Sips of Recently Tasted Oregon Wine
Antica Terra, Dundee
Most Antica Terra wines are blends but the Antikythera is from a single estate vineyard located in the
northernmost part of the Eola-Amity Hills. The current owners have been farming this vineyard for almost a
decade. There were not immediate rewards in the early years but persistence paid off. Winemaker Maggie
Harrison says, “The 2012 Antikythera is the wine I’ve been hoping to make since the day I first saw the
vineyard.” The 2012 vintage gave qualities that are only seen once every twenty years or so. Private, seated
tastings are available at the winery from Wednesday through Sunday, November through August by
appointment. Visit www.anticaterra.com.
2012 Antica Terra Antikythera Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
516 cases, $100. Released March 1, 2015.
Amazing depth of color. Interesting aromatic drama, with scents
of black cherry, blackberry, spice, Bailey’s Irish Creme, pine
needle and a hint of oak. Full-bodied and rich, yet angelic in
texture with velvety softness, offering delicious flavors of black
raspberry, cassis, iron and spice. A whisper of oak chimes in.
Well-ripened in this vintage and a noticeable departure from the previous
two vintages with more fruit and more structure. A delightful wine that harkens back to the Sine Qua Non Pinot Noirs of the past, and
can serve as a poster child for the voluptuous 2012 vintage in Oregon.
Big Table Farm, Gaston
This winery is a remarkable success story. Brian Marcy and Clare Carver left Napa for Oregon 9 years ago to
find some backyard space and make some wine. They used all their resources to buy the property that is now
Big Table Farm, so they began modestly with just 150 cases. Slowly they revived the 1890 farmhouse that was
painted pink inside and out, added a barn to house their horses, and built a winery that was completed in time
to make the 2014 vintage wines. Today, production is 3000+ cases of wine that receives many critical
accolades. Visit www.bigtablefarm.com. Big Table Farm is one of the featured wineries at this year’s
International Pinot Noir Celebration, July 24-26.
The 2013 vintage was characterized by a modestly warm summer followed by a very cool and rainy
September. The result was that grapes reached maturity with very low sugar and the resultant wines have
under 12 percent alcohol in some cases.
2013 Big Table Farm Willamette Valley Chardonnay
476 cases, $45. Grapes sourced from Bieze, Durant,
Wirtz and Yates Conwill vineyards. Unfined and unfiltered.
Light golden yellow and slightly hazy in the glass.
Welcoming aromas of citrus oil, spice, and honeysuckle. Soft and smooth on the palate, with bright flavors of
yellow peach, apple, lemon zest and spice. A somewhat demure style that is beautifully balanced, finishing
with zippy lemony acidity.
2013 Big Table Farm Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
1,534 cases, $42. 3 new sites were added to the six
sourced in previous vintages. Native yeast, whole cluster fermentation. Unfined and unfiltered.
cherry red color in the glass. Very floral nose reminds me of Chanel #5 with added notes of cherry and Asian
5-spice. Light to mid weight flavors of strawberry, cherry and raspberry with a hint of smoky oak in the
background. Elegant and charming, with supple fine-grain tannins and a pleasingly dry finish.
2013 Big Table Farm Pelos-Sandberg Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
303 cases, $48. One acre each of
Pommard and 777. Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderately light reddish
purple color in the glass. Upbeat aromas of black cherries, rose petal,
spice, herbs and oak all interacting in harmony. Discreetly concentrated
core of black cherry fruit complimented by smoky oak and an earthy
presence. The tannins are well balanced and the juicy acidity adds
tension. The wine finishes very suave with a cherry-fueled wave of
Elouan, St. Helena, California
A new value-priced Oregon Pinot Noir label from Joe Wagner’s (of Caymus Wagner Family) Copper Cane
Wines & Provisions, which includes the Meiomi label. Copper Cane Wines & Provisions was founded in 2014
by Joe and Amber Wagner. Grapes are sourced from the Valleys of Willamette, Umpqua and Rogue. Large
production, widely distributed. The website is www.coppercane.com.
2013 Elouan Oregon Pinot Noir
$24.99. Released July 2014.
Light cherry red color in the glass. Vanillasoaked
cherries lead the way in this mid weight wine which offers additional notes of strawberry and cola.
Straightforward, with supple tannins, and some grip on the short finish. Ordinary.
Evening Land Vineyards, Carlton
Since its founding in 2005, this winery has undergone a number of changes. In 2014, winemaker Sashi
Moorman, sommelier Rajat Parr and Charles Banks of Terroir Selections became minority partners in Evening
Land Vineyards and took over operations. Winemaker Ian Burch replaced founding winemaker Isabelle
Meunier at the winery in Salem, Oregon. Dominque Lafon continues to play a consulting role. Mark Tarlov, the
founder of Evening Land Vineyards, signed a 45-year lease in 2007 of the 100-acre Seven Springs Vineyard
and Evening Land Vineyards is the exclusive producer of wine from this vineyard. A new label, Seven Springs
Vineyard will appear with the 2014 vintage. The website is www.elvwines.com.
2012 Evening Land Vineyards Seven Springs Vineyard La Source Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Chardonnay
14.0% alc., $70 (sold out). Sourced from old vine Dijon clone planted in 1995. Whole cluster
pressed, indigenous fermentation, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 25% new, and further aged in tank
for another 5 months on lees.
Light golden straw color in the glass. Aromas of lemon, mango and nut oil leap
from the glass. Refined and restrained flavors of citrus, Asian pear and caramel with a thirst-quenching finish.
Very juicy and polished with subtle oak seasoning. I could drink this all night.
2012 Evening Land Vineyards Seven Springs Vineyard Summum Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Chardonnay
13.1% alc., $90 (sold out). Only produced in vintages that bring out the best
characteristics of the highest elevation of the vineyard. Sourced from old vine Dijon 76 clone planted
in 1995 that sits slightly higher on the hill than the fruit for the La Source Chardonnay. Long, gentle
pressing of whole clusters, spontaneous indigenous fermentation, aged 11 months in French oak
barrels, 25% new with gentle lees stirring, and an additional aging in tank for another 5 months.
golden yellow color in the glass. Inviting aromas of pear, citrus, melon, flinty reduction and a hint of
oak. Slightly creamy on the palate, and very fruity and flirty, with flavors of lemon cake and white stone fruits
with a touch of caramelized oak. Impeccable balance and a dry, lengthy finish that vanishes like fine
Champagne. One of Oregon’s greatest Chardonnays.
2012 Evening Land Vineyards Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., $40. Primarily
from Eola Springs Vineyard and new plantings from Seven Springs Vineyard. 100% de-stemmed, 4 to 5-day
cold soak in open top oak and concrete fermenters. Aged in once-filled and neutral French oak barrels for 14
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Initial aromas of briar, wood shed and pine tar give way to
more appealing scents of cherry and sandalwood over time in the glass. Mid weight plus sweet and sappy
flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and boysenberry carry over to a slightly astringent finish with some
length. An oak thread (anise and cola) runs through the background. I liked this wine more over time in the
2012 Evening Land Vineyards Seven Springs Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $55. A representation of the entire vineyard including old vine, own-rooted Pommard clone. 100%
de-stemmed, natural fermentation after a 4 to 5-day cold soak in open top oak and concrete fermenters. Aged
16 months in French oak barrels, 30% new.
Medium reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is propelled
by wood-charged purple fruits and a note of spice and pencil lead. Rich and sappy, with a full-bodied attack of
ripe blackberry and boysenberry fruits framed by modest, sleek tannins. Oak plays a complimentary role in the
background. Most impressive is the follow through on the generous finish. Seems to need for time to come
together, like an awkward teenager with great potential reaching for adulthood.
2012 Evening Land Vineyards Seven Springs Vineyard La Source Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
alc., $75 (sold out). An expression of both rocky and shallow
soils, containing old Pommard vines that are farmed organically
and biodynamically. 100% de-stemmed, natural fermentation
after a 4 to 5-day cold soak in open top oak and concrete
fermenters. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 30% new.
Dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is dark fruited, with hints
of oak-driven toast and vanilla. Stunning entry and finish with layers of
well-spiced black cherry and blackberry fruits in a full-bodied style. The
tannic backbone is well proportioned and the texture is one of
refinement. Despite its richness, the wine has good vibrancy. A classy
offering that makes a statement and should benefit from another year or
two in bottle.
J. Wrigley Vineyard, McMinnville
J. Wrigley Vineyard is owned and farmed by the Wrigley family who planted their vineyard in 2008. Pinot Noir
clones are Pommard, 115 and 777, primarily rooted in volcanic soil. The J. Wrigley label was launched with the
2010 vintage and the first estate Pinot Noir arrived the following year. Production is about 500 cases including
Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Riesling. I visited last year and was impressed by the wines. Visit
Thankfully, a decision was made to pick the grapes early, before the impending tropical typhoon that was
headed to Oregon in September 2013. This year a ”feral yeast” program was begun. The vineyards and
winery were inoculated with a yeast cultured from a strain of yeast from Burgundy.
2013 J. Wrigley Vineyards “MAC” Cuvée McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., pH 3.64,
TA 0.57, $28. Clones 777, 667 and Pommard planted in both sedimentary and volcanic soil.
reddish purple color in the glass. Shy, but pleasant aromas of fresh cherry tart and raspberry coulis. Good
depth and length on the palate, featuring red cherry, blueberry and raspberry fruits. More elegant, with less
tannin than the Proposal Block bottling, offering juicy acidity and good length on the finish. Ready to rock.
2013 J. Wrigley Vineyards Proposal Block McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., pH 3.57, TA 0.57, $45. Clones 777, 115,
“828,” and Pommard.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass.
Very floral on the nose with added scents of black cherry and
underbrush. Inviting body and polish, with mid weight flavors of juicy
cherries and raspberries, framed by dry, slightly grippy tannins typical of
the appellation. Bright acidity, and a silken finish that really grabs your
attention. This wine is very forward drinking and aims to please.
Mouton Noir Wines, McMinnville
Winemaker André Hueston Mack is a sommelier of some renown. He was award the prestigious title of Best
Young Sommelier in America, and worked as Head Sommelier at The French Laundry and Per Se. His
vineyard sources include Roserock, Zena Crown, Hyland, Elvenglade, Guadalupe and Thistle. His wines have
humorous names and the label of the premium Oregogne Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($45) is a take off of a
French Burgundy label. The O.P.P. Pinot Noir is a value-priced, accessible wine. Visit
www.moutonnoirwines.com to join the mailing list or buy wines. Check out the cool schwag.
2013 O.P.P. Other People’s Pinot Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.1% alc., pH 3.75, TA 0.59, RS 0.63,
$19.99. Released October 20, 2014. 7-day cold soak, additional 18 days of skin contact. Fermented in
stainless steel and aged 10 months in 100% French oak barrels, 30% new.
Moderately light reddish purple
color in the glass. The nose leads with aromas of cherry, raspberry and underbrush, with a touch of
honeysuckle showing up over time. Red berry and cherry flavors are featured in a lighter weight wine with
subtle notes of oak and dried herbs in the background. The fruit is wrapped in mellow tannins and spirited by
tight acidity. A solid daily drinker.
Seufert Winery, Dayton
This is a boutique winery specializing in vineyard-designated Pinot Noir. Owner and winemaker Jim Seufert
produces about 2,000 cases annually at a small downtown winery that also serves as a tasting room. The
wines are modestly priced considering the quality. Visit www.seufertwinery.com.
2011 was deemed “the miracle vintage,” because of low heat units and high rainfall. The resultant wines have
delicate complexity and bright acidity. It seems unfair to review these 2011 vintage wines in an issue in which
all the wines are from the more ideal 2012 and 2013 vintages.
2011 Seufert Winery Zenith Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., 245
cases, $35. Pommard and 777 clones. Vineyard planted in 1999. Multiple soil types.
Moderately light reddish
purple color in the glass. Aromas of red cherry, cranberry and dried herbs are replicated in the flavors of this
lighter weight wine that is a bit tart and tannic. A little oak is trying to add interest, but the tannic sinew and
sharp acidity overwhelm the delicate fruit. If I was drinking this wine, I would chill it or add ice to temper the
2011 Seufert Winery Vine Idyl Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
241 cases, $30. 100% Pommard
clone from vines planted in volcanic Jory soil.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Appealing aromas of
black cherry and wilted rose with oak in the background. Mid weight core of black cherry and raspberry fruits
framed by modest tannins and bracing acidity. Bright and vibrant, with a satisfying fruit load and a citrus-driven
2011 Seufert Winery Horseleap Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
245 cases, $30. Pommard and 777
clones planted in Willakenzie marine sedimentary soil.
Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Quite a
bit of oak dominates the nose that features aromas of cherry and savory herbs. A pleasing wine on the palate
with welcome fullness and roundness, offering a mid weight core of cherry goodness wrapped in modest
tannins. Less oak is evident in the mouth, and the cherry-driven finish finishes with some length. The acidity is
more harmonious in this wine.
Stoller Family Estate, Dundee
Founded in 2001, this was Oregon’s first LEED Gold certified, solar-powered, gravity-flow winery dedicated to
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay production. A second winemaking facility is currently under construction to meet the
demand for Stoller Family Estate wines. Bill Stoller bought his family’s 373-acre property in Dayton in 1993 and
planted the first 10 acres each of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay two years later. Today, Stoller Family Estate is the
largest contiguous vineyard in Oregon’s Dundee Hills AVA. Winemaker Melissa Burr has been on board since
2003, now producing about 20,000 cases annually. Visit www.stollerfamilyestate.com.
2013 Stoller Family Estate Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
12.9%, 7,475 cases, $30, screwcap. A blend of 20
sections of the estate vineyard. Aged in French oak barrels, 30% new.
Darker red and purple fruits along with
tastes of herbs and nutty oak are featured in this middleweight, approachable wine that is acid-driven. The
modest tannins make for easy drinking, and the finish features tart black cherry and citrus-imbued cranberry
Van Duzer Vineyards, Dallas
Since winemaker Florent-Pierre “Flo” Merlier came on board as winemaker, the wines have reached the upper
echelon in the Willamette Valley. Merlier is a native of Burgundy and a graduate of the University of Dijon. He
met his spouse, Krista, an Oregonian, while interning at the same winery in Burgundy and relocated to Oregon
in 2009. He has 82 acres of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris at his disposable and the winery also now sources
grapes for singular bottlings and the Alchemy blend. Visit www.vanduzer.com.
2014 Van Duzer Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
13.2% alc., pH 3.15, TA 0.76, 2,001 cases,
$18. Early pick produced a crisp backbone, and later pick created aromatic complexity. Whole
cluster pressed, fermentation driven by four different yeast strains. Very slow and cold fermentation
in stainless steel tanks followed by aging on the lees.
Light golden yellow color in the glass. The
nose leads with aromas of yellow peach, lemon and vanilla creme. Flat-out delicious on the palate
with terrific balance, this wine offers flavors of lemon-lime, banana and peach, and a rich and juicy
finish with uncommon length for this varietal. This is a wine you want on the dinner table.
2014 Van Duzer Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Rosé
alc., pH 3.49, TA 0.69, 1,960 cases, $18. Rigorous block
selection using vines that were encouraged to produce a
higher yield to retain acidity. Early pick of 115 and later pick
of Wädenswil clone. After a short skin contact, the berries
were gently pressed and inoculated with four different yeasts.
Slow and cold fermentation in stainless steel tanks followed
by aging on lees.
Gorgeous pinkish orange color in the glass. Highly
aromatic, with inviting scents of strawberry, cherry and watermelon.
Crisp and sleek on the palate, with vibrant flavors of strawberry and
peach, and an energetic, dry finish. One of Oregon’s best rosés.
2012 Van Duzer Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.55, 6,376 cases, $32.
91% Van Duzer Vineyards with small contributions from four other vineyards. Multiple clones
including Pommard, 777, 2A, 115, “828,” 667, 113 and 114. Each block fermented separately. Aged
10 months in French oak barrels.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very fragrant aromas
of black cherry, cardamom spice, smoke and wet earth. Tasty, mid weight flavors of black cherry,
black raspberry, plum, and Asian 5-spice with a hint of oak in the background. This wine delivers a
generous amount of fruit flavor and has the structural bones to last several years.
2012 Van Duzer Dijon Blocks Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.44, 195 cases, $55.
25% 777, 25% 115, 25% 113, 12.5% 114, and 12.5% 667. Each clone and block fermented separately. 7-10
days of extended maceration. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. A blend of the best of the
Estate Dijon clone barrels.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very primary nose upon opening,
offering considerable more fruit-driven appeal the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
Similarly, the wine is subdued on the palate, but the following day was much more interesting with plenty of
sappy purple fruits and an earthy touch. Impressive harmony and finishing length. This wine needs more time
in bottle to develop more personality and nuance.
2012 Van Duzer Homestead Block Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.07% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.52, 142 cases,
$60. Extended skin maceration of 8 days to enhance texture of the mid palate. Aged 10 months in French oak
barrels, 50% new.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Shy, but pleasant aromas of black cherry, dried
herbs, spice and balsam. The darker cherry and cranberry fruits wake up the palate on entry with impressive
flavor intensity. A pleasing compliment of spice and oak add interest. Gracious harmony, with balanced
tannins and a delicious cherry-driven finish.
2012 Van Duzer Alchemy Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1%, $65. The best blocks, lots and
barrels blended like alchemy.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is like
cherry pie day at baking school, with hi-tone aromas of black cherries, spice and vanilla. The cherry
core is succulent on the palate and there is good structural bones, but the wine is soft and comforting
and offers good tension. The balance is spot-on, and the wine finishes with an explosion of luscious
black cherry fruit. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with
more flamboyant aromatic and fruit expression. This wine will quickly give you a Pinot high.
2012 Van Duzer Bieze Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.52, 119 cases,
$60. This vineyard is adjacent Seven Springs Vineyard at 600
feet elevation. Jory soils. 100% clone 777. 5 days of extended
skin maceration. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 44%
Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Deep Bing
cherry aroma with accents of sous-bois and floral bouquet. A
very charming wine on the palate with vivid fruit flavors of black
raspberry, cherry and plum with a compliment of spice, cola and nutty
oak. The wine is very giving, with seamless tannins and a seductive
texture that is like touching purple velvet. The entire experience is one of
grace and polish. Still great the following day from a previously opened
and re-corked bottle.
2013 Underwood Oregon Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $10. Produced by Union Wine Co, in Newberg, Oregon.
Also available in a 12 oz can.
Light cherry color in the glass. Aromas of red cherries and potpourri hold up
nicely over time in the glass. Light to mid weight flavors of cherry, black raspberry and red licorice are framed
by notes of oak and black tea, with the oak more prominent than I prefer. The tannins are mellow making the
wine light on its feet. No need to contemplate this wine: just serve and chill out. A very good value.