Final Oregon Wine Reviews of 2016
Broadley Vineyards, Monroe
2014 Broadley Vineyards Claudia's Choice Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 350 cases,
$50. Estate grown and bottled. Named for Broadley Vineyards co-founder Claudia Broadley. Sourced from a
distinct block of the estate vineyard that tends to ripen later and often sets smaller clusters. The result is a big,
dark, complex wine. The blend is primarily Pommard clone with some Wädenswil. Wild yeast fermentation.
Aged 14-18 months in 40% new and the balance neutral French oak barrels.
Moderate reddish purple color
and very bright in the glass. Somewhat moody, with aromas of earthy dark cherry lead to a satisfying mid
weight palate of blueberry and black cherry fruit flavors. Very generous, with a silky texture and a saturating
fruit driven finish offering a cascade of fruit. The wine is still very young and needs time (like many 2014
Oregon Pinot Noirs) to fully integrate the tannins.
2014 Broadley Vineyards Marcile Lorraine Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 150 cases,
$50. Estate grown and bottled.
Named for founder Craig Broadley’s mother, this wine is produced each year
from the same distinctive block of old vine Pinot Noir. A cooler fermentation, tighter-grained wood, and low
toast barrels are used in production. A blend of Wädenswil and Pommard with the majority Wädenswil. Wild
yeast fermentation in open-top oak fermenter for 14-21 days. Aged 14-18 months in French oak barrels, 40%
new and the balance neutral. Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose offers primarily oak scents
with added aromas of ripe cherry, earth and stem. The mid weight plus core of black raspberry fruit is opulent
and layered, framed by rigorous tannins and silky acidity. The fruit has that old vine tenacity. Impressive
balance and appeal but rather reticent at this stage, finishing with a remarkably long finish. The wine may
warrant a higher score after more time in the cellar.
Cristom Vineyards, Salem
All wines reviewed here are produced and bottled from estate vineyards that are certified sustainable and
unfiltered. The excellence of these wines from a venerated producer easily justify the price. You can recognize
class when you experience it, and these wines have it. They can be enjoyed now for their youthful fruit, but will
develop more intrigue with another few years in the cellar. The wines have discernible terroir-driven differences
that adds to their appeal. Highly recommended.
2014 Cristom Marjorie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.60, 381 cases, $69. Only vineyard
kept when the property was bought in 1992. This upper field had been planted in 1982 but abandoned in the late 1980s. The vineyard was named in honor of founder Paul Gerrie's late mother. The vineyard is distinctive in that it is own-rooted and lower density (6' x12') plantings. 8.5 acres are planted between the lower slopes of Louise Vineyard and Eileen Vineyard at the top of the hill. By 2004, Marjorie was re-planted with young vines grafted to phylloxera resistant rootstocks to supplant the older original vines. In 1999, the original Martini clone was grafted over to Dijon 114, 115 and 777. Beginning in 2004, re-planting of Marjorie was undertaken with Pommard, Wädenswil, 114, 115 and 777. Some original Pommard and Wädenswil vines remain. Both original and young vines contribute to this bottling. Harvest Brix 24.3º-24.7º. 48% whole clusters, no cold soak, native yeast fermentations, minimum effective additions of sulfur and tartaric acid, bladder pressed, and aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 47% new. Bottled after fining with egg whites and unfiltered.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose
offers a whole cluster delight of black cherry, rose petal,
cinnamon, and exotic spice aromas. The whole cluster also
embellishes the palate that features a mid weight core of
succulent, well-spiced cherry fruit that is flat-out delicious. Welcome
balance, with silky tannins and juicy acidity, finishing with a lengthy
stream of spiced cherry and raspberry fruits. Even better the following
day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle showing
more power and depth and an even more gorgeous finish.
2014 Cristom Jessie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.76, TA 0.57, 964 cases, $59.
This 11.53-acre vineyard was planted in 1994 on a very steep, east-facing hillside site. Vines are planted at a high density of 2,311 vines per acre. Basalt soils including Jory and Nekia. Clones 115, 114, 777, 113, 667 and Pommard on three rootstocks. Harvest Brix 24.4º-24.9º. 40% whole clusters, no cold soak, native yeast fermentations, bladder pressed, aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 52% new. Bottled after fining with egg whites and unfiltered.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the
glass. The aromas are varied and include cherry, rose petal, spice, earth and oak. Noticeable vigor in a mid
weight styled wine with flavors of cherry, raspberry, spice and floral goodness. A little more masculine and
“grounded” than the Marjorie with a little more structural tannins and perhaps a little less exuberant. The
texture is refined and polished and there is noticeable intensity on the finish.
2014 Cristom Eileen Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.61, 940
cases, $59. Vineyard named after founder Eileen Gerrie, wife of Paul Gerrie. Planting began in 1997 to Dijon 114, 115 and 777 and Pommard clone at high density. Wadenswil was added in 2006 bringing the vineyard to 16.61 acres, the largest planting of Pinot Noir on the estate. This vineyard extends to the crest of the Eola Hills and is exposed to the last rays of sunlight each day and the first cooling Pacific Ocean breezes. Soils are primarily Jory and Nekia. Harvest Brix 24.5º-24.6º. 48% whole clusters. No cold soak, minimum addditions of sulfur and tartaric acid, native yeast fermentation, bladder pressed, aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 44% new. Bottled after fining with egg whites and unfiltered.
Moderately light reddish
purple color in the glass. Seductive aromas of black cherry, exotic spices and sous-bois lead to a
sturdy and highly flavorful palate featuring dark cherry and purple grape fruits gently framed by firm but
not imposing tannins. Engaging fruit purity and delightful spice with a lingering, juicy finish. You will
want to elope with Eileen.
2014 Cristom Louise Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., pH 3.78, TA 0.58, 856
cases, $59. The first vineyard established at Cristom in 1993 and named for founder Paul Gerrie's maternal grandmother. Densely planted at 2300 vines per acre on the
upper slopes of vineyard ("Upper Louise") and 1,815 vines per acre on the lower vines closest to the winery ("Lower Louise"). Louise has the most dramatic soil diversity among all Cristom vineyards. 9.31 acres are planted with Dijon 113, 114, 115 and 777 and Pommard clones. Harvest Brix 23.6º-25.1º. 42% whole clusters. No cold soak before native yeast fermentation. Minimum effective additions of sulfur and tartaric acid. Bladder pressed and aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 51% new. Bottled after fining with egg whites and unfiltered.
Light cherry red color in the glass. The aromas of
crushed cherry, spice, rose petal, pine sap and vanilla oil draw your nose into the glass. A perfectly
ripened core of dark red cherry essence fills every nook and cranny in the mouth and really clings to
the finish. There are nuances galore, including accents of cardamom spice, boysenberry juice and
subtle oak spices. The wine has noticeable energy and enough tannin for the long haul. Even more
giving when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle exhibiting dreamy balance.
Ponzi Vineyards, Sherwood
Winemaker Louisa Ponzi is pioneering a viticutural innovation called “clonal massale.” The term refers to a
hybrid of clonal selection and massale selection, where over 25 clones of Pinot Noir, selected for a specific
site, are mixed and planted randomly in a single block. This technique has evolved over two generations with
four decades of evaluation and experience working with many different clones. Ponzi Vineyards now has over
30 acres of vines planted to clonal massale.
Louise notes, “Each clone has a personality. When many are combined in a single block, the multitude of
characteristics naturally brings complexity and dimensions to the wines. By planting these clones at random,
like wildflowers, it further relinquishes the question of clone and focuses fully on the terroir of site.”
The two wines reviewed below are from vineyards planted to clonal massale. A 2-acre site named Abetina
Vineyard was planted on its own roots in 1975 to 22 different Pinot Noir clones as part of a clonal test site for
Oregon State University. Each vine was tagged to determine which was best suited to the region. Abetina
Vineyard is preserved on rootstock and was planted at Aurora Vineyard in 2005 as Abetina 2, maintaining for
the long term this outstanding mix of clones. Abetina 2 is at the same elevation, aspect and on the same soil as
the original, and has more than 20 Pinot Noir clones. (Aurora Vineyard was originally planted to 10 acres of
Dijon 113, 114, 115, 667 and 777 in 1999)
In 2006, Pinot Noir blocks at Avellana Vineyard were the first planted fully to clonal massale. 5 Dijon clones are
blended with 22 heritage clones from Abetina. Planting at this site continued through 2014 and is the most
extensive planting of Pinot Noir clones in the United States.
2011 Ponzi Abetina 2 Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.60,125 cases, $145.
Released September 2013. A single vineyard cuvée crafted from Abetina 2 block at Ponzi’s LIVE Certified
Sustainable Aurora Vineyard. 100% de-stemmed, fermented in small lots after a 5-day cold soak. Fermenters
were aerated or manually punched down twice a day for 12-20 days before undergoing a 7-day postfermentation
maceration. The wine was aged for 20 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. Bottled without
fining or filtration and aged in bottle for 5 months before release.
This wine disappoints at this price level
except for an incredibly long finish. The nose is oak driven with aromas of char and toast with very little berry
fruit, even when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. The mid weight core of
purple grape and black raspberry fruits have charm and are more expressive on the palate. The barrel
treatment is noticeable evident in the background. There is good energy and vibrancy, the tannins are gracious,
and the finish is extraordinarily lengthy.
2014 Ponzi Avellana Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.73, 110 cases, $105.
Released November 2016. Crafted exclusively from Ponzi’s LIVE Certified Sustainable Avellana Vineyard.
100% de-stemmed, fermented in small lots after a 5-day cold soak. Fermenters were aerated or manually
punched down twice a day for 12-20 days before undergoing a 7-day post-fermentation cold soak. The wine
was aged for 20 months in French oak barrels, 50% new, bottled unfined and unfiltered, and aged 5 months in
bottle before release.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, soy sauce and forest
floor lead to a delicious core of cherry and raspberry fruits lifted with bright acidity. Very charming in the mouth
with a soft texture, spice accents, and an exuberant, showy finish filled with exuberant grape essence.
Potter’s Vineyard and Vino Vasai Vintners, Newberg
Bill and Sandy Sanchez took over Laura Volkman’s estate vineyard in September 2012. Pinot Noir from the
estate vineyard are bottled under the Vino Vasai label, “Potter’s Wine” in Italian.
2015 Vino Vasai Estate Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir Rosé
10.7% alc., 72 cases, $18 (sold
Moderate pink color in the glass. Delicate aromas of strawberry, blood orange, leafy salad greens and
creme fraiche. Highly flavorful, with tastes of strawberry, cherry, raspberry and blood orange offering bright
acidity and some intensity on a satisfying finish. For a rosé, this wine has unusual aromatic persistence on the
2014 Vino Vasai Dario Estate Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., $25. From a 3-acre
vineyard planted in 2001 in Jory and Laurelwood soils. Aged on the lees in neutral French oak barrels.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of black cherry and underbrush. Fresh and
easy to like in an elegant, mid weight styled wine with flavors of black cherry, peppery spice, dried herbs and a
hint of smoke. Nicely balanced, with evident but polished tannins, finishing on an upbeat note.
2014 Vino Vasai Estate Reserve Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., $45. A barrel
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. More fruit concentration and supporting tannins
than the Dario Estate bottling deserving of a Reserve designation. Deep black cherry flavor of Pommard has a
earthy mushroom note also typical of Pommard. Very classy and seductive on the palate, with enough tannin
for age ability. Still solid the following day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. No need
to be in a hurry to drink this beauty.
Privé Vineyard, Newberg
Only 950 cases a year from a 2-acre vineyard. A truly boutique winery producing exceptional Pinot Noir that is
sold exclusively on futures to a mailing list. These wines have significantly improved since last tasted a year
ago and should continue to evolve over the next several years.
2014 Privé Vineyard le sud Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 100 cases, $600. Estate grown. 100% Pommard grown on
the south block of a southwest facing hillside. Aged 12 months in 100%
new French oak barrels.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the
glass. Soaring aromas of fresh red cherry, spice and forest floor. Juicy
and polished in the mouth, with charming elegance. Mid weight flavors
of red cherry and raspberry are complimented by oak seasoning. The
tannins are nicely integrated and the overall experience is one of
refinement. The wine was much more expressive the following day from
a previously opened and re-corked bottle such that I wanted to finish the
whole bottle. Previously reviewed 11/22/15 (90-91).
2014 Privé Vineyard Joie de Vivre Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., 12 cases,
$90. Estate grown. Etched, hand painted, numbered and signed bottle. Produced from the first few
gallons of each press load from le nord and le sud blended and aged in 50% new French oak barrels
for 12 months.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Similar to the le sud but with a
deeper, more penetrating nose focused on cherry fruit. Plenty of cherry and purple berry sap to delight
in a juicy, mid weight styled wine that has admirable oak integration, ample but balanced tannins, and
an especially long finish. A high-collared wine that is approachable now, but will age beautifully for
years to come. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Previously
reviewed 11/22/15 (92).
Soléna Estate, Yamhill
Soléna is the combination of the French words Solana and Soleil, celebrating the sun and the moon, and the
name that owners Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus gave their daughter. Pinot Noirs are offered from the
estate Domaine Danielle Laurent Vineyard and Hyland Vineyard as well as purchased fruit from several
notable vineyards. A new tasting room is open daily at 17096 NE Woodland Loop Road in Yamhill. To acquire
the wines, visit www.solenaestate.com.
2014 Soléna Grand Cuvée Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., pH 3.67, 7,000 cases, RS 0 g/
L, $30. Released April 2016. Harvest Brix 23º-25º. Aged 8 months in French oak barrels, 22% new. The 2012
vintage of this wine was one of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines for 2016.
Moderate reddish purple color in the
glass. Very appealing when poured in the glass, but loses appeal over time indicating this is an early drinking
wine. Aromas of black cherry and woodland spice lead to a middleweight core of spiced black cherry and black
raspberry fruits embellished with a compliment of oak. Juicy, with balanced tannins and respectable mid palate
intensity and finish.
2014 Soléna Zena Crown Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., pH 3.73, 149 cases,
$48. Vines planted in 2004. Harvest Brix 25º. Aged 8 months in French oak barrels, 33% new.
reddish purple color in the glass. Reticent, but pleasant aromas of a mix of red cherry and berry with a forest
under scent. Juicy on the palate with a mid weight charge of purple berry fruit accented with an earthy
mushroom note. A little rustic, yet with admirable fruit quality, well-structured with firm fruit tannins.
2014 Soléna Guadalupe Vineyard Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.56, 148
cases, $48. Vines planted in 2006. Harvest Brix 25.6º. Aged 8 months in French oak barrels, 40% new.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Deep aromas of red cherry and berry with a compliment of sousbois.
The typical crunchy cherry of the Dundee Hills is on full display in this wine with good depth and
character. A little spice adds to the appeal as does the lingering finish although it leaves a bit of astringency in
2014 Soléna Domaine Danielle Laurent Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Oregon Pinot Noir
13.1% alc., pH 3.70, 517 cases, $55. Harvest Brix
23º-25º. Vines planted in 2001, 2004 and 2007. Aged 8 months in French
oak barrels, 50% new.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass.
Beautifully perfumed with aromas of black cherry, dark raspberry coulis,
bakery spice and floral bouquet. Luxurious on the palate in a mid weight
plus style with waves of black cherry and purple berry fruits that are
plush and expressive. Substantial fruit tannins back up the fruit
concentration. A high class wine that has staying power in the mouth and
finishes with a peacock tail of fruit. The best wine I have had from this
2014 Soléna Domaine Hyland Vineyard Legacy McMinnville Oregon Pinot Noir
pH 3.73, 25 cases, $100. A single barrel selection chosen by Laurent Montalieu to represent the best expression of the
Hyland Vineyard in 2014. Vines first planted in 1972 in volcanic Jory soils. Harvest Brix 25º.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely, delicate aromas of fresh black cherries and earthy
flora. A light to mid weight style wine with redder fruit flavors and spice galore. The wine hits all the high notes
in the mouth and on the finish, flaunting impeccable balance, modest but adequate tannins and the power
without weight that only Pinot Noir can deliver. This wine has the harmony to age beautifully.
2015 Soléna Willamette Valley Chardonnay
12.9% alc., pH 3.30, TA 0.64, RS 0.9 g/L, 500 cases,
$30. Released November 2016. Harvest Brix 21.5º. Barrel fermented and aged 10 months in French
oak barrels, 20% new.
Light golden yellow and clear in the glass. Very inviting aromas of fresh lemon
juice and honeyed pear. Bright and crisp on the palate with clean flavors of citrus, pear and the
slightest caramel. Very satisfying with great composure, finishing with a delightful crunchy apple
2014 Arterberry Maresh Maresh Vineyard Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., $59. Non-irrigated
old vines. Unfined and unfiltered.
Light cherry red color in the glass. The nose is primary, with only delicate
aromas of black cherry and complimentary oak toast and spice. Light to mid weight flavors of dark red cherry
are offered in a very gentle wine with good mid palate intensity and some finishing generosity. This wine won’t
open your eyes, but has good character and balance. Much better presentation when tasted the following day
from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. The wine could take on more power and nuance with additional
time in bottle.
2014 Eminent Domaine Reserve Ribbon Ridge Oregon Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 248 cases, $69. Estate grown on Willakenzie soils. Clones
are 115 and Pommard.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass
(you can assume the ripeness and concentration from the color). Really
deep cherry aroma accented with noticeable oak vanillin and spice. The
mid weight, well-ripened black cherry and black raspberry fruits veer to
full ripeness, but the wine is well crafted, offering a velvety ride in the
mouth through a pleasingly plush finish. There is enough tannin to
support the fruit load and lend age ability. This beauty was considerably
more appealing with more aromatic fruit when tasted the following day
from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Atypical in character for
Oregon, but reflective of the warm 2014 vintage. Decant if you pop the
2014 Résonance Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $35. Maison Louis Jdot’s first
wine project outside of Burgundy since founding in 1859. Vinified at Trisaetum. A blend of
Resonance, Decouverte and other vineyards in a Willamette Valley cuvée. (not the Resonance
Vineyard designate bottling). Aged 13 months in French oak barrels, 20% new.
reddish purple color in the glass. Pleasant and giving aromas of cherry and sous-bois. Nicely
composed, with inviting flavors of darker cherry and red raspberry in a mid weight style that is quite
forward. Refreshing, with impeccable balance, a deft touch of oak, and some finishing intensity.
2014 Soter Mineral Springs Ranch Yamhill-Carlton Oregon Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., 2,400 cases, $65.
Estate grown and bottled. 30% whole cluster fermentation. 30 days extended maceration. Racked only for
assembly before bottling.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Gorgeous aromas of dark cherry,
spice, rose petal and notable oak input. Somewhat closed and still tannic, but with luscious black cherry and
spice flavors in a nicely balanced mid weight styled wine with some length on the juicy finish. Needs time to
evolve and integrate the tannins. The wine needs patience and understanding and could disappoint if you pop
the cork now.