Small Sips of Recently Tasted Premium Oregon Pinot Noir
2013 Seven of Hearts Armstrong Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.1% alc., pH
3.51, TA 0.64, 98 cases, $35. A barrel selection from the lots produced from this vineyard. 50% Pommard plus
667, 114, 777 and Wädenswil grown in Willakenzie series sedimentary soil. 25% whole cluster fermentation.
Aged in 100% French oak barrels, 37.5% new.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of
cherry, strawberry, cranberry, and dried herbs. Light to mid weight array of red fruit flavors that are vivid with good
crispness. The tannins are suave, there is a faint touch of oak, and the finish is juicy and satisfying.
2013 Seven of Hearts Armstrong Vineyard Curmudgeon Cuvée Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.9% alc., pH 3.53, TA
0.664, 25 cases, $42. A homage to the late Bob Wood who was a wine
lover that was the first to “discover“ Seven of Hearts. Clones 114, 667
and Pommard. 50% whole cluster fermented, aged in 100% neutral
French oak barrels.
Moderate light reddish purple color in the glass.
Very expressive nose, offering an appealing blend of cherry, crushed
strawberry, spice and toasty oak aromas. The light to mid weight flavors of
cherry and raspberry offer good mid palate intensity and length. Nicely
crafted, with a bright acid spine, pleasing oak in the background, and a
2013 Seven of Hearts Bjornson Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.9% alc., pH
3.56, TA 0.62, 73 cases, $35. Pommard and 777 clones grown in volcanic Jory and Nekia soils. Aged in 100%
French oak barrels, 17% new.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose reflects some whole
cluster with aromas of black cherry, wilted rose petal and spice box. Highly satisfying on the palate in a
smooth, sleek and easygoing style, with a flavorful black cherry core, a touch of oak and spice, and a silky
finish that urges another sip.
2013 Luminous Hills Estate Grown Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., pH 3.57, TA
0.61, 347 cases, $35. The “silver label” Luminous Hills blend draws from the entire vineyard and includes 115,
667, 777 and Pommard. Aged in 100% French oak barrels, 25% new.
Light reddish purple color in the glass.
Rather savory on the nose, with aromas of wild strawberry and leaf. Modest in weight, but flavorful, with notes
of strawberry, cherry, red raspberry and Damsel plum. Light on its feet, with a lip-smacking, citrus-infused
2013 Luminous Hills Estate Grown Astra Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.7% alc., pH
3.58, TA 0.63, 98 cases, $42. Small production for the first time since 2009. Emphasizes 667 on Jory volcanic
soil and 115 on sedimentary soil. An expression of the eastern portion of the vineyard. Aged in 100% French
oak barrels, 25% new.
Light cherry red color in the glass. Pleasant perfume of fresh cherries, and dried rose
petal. Good mid palate attack of red fruit with sinew, accented with a riff of spice and oak. The tannins and
acidity are nicely folded in, and the red cherry-fueled finish is delightful. Tasted the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle, the aromatics were still bright and the juicy red fruit driven flavors
appealing. This wine has the balance to age beautifully.
2013 Luminous Hills Estate Grown LUX Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.7% alc., pH 3.58, TA 0.62, 147 cases, $42. Select
lots of Pommard and 777. Aged in 100% French oak barrels, 33% new.
Light cherry red color in the glass. Bright aromas of red cherry, brown
spice and sandalwood. Similar to Astra, but with a little more fruit
intensity and spice pleasure. Nicely balanced, with flavors of black
cherry, cranberry and root beer framed by a vigorous tannic backbone
and a brisk cut of acidity. Still very enjoyable the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle.
Where two prices are given for the following wines, the first price is the full winery retail price and the second
price is a reduced price I have seen offered by some retailers in Southern California.
2013 Beaux Frères The Beaux Frères Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
$90 ($81). 24-
acre, tightly spaced vineyard planted by Mike and Jackie Etzel from 1987 to 1991. Vineyard is farmed
biodynamically. Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is more
savory than fruity sporting aromas of sous-bois, rose and cherry. Rather simple but easy to drink, with mid
weight flavors of red and black cherry, Asian 5-spice and a noticeable smoky oak overlay. Definitely better
when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, when the fruit had gathered more
intensity and the oak had receded in prominence. Best to cellar this one a few years.
2012 Coelho Winery Paciência Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.59% alc., $45.
purple color in the glass. The nose suggests some whole cluster with aromas of crushed cherries, exotic spices
and rose petal. Caressing in the mouth, with juicy flavors of black cherry, plum, black raspberry and spice in a
mid weight style. The fruit really grabs onto to the finish which has impressive length.
2013 Knudsen Vineyards Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 200 cases, $55. A blend of grapes from three different blocks
including clones 777 and Pommard. One of Willamette Valley’s oldest
vineyards, established in 1971.
Light reddish purple color in the glass.
This wine has one of those noses you want to go on sniffing, featuring
cherry, cranberry relish, graham and sous-bois. The cherry flavor bursts
on the palate, caresses the mouth, and persists on the finish. A touch of
red strawberry and spice box adds interest. A cozy wine with modest
tannins, a juicy grip, and a crisp finish filled with bombastic cherry
2013 Ken Wright Cellars Abbott Claim Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
$45. Vineyard owned by Antony and Angela Beck. Vineyard manager Mark Gould. Marine sedimentary soil.
Light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of red cherry, dried red rose petal and fern leaf. Light to mid
weight flavors of red cherry with a hint of red hots and a bit of earthy flora and nutty oak. Flavorful, with nice
balance and some finishing intensity. Very good without being special.
2012 Patton Valley Vineyard The Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., $38 ($32), screwcap.
Winery’s flagship wine. Native yeast fermentation, small lot basket pressing. Unfined and unfiltered.
dark reddish purple hue in the glass. This wine offers a riper fruit profile with aromas and flavors of
boysenberry, blackberry and cassis. Mid weight plus in style with modest, integrated tannins, and a
complimentary note of sweet oak. Well-endowed, but streamlined, with enough acidity to keep the wine
vibrant, finishing with a plethora of dark fruited goodness.
2012 ROCO Wit’s End Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 250 cases, $60
($45). Dijon clones planted in sedimentary soil. Estate grown
and vinified by Rollin Soles. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold
soak, house-cultured indigenous yeast, post-fermentation soak,
aged in French oak barrels for 18 or more months, a
combination of new, one, two and three-year-old tight-grained
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Highly
scented nose offering aromas of cherry, baking spice, and a floral-based
perfume. Superb flavor, with an intense attack and finish that sails along,
featuring black raspberry and black cherry fruits. Ideal harmony with
balanced t n’ a, and a caressing, velvety mouthfeel. Way too easy to
2012 Roots Saffron Fields Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 72 cases,
$40. Pommard clone. Aged 18 months in new French oak barrels.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the
glass. Black plum and blackberry aromas are overlaid with notes of toast and coffee grounds. Soft and smooth
in the mouth, with flavors of boysenberry, blackberry, spice, dark chocolate, and Hoison sauce with a floral bent
in the background. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the nose
offered more purple fruits, less oak and a floral bouquet perfume, with the palate remaining unchanged.