VOLUME 10, ISSUE 18
September 29, 2015
ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE:
Willamette Valley’s 50th Anniversary: A New Look at the Old Guard Pinot Briefs
This is the oldest winery in the southern Willamette Valley but a new find for me. The winery and estate vineyard are located on a hillside 15 miles west of Eugene. Winemaker Matthew LaVelle crafts multiple varietals including Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, Dry Rosé of Gamay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer, as well as Columbia Valley Eastern Washington Chardonnay, Viognier, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Bordeaux blends.
Matthew joined the winery in 2006 and took over as winemaker in 2008, working closely with consulting winemaker Gary Carpenter. Matthew’s father, Douglas LaVelle, founded LaVelle Vineyards in 1994, taking over the existing bonded winery license from Lee Smith (Forgeron Vineyards). Lee and Linda Smith were among the first to plant vineyards in the Willamette Valley, establishing the estate vineyard in 1972. The first plantings were Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Müller Thurgau and Chenin Blanc. Over the years, the climate proved best suited for Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Riesling, and the vineyard was grafted over in 1998 to these three varieties.
In 1998 he opened the LaVelle Wine Bar & Bistro (now known as The Club Room at the Market) at the 5th Street Public Market in downtown Eugene, Oregon where gourmet cuisine is paired with LaVelle wines.
The winery is open daily from 12:00 to 5:00 for tasting. The property includes a 16-acre vineyard, a modern winery, and surrounding gardens and lawns. The wines are also sold through a mailing list and online.
Articles About LaVelle Vineyards
2008 LaVelle Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc.. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Haunting aromas of fresh cherries and baking spices. Very fresh and vibrant flavors of black cherry and raspberry in a mid weight style with soft, lush tannins, a compliment of oak, and admirable harmony. This wine had amazing staying power over time in the glass. Drinking perfectly now. Score: 92. Reviewed February 8, 2015 ARTICLE »
2008 LaVelle Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., 635 cases, $24. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Great nose that keeps pumping out aromas of Bing cherries and spice. Delicious red berry and cherry fruit core with the slightest note of peppermint. Elegant and harmonious with soft tannins and a refreshing finish showing some persistence of juicy fruit. Highly drinkable now and a great value. Very good (+). Reviewed September 8, 2010 ARTICLE »
2008 LaVelle Matthew’s Reserve Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 430 cases, $35.99. The first reserve from this winery since 1998. Very impressive when tasted in September 2010. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Slowly evolves in the glass eventually offering intense aromatic charm with scents of black raspberries and dark stone fruits. Moderately intense core of black cherry and black raspberry flavors with accents of tea, cola and anise. The fruit really sings a high note from the eye-popping entry to a finish that seems to last an eternity. The tannins have melded and the texture is all silk and satin. Divine. Reviewed January 12, 2012 ARTICLE »
2008 LaVelle Vineyards Matthew’s Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 430 cases, $35.99. The first Reserve Pinot Noir produced since 1998. · Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Somewhat brooding initially but opening nicely with coaxing to reveal an intense perfume of fresh darker berries and cherries with a subtle savory and floral note. More structured and intense than the regular Willamette Valley bottling, with tasty flavors of cassis, black cherry, and anise augmented by a note of loamy earth and oak in the background. The impressive depth of flavors really grabs your attention. Drinks easily now but will be better with another year or two of cellaring. A Pinot that deserves the Reserve designation. Reviewed September 8, 2010 ARTICLE »
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