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Seven of Hearts/Luminous Hills

Byron and Dana Dooley own Luminous Hills Vineyard, a unique 12-acre, high elevation site in the southwestern corner of the Yamhill-Carlton District. The vineyard contains both sedimentary (65%) and Jory volcanic soils (35%), with clones planted to match the different soil types. There are six different blocks containing Dijon clones 115, 667, 777 and Pommard clone. The vineyard is sustainably farm, certified LIVE and Salmon Safe, and non-irrigated.

When I recently visited the vineyard on a sunny afternoon, Byron told me that his property was part of 30 acres owned from 1978 to 1985 by Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple. Coincidently, both Dooleys attended the same high school as Jobs, Homestead High School in Sunnyvale, California.

The Luminous Hills Vineyard is beautifully manicured and breathtakingly beautiful. I would even go so far to say it is the most stunning Pinot Noir vineyard I have ever seen. As I walked the vineyard with Byron, I was taken by the many vistas on the undulating property and the serenity of the site. The red thistle grown in alternate rows as a cover crop was in bloom, creating a palate of color between the vines. Even Byron was touched by the scene that day and both of us shot many photographs.



In 2000, the Dooleys sold their house when the internet bubble burst in 2000, left their Silicon Valley jobs, and moved to Napa Valley’s Howell Mountain. Byron earned a viticulture and winemaking degree at Napa Valley College, interned at Williams Selyem, and made his own Bordeaux-style wine from Napa Valley fruit. In 2004, after Dooley graduated, the couple bought a property in the Yamhill-Carlton District and developed Luminous Hills Vineyard. Dana opened Honest Chocolates in McMinnville, selling traditional style chocolates, and later opened another branch in Carlton which shares space with the Seven of Hearts tasting room. Luminous Hills wines are poured at the Seven of Hearts Wine Center in Carlton. Seven of Hearts Wine is the Luminous Hills companion label featuring multiple varietals made from sourced grapes grown in several Willamette Valley and neighboring regions. Two additional sub-labels of Seven of Hearts, are Chatte d’Avignon, a lineup of Rhone varietals, and Chateaux Figareux, a number of Bordeux varietals. The inaugural vintage for Luminous Hills wines was 2008.

The label on the Seven of Hearts wines has neo-classical elements, symbolizing the Dooleys’ passion for the traditional Burgundian style of Pinot Noir.

Seven of Hearts wines and Luminous Hills wines are sold on the respective websites: www.sevenofheartswine, www.luminoushills.com. The Seven of Hearts wines are well-crafted and easy to like, while the Luminous Hills Pinot Noirs are very special expressions of one site. The following wines were tasted with Byron at the Seven of Hearts Wine Center in Carlton.

Byron noted that 2013 was “crazy,” in that the summer was hot, ripening was progressing normally, and then a big rain event occurred at the end of September. The 2013 wines here were made from grapes that were mostly picked after the rain. Luminous Hills is a late ripening site and benefited in this vintage because the grapes were able to hang past the heavy late September rains without damage to or dilution of the fruit.

2013 Seven of Hearts Willamette Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.44, TA 0.72, RS 0.157%, 126 cases, $15. Grapes sourced from Luminous Hills Vineyard (Pommard) and Armstrong Vineyard in the Ribbon Ridge AVA (Wädenswil and 777). Blocks were farmed specifically for Rosé, macerated for 8 days at a cold temperature, then pressed off and fermented in neutral French oak barrels where the wine was aged for 6 months before bottling. · Moderate reddish pink color in the glass. A pleasing wine with aromas and flavors of strawberry, cherry and blood orange. Bright and refreshing with enough body to stand up to more substantial foods. Score: 87

2013 Luminous Hills Aura, Estate Grown, Yamhill-Carlton District Rosé of Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.73, RS 0.134%. 49 cases, $28. 70% Pommard and 30% 667 clones. Produced from blocks that are farmed for Rosé. Aged 6 months in neutral French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish pink color in the glass. A more substantial wine with additional complexity and lift on the finish. The aromas and flavors of wild cherry and strawberry are sprinkled with savory herbs and a hint of spice. Score: 89

2012 Seven of Hearts Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., pH 3.58, TA 0.59, 756 cases, $20. A blend from all five Willamette Valley vineyards the winery works with and includes five different Willamette Valley appellations. Native yeast fermentation, 25% whole cluster, no additions. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of fresh cherry lead to a mid weight essence of spiced red cherry accented with a whisper of oak. The tannins are supportive without being intrusive and the finish is bright and fruity. Score: 88

2012 Seven of Hearts Lia’s Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.59, 126 cases, $35. Pommard, Wädenswil, Mariafeld, 115 and “828.” Jory volcanic soil. No whole cluster. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is rich with hi-tone aromas of dark red cherries and berries. Sleek and seductive on the palate, with a charge of cherry, raspberry and red plum flavors carrying over to a persistent aromatic finish. This wine has good presence without weight and impressive harmony. Score: 91

2012 Seven of Hearts Bjornson Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.64, 73 cases, $25. Vineyard is adjacent Seven Springs Vineyard. Two-thirds Pommard and one-third 777. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Tenacious aromas of cranberry and black cherry. More body and intensity, with layers of flavor including cranberry, cherry, spice and chocolate. Very forward, with a long, assertive finish. Score: 91

2012 Seven of Hearts Durant Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.65, 112 cases, $35. One of the oldest vineyards this winery works with including the 41-year-old Pommard Bishop Block. Dijon 114 and 115 also. 50% of blend co-fermented. 56% whole cluster fermented. · Moderately light reddish purple hue in the glass. Beguiling scents of cherry, spice and rose petal. Very suave and seductive with a juicy and bright wild cherry core brought into focus with lively citric acidity. Well-structured for aging, but the tannins are not astringent. Rolls off the palate like a satin sheet at the finish with layers of flavor returning for an encore. Score: 93

2012 Seven of Hearts Armstrong Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.62, 147 cases, $35. Willakenzie soils. Pommard, 777, 667, and Wädenswil. A barrel selection. 33% whole cluster fermented. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Not as giving at this stage as some of the other wines with the earth-kissed, red cherry and strawberry fruit slightly compressed in the tannins. A hint of floral perfume, spice and vanilla add interest. A young wine with potential. Score: 90

2012 Seven of Hearts Curmudgeon Cuvée Armstrong Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.59, 49 cases, $35. This wine honors the memory of wine curmudgeon, Bob Wood. This wine is designed to be a wine Bob would like and one that would age to allow him to be toasted year after year. Clones 114, 777 and Pommard. 100% whole cluster fermented. Aged in 100% neutral French oak. · Moderately light reddish purple hue in the glass. Aromas of red cherry, spice, rose petal and cedar elevate from the glass. More structured with mid weight flavors of cherry, ripe strawberry, exotic spice, cedar and edible flower. Impressive intensity and length on the bright finish. Score: 91

2012 Luminous Hills Estate Grown Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.65, 427 cases, $35. The “silver label” Luminous Hills blend includes clones 115, 667, 777 and Pommard. 33% whole cluster fermented. This blend is the big picture view of Luminous Hills Vineyard. 33% whole cluster fermented. · Intensely aromatic with effusive aromas of darker cherries and blueberries with a hint of spice. Juicy attack of anise-laced raspberry and blueberry fruit caressed by suave tannins. The intensity of fruit flavor is striking. Score: 92

2012 Luminous Hill LUX Estate Grown Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.63, 147 cases, $42. Select lots of Pommard (two-thirds) and 777 (one-third). 33% whole cluster fermented. Medium reddish purple hue in the glass. · Aromas of fresh Bing cherry, dried rose and peppery spice. Mid weight flavors of black raspberry, black cherry and baking spice with a hint of dark chocolate. Slightly earthy, with a healthy tannic backbone and bright citric acidity. More structured than the regular Luminous Hills bottling, with a somewhat longer and more generous finish. Score: 93

2012 Seven of Hearts Special Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.59, 147 cases, $45. This wine includes fruit from four vineyards in different appellations. A barrel selection. Clones are Pommard, 115, 777 and “828.” At least 40% whole cluster fermented. Aged in 33% new French oak. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Pleasing aromas of fresh red berries lead to a panoply of strawberry, raspberry and spice flavors that fill the mouth with goodness. Impressive fullness and length. The tannins are evident but are broad, ripe and supportive. The berry fruit returns in waves on the wonderful finish. A special wine with potential. Score: 94

2012 Seven of Hearts Very Special Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., pH 3.57, TA 0.59, 126 cases, $75. This wine is only made in very special vintages. From Luminous Hills, Armstrong, Lia’s and Durant vineyards. 33% whole cluster fermented. Aged in 23% new French oak. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Extroverted nose offering aromas of wild berries and exotic spices. Forceful and assertive on the palate, yet elegant, with a perfectly ripened core of berry fruit still mildly compressed by tannins. Similar to the Special Reserve, but more aloof at this stage. An ethereal wine that oozes pinotosity. Score: 95

2009 Luminous Hills ASTRA Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

15.0% alc., 98 cases. Released February, 2011. 60% 667, 40% 115. 60% whole cluster fermented. 6 week pre-maceration. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. This wine has aged nicely with plenty of primary fruit character on board. Aromas of cherry and rose lead to a full-bodied wine with layers of flavor including black cherry, anise and tobacco. Nicely balanced with endless fruit on the finish. Score: 92

2012 Seven of Hearts Willamette Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 329 cases, pH 3.31, TA 0.72, $24. Gran Moraine and Willakia vineyards, clones 76, 95, 96. Aged in 50% neutral French oak and 50% stainless steel. · Moderately light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon curd, crabapple, and buttered brioche are echoed on the palate with added flavors of green apple and grapefruit. Crisp with bright acidity and a lip-smacking finish. Score: 87

2012 Seven of Hearts Gran Moraine Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Chardonnay

13.3% alc., pH 3.28, TA 0.76, 73 cases, $32. Clone 76. Aged in 33% new French oak. · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Very appealing aromas of lemon zest, pear and subtle oak. An acid-driven, bright wine with satisfying flavors of lemon pie filling, pear, green apple and vanilla. Slightly creamy and easy to like. An excellent food wine. Score: 90

2012 Seven of Hearts Willakia Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Chardonnay

13.1% alc., pH 3.30, TA 0.73, 73 cases, $32. Clones 95 and 96. Aged in 33% new French oak. · Very light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. The aromas and flavors of lemon pie filling, yellow apple and buttery brioche are pleasant and there is good backing acidity. Slightly creamy on the palate with a refreshing finish. Score: 88

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