Sips of Recently Tasted Willamette Valley Wines
There are plenty of good values still to discover in Oregon Pinot Noir. Because of inflation and trends in pricing,
I now award the value image to Pinot Noirs scoring 89 or above that are priced at $40 or less.
Amalie Robert, Dallas, Oregon
100% estate bottled wines. Amalie Robert grows, ferments, blends and bottles all their wines from their estate
2016 Amalie Robert “Pinot in the Pink” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Rosé
13.4% alc., 95
cases, $20. Lightly juiced wings of Pinot Meunier and
Pommard clone Pinot Noir including the stems. Fermented to
dryness in stainless steel.
Moderately dark pink color in the
glass. Lovely aromas of red cherry, strawberry, watermelon,
hay and dried herbs. Cheerful and welcoming, with flavors of
cherry, raspberry, strawberry, blood orange and tangerine,
uplifted by tight acidity. Crisp and refreshing, with a zippy finish.
2012 Amalie Robert The Uncarved Block Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
1,000 cases, $30. An introduction to the winery’s style of whole cluster and indigenous yeast
fermentation. Represents a combination of all the clones and rootstock combinations of Pinot Noir
grown throughout the property.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. The whole cluster inspired nose
offers aromas of burnt tobacco, wilted rose and charred oak. Succulent black raspberry and purple
grape fruit flavors arrive in the mouth with purpose. Accents of smoke and black tea add interest.
The tannins are silky and the finish has pedigree. Even better when tasted two days later from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle with more soaring aromatics and displaying the balance to age
successfully. This wine will appeal most to those who favor whole cluster embossed Pinot Noir.
2013 Amalie Robert Dijon Clones Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
12.3% alc., 890 cases,
$40. 100% estate grown Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir clones 60, 113, 114, 115, 667, 777 and “828.”
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose leads with aromas of cherry, red berry, dusty
rose, pipe smoke and a subtle green note. Mid weight in style and silky in texture, with flavors of
black cherry, raspberry, exotic spice and tobacco. Nicely balanced with a complimentary whole
cluster character. The fruit is on the under ripe side, but the wine delivers. Still fine when tasted two
days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2013 Amalie Robert Pommard Clone Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., 45 cases, $65. A
two barrel selection of the most compelling barrels of Pommard clone Pinot Noir in the cellar. A blend from a
new and neutral barrel.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of BBQ spice, toasty oak, tobacco
and mulch. Mid weight flavors of black cherry, marionberry, cola, smoke and char. Satiny in texture, with
balanced t ‘n a and some length on the finish. Reminds of standing next to a barbecue grill and smelling meat
spices, smoke and ash.
2013 Amalie Robert Wädenswil Clone Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
12.2% alc., 45 cases, $65. A
selection of two barrels of the most compelling barrels of Wädenswil clone Pinot Noir in the cellar. A blend from
a new and a neutral barrel.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of dark red berry, black cherry,
earthy flora, campfire and a slight pungency. Lighter in weight, with flavors of deep red cherry and cranberry
accented with an oak spice and a wood char note. Soft tannins and lively acidity, with a red fruited, acid-driven
Big Table Farm, Gaston, Oregon
2015 Big Table Farm Earth Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 107 cases, $105. Released
April 11, 2017. A barrel selection by Brian and Clare in collaboration. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry reduction sauce, root vegetables, dark chocolate syrup, rose
petal and a slight pungent note. Prodigiously concentrated flavors of black cherry syrup, black raspberry
compote and blackberry fruit with a bit of floral perfume, brown spice and chocolate oak in the background.
Structured, with firm, svelte fruit tannins and a generous, very long finish. The wine picks up appeal over time
in the glass and will benefit from decanting or more time in the cellar.
Brigadoon Wine Company, Junction City (Southern Willamette Valley), Oregon
A family affair involving proprietor and vineyard manager Chris Shown, proprietor Sheree Shown and
winemaker Matt Shown. Chris’ involvement in the wine industry began in 1970, assisting his father in
establishing their Rutherford vineyard in California’s Napa Valley. Matt has been working in the vineyards since
he was eight years old. Because of his upbringing, his winemaking philosophy is rooted in the vineyards. He
earned a degree in Horticulture at Oregon State University and began working in wineries in 2005. He helped
launch Brigadoon Wine Company in 2008, and also consults for a variety of small labels. Another family
member, Nick Shown, is the cellarmaster at Left Coast Cellars in Oregon but helps out at Brigadoon at bottling
and special projects and events.
Brigadoon Vineyards is located in the southern Willamette Valley, just northwest of Eugene. The 66-acre farm
has 6 acres of six different clones of Pinot Noir, 4 acres of Pinot Blanc and a half of acre of Riesling. The
vineyard sits at 400 to 600 feet elevation and is planted in Bellpine soils. Brigadoon produces certified
rootstock and scion wood material for the grapevine nursery industry.
The winery’s tasting room and picnic grounds are located in Junction City, Oregon with views of a secluded
canyon, vineyard and forest. Tasting is available April through November Wednesday through Sunday or by
appointment. Visit www.brigadoonwineco.com.
The following wines will be release in the summer of 2017.
2015 Brigadoon Lylee Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., pH 3.55, 500 cases, $23..This is
the first bottling from the estate vineyard each year and is meant to be a fruit forward and
approachable representation of the vineyard. Average vine age is 12 acres and average yield is 2.7
tons per acre. New oak is kept at a minimum (10%). Clones are Wädenswil, Pommard and Dijon
115 and 777. Aged 0.5 months in French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is pleasant but nondescript even with vigorous swirling. Mid
weight plus in style, with a core of boysenberry and blackberry fruits that are tightly wound. There is
a balancing firm tannic backbone and a fruit filled finish. This wine shows considerable potential but requires
decanting or more time in bottle for most appreciation. When tasted the following day from a previously opened
and re-corked bottle, this wine was more polished and giving than the Taproot bottling.
2015 Brigadoon Taproot Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., pH 3.54, 200 cases, $40. A winemaker’s barrel
selection, usually ones from the vineyard’s oldest vines, a
block of Dijon 115 and Wädenswil clone Pinot Noir planted in
1997. Clones are Wädenswil, Pommmard and Dijon 115.
Average yield 2.7 tons per acre. Average vine age is 16 years.
Aged 17 months in French oak barrels, 37% new. Bottled
unfined and unfiltered. The wine is intended for cellar aging.
dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is rather shy and primary at this
early stage. Aromas of black cherry, cardamom, clove and splintered
oak. Full and lush on the palate in a mid weight plus style featuring
flavors of blackest cherry and blackberry. Still tight, with balanced tannins, a fortuitous acid backbone, a deft
touch of oak, and a modest finish. This sappy wine will appeal to bold fruit lovers. Decanting or more time in
bottle is suggested. Still a bit foreboding when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked
Broadley Vineyards, Monroe, Oregon
2015 Broadley Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $18. 100% de-stemmed fruit. Wild yeast
fermentation over 10-14 days in open-top stainless steel and plastic bins. Aged 9-10 months in neutral French
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. A ripe fruited wine displaying aromas of blackberry,
boysenberry and fertile earth, and flavors of purple and black berries with a woody, marzipan note. Mid weight
in style, with juicy acidity and balanced tannins, a satin mouthfeel, and finishing with modest length and a red
cherry note. A solid wine that is a bit shallow mid palate and finish, but embraceable at this price point.
2015 Broadley Estate Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $25. Composed of a
variety of blocks containing newer and older vines.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Pleasant
scents of cherry, woodland spice, forest floor and a hint of vanilla. Generous extraction with a core of
black cherry flavor underlain with a subtle marzipan taste. Good brightness and juiciness, with
enviable harmony and some finishing length.
2015 Broadley Rocky Hill Vineyard
13.5% alc., $30.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The
nose is rather primary even with time in the glass. The earthy black cherry core initially lacked charm
and expression and was even somewhat gruff. More giving when tasted the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle with pleasant aromas of cherry, fertile earth and spice, a
charmingly soft mouthfeel, and enough cherry fruit to satisfy.
2015 Broadley Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $50. Clones 777 and
Wädenswil. Wild yeast fermentation in 3-ton open-top Taransaud wood fermenter for 14-21 days. Starting with
pump overs in the early stage and switching to 3 punch downs a day. Aged in French oak barrels, 30% new
and 70% neutral for 12 months.
Moderately light ruby red color in the glass. Rather shy and primary but
pleasant aromas of cherry, raspberry and rose petal. Further bottle aging should release the aromatics (the
wine was more aromatic when tasted from a previously opened bottle the next day). Prominent tannins frame
the middleweight core of black cherry and black raspberry fruits that impress the mid palate. Silky in the mouth,
with a rather long, fruit-filled finish offering slight astringency. This wine definitely requires decanting or further
2014 Broadley Jessica Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Very ripe fruited
aromas including Bing cherry are accompanied by notes of woodpile and
smokehouse maple spice. Lush and endowed on the palate, with a rush
of deep black cherry, boysenberry and blackberry fruit flavors that
explode in the mouth. Soft and succulent, with favorable balance,
finishing with remarkable intensity of smoky dark fruits. When tasted the
following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the
amazing fruit explosion on the palate and the incredibly intense finish
persisted. A hedonistic wine.
Dion Vineyard, Cornelius, Oregon
A family owned and operated vineyard in the north end of the Chehalem Mountains AVA, just west of Beaverton
and Portland, Oregon. Three generations of the family have been stewards of the land that is Dion Vineyard.
Today, husband and wife Kevin Johnson and Beth Klingner produce 800 to 1,000 cases of Pinot Noir,
Chardonnay and Pinot Gris annually, available for tasting at the winery Friday-Sunday April through November.
Premium wine grapes are also sold to other wineries throughout Oregon. Visit www.dionvineyards.com.
2015 Dion Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., $25.
Light ruby red color in the
glass. Lovely perfume of red cherry, cranberry relish, sandalwood and rose petal. Forward and giving
in a mid weight style with flavors of sweet red cherry and strawberry. Succulent on the mid palate,
with supportive tannins and some finishing purpose.
2014 Dion Old Vines Limited Release Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., $50. Vineyard block planted in 1976 on 10 acres.
Self-rooted, non-irrigated Pommard clone.
Light ruby red color in the
glass. Pleasurable scents of red and purple fruits and spice. Expansive,
polished and refined in the mouth in a middleweight style. The very ripe
cherry core of fruit is underlain with flavors of brown spice, nutmeg and
raisin. Smooth in texture, with svelte tannins and envious balance,
finishing with intensity and lasting goodness.
Flâneur Wines, Carlton, Oregon
The current Director of Vineyards and Winemaker for Flâneur Wines is Grant Coulter, who worked for years at
Beaux Frères, and who joined Flâneur at the end of 2015. The 2016 vintage is Coulter’s first vine to bottle
vintage. The wine reviewed here was crafted by Kely Kidneigh. A tasting room opened in 2016 at the estate
Flanerie Vineyard, located in Newberg in the Chehalem Mountains AVA.
2014 Flâneur Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
alc., 250 cases, $40. 60% estate Flanerie Vineyard and 40%
X-Novo Vineyard. Fermented with feral yeast, aged 18
months in French oak barrels (40% new) and bottled
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Heady
aromas of black cherry, spice and floral bouquet captivate.
Opens slowly in the glass, offering a core of sappy black
cherry and black raspberry goodness accented with welcome spice and
framed by muscular tannins. The finish is particularly impressive, leaving
a trail of spiced dark fruits in its wake. Even better when tasted later in
the day from a previously opened bottle.
iOTA Cellars, Amity, Oregon
Owners and winemakers Johanna and Don Sandberg relocated from Minneapolis to Portland, Oregon in 1999
to investigate growing grapes and making wine in the Willamette Valley. A family partner owner, Lynne Pelos
contributed financial and marketing support so that by the end of 2000, they had moved to the future vineyard
site to oversee land development and learn the business of growing grapes. The vineyard was first planted in
2002. The 57-acre parcel of land had never been planted to grapes. Located in the northern Eola Hills of
Yamhill County, the land sits just east of the Van Duzer corridor. As of 2014, there were 14.5 acres planted to
Pinot Noir, with a small amount of Chardonnay. Some grapes are sold to Big Table Farm. Visit
2014 iOTA Not One iOTA Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
alc., 658 cases, $28. A blend of barrels not used in the flagship or whole cluster bottlings. Aged 11
months in French oak barrels, 7% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry,
Asian 5-spice and smoky timber. Rich and fully flavored, with a satisfying core of cherry fruit and
welcome t n’a balance. A smoky, barnyard character is noted upon pouring the wine, but this tends
to largely resolve over time in the glass. This rustic barnyard note is typical of Pinot Noir from this
vineyard. A very good value.
2014 iOTA Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 486 cases, $40. The winery’s
flagship bottling. A selection of barrels including all four of the
clones in the Pelos-Sandberg Vineyard: Pommard,
Wädenswil, Dijon 777 and 667. Aged 11 months in French
oak barrels, 40% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass.
Appealing aromas of black cherry, blackberry, and pipe smoke. Plush in
the mouth with a serious extract of fresh black cherry and black
raspberry fruit flavors accented with spice and a subtle smoky signature.
Plenty to discover in this wine with many nuances, commendable
harmony and an inspiring finish.
2014 iOTA Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Whole Cluster Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 94
cases, $44. Four barrels of 100% whole cluster Pinot Noir. 25% each of Pommard, Wädenswil, 777 and 667
clones. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. Bottled unfiltered.
Moderately dark garnet color in the
glass. Exotically perfumed with aromas of dark berries, spice, sweet smoke and oil can. More intensely
flavored with a more profound attack than the flagship bottling, offering flavors of purple and black berries,
spice, mushroom, smoke and earth. Velveteen in texture, with snappy acidity and a very long, sweet cherry
finish. Much more rounded and inviting when tasted two days later from a previously opened and re-corked
Lingua Franca, Salem, Oregon
The leader of this new and exciting project is noted Master Sommelier and former general manager of Evening
Land, Larry Stone. The executive winemaker is Burgundian vigneron Dominique Lafon, and Thomas Savry, a
former assistant winemaker at Evening Land who previously worked in the cellar and vineyard at Domaine de
la Romanée-Conti, is the full-time winemaker. The winery and newly planted estate vineyard are located next
door to Evening Land’s Seven Springs Vineyard (from which Lingua Franca buys fruit).
The grapes are picked earlier than most, cold soak (a technique to gain extraction of color and aroma from the
skins) is avoided. The wines are aged in French oak, but never more than medium-plus toast. The resultant
wines are quite distinct as evidenced by their tension, elegance and sense of purity. The wines need time in the
cellar and only offer their charms with decanting or left untouched in the bottle a few days after sampling.
The Avni label is the more affordable and approachable offering of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The upper tier
Pinot Noirs feature names connected to people at the winery, and are made in very small quantities. Total
production in 2015 was 4,000 cases.
The wines are sold on the website, www.linguafranca.com, and through limited retail channels such as Avalon
Wine Inc & Northwest-Wine at www.northwest-wine.com and Oregon Pinot Noir Club at
www.oregonpinotnoir.com. Wines other than those reviewed here include 2015 Lingua Franca Rosé of Pinot
Noir Coeur Libéré ($24), 2015 Lingua Franca Avni Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir ($45), 2015 Lingua Franca
Mimi’s Mind ($105), 2015 Lingua Franca Sisters Chardonnay ($105)
The 2015 Lingua Franca Avni Chardonnay is reviewed below.
2015 Lingua Franca Joshua, Junichi and Siri Ribbon Ridge Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $50. Named
after three individuals who volunteered to work the first harvest. The crew cut the ends off the clusters for this
whole berry cuvée. A portion of fruit fermented via carbonic maceration (grapes ferment inside their own skins
in the absence of oxygen rather than being crushed first). This produces a notably fruity and juicy wine. It was
then blended with traditionally fermented Pinot Noir that has more serious extraction and tannin.
light garnet color in the glass. Upon opening, the nose is rather primary, offering demure aromas of red cherry,
spice and sous-bois. Tasted two days later from a previously opened bottle, the nose was more aromatic with
fresh scents of red cherry and strawberry fruits and burnt tobacco. Like the nose, the palate was much more
expressive two days later. Silky and elegant on the palate with a mid weight array of red fruits including cherry,
cranberry, raspberry and dark strawberry accented by spice. Fresh and lithe, with modest tannins,
complimentary oak, and an explosion of red cherry on the finish.
2015 Lingua Franca Ryan’s Plow Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $60. Named
after Ryan Hannaford who is an Aussie transplant to the Willamette Valley and has a talent for
biodynamic farming. The sources for this cuvée are tended by Ryan and come from two Jory soil
vineyards near Lingua Franca (Seven Springs and Black Walnut vineyards).
Moderately light garnet
color in the glass. My notes reflect my impressions of the wine when tasted two days after opening.
Seductive aromas of cherry, strawberry and spice lead to an elegantly composed wine with vibrant
flavors of cherry and strawberry. Suave tannins, noticeable mid palate intensity, and a remarkable finish
filled with sweet cherry and strawberry aromatic goodness.
2015 Lingua Franca Tongue ‘n Cheek Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $60.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. My notes reflect my impressions of the wine from a
previously opened bottle two days prior. Initially the nose and palate were quite primary. Penetrating
aromas of dark red cherry and berry, dark red rose and anise. Mid weight plus in style, offering the
vivid essence of fresh dark red cherries. Somewhat earthbound, with an attractive note of iron
minerality. Expansive in the mouth, impeccably balanced, and sporting a remarkable finish replete with
dark cherry fruit that is tenacious for what seems like a minute.
Nicholas-Jay, Newberg, Oregon
The 2015 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is the second vintage from this winery. The winery is a culmination of a
thirty-year friendship between American Jay Boberg and French vintner Jean-Nicolas Méo, who first met in
Philadelphia when Jean-Nicolas was studying economics and was on an exchange program in the United
States. They connected immediately over their shared interests in wine and music. They built their friendship
while Jean-Nicolas took over as winemaker at his family’s domaine in Burgundy, Domaine Méo Camuzet, and
Jay co-founded the indie record label I.R.S. Records, later becoming President of MCA/Universal Records.
Both Jay and Jean-Nicolas have had a longtime interest in the Willamette Valley. In 2012, they set out to start a
project in Oregon, conducting intensive tastings and immersing themselves in the Willamette Valley wine world.
The vineyard that stood out for both of them in blind tastings was for sale and they were able to purchase the
33-acre Bishop Creek Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Fruit is also sourced from almost every AVA in the
Jay and Jean-Nicolas both call the Willamette Valley their second home, traveling to Oregon regularly and
bringing their families and recruiting friends to help during harvest. Associate Winemaker Tracy Kendall
provides the consistent day-to-day guidance.
Nicolas-Jay wines are now distributed nationally and internationally. “French winemaking with Oregon terroir.”
The website is www.nicolas-jay.com.
2015 Nicolas-Jay Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
pH 3.63, TA 0.56, 2,400 cases, $65 ($150 magnum). Released
April 2017. Fruit sourced from every AVA in the Willamette
Valley, almost exclusively biodynamic, organic and LIVE certified
vineyards.Harvest Brix 22.6º. Aged in French oak barrels, 33%
new, 67% neutral.
A very interesting wine that does not make an
impression upon opening but evolves beautifully over time. When
I tasted this wine at 10 a.m. and then again at 5 p.m. from the same
bottle, the wine had transformed dramatically. I drank a glass with dinner
and can attest to its superb food compatibility. Moderate dark garnet
color in the glass. Highly pleasing aromas of black cherry, blackberry,
spice and sous-bois. Mid weight plus in style, with charming flavors of
blueberry, dark cherry and earthy delight. Soft in the mouth, with a structure for aging, and a sleek, rewarding
finish that is fruit-filled and refreshing. Still terrific when tasted the following day. If you want to drink now,
decant and leave in the decanter for several hours prior to drinking. This will allow the wine to become
noticeably more cordial.
Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, Newberg, Oregon
2015 Penner-Ash Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Oregon Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., 430 cases, $65.
Pommard, Wädenswil, and Dijon 777 and 114. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 31% new.
garnet color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of cherry, spice and sous-bois. Soft, even creamy in the mouth, with
a discreet concentration of dark berry and black cherry fruits. Seamless, with a deft touch of oak, and enticing
blackberry fueled finish. Still shows impeccable balance when tasted the following day from a previously
opened and re-corked bottle.
Rain Dance Vineyards, Newberg, Oregon
Rain Dance Vineyards is a newer producer with an Oregon agricultural and hospitality legacy dating to 1859.
Ken and Celia Austin of Newberg, Oregon, founded the winery in 2009 and debuted their first vintage in 2013.
Rain Dance is home to 120 acres of farmland including 73 acres of LIVE and Salmon Safe vineyards. A
collection of four estate vineyards includes 53 acres of Pinot Noir, 17 acres of Chardonnay, 2 acres of Riesling
and 1 acre of Gewürztraminer. The vines are dry farmed sustainably using balanced pruning, careful attention
to cover cropping and multiple thinning passes to insure low yields. Vine by vine composting is one particularly
unique approach. Vineyard clients include Adelsheim, Alexana and King Estate.
The wines are produced and bottled under the direction of winemaker Bryan Weil of Alexana Winery in a
custom crush agreement working closely with Ken and Celia Austin.
The winery’s country tasting room is located at 26335 NE Bell Road just minutes from the center of Newberg.
Tasting is offered at the tasting bar, or covered porch or outdoor patio. Open daily. Visit
2016 Rain Dance Estate Nicholas Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Oregon Rosé of Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.41,
TA 0.66, RS 0.05%, 81 cases, $22, screwcap. Harvest Brix
22.4º. Dijon clone 114. Whole cluster pressed, cold fermented,
vinified in 100% neutral French oak barrels.
color in the glass. Exuberant aromas of strawberry,
watermelon, orange water, pale cherry and briar. Nicely
composed in a bright, crisp style, with flavors of blood orange and
strawberry, finishing with thirst quenching resolve. A superb rosé.
2015 Rain Dance Estate Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.52,
125 cases, $40. Sourced from the estate Rain Dance Vineyard, established in 2009, and planted to
15 acres of Pinot Noir on Jory soil. Harvest Brix 25.5º. 60% Pommard, 20% Wädenswil, 20% Dijon
667. Triple hand sorted, 4-day cold soak, 10-day fermentation, aged in French oak barrels, 40%
new, 40% once filled and 20% neutral.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Highly aromatic, sporting
hi-tone aromas of black raspberry, blackberry, wine cave, toast and white pepper. Mid weight in
style, with a somewhat lush array of black raspberry, and blueberry-pomegranate fruit flavors overlain with
complimentary toasty oak. Silky and sleek in texture, with admirable balance and a pleasing finish.
Trisaetum Winery & Vineyards, Newberg, Oregon
Proprietor and winemaker James Frey (photo below) and proprietor Andrea Frey acquired a cattle ranch in the
foothills of the Coast Range outside McMinnville in 2003. Two years later they planted 22 acres of Pinot Noir
and Riesling, the two varietals the couple liked to drink. They later added 17 acres near Newberg on Ribbon
Ridge and again planted Pinot Noir and Riesling. Finally, an 8-acre vineyard in the Dundee Hills was acquired
The Freys built a modern winery, dramatically lit underground wine caves and a 1,500-square-foot art gallery to
display James’ and others artwork at Ribbon Ridge adjacent neighbors Beaux Freres and Brick House.
The name Trisaetum (“Tris-say-tum”) is a Latinized version of the names of their son Tristan and daughter
All Pinot Noirs are vinified with fruit from estate vineyards. This was my first encounter with the lineup of
Trisaetum Pinot Noirs and I was quite impressed.
Beginning in 2013, Jacques Lardiere of Louis Jadot began vinifying Louis Jadot’s Resonance wines at
The winery’s tasting room and art gallery are open Thursday through Sunday. Visit www.trisaetum.com.
2015 Trisaetum Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., 4,000 cases, $36. Released June 2017. A blend of
fruit from Trisaetum’s three estate vineyards.
color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, pomegranate and
toast lead to a forward-drinking, juicy mid weight styled wine
of welcome harmony. Flavors of black cherry and blackberry
are enhanced with a touch of oak, and the wine finishes with a burst of
black raspberry goodness. An delightful everyday table wine.
2015 Trisaetum Wichmann Dundee Estate Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
302 cases, $49. Released March 2017. A single vineyard bottling from Trisaetum’s 8-acre Wichmann Dundee
Estate Vineyard. Old vines planted in red volcanic soils.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of
muddled black cherry, wilted rose and brown spice arrive over time in the glass. Elegant in character, and light
to mid weight in extraction, featuring a core of fresh red cherry fruit and a sidecar of subtle herbs. The wine
offers soft, comforting tannins and a bright cherry cola finish. More enjoyable when tasted the following day
from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2015 Trisaetum Coast Range Estate Yamhill Carlton Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., 459
cases, $49. Released March 2017. A single vineyard bottling from Trisaetum’s 22-acre Coast Range Estate
Vineyard. A mix of volcanic and sedimentary soils.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of cherry
and underbrush lead to a mouth filling array of cherry and berry flavors alongside a rocky minerality. Nicely
balanced, with fine-grain tannins, a soothing, luxurious mouthfeel, and a cherry driven finish. Enters a little
better than it finishes.
2015 Trisaetum Ribbon Ridge Estate Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 432
cases, $49. Released March 2017. A single vineyard bottling from Trisaetum’s 17-acre Ribbon Ridge Estate
Vineyard. This site has rare high quartz sandstone soils.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Love the soaring
aromas of black cherry, spice and sandalwood that build in intensity over time in the glass. Impressive attack of
black cherry, black raspberry and sarsaparilla flavors framed by complimentary fine-grain tannins. Smooth and
silky in the mouth with impeccable balance, finishing with purpose and generosity.
2015 Trisaetum Estates Reserve Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., 358 cases, $69.
Released June 2017. A combination of Trisaetum’s three estate vineyards. A selection of the most
Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose is grand, with gloriously fresh aromas of
blackberry, black grape, spice and fertile earth. A flavor explosion greets the palate with layers of
purple and black fruit accented with notes of spice, savory herbs and toasty oak. Well-structured with
suede tannins and a remarkably long finish.
2014 Trisaetum Family Reserve Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 142 cases, $100. Release August 2017.
A combination of Trisaetum’s three estate vineyards.
garnet color in the glass. Heady scents of black pie cherries,
grilled beef and brioche. Intense attack and mid palate presence
of black cherry and black raspberry fruits with added tastes of
dark chocolate and Asian-5-spice. The cashmere texture is quite
seductive, the sap is mouth coating, and the finish is grand cru in spirit.
An age worthy, connoisseur's wine.
Van Duzer Vineyards, Dallas, Oregon
2014 Van Duzer Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $32, screwcap. San Francisco Chronicle
Wine Competition Gold Medal. Sourced from Van Duzer Estate, Kalita, Saffron Fields and Dukes Family
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose opens slowly in the glass to reveal delicate
aromas of raspberry, dried red cherry, mocha and bark. Light to mid weight in style, with darker fruit flavors on
the palate including black cherry, black raspberry and Damsel plum. Matching tannins, a light touch of oak, and
a modest finish complete the picture.
2014 Van Duzer Homestead Block Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $60. 100% Pommard
clone from the Van Duzer Estate Vineyard. 30-year-old, own-rooted vines planted at the site of the original
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of red berries, red cherry, mushroom and oak
spice arrive slowly in the glass. More expressive on the pleasing palate, with juicy flavors of dark red raspberry
and cherry accented with a bit of oak spice. Noticeable mid palate presence, inviting balance, bright acidity and
a cherry fueled finish. Still fine when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2014 Van Duzer Westside Blocks Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.53, 429
cases, $60. Cole Danehower Memorial Award Winner. Best Oregon Wine of Cascadia Wine Competition. Dijon
777, 113, Wädenswil, and Pommard clones. A limited selection of the best lots.
Delicate aromas of cherry,
vanilla and toast lead off. Deep cherry flavor supported by integrated fine-grain tannins. Satiny smooth in
texture, with noticeable length on the finish, leaving behind plenty of cherry goodness in its wake. Considerable
more flavor expression when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2014 Van Duzer Dijon Blocks Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.52, 297 cases, $60. Four Dijon clones from the
Van Duzer Estate Vineyard contribute to this blend: 777, 113, 115 and
Moderate garnet color in the glass. A well composed and balanced
wine with aromas of black cherry, floral bouquet and nutty oak, and mid
weight plus flavors of sappy, dark red and purple fruits including
boysenberry, blueberry and pomegranate. Texturally pleasing with satin
and polish, finishing with good purpose and juiciness. More integration
and approachability when tasted the following day from a previously
opened and re-corked bottle.
2014 Van Duzer Bieze Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.57, 127
cases, $60. Wine Club members exclusive. 62% Dijon 777 and 28% Dijon 667. Red volcanic soils. Aged in
French oak barrels, 45% new.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of dark red cherry, earthy flora
and peppery herbs lead to a light to mid weight styled palate of nicely spiced black cherry and raspberry fruit
flavors. The tannins are noticeably silky and there is admirable vibrancy, creating a harmonious impression.
The finish is particularly noteworthy, offering uplifting and persistent Montmorency cherry goodness.
Walnut City Wineworks, McMinnville, Oregon
Walnut City has crafted wines in a historic McMinnville winery since 1999. The facility was formerly a walnut
processing plant that inspired the winery’s name. Walnut City is rooted in farming and manages over 200 acres
of vineyards in the Willamette Valley, having planted, grafted and grown more than a million vines. The
reviewed wines are made from LIVE Certified Sustainable vineyards. Visit www.walnutcitywineworks.com.
The 2014 Walnut City Wineworks Reserve Chardonnay is reviewed below.
2014 Walnut City Wineworks La Cantera Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
pH 3.54, TA 0.63, 110 cases, $40. Wädenswil clone planted in Laurelwood soil at a 30-year-old vineyard. A
combination of de-stemmed (75%) and whole cluster fermentation (25%). 2-day cold soak, daily pumpovers.
Uninoculated fermentation with twice daily foot treading on the whole cluster lots and punchdowns on the destemmed
lots. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 15% new.
Light ruby red color in the glass. Shy aromas
of red cherry, dark red cranberry, red rose and sandalwood. An easy drinking mid weight style, offering an array
of red fruit flavors embellished with subtle oak highlights. Infused with bright acidity, the wine finishes modestly.
When tasted two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was unchanged.
2014 Walnut City Wineworks Reserve Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., pH 3.69, 333
cases, $30. Harvest Brix 23.5º-25.2º. 50% La Cantera Vineyard (Chehalem Mountains AVA), 30% Carlton Hill
Vineyard (Yamhill-Carlton AVA), and 20% Folie Hill Vineyard (Dundee Hills AVA). 100% de-stemmed. 3 to 5-day
cold soak. Combination of native and inoculated yeast fermentation. Aged 12 months with light lees contact,
then racked clean to barrels for another 5 months before bottling.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass.
The nose leads with aromas of cherry, strawberry, toast and green bean. Noticeable vibrancy on the mid weight
palate, displaying flavors of black cherry, raspberry and cranberry with a green note in the background.
Integrated firm tannins, finishing slightly tart with good length. When tasted two days later from a previously
opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was more savory in character with notable vegetal notes and less