VOLUME 10, ISSUE 25
February 5, 2016
Noted winemaker Tony Soter (Etude, Araujo, Shafer, Sottswoode, Dalle Valle) returned to his roots (he is a Portland native), moved to Oregon for good and has settled in the Yamhill-Carlton District at Mineral Springs Ranch. This 250-acre ranch was planted to 15 acres of Pinot Noir in 2002 and 2003, and 17 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in 2006. The site has a compelling confluence of prime exposure and uniform, well-drained sedimentary soils. The 2005 vintage was the inaugural bottling from this vineyard.
The Beacon Hill Vineyard is located near Yamhill in the Yamhill-Carlton District and is the source of one of Soter's single-vineyard Pinot Noirs. The 22 acres are planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Early plantings (1988) are Pommard and Wädenswil clones on their own roots. Later plantings in 1998-2004 include "heirloom" clones. Soter sold the Beacon Hill Vineyard in 2005 and produced a Beacon Hill Pinot Noir through the 2006 vintage.
Mineral Springs Ranch is now the winery's only estate grape source. Three wines are produce: Michelle (a sparkling Pinot Noir rose), North Valley Pinot Noir (some non-estate grapes initially, eventually will be all estate grapes), and Mineral Springs Estate Pinot Noir from the prime vineyard location at the top of the hill. Production will be about 5,000 cases.
Initially Soter crafted his wines in a refurbished Yamhill County barn, originally dating from 1943. Caves were been dug next to the barn and lined in cement for barrel rooms. A permanent winery facility was completed adjacent to the caves in time for the 2006 vintage.
Soter brings experience with over 30 vintages. The Soter philosophy is to craft limited quantities of superb wines that fully express their sites, and in doing so remain stewards of the land and conscious of the well-being of future generations. All vineyards farmed by Soter are LIVE certified and he participates in the Oregon Certified Sustainable Wine (OCSW) program. The winery is certified as well and committed to carbon neutrality.
Assisting Soter in the winemaking duties is James Cahill.
The wines are widely distributed and sold on the website. Visits and tasting is by appointment (instructions on the website).
Articles About Soter Vineyards
2011 Oregon Pinot Noir All-Americans First Team (8.47 12/20/2011)
2012 Oregon Pinot Noir All-Americans Honorable Mention (9.17 12/26/2012)
2012 Oregon Pinot Noir All-Americans Second Team (9.17 12/26/2012)
Blush Pinot Noir is a REAL Wine (6.59 5/26/2008)
Embarrassment of Riches: Oregon (9.1 1/11/2012)
IPNC: Continuing Ed in Pinot Noirvana (6.35 8/6/2007)
More Sips of 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir (8.30 1/27/2011)
Oregon Pinot Noir Tasting (6.20 3/27/2007)
Pinot Briefs (8.35 4/11/2011)
Pinot Briefs (9.31 10/11/2013)
Portland Monthly: Oregon’s 50 Best Wines (9.12 10/1/2012)
Sips of Recently Tasted Oregon Pinot Noir (9.34 12/17/2013)
Sips of Recently Tasted Oregon Pinot Noir (9.50 11/21/2014)
Small Sips of Oregon Pinot (8.19 8/8/2010)
Small Sips of Oregon Pinot Noir (8.11 2/15/2010)
Small Sips of the Rest (6.52 1/30/2008)
Still More Oregon Wines to Savor (9.15 11/24/2012)
Tasting the Six Appellations with Grape Radio (7.7 12/17/2008)
2011 Soter Mineral Springs Ranch Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., $45. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherries, dried herbs and mushrooms. Light, elegant and soft on the palate, with flavors of cherries and blueberries caressed by gossamer tannins. A very delicately flavored wine that is true to the Soter style and mirrors the vintage. That said, the wine is appealing but not special. Score: 88. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »
2011 Soter Mineral Springs Estate Grown Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., 540 cases, $85. A selection created only in a given vintage when something unique begs the spotlight. This is the fourth bottling of Mineral Springs Pinot Noir and is sourced primarily from Heirloom clones. 30% whole cluster fermentation. 30 days extended maceration. Aged 12 months in 50% new French oak barrels. Racked once for assembly before bottling. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Very pleasant nose with aromas of black raspberry and spice picking up intensity over time in the glass. Richly fruited with blackberry, plummy, and black currant flavors, with a touch of blueberry-pomegranate chiming in. Substantial, but not excessive tannins and a citrus-driven, bright finish. A high-collared wine of elegance and charm. Still highly aromatic and flavorful the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. This beauty will easily age another ten years. Score: 93. Reviewed November 19, 2014 ARTICLE »
2010 Soter Vineyards Mineral Springs Ranch Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., $50. Exclusively from the estate vineyard planted to 20 acres of Pinot Noir just east of the town of Carlton. 100% de-stemmed, 3-4 day cold soak, 7-10 day extended maceration, aged 12-15 months in 33% new French oak and an additional 6 months in bottle before release. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Penetrating and uplifting nose offering aromas of Bing cherries and spice. Rich attack of delicious black cherry, plum and boysenberry fruits, impressing the mid palate and finishing long and generous. Seamless, soft and silky with well-mannered tannins. Highly enjoyable now but has the balance to evolve over many years. Reviewed November 24, 2012 ARTICLE »
2009 Soter Mineral Springs Ranch Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $45. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. A chameleon in the glass, constantly changing. Various aromas are evident, including ripe plum, blackberry jam, spice, rose petals, and kid glove. Discreetly extracted flavors of black raspberries, black cherries and a hint of strawberries all wrapped in firm, ripe tannins. Silky with pleasing finesse, offering a big lip-smacking finish. Still great two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Reviewed January 12, 2012 ARTICLE »
2008 Soter Vineyards Mineral Springs Ranch Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., $40. 30 acres of estate vineyard just east of town of Carlton. 4th vintage from this vineyard. 100% de-stemmed, 3-4 day cold soak, 7-10 day extended maceration, aged 12 to 15 months in 60% new and 40% neutral French oak barrels. Aged 6 months in bottle before release. · Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Terrific nose with bright aromas of ripe berries, forest floor and good barnyard. Remarkably flavored in the mouth with a depth and richness of cherry and berry flavor that defies description. Soft and elegant with well-proportioned tannin and acidity. One of the best 2008 Oregon Pinot Noirs I have tasted and a superb cellar candidate. Reviewed January 27, 2011 ARTICLE »
2007 North Valley Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., $30. Crafted at Soter Vineyards using vineyard sources with diverse clones, soil types and microclimates. · Attractive scents of strawberries, black cherries and spice with a hint of smoke and volatile acidity. A lighter-weighted offering with an appealing essence of fresh berries accented by savory herbs, mocha, and citrus peel. A good daily drinker but hard to recommend at this price. Decent (+). Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »
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. Reviewed August 7, 2010 ARTICLE »
2006 Soter North Valley Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Rosé
13.3% alc., $13. Tony Soter also crafts an exceptional Brut Rosé only made in special vintages ($45). · Pale pink in color. Shy perfume of red berries, cardamom spice, and a hint of minerality. The richest wine in the lineup with attractive strawberry and orange peel flavors. An impressively long finish. Reviewed May 26, 2008 ARTICLE »
2006 Soter Beacon Hill Yamhill-Carlton District Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., $50. · An interesting nose with scents of Mexican spices, cumin, spearmint and red and blue fruits. Solid black cherry core with notable minerality, mild dry tannins and an elegant presence. Well-crafted but not extraordinary for me. Reviewed December 17, 2008 ARTICLE »
2005 Soter North Valley Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc.. · Like all of Tony Soter’s Pinot Noirs, this wine features impeccable balance. The nose is rich, and there is some pure and juicy fruit offered in a light style. Reviewed March 27, 2007 ARTICLE »
2005 Soter Beacon Hill Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
$39. Noted winemaker Tony Soter (Etude) has recently moved to Oregon for good and is crafting Pinot Noir from his 20-acre hillside Beacon Hill Vineyard on the north fork of the Chehalem Valley. The Soter philosophy is to craft limited quantities of superb wines that fully express their sites, and in doing so remain stewards of the land and conscious of the well-being of future generations. Tony also produces a terrific Vin Gris of Pinot Noir and a marvelous Brut Rosé. · A comforting wine with ripe fruit aromas, cherry and cocoa flavors, coating tannins, and a long and intense finish. Reviewed August 6, 2007 ARTICLE »
2005 Soter Beacon Hill Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., $48. · Hi-tone red cherry fruit of great purity in the aromatics with a hint of red licorice. Lovely and understated arsenal of cherry fruit, a suave texture and brisk acidity on the finish. A sophisticated wine of great breeding. Still some unresolved tannins - give it 6-12 months to soften. Tres Pinot. Reviewed January 30, 2008 ARTICLE »
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