Sips of Recently Tasted Oregon Pinot Noir
Love & Squalor, McMinnville, OR
2015 Love & Squalor Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.54, 1,100 cases, $28. Release
November 2017. A multi-vineyard, multi-appellation blend intended to capture the essence of the vintage. Clones
are Pommard, 667, 777, 113, 114, 115, “828,” and 23. Grapes were mostly de-stemmed (3% whole cluster).
Small-lot fermentations were not inoculated and punched down by hand. Aged in neutral French oak barrels for
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Faint aromas of black cherry, blackberry and Nutella.
Straightforward mid weight flavors of black cherry and raspberry backed by significant tannins that tilt the
balance. Decent attack of fruit and mid palate richness, and a juicy, cherry-fueled finish. No oak involved.
2015 Love & Squalor Temperance Hill Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.52, 50 cases,
$52. Release spring 2018. Vineyard is one of Oregon’s most esteemed.
Planted in 1981 and now spreads over 100 acres of volcanic soil.
Farmed by Das Crisp and his team. Most likely 100% clone 667. 100%
de-stemmed, un-inoculated fermentation, and aged in mostly neutral
French oak barrels.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Comforting
aromas of berry compote and fertile earth. A mid weight melange of
raspberry, cherry and blueberry fruits bring the wine a regal presence.
Satiny in texture, with a remarkable sweet fruited finish of uncommon
2015 Love & Squalor Sunny Mountain Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.59, 50 cases, $52. Release spring 2018. This vineyard is located above the
town of Monroe in the southernmost reaches of the Willamette Valley AVA. 12 acres tended by Steve Price, a
former Professor of Viticulture at Oregon State University in Corvallis. The vineyard was planted in 2005 to
Pommard, “828,” and Mariafeld clones in sedimentary Belpine soil.100% de-stemmed, short cold soak, uninoculated
fermentation, manual punch downs, aged in neutral French oak barrels for 18 months. Racked twice
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose is earthbound, with aromas of earthy flora and
underbrush. On the palate, this mid weight plus wine offers a stunningly intense attack of berry flavors including
black raspberry, blackberry and Marionberry. Rich and lush, with matched, sultry tannins and a fruit-filled finish
that lingers. The wine reflects its warmer terroir origins.
2014 Love & Squalor Temperance Hill Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
pH 3.65, TA 0.53, 25 cases (1 barrel), $52. In release. Clones are Pommard, 667, 113 and 114. 10% whole
cluster, 90% de-stemmed, short cold soak, un-inoculated fermentation, manual punch downs. Aged 18 months in
French oak barrels, 66% once-filled.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of boysenberry, blackberry
jam and nutty oak. The mid weight core of sweet, sappy black fruits is well-spiced. There are harmonious tannins
and acidity, an appealing earthiness, an easygoing texture and some invigorating fruit on the finish, but the wine
loses my interest when tasted several hours later.
Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, Newberg, OR
Lynn Penner-Ash is working her 20th harvest at Penner-Ash Wine Cellars and 30th in Oregon in 2017. Lynn and
husband Ron founded Penner-Ash Wine Cellars 20 years ago and much has changed since then. Lynn notes
that equipment was hard to find. Their architect had never designed a winery from start to finish, let alone a
gravity-fed design. There were only 49 wineries then compared to 723 now. Penner-Ash Wine Cellars is now
owned by Jackson Family Estates, but Lynn remains the winemaker. Except for the Pas de Nom, that is primarily
a winery-exclusive bottling, these wines are available both through the winery and select markets nationally. Visit
2015 Penner-Ash Wine Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.54, 9,100 cases, $40.
Sourced from 13 vineyards. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 29% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass.
This nose is entirely seductive over time, exhibiting aromas of black cherry, fertile soil and warm spices. A very
forward and friendly wine featuring middleweight flavors of black cherry and blackberry fruits that have an
expansive presence in the mouth and finish with stellar length. There is a significant tannic backbone and the
right touch of nutty oak.
2015 Penner-Ash Wine Cellars Estate Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.76, TA
0.55, 1,000 cases, $65. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 27% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. An
arsenal of dark red cherry and berry fruits emerge over time in the glass. Slow to give up its charms initially but
regal and great when tasted later in the day from a previously opened bottle. A mid weight assortment of purple
and black fruits are fresh and deep, backed by a taut tannic spine and enough acidity for freshness. The
harmonious mouthfeel draws you back to the glass and nuances of spice and earth show up in time. Built for
aging, this wine will benefit from more time in the cellar and may be deserving of an even higher score over time.
2015 Penner-Ash Wine Cellars Zena Crown Vineyard Eola- Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH
3.74, TA 0.49, 500 cases, $65. Aged 10 months in French oak
barrels, 30% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass.
Engaging aromas arrive over time in the glass, including
blackberry, cassis, toast, warm spices and bacon. Mid weight
plus in weight, with a substantial black fruit load balanced by
burly tannins. Oak is deftly matched to the fruit that has an earthy
underpinning. The wine was considerably better when tasted later in the
day from a previously opened bottle and may deserve a higher score with
a few years in the cellar.
2015 Penner-Ash Wine Cellars Pas de Nom Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.78, TA 0.47, 350
cases, $125. Sourced from Bella Vida, Shea, Penner-Ash Estate, Elevée, Hyland and Zena Crown vineyards.
Select barrels in the cellar. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 40% new, 25% one-year-old, 30% two-yearold
and 5% neutral.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Easy to find superlatives for this special wine with
no name. Intense aromas of cherry, rose petal and forest floor, broadening over time to deeper tones. Delicious
mid weight black raspberry, black cherry and blackberry fruit flavors that offer pleasing density and a mouth
coating finish. Stunning mid palate presence with a dreamy texture, integrated tannins, and a deft touch of toasty,
peppery oak. Considerably better when tasted later in the day from a previously opened bottle and still
embraceable two days later. This is a celebratory wine for special occasions.
2015 Penner-Ash Wine Cellars Oregon Syrah
14.9% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.66, 495 cases, $40. Sourced from six
Oregon vineyards in warmer growing regions. Aged 17 months in French oak barrels, 30% new, 35% one-yearold,
15% two-year-old and 20% neutral. l don’t review Syrah but I have a fondness for Oregon cool climate Syrah
so what the heck.
Dark garnet color in the glass. A serenade of cassis, white pepper and tobacco aromas lead
off. Full-bodied and robust with hefty tannins. A man’s wine with plenty of delectable blackberry, boysenberry and
black currant fruit accented with spice. Impressive length in the mouth with a persistent finish. This wine needs a
big ribeye steak. I had my neighbors try this one since they like bigger wines and they went ga-ga over it.
Tendril Wine Cellars, Gaston, OR
2008 was the first vintage crafted by noted winemaker Tony Rynders under his own personal Tendril label. The
name Tendril, honors the grapevine that is the foundation for all truly great wine. The wines reviewed below was
created by Tony as his signature five-course “meal” of Pinot Noir to show the range of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon round out Tendril’s portfolio. Tony holds a Master’s degree in Enology and
Viticulture from the University of California at Davis. He gained winemaking experience with harvests in Napa,
San Jose, Friuli, and Tuscany. His winemaking positions include two years at Argyle as assistant winemaker,
three years at Hogue Cellars as red winemaker and ten years at Domaine Serene as head winemaker.
Tony has a longstanding relationship with Saffron fields and Mt. Richmond vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA
and Clay Court and Carabella vineyards in the Chehalem Mountains. These growers emphasize minimal
intervention and sustainable farming, and open their doors to Tony, who is continually engaged with each site
throughout the growing season. In 2013, Tony planted a 19-acre estate vineyard named Maverick in Yamhill-
Carlton. Maverick is home to 4.5-acres of Chardonnay clones 95 and 765, and 6 acres of Pinot Noir planted to
clone 943 and California heritage selections of Swan and Calera and Mt. Eden clone.
The winery is home to one of Oregon’s only seated winemaker-led tastings personally presented by Tony
Rynders. To reserve, contact Tony at email@example.com or phone 503-858-4524. Visit
2014 Tendril Extrovert Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 367 cases, $48. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 43% new.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Very demure aromas of cherry and sweet oak. Light to mid weight in
style with cherry and blueberry flavors that extend the juicy finish. An easygoing and forward style with enough
tannin to pair with the fruit. Very solid wine, and embodies its “extrovert” name, but lacks aromatic intrigue even
over time in the glass.
2014 Tendril Mt. Richmond Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 104 cases, $60. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. A
dry-farmed vineyard planted in sedimentary soils west of Yamhill owned by Adam Campbell of Elk Grove Winery.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromatics of cherry, rose and nutty oak lead to a middleweight wine
that is both husky and sleek, as well as harmonious. Intriguingly earthy, with a dark cherry and berry core of fruit
framed by the typical tannins of Yamhill-Carlton. The wine finishes with exceptional joy and length.
2013 Tendril Tightrope Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 150 cases, $64. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 67% new. The goal
of this wine is to capture the best qualities of the vintage.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of
cherry, blueberry compote and white rose petal draw you into the glass. The tasty cherry core saturates the mid
palate with goodness. Impressive vibrancy and length in an easy to like wine that ends with plenty of aromatic
2013 Tendril C Note Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
alc., 73 cases, $100. Aged 17 months in 100% new French
oak barrels with 3-year, air-dried staves.
color in the glass. An array of pleasurable aromas arrive in the
glass including dark cherry, spice box, burnt tobacco and a
feminine perfume. The oak treatment is overbearing upon
opening, but when the wine was tasted later in the day, the oak
had integrated beautifully. The wine is mid weight in style with waves of
black cherry and dark berry fruits accented with a touch of oak-driven
tobacco. The ripe, very fine-grain tannins create textural charm. Perhaps
the most striking feature of this wine is the extra, I mean extra, long finish.
Decant or keep your hands off this another couple of years. Clearly a
2014 Tendril Willamette Valley Chardonnay
13.5% alc., 195 cases, $40. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 25% new.
Winemaker Tony Rynders has crafted Oregon Chardonnay since 1998.
Moderate golden yellow color in the
glass. The nose leads with scents of buttery brioche, lemon custard and nutty oak. Discreetly rich in the mouth,
with flavors of lemon, pineapple and golden apple. Slightly creamy, with a restrained oak imprint. A thoroughly
satisfying wine with commendable balance and spirit.
2014 Tendril Pretender Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 124 cases, $60. Aged 15 months in 0% new French oak barrels. A Pinot
Noir Blanc wine in which a red varietal is “pretending” to be a white wine. Winemaker Tony Rynders introduced
this style of Pinot Noir to Oregon while working at Domaine Serene.
Moderately light golden yellow color with a
slight pink tinge. Aromas of cut apple, poached pear and brown butter lead to a polished wine in the mouth
offering flavors of apple, white grape, watermelon and subtle spice and nuttiness. Satiny, even slightly viscous on
the palate, with a polished demeanor and a quenching finish. Still fine when tasted the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle, if not a little bit more enjoyable. I am not a big fan of Pinot Noir Blanc, so
the wine may be slightly underscored.