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Small Sips of Oregon Pinot

2008 Anne Amie Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., December 2010 release, screw cap. Composed of grapes from 11 vineyards. Clones Pommard 4, 114, 115, 667, 777, 828. Aged 10 mos in 26% new, 20% 1-year-old, and 54% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Alluring aromas of crushed berries and dark red cherries with whiffs of Coca-Cola and rosehips. Flavors of black raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and cherry skins flood the mouth with pleasure, caressed by fine grain tannins and framed vividly by bright acidity. I couldn’t stop drinking this one. A terrific Willamette Valley blend that packs in plenty of pleasure. Kudos to winemaker Thomas Houseman who has brought Anne Amie into the upper echelon of Willamette Valley producers. A featured winery at the 2010 International Pinot Noir Celebration.

2008 A to Z Oregon Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $16, screw cap. A to Z Wineworks makes “Aristocratic wines at democratic prices.” · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Fragrant with berry and cherry fruits and some herbal oak and brioche notes. Light on the palate with a demure core of red stone fruits with hints of loamy earth, sage and a touch of citrus peel on the finish. Clean, direct, well-defined and well-priced. Good.

2008 Klee Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $17. From Chris Berg’s Racine Wine Co. which also produces the Roots line of Willamette Valley wines. Paul Klee (1879-1940) was a famous teacher of the Bauhaus movement that emphasized functionality, affordability and consistence, all attributes of the Klee wines. The painting that inspired the label is at bauhaus.de. · The nuanced perfume is quite floral with added notes of wild berries, underbrush and spice. Soft and smooth and moderately rich in the mouth featuring dark red dried cherry and berry flavors, an underpinning of earthiness, and fine, ripe tannins. A dependable daily drinker. Good.

2008 Westrey Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $20. Winemakers are husband and wife Amy Wesselman and David Autrey. Unfiltered. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely nose featuring dark red raspberries, ripe cherries and dried rose petals. Picks up fruit in the glass over time with notes of red hard cherry candy. Moderately light and soft on the palate with cherry notes persisting on the finish which features bright acidity. Can drink now, but like so many Oregon 08 Pinots, has the structure to age. Good (+).

2008 Cardwell Hill Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., $24. Wädenswil, Pommard, Dijon 115 and 777 clones from an estate vineyard in Philomath, Oregon. · The nose blossoms with time in the glass offering enticing aromas of deep, dark fruits, cut flowers, spice, oak and a hint of spearmint. Restrained but charming in the mouth with discreetly concentrated dark red cherries and berries and a slight note of grapefruit peel on the bright finish. This wine displays welcoming finesse in a well-crafted style offering great value. Very good.

2008 Westrey Oracle Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $25. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of darker fruits with a hint of oak. Rich, silky and comforting on the palate with darker fruits grabbing the limelight. Not as expressive as would like with a little stem note. Impressive fruit core with the tannic structure and acidity to go the distance. Hold this wine in your cellar while you drink the Willamette Valley bottling. Very good.

2008 Benton Lane Estate Grown Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.45%, pH 3.63, 16,670 cases, $26, screw cap. A featured winery at this year’s IPNC, Benton Lane was founded by Steve and Carol Girard in 1988. The stamp label is distinctive. 7 clones (Pommard, Wädenswil, Dijon 113, 114, 115, 667 and 777). Pneumatage employed (bubbles of air rise through fermenting wine breaking up the cap allowing excellent extraction of color and flavor. Aged 9 months in French oak barrels. Winemaker Chris Mazepink. · Lovely berry melange on the nose. An easy drinker that is light in the mouth with flavorful notes of spicy dark red berries with an earthy undertone. Ready to grace the dinner table now. Very good.

2008 Cristom Mt Jefferson Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $26. Always the first of Cristom’s Pinot Noir releases each vintage. · Moderately deep reddish-purple robe. Intoxicating aromas of dark berry tart and exotic baking spices. Delicious, crisp and juicy berry fruit set off by an intense spiciness that is something I love in Pinot Noir. Harmoniously crafted offering brisk acidity that lifts the refreshing finish. A beautiful wine that is fairly forward for an 08 and can be enjoyed now. Very good (+).

2008 St. Innocent Temperance Hill Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 656 cases, $30. The vineyard is ten miles northwest of Salem, OR. Sourced from blocks planted in 1984 and 1995 on thin basalt soil. Yields 1.6 tons/acre. · The nose draws you in with a perfume of dark berry fruits, rose petals and subtle oak char. Soft and sensual in the mouth with layers of flavor including tastes of red and purple fruits, cola, tar, brown spice, root beer and herbs. A thread of oak runs thru. Elegantly styled and alluring, but needs time to open in the glass. The label advises decanting now and I agree completely. An excellent cellar candidate that will reward patience. Very good.

2008 Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $35. From The Evening Land Vineyards, Salem, OR. · Aromas of dark cherries, wooded forest and oak. Charming cherry and raspberry fruit with a hint of oak-derived vanillin, smoke and grilled meats. The tannins are restrained and the fruit-packed finish lingers. Needs time to reach its full expression and allow the oak to integrate, but a solid wine that will shine. Very good.

2008 Owen Roe The Kilmore Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $35. Pommard, Wädenswil, and Dijon clones from selected unnamed vineyard sites. · Moderately deep color. Subdued aromas of berry compote, wet earth, mushroom and subtle spice. Hints at greatness but is closed. Tight in the mouth offering glimpses of black cherry fruit and some mocha magic. Nicely crafted, but like many 08 Pinots from Oregon, just not exciting now and needs cellaring. Very good.

2008 Beaux Frères Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $40. Unfined and unfiltered. 49% Zena Crown Vineyard, 33% Shea Vineyard, 18% Amalie Robert Vineyard. · Nicely perfumed with darker red fruits, red roses and savory spices. A modest wine that aims to please with attractive flavors of dark red berries, cherries and red licorice. A comforting mouthfeel and soft tannins add to the appeal. Fine, but not exciting, and expensive for what it is. Good.

2008 Lemelson Vineyards Jerome Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $40. · Very dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure scents of blackberries and raspberries with a touch of smoky oak. Rich and full-bodied on the palate featuring purple fruits, an underpinning of smoky oak and an uplifting grip of acidity on the finish. A fruit-driven wine that speaks to hedonists, but retains an elegant and silky edge. Still linear at this stage in its evolution and needs more time. Good (+).

2008 Elk Cove Mount Richmond Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.68, 894 cases, $48. From a vineyard planted in high density format in 1996 with old Pommard cuttings from Roosevelt Vineyard. Clones 115 and 777 add to the mix. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark plums and tea with oak. Full-bodied hedonistic fruit buried in oak and tannin at present. Just doesn’t offer a load of pleasure now and needs time in the cellar to integrate the oak and tannin. Good.

2008 Bergström De Lancellotti Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., $50. Demeter certified Biodynamic® vineyard. · Moderate reddishpurple hue in the glass. Very shy fruit on the nose with hints of brioche and cut flowers. Hi-tone red and black fruits with undertones of pomegranate, edible flowers and oak. Great purity of fruit, silky textured, with admirable elegance and harmony. Needs cellaring. Very good.

2008 Benton Lane Estate Grown First Class Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.75% alc., pH 3.77, 740 cases, $60. Classy label and screw cap. Only produced in special vintages. A selection of the best lots in the cellar aged 16 months in French oak barrels. The barrels were pre-blended to ensure consistency and then racked into barrels to complete the aging process. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Wonderful perfume of spiced dark cherry and berry fruits, anise, and red rose petals, picking up intensity over time. Delicious raspberry and cherry cola flavors cloaked in ripe, fine-grain tannins leading to a pleasingly aromatic and persistent finish. A sophisticated wine that is both sensual and beautifully crafted. This wine will find many fans.

2007 Soter Mineral Springs Ranch Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $40. · Deeply colored in the glass. Lovely core of purple fruits on the nose with whiffs of breakfast (bacon and mocha java coffee). Tasty, rich and ripe on the palate featuring flavors of blackberry jam, cassis and black cherries with a sidecar of earth and toast. Full-bodied, but retains an appealing elegance. Still a Lolita. A perfect example of why the 2007 vintage in Oregon should not be overlooked, especially from proven winegrowers such as Tony Soter. Even better the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Very good.

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