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Tyee Wine Cellars is located near Corvallis on the Buchanan Family Century Farm. The 450 acres have been owned by owner Dave Buchanan's family since 1885. Vinifera grapes were first planted in 1974, making the Buchanans one of the unheralded first wave of Pinot pioneers in Oregon. In 1985, the Buchanans partnered with Oregon State University enologist Barney Watson and his wife, Nola Mosier, to start the Tyee Winery. In 2005, the Buchanans became sole owners of Tyee.
The name, Tyee, is in honor of the Kalapooian Indians who encamped on the Corvallis property. Tyee means "chief" or "best" in Northwest Indian dialect.
In 2006, the Buchanan's daughter, Merilee Buchanan Benson, became head winemaker, and the same year Tyee's wines became all estate wines. Production is about 1,500 cases annually.
Most of the wine is sold through long-term accounts in Oregon with some sold out of state. The wines are also available from the online store. Each of the labels features an animal depicted in Northwest tribal art.
2012 Tyee Wine Cellars Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 400 cases, $28. Released September 2014. From grapes grown exclusively in the family vineyard adjacent the winery. A combination of all plantings in the Estate Vineyard from vines 12 to 38 years old. 99 points and #1 wine Portland Monthly Oregon’s 50 Best Wines 2014. Merrilee Buchanan Benson is the winemaker. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of sous-bois, cherry, cranberry, raisin and a hint of oak. Light to mid weight flavors of dark cherries and purple berries with a hint of teaberry and savory herbs in the background. Silky on the palate with plenty of firm, dry tannins which tend to dominate the fruit at present. Very Oregonian in style and character. Score: 88-89. Reviewed November 19, 2014 ARTICLE »
2010 Tyee Wine Cellars Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 400 cases, $24.99. A blend from all plantings in the Estate Vineyard from vines 10 to 36 years old. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of fresh red fruits, melon and a hint of wasabi. Good mid palate intensity of red cherry, raspberry, pomegranate and spice flavors finishing with refreshing acidity, and a rush of tannins on the finish. Good. Reviewed June 23, 2013 ARTICLE »
2010 Tyee Wine Cellars Estate Barrel Select Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 100 cases, $34.99. Winemaker’s selection of favorite barrels of vintage. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Dreamy aromas of dark red raspberries and cherry pie glaze. Delicious array of red and black cherry and berry fruits exhibiting noticeable presence without pronounced body. Bright, clean and juicy with firm, balanced tannins that keep the fruit in line, ending with good tension on the acid-driven finish. The wine becomes silkier and livelier with air. Very good (+). Reviewed June 23, 2013 ARTICLE »
2009 Tyee Wine Cellars Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $23.99. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Well perfumed with aromas of black cherries, bark, balsam, rose, sage and spice. Brisk and lively on the palate with medium weight flavors of black cherries and black raspberries backed by ripe tannins and offering some staying power on the finish. Good (+). Reviewed May 11, 2012 ARTICLE »
2009 Tyee Wine Cellars Estate Barrel Select Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $34.99. · Moderately light reddishpurple robe. Reserved but enticing aromas of a bowl of crushed dark red cherries, plums and berries. A very polished wine with grace and elegance, yet offering a substantial rush of sinfully delicious and perfectly ripe dark red cherries and berries that persist on the crisp and juicy finish. Combines power with finesse. Youthful, and will benefit from more time in the cellar. Not the blockbuster that the 2008 vintage was, but very representative of the vintage. Reviewed May 11, 2012 ARTICLE »
2008 TYEE Wine Cellars Estate Barrel Select Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc.. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Extravagantly perfumed with aromas of cherry, raspberry and spice. Bright and exquisitely balanced, with a very seductive charge of cherry goodness that lasts and lasts on the finish. Great now, but plenty of backbone to last long term. Score: 94. Reviewed February 21, 2015 ARTICLE »
2008 Tyee Wine Cellars Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 500 cases, $24. Produced from vines ranging in age from 34 years to 8 years. Pommard, 777 and 115 clones. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. A charming wine in every way. Enticing aromas redolent of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries with a hint of vanilla cone. Lovely array of crisply flavored red and blue fruits with a hint of herbs. Nicely structured with ripe, firm tannins and bright acidity finishing dry and satisfying. Amazing value. Very Good. Reviewed August 13, 2011 ARTICLE »
2008 Tyee Wine Cellars Estate Barrel Select Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 100 cases, $35. Produced from own-rooted old vines ranging from 20 to 34 years old (oldest plantings in the estate vineyard). Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Reserved but pleasing scent of fresh cherries and raspberries with a hint of spice and rose petal. Similar flavor profile to the Estate bottling but with more intensity, more persistence, and more sophistication. The perfectly ripened fruit has a dark red profile, the dry tannins and crisp acidity frame the fruit beautifully, and the silky finish makes an lasting impression. A perfect argument for the superiority of old vine Pinot Noir. The wine was still great the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, but I couldn’t report beyond this as I eagerly finished the bottle. An exceptional wine that is much more approachable than many reserve Pinot Noirs from Oregon's 2008 vintage. A vin de garde for Oregon in 2008. Reviewed August 13, 2011 ARTICLE »
2007 Tyee Wine Cellars Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $19.99. · Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Initial bright aromas of cherries, red berries and soy sauce fading some in the glass with a minty, green note emerging. Lighter-weighted red and black fruits with a hint of oak and a subtle lift of citrus peel on the finish. Soft in the mouth with reigned-in tannins. Decent. Reviewed June 22, 2010 ARTICLE »
2007 Tyee Wine Cellars Estate Barrel Select Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $29.99. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy, but appealing scents of cherry and berry jam with hints of oak and spice. Decent red berry core with moderate ripe tannins and some persistence on the elegant finish. A solid wine. Good. Reviewed June 22, 2010 ARTICLE »
2006 Tyee Wine Cellars Estate Barrel Select Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $29.99. · Moderately light in color in the glass. Aromas of ripe dark fruits, oak toast and leather. Juicy red cherry and berry fruits which are vivid and focused wrapped in moderately firm tannins. Nicely crafted with a silky mouth feel and admirable persistence on the back end. Very good. Reviewed June 22, 2010 ARTICLE »