Hyland Estates Coury McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
alc., pH 3.68, $60. The Coury “clone” is a suitcase selection brought to Oregon
from Alsace by Charles Coury in the early 1960s. The cuttings were first rooted
in Carneros and later in Coury’s vineyard in Forest Grove. Cuttings from these
initial plantings were established throughout Oregon including Hyland Vineyard.
The true identity of the Coury “clone” remains a mystery. Sourced from Block
3C, planted in 1971 from stock obtained from Charles Coury, and block 6, the
second planting of the Coury “clone” in 1989 propagated from Block 3C vines.
Harvest Brix 23.3º. Aged 10 months in 56% French oak cooperage. A limited
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose brims with
fresh aromas of red cherries and raspberries with hints of sandalwood and mushroom. Impressive mid palate
attack of delicious red cherry, red plum and raspberry fruits with a hint of dried herbs in the background. The
fruit is notable vivid, the acidity is nervy and juicy, and the finish is riff with intense red cherry flavor. Delicate in
this vintage but plenty of charm.
2011 Solená Grand Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., 5,300 cases, $25. Released July 2012.
Grapes were combined from a variety of Willamette Valley appellations. Yield 2.8 tons per acre, harvest Brix
23.0º. 100% de-stemmed, 26 days of skin contact, aged 8 months in 33% new French oak barrels.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The fruit-driven nose features aromas of blackberries and
boysenberries. Moderately rich, dense, and very soft on the palate with appealing flavors of black cherry and
dark red and purple berries with an echo of spice and oak in the background. The tannins are firmly defined
and slightly astringent on the crisp finish. A direct, fruit-driven wine.
2011 Solená Hyland Vineyard McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., pH 3.60, 175 cases,
$50. This vineyard was planted in the 1970s, and was purchased by the Montalieus and the Niemeyers in May
2007. The estate is 200 acres with just over 120 acres planted densely to vines. Soils are volcanic Jory and
some Nekia. The vineyard is composed of 47.21 acres of own-rooted, old vine Pinot Noir, 41.84 acres of
newer, grafted Pinot Noir clones, and small amounts of Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Müller-
Thurgau. 100% de-stemmed, Yield 1.9 tons per acre, harvest Brix 23.4º18 days skin contact, aged 11 months
in 28% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. The nose
offers an array of dark red and black berry aromas with added scents of spice and espresso oak. Elegant and
flavorful, with a modestly weighted core of black raspberry, black cherry and nutty oak flavors supported by
svelte tannins and a lively cut of acidity. The fruits are vivid as they cascade across the palate, finishing with
impressive intensity. Considerably more appealing the following day from a previously opened and re-corked
bottle with better oak integration, more finesse and more forward fruit.
2011 Solená Domaine Danielle Laurent Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., pH 3.56, 1200 cases, $50. The Domaine
Danielle Laurent Vineyard land was purchased in 2000 as their wedding gift to
each other and they registered with premium nurseries for Pinot Noir vines as
wedding gifts. Now 20 acres, the vineyard has been farmed biodynamically
since the second leaf. The predominant soil type is Willakenzie. Clones planted
include Pommard, Swan, and Dijon 114,115, 667, 777 and “828.” Harvest Brix
21.4º. 100% de-stemmed, 18 days skin contact, aged 13 months in 37% new
French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderate reddish-purple color in
the glass. The aromas of fresh dark red berries and cherries draw you into the
glass. Very soft and seductive in the mouth, with a perfect harmony between ripe red fruit, vital acidity and
refined tannins. The oak is complimentary without being intrusive and the palate cleansing, iced cherry finish
makes you reach for another sip.
2011 Soter Mineral Springs Ranch Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., $45.
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherries, dried herbs and mushrooms. Light, elegant and
soft on the palate, with flavors of cherries and blueberries caressed by gossamer tannins. A very delicately
flavored wine that is true to the Soter style and mirrors the vintage. That said, the wine is appealing but not special.
A young winery producing a mere 300 cases in 2010, rising to 500 cases in the 2012 vintage. All released
wines have been sold to a growing fan base and to upscale gourmet Oregon restaurants. Pinot Noir is crafted
in two styles, the differences coming from the Pinot Noir clones used in each version. The Founder’s Choice
Pinot Noir is an attempt to make the richest, boldest expression of Pinot Noir possible. The clones originated in
a famous grand cru Burgundy vineyard known for a bold expression of Pinot Noir. The darkly colored and dark
fruited wine is meant for consumers who prefer more full-bodied wines like Syrah. The Elegant Reserve Pinot
Noir is an attempt to make an elegant style of Pinot Noir while maintaining depth of flavor using multiple clones
that originated from multiple Côte de Nuits appellations. A Dry Muscat and Pinot Gris-Muscat blend are also
offered. In 2014, a Pinot Noir-based port styled wine infused with roasted Oregon hazelnuts will be released
along with a full-bodied Albarino wine. The winemaker is Dave Jepson who has a vision and his wines are true
to that vision. Visit www.treoswine.com.
2010 TREOS Estate Founder’s Choice Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., 898 bottles, $48. Yield
0.70 tons per acre. Harvest date October 13-14, 2010. Harvest Brix 22º. Aged 6 months in 3-year, dry-aged
French oak barrels. Fined with Bentonite, no filtering.
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Big aromas
of black cherry, earthy flora, truffle and a hint of menthol, and big flavors of dark cherries, black raspberries and
spice with a slight roasted fruit taste in the background. The oak is evident but supportive, the mouthfeel is soft
and luxurious, and the dry finish displays some power and persistence. A big gulp of Pinot.
2010 TREOS Estate Elegant Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
alc., 859 bottles, $48. Yield 0.72 tons per acre. Harvest date October 20, 2010.
Harvest Brix 21.9º. Aged 6 months in 3-year, dry-aged French oak barrels.
Fined with Bentonite, no filtering.
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass.
Enticing aromas of red and black cherries, baking spices and vanilla. More
pinotosity singing in this wine with a tasty core of redder fruits with an earthy,
grilled mushroom undertone. Moderately rich with supple tannins, bright acidity,
and a huge finish that fans out over 30 seconds. Still currently reserved and will
benefit from more cellaring. When tasted the following day from a previously
opened and re-corked bottle, the wine displayed more bright fruit, more
crispness and an even longer finish.