Recently Tasted Oregon Pinot Noir
Most of the wines reviewed here are from the 2013 and 2014 vintages. These were contrasting years, with
2013 being more challenging because of drenching rains in late September. 2014 will go down as the warmest
growing season in recorded history in the Willamette Valley, with moderate temperatures throughout the
growing season well into mid-October. As a result, the 2014 Pinot Noirs are generally riper, more sappy wines
with lower acidities, while the 2013 Pinot Noirs are more typical of what we have come to expect from the
Willamette Valley with more vibrancy, less extraction and lower alcohols. Yields were noticeably higher in 2014
than 2013. There are still some stellar wines available as well from the glorious 2012 vintage.
Alloro Vineyard, Sherwood
Located on a southwest-facing slope in Oregon’s Chehalem Mountains AVA, this 78-acre vineyard site is
personally cared for by founder David Nemarnik. Wines are limited production and 100% Estate from a LIVE
and IOBC Certified Sustainable vineyard. Pinot Noir blocks are composed of Dijon clones 777, 667, 114 and
115 along with Pommard clone planted in Laurelwood series soils. Winemaker and General Manager Tom
Fitzpatrick is Burgundy trained and educated at the University of California at Davis. His focus is on “elegantly
composed, terroir driven wines.” The tasting room is open Thursday through Monday year round. Visit
The Pinot Noirs are 100% de-stemmed, undergo no cold soak, are inoculated for a warm primary fermentation,
followed by native malolactic fermentation in barrel, and aged 10 months in French oak barrels. Most of the
Pinot Noir was picked before the torrent of rain than came in 2013 the last week of September.
2013 Alloro Estate Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., 1,300 cases, $35.
Release September 1, 2016. 100% Alloro Vineyard. 41% Pommard, 30% 777 and 29% 114. Aged in
24% new French oak barrels.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose blends
aromas of cherry and nutty oak, showing more oak over time in the glass. Light to mid weight in style
with a toned cherry core supported by silky tannins and complimentary oak. Easy to drink, with some
length to the sweet cherry finish.
2013 Alloro Estate “Riservata” Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 300 cases, $45.
Release September 1, 2016. 100% Alloro Vineyard. 28% Pommard, 53% 777 and 19% 114. Aged in 41% new
French oak barrels.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Clearly a step up in quality with a more
aromatic nose offering scents of ripe dark cherry and a hint of toasty oak. Discreetly concentrated with pleasing
flavors of dark cherry and blueberry framed by structured but blended tannins. Softly textured and seductive,
with a deft touch of oak.
2013 Alloro Estate “Justina” Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., 100 cases, $85. Release September 1, 2016. 100%
Alloro Vineyard. 100% Dijon 777. Aged in 71% new French oak barrels.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Brooding aromas of
darker stone and berry fruits, opening slowly in the glass. The wine has a
strong physique and notable oak presence, with a core of black cherry
and raspberry fruit and mildly firm but silky tannins. Creamy in the mouth
with a compliment of oak toast and spice. Much more open and
enjoyable several hours later when tasted from a previously opened and
re-corked bottle with the fruit more exuberant as it escaped some of its
oak cloak. A serious offering that is age worthy.
ÉLEVÉE Winegrowers, Dundee
ÉLEVÉE Winegrowers grow wines from diverse sites in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. In 2008, after years of
professionally growing and crafting wines for others, winemaker Tom Fitzpatrick was presented with an
opportunity when Archery Summit’s Gary Andrus decided to sell a very special, high density microsite with
volcanic Jory soils in the Dundee Hills. Andrus had planted the vineyard in 1998. Tom and France Fitzpatrick bought the vineyard and
named it ÉLEVÉE Vineyard. This LIVE and IOBC Certified Sustainable vineyard is personally farmed by the
proprietors and each year a single wine is crafted from this site to show the elegant and seductive personality
of this vineyard. In 2016, two more sites were acquired: an Eola-Amity Hills site with volcanic Nekia soils and a
Chehalem Mountains site with Laurelwood soils. Visit www.eleveewines.com.
2014 ÉLEVÉE Winegrowers ÉLEVÉE Vineyard Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 300 cases, $48. Release August 1, 2016. 50%
Dijon 777 and 50% Dijon 115. 100% de-stemmed, 80-day cold soak,
native inoculum, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 33% new.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is highly
inviting, with soaring aromas of cherry, rose petal and spice. Lighter in
style and elegant, but plenty of weighty red cherry and red raspberry
flavors framed by juicy acidity and silky tannins. The wine is seamless,
with an engaging mouthfeel and an intriguing bit of iron minerality.
Benton-Lane Winery, Monroe
Lifelong winemakers Steve and Carol Girard founded this winery. High school sweethearts whose families
loved wine, they began their wine journey in the Napa Valley where they established their first winery together,
Girard Winery. They soon developed a passion for Pinot Noir and began searching the world for a Pinot Noir
vineyard. They found Sunnymount Ranch in the foothills of the Willamette Valley Coast Range near the village
of Monroe. The Girards bought the 1,860-acre property in 1988 and began the planting of Pinot Noir the following
year. The first Benton-Lane wine was produced in 1992. A winery was built in 1997 and the vineyard has grown
to 142 acres of Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay. Benton-Lane wines are made from 100% estate grown
grapes. Since 2005, Benton-Lane has received more Top 100 Wines of the Year for still wines than any other
Oregon winery. Check the website at www.benton-lane.com for tasting room hours.
2013 Benton-Lane Estate Grown Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., $25, screwcap.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, earthy flora and woodpile are underlain
with a hint of matchstick reduction. Light to mid weight red cherry and berry fruits satisfy in this simple and
forward wine that has a modest and grippy finish. The tannins are silky, making for easy enjoyment, but the mid
palate is a bit shallow and the oak overlay sticks out.
2012 Benton-Lane First Class Estate Grown Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $65,
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Deep aromas of black cherry, black raspberry and
blueberry-pomegranate. Nicely endowed with luscious, ultra ripe black cherry and blackberry fruit flavors
accented with a hint of bourbon and spice. This wine packs plenty of power but is still refined in character, with
a balancing vibrancy due to crisp acidity. The cleansing and intensely fruited finish leaves behind a pleasing
DION Vineyard, Cornelius
This vineyard has been run by the Johnson family for three generations for more than 30 years. Grapes are
sold to multiple wineries throughout Oregon and small quantities of estate grown wine are produced under the
DION label. The 60-acre vineyard is located in the Chehalem Mountains AVA the Northern Willamette Valley. The Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and
Chardonnay vines (some of which date to 1976) are rooted in Laurelwood soils at elevations of 300 to 500 feet.
The winery tasting room is open Saturday and Sunday from April to November. Visit www.dionvineyards.com.
2014 DION Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., 240 cases, $25.
Harvest Brix 23.6º-24.4º. Clones are 115, 114 and Pommard from vines between 13 and 36 years of
age. Short cold soaks, many fermentations started naturally, on the skins 7-10 days. The wine was
barrel aged for 10 months in French oak barrels, 25% new.
Light cherry red color in the glass.
Heady aromas of cherry, pomegranate and the slightest oak. A joy to drink, with an aggressive attack
of black cherry fruit, persisting through a lovely cherry-fueled finish. A little spice adds interest, the
acidity is fully integrated, and the overall impression is one of harmony and poise.
2012 DION Vineyard Old Vines Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 50 cases, $45. Pommard clone.
Harvest Brix 25.0º. This wine is from the original block of selfrooted
vines dating to 1976 and is the flagship bottling from this
vineyard. Aged 13 months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. The aromatics are
so engaging I was satisfied just to inhale the perfume. Aromas of
fresh cherry and wine cellar lead to a mid palate explosion of black
cherry goodness that alerts the senses. A bit of complimentary smoke
and anise plays in the background. Polished and velvety in the mouth,
with balanced tannins and a sleek, lingering finish. This beauty is old
vine Pinot poetry.
Franchere Wine Co., Woodburn
Mike Hinds, owner and winemaker, is the great-great-great grandson of Gabriel Franchère, a native of
Montreal who explored Oregon for three years beginning in 1811. Mike developed an obsession with wine as a
young man, and after working in wine shops in Chicago, Illinois, returned to Oregon to begin winemaking and
viticulture classes. He became a cellar worker at Illahe Vineyards, the winery where he began making the
Franchere wines in 2013. Mike’s wines are sourced from sustainable, dry farmed vineyards. No new oak, no
adjuncts, no tannin or enzyme additions, no temperature control, no fining or filtering of Pinot Noir. Visit
2014 Franchere Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., pH 3.54, TA 0.61, 150 cases, $24. Release
September 2016. Sourced from Zenith Vineyard (83%, Harvest Brix 23.4º) and Zena Springs Vineyard (17%,
Harvest Brix 22.1º). 100% de-stemmed, no cold soak, spontaneous native yeast fermentation, 1g/L tartaric acid
addition, aged 10 months in used oak barrels. Bottled with Diam closure unfined and unfiltered.
reddish purple color in the glass. The nose offers a strange mix of aromas including muddled black cherry,
hops, bruised apple and Beaujolais nouveau. Light to mid weight in style, soft in the mouth, with simple flavors
of black cherry and dark red berries energized with a lively acid spine, balanced tannins, and a modest finish.
2014 Franchere Zena Springs Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
12.6% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.63,
48 cases, $28. Release September 2016. Harvest Brix 22.1º. Native yeast ferment, 0.5 g/L tartaric acid
addition, aged 15 months in used French oak barrels. Bottled with Diam closure unfined and unfiltered.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Deep aromas of black fruits, forest path and white pepper.
The exuberant, sweet, and sappy flavors of blackberry and cassis are overwhelmed by muscular, drying
tannins that ply the finish with a vengeance. Better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked
bottle when the tannins had ameliorated some but this will always be a tannic wine. Best to decant this wine if
2014 Franchere Zenith Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 70 cases, $34. Release
September 2016. Native ferment, addition of 1 g/L tartaric acid, aged in used French oak barrels for 15 months
and bottled with Diam closure unfined and unfiltered.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Shy
aromas of black fruits, cassis, black grape syrup and a hint of bruised apple. The mid weight plus core of black
cherry and black raspberry fruits are nicely spiced and charming. The mouthfeel is silky and the tannins,
although evident, are nicely integrated and do not haunt the enjoyable, purple-fruited finish.
Ghost Hill Cellars, Carlton
For over 100 years, the Bayliss family has farmed 230 acres on Savannah Ridge in what is now the Yamhill-
Carlton AVA. The Bayliss-Bower Vineyard was planted to 15 acres of Pinot Noir in 1999, and the first Ghost Hill
Cellars wine was released in 2006. The vineyard is planted to Pommard, Wädenswil, and Dijon 777, 114 and
115 clones. Ghost Hill Cellars is LIVE certified and Salmon-Safe. The winemaker is noted Oregon veteran Eric
Hammacher. A quaint tasting room, modeled after a prospector’s shack, and built by owner Mike Bayliss and
son Michael, is open seasonally Friday-Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.
2014 Ghost Hill Cellars Bayliss-Bower Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Oregon Pinot Noir Blanc
13.5% alc., pH 3.49, 590 cases, $25, screwcap. Whole cluster pressed and settled in stainless tank.
The juice was racked off heavy sediment and fermented in a second stainless tank to dryness. The
wine was aged in stainless on the lees with frequent stirring.
Light pink color in the glass. Elevating
aromas of strawberry, white peach and watermelon lead to a bright and vibrant wine that is light on
its feet, featuring flavors that echo the nose. An outstanding example of this Pinot Noir curiosity and
one of Oregon’s best examples. Serve chilled as a superb accompaniment to summer barbecues.
2013 Ghost Hill Cellars Bayliss-Bower Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.80, 331 cases, $42. A blend of four
clones including Pommard (45%), 777 (20%), 114 (20%) and 15%
Wädenswil. Aged in French oak barrels, 10% new.
Light cherry red color
in the glass. I loved the nose which offered waves of cherry, baking spice
and sandalwood aromas. Soft in the mouth and easy to indulge, with mid
weight flavors of cherry, spice and a hint of herbal oak, framed by
balanced, chalky tannins. An impressive offering from the difficult 2013
Luminous Hills, Dundee
Luminous Hills is a highly photogenic 12-acre vineyard located in the Yamhill-Carlton District owned and
farmed by Byron and Dana Dooley who also produce Pinot Noir under the Seven of Hearts label. Clones 115,
667, 777 and Pommard are planted to match both Jory volcanic and sedimentary soils. The non-irrigated
vineyard is certified LIVE and Salmon Safe. Three wines are produced from this site: an estate bottling, a LUX
bottling representing a special selection of barrels combining Pommard and 777 clones, and a bottling named
ASTRA that is primarily whole cluster fermented. The inaugural vintage from this vineyard was 2008. The
winery’s tasting room is located in Carlton. Visit www.luminoushills.com.
2014 Luminous Hills Estate Yamhill-Carlton Oregon Pinot Noir
13.3% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.60,
421 cases, $35. Clones 115, 667, 777 and Pommard from six blocks, volcanic and sedimentary soils.
Aged in French oak barrels, 23.5% new.
Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Shy aromas
of oak-kissed fruit lead off. The mid weight black cherry and blueberry flavors are long in the mouth
as well as persistent on the cleansing finish. Silky in texture, the wine has some lingering oak influence that should subside with
more time in bottle.
2014 Luminous Hills Estate LUX Yamhill-Carlton Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc.,pH 3.58, TA 0.57, 149
cases, $42. 67% Pommard (sedimentary soil) and 33% 777 (volcanic soil). Aged in French oak barrels, 16.7%
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is quite earthy, with aromas of sod and mulch
complimenting the smell of purple grapes and boysenberries. A bolder, stylish offering, showing an intense
attack of black cherry and boysenberry flavors framed by firm but balanced tannins, and finishing long with a
generous wave of juicy fruit embellished with a touch of oak.
2014 Luminous Hills Estate ASTRA Yamhill-Carlton Oregon Pinot Noir
13.1% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.61, 123 cases, $42. Clones are 667
(40%, volcanic soil) and 115 (60%, sedimentary soil). Aged in French oak
barrels, 40% new.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The
nose is reticent upon opening, offering slow evolving aromas of black
cherry, cowhide and mulch. Noticeably vibrant, featuring light to mid
weight flavors of dark red and purple fruits encased in silky tannins.
Inviting harmony and refinement, with a very special finish rendering
delicious spiced cherry goodness.
Rain Dance Vineyards, Newberg
Fifth generation Newberg resident Ken Austin III and his spouse, Celia, planted the first vines on their estate in
the Chehalem Mountains in 2008, a few months after the Austin family began building the Allison Inn & Spa.
The 15-acre Rain Dance Vineyard is planted to Pommard, Wädenswil, and Dijon clones 115, 667, 777 and 943
in Jory soil. Today Rain Dance Vineyards owns seven estate vineyard sites totaling 120 acres, 59 of which are
currently planted. All vineyards are dry farmed using sustainable practices and are Salmon Safe and LIVE
certified. The Austins had previously established Rain Dance Ranch in 1991 that became one of the country’s
premier llama ranches and llamas are a prominent fixture on the hillside of Bell & Herd Roads in Newberg. The
first Estate Pinot Noir from the 2013 vintage was released May 1, 2015, crafted by winemaker Bryan Weil who
has winemaking experience at Domaine Serene, Tyee Wine Cellars, and Alexana Winery, all in Oregon. The
winery’s tasting room is located just off the corner of Bell Road and Highway 219 at the base of the Chehalem
Mountains AVA in the Rain Dance Marketplace. A flagship Estate Pinot Noir and member exclusive Reserve
Pinot Noir are offered. Tastings are available Tuesday through Sunday. Visit www.raindancevineyards.com.
Prices are quite moderate considering the high quality.
2015 Rain Dance Nicholas Vineyard Estate Chehalem Mountains Oregon Rosé
14.1% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.56, RS
0.16%, 149 cases, $22, screwcap. Released May 1, 2016.
Harvest Brix 24.2º. Whole cluster pressed, on skins 4 hours,
cold fermented, and aged in neutral French oak barrels.
Moderate strawberry red color in the glass. Very fragrant, even
over time in the glass, showing aromas of strawberry, raspberry, peach
and blood orange. A hearty styled rosé with flavors of cherry,
watermelon, strawberry and orange peel. Smooth and crisp in the mouth
with some length on the fruit-filled finish.
2013 Rain Dance Estate Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
12.7% alc., pH 3.84, TA 0.50, 150 cases,
$40. Harvest Brix 21.5º. 67% Wädenswil, 33% Pommard. 4-day cold soak, 10-day fermentation, aged 10
months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. There is plenty of
oak input on the nose, with aromas of spice, smoke and clove along with the scent of black cherry fruit. Light to
mid weight in style, with a peppery, spicy cherry core. Rather delicate and elegant, with oak influence in the
background, finishing demurely.
2014 Rain Dance Estate Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.74, TA 0.47, 150 cases,
$40. Released May 1, 2016. Harvest Brix 24.8º. 57% Pommard, 28% Wädenswil, 14% 667. 4-day cold soak,
10-day fermentation, aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 29% new, 29% once-filled and 42% neutral.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Riper nose and flavors, featuring black cherry and blueberry fruits,
a note of root beer, and a thread of smoky oak in the background. Cashmere tannins lead to a velveteen
mouthfeel in this soothing wine with some length on the upbeat finish.
Seven of Hearts, Dundee
This label offers wines from distinct appellations within the Willamette Valley and neighboring regions, including
specific vineyards and portions of vineyards that show unique characteristics. Seven of Hearts is about
exploring vineyards other than the estate Luminous Hills Vineyard as well as other varietals. The label, with its
neo-classical elements, symbolizes winemaker Byron Dooley’s passion for traditional old world style wines.
Visit the website at www.sevenofheartswine.com.
2014 Seven of Hearts Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., pH 3.46, TA 0.61, 987 cases, $24.
Multiple appellations, multiple clones. Aged in French oak barrels, 22% new.
Moderately light reddish purple
color in the glass. Ripe fruit aromas are dominated by scents of wood and brine. The mid weight core of cherry,
plum, and purple berries is backed by a thread of oak. The firm but silky tannins add support and there is some
modest length on the finish.
2014 Seven of Hearts Bjornson Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH
3.41, TA 0.61, 98 cases, $35. 25% Wädenswil, 25% Pommard, 25% 667, 12.5% 777, and 12.5%
115. 25% whole clusters. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 25% new.
Moderately light cherry
red color in the glass. Smelling this wine felt took me to a barrel room with an added fruit note of
cherry and brown spice. Somewhat demure, but flavorful, featuring juicy red cherry and strawberry
fruits with spice in the background. Silky in the mouth and showing great harmony, this wine is very
forward drinking with considerable charm.
2014 Seven of Hearts Armstrong Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Oregon Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., pH3.47, TA 0.60, 99 cases,
$35. 50% Wädenswil, 25% Pommard, 25% 114. 25% whole
clusters. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 25% new.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. A jazzy nose
with hi-tone aromas of crushed black cherries, sous-bois and
sandalwood. Bold and weighty, but still refined, with mid weight flavors of
black cherry, blackberry, blueberry and spice. Exquisitely balanced t n’ a
with some length on the finish. Big for Oregon, but not big by California
standards. This vineyard excelled in this vintage.
2014 Seven of Hearts Special Reserve Oregon Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.60, 124 cases, $49.
60% Armstrong Vineyard and 40% Bjornson Vineyard. 40% Pommard, 20% Wädenswil, 20% 777 and 20%
115. 20% whole clusters. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 40% new.
Moderately light reddish purple
color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, black plum and marionberry have a steely tone leading to a good
attack of black cherry, boysenberry and plum fruits that engage the palate and linger on the intensely fruited
finish. The balance is most impressive and of reserve quality, although the fruit is not as giving now as it
possibly will be with more bottle age.
2014 Seven of Hearts Very Special Reserve Oregon Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., pH 3.53, TA 0.68, 123 cases,
$75. 40% Luminous Hills Vineyard, 20% Armstrong Vineyard, 20% Bjornson Vineyard and 20% Lia’s Vineyard.
40% 115, 30% Pommard, 20% 777 and 10% Wädenswil. 40% whole clusters. Aged 16 months in French oak
barrels, 40% new.
Light cherry red color in the glass. The array of aromas are quite pleasing and persistent,
consisting of cherry, strawberry, sandalwood and caramelized oak. On entry, there is more explosion of red fruit
flavor than one would expect from the light color. There is plenty of spice from the whole cluster, but no herbal
character. The wine is deftly balanced, with a satiny texture and the majestic finish lingers with succulent
acidity. Not the biggest wine in the Seven of Hearts lineup, but the generous finish separates it from others in
Vincent Wine Company, Amity
Owner and winemaker Vincent Fritzsche launched his winery in 2009 after years of working at other wineries in
Oregon and California. He sources fruit from several sustainably farmed vineyards in the Willamette Valley. The name,
Vincent, is of course the owner’s name, but also the name of his uncle and maternal grandfather, and pays
homage to the 4th century Saint Vincent of Saragossa, Spain, the patron saint of vintners. Formerly a member
of Portland’s Southeast Wine Collective (tasting is still available here), the winery is now located at Grochau
Cellars in the Eola-Amity Hills near McMinnville (tasting only by appointment here). Visit the website at
2014 Vincent Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
12.9% alc., $27.
Moderate reddish purple color in the
glass. Aromas of dark cherry, raspberry, spice and tobacco lead to a mid weight styled simple wine featuring
flavors that echo the aromas framed by frisky acidity that stands out on the citrus-imbued, juicy finish.
2014 Vincent Zenith Vineyard Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $39.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in
the glass. Nicely scented with aromas of crushed black cherry and forest path. Black cherry driven with good
attack and mid palate presence in a mid weight plus style with a thread of dried savory herbs in the
background. Fairly bold and sappy, with a lingering black cherry fruited finish. Beautiful fruit, but the drying
tannins stick out on the finish.
2014 Vincent Bjornson Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
12.9% alc., $39.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Fresh
aromas of cherry and red berry lead off. Inviting balance and length, with
middleweight flavors of cherry and red strawberry embellished with
baking spices, finishing with a charge of succulent fruit.
WildAire Cellars, Gaston
This winery was founded in 2005 by Matt and Jean Driscoll after years of immersing themselves in the
Willamette Valley wine scene. They started the journey in the mid 1990s by a chance visit to Oregon to attend
a friend’s wedding. After getting married in 2000, they moved from Virginia to learn all aspects of the wine
business in Oregon. Matt embarked on multiple vintages of winemaking experience and oversees the
production for WildAire, while Jean focuses on sales, marketing and the business side of the winery. Besides
their single vineyard, Reserve and Timothy Pinot Noirs, they produce Chardonnay, Riesling, Tempranillo and
Syrah. Visit the website at www.wildairecellars.com.
2014 WildAire Timothy Yamhill-Carlton Oregon Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.71, 293 cases, $35.
Released April 2016. Named to honor Matt Driscoll’s father. The wine is composed of the cellar’s
best barrels and varies from year to year. Sourced from Yates Conwill Vineyard (Pommard and 777)
and Beacon Hill Vineyard (Pommard). Harvest Brix 25.0º. 100% de-stemmed, 10-day cold soak, both
native and inoculated yeasts, 25 days on the skins, aged 14 months in 33% new French oak barrels.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Very shy aromas of cherry, woodland and spice.
Much more expressive in the mouth, with an explosion of blueberry, pomegranate and marionberry fruit flavors
that invade and saturate the palate. Accents of oak-driven spice and vanilla add interest. Toned tannins and
spot-on acidity hold the fruit in check, creating a seamless impression. The finish is immense in this joyful wine.
2014 WildAire Beacon Hill Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Oregon Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.71, 97 cases,
$45. Released April 2016. The Beacon Hill Vineyard is located southeast of Gaston and certified LIVE. 29-
acres are planted to multiple clones of Pinot Noir in marine sedimentary soils. This wine comes from an ownrooted
block of Pommard clone that was planted in 1988. Harvest Brix 25º. 100% de-stemmed, 10-day cold
soak, more than 22 days on the skins, aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
cherry red color in the glass. Outstanding nose with bright aromas of cherry, strawberry and herb field. This mid
weight wine is primarily red fruited, offering seductive flavors of cherry and strawberry accented with savory
herbs, baking spice and smoky, toasty oak. Impeccable balanced, with fine-grain tannins, juicy acidity and a
persistent finish. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the oak overlay
had lessened and one can expect this to occur with more time in the bottle as this is a young wine.
2014 WildAire Yates Conwill Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Oregon Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.79, 99 cases, $45. Released April 2016. This
LIVE certified vineyard is located just west of Carlton and shares a fence
line with the famed Resonance Vineyard. 13 acres of high density
plantings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Willakenzie soils. Pommard
and 777 clones. 100% de-stemmed, 10-day cold soak, inoculated with
several types of yeasts, more than 28 days on the skins, and aged 14
months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
Moderate reddish purple color
in the glass. This wine is blessed with plenty of luscious black raspberry,
blackberry and purple grape aromas and flavors with just the right
compliment of oak-driven vanilla and spice. Haunting and fruit-laden,
with a velveteen mouthfeel, and supportive tannins, all adding up to one
seductive Pinot Noir.
2014 Eola Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., pH 3.90, TA 0.64, 24,500 cases, $19. Harvest Brix 23.8º average.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass.
Very aromatic, with scents of black cherry and oak spice. Soft and silky in the mouth, with a discreet
core of cranberry and black cherry fruit embellished with toasty oak, finishing with good juiciness.
2014 Illahe Estate Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., $19. Illahe is Chinook jargon
for “land, earth or soil.” Small lot fermented, basked pressed, barrel aged. Crafted from LIVE certified
sustainable grapes, Salmon Safe.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with
blackberry, black raspberry, and black cherry fruits with a hint of terra-cotta and a whiff of volatile
acidity. A polished wine with exquisite balance, offering a mid weight core of black cherry and black
raspberry fruit, finishing with some length and a tug of oak. An entry level wine from a superb vintage
offering great value.
2013 Love & Squalor Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.60, 1,100 cases, $28.
Composed of grapes from eight vineyards. Pommard, 777, 667 and “828” clones. 100% de-stemmed, small-lot
fermentations with native yeasts. Aged in most neutral French oak barrels (8% new, 4% twice-filled) for 18
Light cherry red color in the glass. A lighter, forward drinking wine that is nicely balanced, but the
herb-infused cherry aromas and flavors suggest under ripeness. This is a casual wine with a short finish that
may benefit from slight chilling.
2014 Westrey Abbey Ridge Vineyard Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 251 cases, $45. 18 days
on the skins, racked directly to barrel, aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 20% new.
reddish purple color in the glass. Brooding aromas of darker raspberry fruit, smoke and tobacco lead off. Fairly
bold and concentrated, with flavors of oak-kissed black cherry and a subtle petrol note. Nicely balanced with a
sweet cherry and exotically spiced finish. This wine needs more time to integrate the oak, but the potential is