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Many Oregon Wineries Offering Pinot Noir for a C-Note or More

Gary Andrus of Archery Summit Estate was the first to push the price of Oregon Pinot Noir (Arcus Estate) into the triple digit range in the 1990s. He was confident that his wine was worth it and wanted to bring notoriety to Oregon and generate respect for the high quality of Oregon Pinot Noir. No other Oregon producer was bold enough to follow his precedent for many years. Recently, a number of Oregon wineries have begun producing special, limited release Pinot Noirs priced at a C-Note or more, many of which are from the excellent 2009 and 2010 vintages.

The wineries justify the exalted prices based on a number of reasons. The small quantities (usually 4 to 6 barrels) demand extra attention to detail and more time consuming winemaking techniques. Only superior wine from the best barrels in the cellar are included. 100% new French oak is not unusual. Often the wine comes from a special site or has an old vine pedigree. The wines, because of their vinification, are built for exceptional long-term cellaring in anticipation of improvement over time.

Usually these special wines are intended for connoisseurs or committed pinotphiles and are primarily sold only at the winery or to wine club members. They have quickly become cult collectables. I have listed the wines offered in the C-Note or above range I am aware of below, most of which are still currently available.

Interestingly, this trend has not caught on in California with the same fervor. I am only aware of a few such bottlings including those from Bouchaine, Hanzell, J. Rochioli, Paul Hobbs, and Williams Selyem, all of which are vineyard-designated wines (or block-designated in the case of J. Rochioli).

2010 Adelsheim Vineyard Quarter Mile Lane Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $105 ($225 magnums) 75 cases. A single vineyard Pinot Noir from the 2.4-acre Block 1 planted in 1974 at Adelsheim’s original vineyard site and thus is the oldest estate vineyard. The cuttings were obtained from Charles Coury and were sold to David Adelsheim as “Pommard” clone, but is more likely “Martini” clone or a mix of the two. Expected aging from 2013 to 2025.

2009 Adelsheim Vineyard Winderlea Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $105 92 cases. Mailing list customers only. This vineyard was managed by Adelsheim when it was known as Goldschmidt Vineyard. All varieties except Pinot Noir were grafted over to densely spaced Dijon clone vines on devigorating rootstocks or removed. Farming was transitioned to sustainable and organic. In 2006, Goldschmidt Vineyard was purchased by Donna Morris and Bill Sweat and renamed Winderlea Vineyard. This wine is sourced from one acre of clone 667 that Adelsheim planted in the 1990s. The wine can age from 2012 to 2024.

2008 Adelsheim Vineyard 31 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $185 112 cases. Best of Vintage series which dates to the 2006 vintage. The 2006 Vintage 29 Pinot Noir is still available ($140) and a Vintage Vertical of Vintage 29, 31 and 32 Pinot Noir is available for $500.

2010 Antica Terra Antikythera Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $100 185 cases. Sold out. Antica Terra Estate Pinot Noir. Aged 12 months in 100% new French oak.

2010 Archery Summit Estate Arcus Estate Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $100 735 cases. Aged 10 months in 50% new French oak. Arcus means “bow” in Latin and describes the estate vineyard that wraps around both sides of a small valley in the heart of the Dundee Hills. Age ability predicts improvement over the next 5 to 10 years.

2010 Beaux Frères The Upper Terrace Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $100 Large Formats also. 552 cases. The site has sedimentary soils and a slightly higher elevation than the original Beaux Frères Vineyard. Planted on a steep south facing slope to Dijon clones 113, 114, 115, 667 and 777.

2010 Bergström Hommage Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $100 150 cases. Produced since the 2008 vintage, this wine represents the finest barrels in the cellar.

2006 Domaine Serene Monogram® Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $250 50 cases. Aged 20 months in 100% new French oak. A hand-selected blend from the finest barrels of the vintage.

2009 Evening Land Summum Seven Springs Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $120 100 cases. Sourced from self-rooted Pommard clone planted in 1984.

2009 Joseph Dobbes Cuvée Exceptionelle Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $100 25 cases. A barrel selection blend from several vineyards. Aged 20 months in 100% new French oak.

2009 Lange Estate Winery 25th Anniversary Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $125 ($260 magnums) 35 cases. Presented in a screen printed bottle with the winery’s 25th Anniversary logo.

2010 Penner-Ash Pas de Nom Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $100 240 cases. Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak.

2010 Ponzi Vineyards Aurora Pinot Noir $100 100 cases. Aged 20 months in 50% new French oak.

2010 Ponzi Vineyards Avellana Pinot Noir $100 100 cases. Aged 20 months in 50% new French oak.

2010 Stoller Family Estate Cathy’s Reserve Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $100 88 cases. Sourced from the oldest Pommard plantings on the estate. Aged 10 months in 100% new French oak.

2007 The Eyrie Vineyards South Block Reserve Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $189 David Lett’s last wine. From the original planting of vines at The Eyrie Vineyard.

2007 WillaKenzie Estate Reserve Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $150 100 cases.

A tasting of selected “Triple Digit” Pinot Noir wines was conducted by Oregon Wine Press and the results published in the November issue. The tasting panel recommended decanting if these special wines are opened now, but advised cellaring. Visit www.oregonwinepress.com.

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