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.
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.
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
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
$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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.