Dick and Nancy Ponzi established Ponzi Vineyards in
1970 in Beaverton, Oregon, 15 miles southwest of
Portland. Dick has been active in promoting Oregon’s
wine industry for years. He was a founding
member and first president of the Oregon Winegrowers
Association, and served as a founding
Director of the Oregon Wine Advisory Board (now
the Oregon Wine Board). Nancy helped create the
first Discover Oregon Wines guide, co-founded the
International Pinot Noir Celebration, the Salud
Oregon Pinot Noir Barrel Auction and, most recently,
Oregon Pinot Camp. In 1997 they created a regional
tasting room and a full service restaurant showcasing local wines and food called The Dundee Bistro.
Ponzi Vineyards is one of Oregon’s top 20 Oregon wineries by brand in 2007 with an estimated case
production of 29,600.
Ponzi Pinot Noirs have won critical acclaim through the years. The wines have always been intense,
savory and concentrated. Consistency has always been a hallmark, even during the uneven vintages
of the 1990s. My Oregon wine epiphany was a 1992 Ponzi Reserve Pinot Noir made from a single vineyard
that was 18 years old at the time and I have continued to enjoy many Reserve bottlings since.
The three Ponzi children, Michel (Operations Manager) , Anna Maria (National Sales and Marketing
Director) and Luisa (Winemaker), grew up helping out in the vineyard and in the family’s winery and
operate the family business now. They are continuing the family tradition of community and wine industry
service. Even their eight grandchildren are now being introduced to viticulture and the operation
of the winery at an early age. Luisa is a highly respected winemaker who was trained in Burgundy
and now is married to another notable winemaker, Eric Hamacher.
The Oregon Wine Board recently presented Dick and Nancy Ponzi with a Lifetime Achievement Award
at the annual Oregon Wine Symposium in Eugene, Oregon. The award is put forth by colleagues currently
working in the Oregon wine industry.
A new Ponzi winemaking facility is due for completion for the 2008 harvest. It is located closer to their
vineyards on the east and north faces of the Chehalem Mountains. The property, as yet unnamed, is 42
acres and is being designed by Dick Ponzi. The tasting room will remain at its current location.
2005 Ponzi Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., $35, 4,666 cases. A blend of grapes
from five vineyards.
Complex nose featuring dark berries and cherries with earthy, woodsy and floral
highlights. Dark Pinot fruits, herbal but not herbaceous, soft and full, with a viscous mouth feel, clean finish
and an oaky edge to the aftertaste.
2005 Ponzi Vineyards Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., $60, 3,000 cases. Sourced primarily from the Chehalem Mountain
AVA including estate Madrona, Aurora and Abetina vineyards. Aged
for 20 months in 50% new French oak.
for 20 months in 50% new French oak. This has a “Oh! My God” nose
showing crushed black cherries and baking spices. Very lovely. Dark berry-cherry fruit which is velvety on the palate. Seamless. Very good and maybe even orgasmic.
Don’t miss this one.
2005 Ponzi Vineyads Il Luce Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $100, 600 bottles, etched
bottle. From a 1-acre estate vineyard planted in 2003 with clone 777.
The wine is driven by black cherry
and black berry flavors so typical of clone 777. Sandalwood and floral accents enhance the shy aromatics.
A decent wine with good intensity and firm tannins, but like a teenager, lacks maturity and is still a bit
awkward. Plan to cellar this one.
2005 Ponzi Vineyards Abetina Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $100, 1200
bottles, etched bottle. From a 2-acre vineyard established in 1975 and
planted to 20 different clones. Grapes from this vineyard are often put into the
Reserve Pinot Noir. This wine is only made in exceptional vintages.
just don’t do this outrageous wine justice. A BIG tasty wine that reminds
me of a 2004 Mugnier Bonnes Mares that I drank the night before with a little more
New World punch. Plush black cherry extract, dark chocolate, gingerbread and
spice. Impeccable balance with a solid tannic backbone for aging and a sensuous
satiny texture. Fine to drink now for its hedonism, but this will improve over the
next five years. This is just plain terrific and what I affectionately call a “glamazon.”
Ponzi Vineyards has two tasting rooms. The original tasting room is located at the site of the first
estate vineyards and winery at 14665 SW Winery Lane in Beaverton and is open from 11-5 daily. Tours
are available by appointment (503-628-1227). The Ponzi Wine Bar is located at 100 SW 7th St in Dundee
and is open from 11-5 daily (503-554-1500). The wines are distributed by Wilson Daniels and sold
on the website at www.ponziwines.com.