2011 Anam Cara Cellars Nicholas Estate Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Chardonnay
13.5% alc., $26,
screwcap. Inaugural Chardonnay from Anam Cara. Estate Dijon
clone grapes. Fermented 70% in neutral oak and 30% in
Light straw color in the glass. A ravishing wine
with bright aromas of white peach, passion fruit, lemon curd,
apple cider and fir tree. Delicious, fresh, crisp and lively, with
flavors of nectarine, baked apple, lemon, and a little nuttiness and minerality.
The oak is kept under wraps, the texture is seamless, and the finish is long and
refreshing. One of the best Oregon Chardonnays I have had in my recent
2010 Arterberry Maresh Maresh Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.6% alc., $58. Non-irrigated
vines. Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderately light ruby red color in the glass. Marked reduction upon opening
which resolves by the following day from an opened bottle. Light and elegant presentation of red cherries,
raspberries and cranberries with a dried herb note in the background. Hi-strung with delicate tannins finishing
with a tart cherry theme. The fruit seems under ripe. This wine has received considerable favorable press, but
honestly, I don’t get it. Good.
2010 Brick House Cuvée de Tonnelier Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $45.
Biodynamic® estate grapes.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of cherries,
brewed tea and seasoned oak. Red cherries and berries are featured with subtle notes of spice and oak and a
slight vegetal bent in the background. Elegantly styled with fine-grain tannin. Slightly more expressive the
following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Good.
2009 Cameron Abbey Ridge Vineyard Willamette Valley Chardonnay
13.2% alc., $47.
Medium straw color
in the glass. This is a really strange wine and perhaps I got an anomalous bottle. Aromas of yeasty bread, oak
toast and peanut butter. Styled with piercing lemon drop acidity. Citrus-driven flavors with notes of oak-derived
banana, toast, nuts and peanut butter. Leaves a lemony trail on the finish. This producer’s Chardonnay was
recommended to me but I need to reserve judgement since I did not have a second bottle to sample.
2010 Colene Clemens Vineyards Estate Reserve Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $38.
Moderately light reddish-purple
color in the glass. Very enticing nose offering hi-tone aromas of berries on the
vine, oak spice and BBQ smoke. Light in weight and soft on the palate with a
core of exotically spiced dark berries and grilled plums underlain with a smoky,
peppery note, backed by ripe tannins. An interesting wine that is different from
the Oregon norm. Even better the following day from a previously opened and
re-corked bottle show plenty of intriguing spice on the nose and palate.
2010 Crowley Entre Nous Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., 225 cases, $32. The
winery’s flagship blend of selected barrels. 60% LaColina Vineyard and 40% Tuckwilla Vineyard, both located
in the Dundee Hills. Aged 19 months in neutral oak.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass.
Aromas of oak-kissed black cherries, fresh herbs and wet earth. Very polished with a tasty, sweet cherry core
and an earthy, herbal undertone. Very delicate, with a peppery note on the silky finish. Good.
2010 J. Christopher Nuages Chehalem Mountains Williamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., 375 cases,
$35. Unfiltered. Named in tribute to one of winemaker and guitarist Jay Christopher’s favorite gypsy jazz
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of red berries, dark cherries,
hard red candy and the slightest smoky oak. Easy to like with a discrete concentration of dark red fruits
wrapped in mild fine-grain tannins and well-integrated acidity. A touch of earthiness, herbs and oak adds
2010 Haden Fig Cancilla Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $30. Produced and bottled by Evesham Wood Vineyard &
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. This wine
definitely needs decanting if you drink now. Upon opening it offered
shy but alluring aromas of dark red cherries, briar and marzipan. The
core of red fruits was accented with spice and herbs and although the
tangy red cherry finish showed promise, the wine seemed a bit dilute and flat.
The following day it was tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle
and had undergone an amazing transformation. The intensity of well-spiced
cherry flavor had ramped up, the finish had picked up more generosity and
length, and the wine became thoroughly enjoyable. Very good.
2009 Harper Voit Strandline Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $35. From Drew Voit, former
winemaker at Shea Wine Cellars (Declan Wine Co. in Newberg).
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the
glass. A bit of reduction upon opening which resolves. Aromas of dark berries, plums, wood spice and rose
petals. Full-bodied and rich with a plethora of darker fruits in a California style. Substantial tannins make for
tough sledding and a strange oiled wood note in the background probably from oak spoils the experience for
me. Not what I would expect from Drew who is an excellent winemaker so I will reserve judgement on this one
2010 Love & Squalor Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.8% alc., 315 cases,
Love the name and label, but can’t rave about the wine. Moderately light
reddish color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of red fruits, red licorice, bramble
and spice. Mid weight core of cherry, raspberry and red plum flavors fashioned
in a silky, elegant style. Oak peeks out the following day from a previously
opened and re-corked bottle. Decent.
2010 Matello Souris Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 165 cases, $42. A barrel selection from
Whistling Ridge Vineyard, Durant Vineyard and Bishop Creek Vineyard. Non-irrigated vines.
color in the glass. Delicate aromas of cherries and strawberries unfold nicely over time in the glass.
Rather austere and “Burgundian” in style if you will, featuring red fruits with hints of oak, redwood and herbs in
the background. Finishes with mellow red cherry flavor. Elegant, like see-thru red lingerie. Some may find the
wine too tight, light and tart but they may miss the point of this acid-charged wine. Very good.
2010 Matello Durant Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 100 cases, $42. Winemaker Marcus Goodfellow’s first
vintage from a vineyard planted in 1974 to Pommard clone, and nonirrigated.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Very light
but charming array of red fruit flavors including cherries, strawberries and
cranberries. Highly aromatic on approach, and comes at you like an
arrow upon entry. Elegantly styled with well-matched tannin and acidity, offering
interesting hints of anise and baking spice. Shows off the vintage beautifully.
2010 Saffron Fields Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $48. Vinified by Tony Rynders.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in
the glass. Very fragrant reminiscent of fresh blackberry jam. Juicy and easy to
drink, with a tasteful array of berry flavors backed by a complimentary barrel
presence. Broad in the mouth with good ripeness, supple tannins. a very soft
and velvety mouth feel, and a generous, fruit-driven finish. This vineyard is very
impressive in 2010 (see also 2010 Roots Saffron Fields Pinot Noir). Very good.
2010 Scott Paul Les Gourmandises Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.1% alc., 93 cases, $40.
Sourced from special 20-year-old blocks at Nysa Vineyard. “Les Gourmandises” is a French term for
“Delicacies.” Natural fermentations, aged 10 months in 25% new French oak. Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderately light reddish color in the glass. Scents of dark red berry jam, fresh cherries, dried herbs and oak.
Light and silky with a delicate array of red fruits backed by gossamer tannins. High voltage acidity with a citrus
peel infused finish. Somewhat herbal in character probably due to under ripeness. Better the following day
from a previously opened and re-corked bottle showing more expressive red cherry fruit but still sporting zingy
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.
2009 Siltstone Guadalupe Vineyard Oregon Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 230 cases, $30. Vineyard owners are Jim
Stonebridge and Kathleen Boeve and the vineyard is managed
by Joel Myers of Vinetenders whose family produces this wine.
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Intense and very
appealing aromas of black cherries, black raspberries,
ollalieberries and dark chocolate. Soft, smooth and ambrosial, with
middleweight flavors of well-ripened dark cherry and berry fruits with
complimentary accents of Asian 5-spice, cinnamon and toasty oak. Balanced,
ripe tannins and a powerful, lasting finish complete the picture. I have been very
impressed by this wine over the past three vintages. It seems to fly under the radar, yet is deserving of a bigger
audience. Remarkably, the winery is still offering the 2007 and 2008 vintages of this superb wine. If you want a wine that typifies the Dundee Hills, this would be an excellent choice.
2009 The Eyrie Vineyards Daphne Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
$78.75. From a 1.5-acre block planted at the crest of the Dundee Hills by John Sonetky in 1974. Rocky soils,
and densely planted vines. Typically the grapes from this block go into the Estate blend but the excellence in
2009 led to declaring it as a single block reserve. This wine has been made only three times since the vines
were planted. The 2009 wine is dedicated to Daphne and John Sobetky.
Moderately light reddish-purple color
in the glass. The nose is not very giving, showing some smoky oak. A middleweight core of fruits including
plum, pomegranate and blueberry are backed by bright acidity and caressed by firm tannins. Currently
showing more oak trim than I like and unusual for a wine made by Jason Lett. The most impressive feature is
the length on this wine which is of Grand Cru quality. Tasted again later in the day and the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine improved slightly but not at all like a bottle I sampled at the
winery in July which led to my purchase. I suspect an off bottle and withhold judgement.
2010 Van Duzer Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.3% alc., pH 3.53, TA 0.56, 4,300 cases, $30. The
first vintage made start to finish by a new winemaking team consisting of winemaker Jerry Murray, assistant
winemaker Florent Merlier, and vineyard manager Bruce Sonnen. Aged 11 months in 35% new French oak.
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of black cherries, briar, spice, and cedary oak.
Flavors of earth bound cherries and plums wrapped in well-mannered tannins, finishing dry with a reasonable
intensity. Nothing to criticize but doesn’t wake up my palate. Good.