Sips of Recently Tasted Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
On a recent trip to the Willamette Valley, I had an early introduction to the 2014 vintage Pinot Noirs. The
vintage started with a dry winter and early spring. Early bud break, early bloom and ideal conditions led to good
fruit set and a higher than normal yield. The rest of the growing season remained warm with reasonably cold
nights. Harvest was about 2 weeks ahead of previous vintages. Fruit was generally harvested in good balance
with moderate sugars and acids. The wines are more extracted with more tannin, lower acidity and higher
alcohol than the previous 2013 vintage. I think the wines from this vintage will be very special.
Big Table Farm, Gaston, OR
I visited Clare and Brian at Big Table Farm in the Yamhill-Carlton District this past rainy week, and tasted
through their fall 2013 releases, some 2014 bottled wines, and even a few 2015 barrel samples. As readers
know, I am a big fan of Big Table Farm PInot Noir and white wines and intrigued by their active farm located on
the same property as their new winery where there are goats, horses, cattle, chickens, and pigs. One day there
will be a vineyard as well. Tasting is carried out in the owner’s century-old farmhouse so it couldn’t be more
personal. Big Table Farm wines are sold through a mailing list at www.bigtablefarm.com.
Brian described 2013 as a challenging vintage. He was able to pick most of his grapes before the heavy rains
arrived in September and found that the flavors were riper than the low Brix levels would indicate. No
chaptalization in 2013. The following 2013 Pinot Noirs were released in the fall of this year. Brian favors heavy
toast in his French oak barrels, believing that the barrels impart more flavor but less wood tannins. As a result,
some Pinot Noir bottlings show a slightly smoky note (guaiacol) in the background.
2013 Big Table Farm Cattrall Brothers Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
11.2% alc., $48. A
higher elevation (700 feet) and cooler site. Own-rooted Wädenswil clone planted in the 1980s and organically
farmed. 100% whole cluster fermented. Unfined and unfiltered.
Light cherry red color in the glass. Uplifting
aromas of cherry spice lead to a light to mid weight core of red cherry and red berry fruits that are vibrant. Wellintegrated
whole cluster character, with balanced tannins and a vivid cherry fueled finish.
2013 Big Table Farm Wirtz Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
11.5% alc.,157 cases, $48. 40 plus year
old vines. A small amount of Pinot Gris is interplanted in this vineyard and included in the fermentation. 100%
de-stemmed since the grapes offer enough spice on their own. Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderate reddish purple
color in the glass. Magical aromas of fresh cherry, berry, toasty oak and spice. Both fruity and savory featuring
an array of darker red and purple berry flavors that have uncommon swagger at this low ABV. Nicely
composed, with modest tannins, a hint of smoky oak, and a generous, lip-smacking finish that lingers.
2013 Big Table Farm Sunnyside Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
11.5% alc., 211 cases, $48. 10
acres south of Salem planted to Wädenswil and 777 clones. Harvested before the September rains. Whole
cluster fermented 777 only. Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black
cherry, blueberry and sous-bois lead to a vivacious core of assorted dark red, blue and purple fruits accented
with notes of smoky oak, dark chocolate and mulch. Plenty of sap to satisfy and a generous lip-smacking finish
of welcome length.
2013 Big Table Farm Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
11.8% alc., 150 cases, sold out. A new
offering. 75% Pommard and 25% Wädenswil from the 7-acre Coats & Whitney Vineyard. Some whole cluster
fermentation. Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Deeply perfumed with aromas
of cherry, strawberry and rose petal. Delicious attack of black cherry and raspberry fruits complimented by
notes of savory herbs, spice and vanilla. Very juicy, with a soft mouthfeel and a suave finish.
The first two 2014 white wines are part of the winery’s fall 2015 release. The 2014 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
wines were bottled in September 2015. The 2014 Pinot Gris was bottled in April 2014, but held back before
release based on experience with this wine in the 2013 vintage (it was all sold before it reached its best
2014 Big Table Farm Edelzwicker Willamette Valley
13.4% alc., 451 cases, $28. Bottled April
2014. A blend of Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris from the Wirtz Vineyard planted in the late 1960s and
early 1970s. Original plantings were sourced from Charles Coury. Barrel fermented in neutral oak barrels to
dryness and complete malolactic fermentation. Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderately light yellow color in the
glass. Aromas of citrus, flower blossoms, and dry herbs. Delicate, but flavorful, featuring tastes of orchard fruits
and spice. Slightly creamy on the palate with bright acidity. Best slightly chilled.
2014 Big Table Farm Wirtz Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
13.6% alc.,162 cases, $32.
Fermented 8 to 12 days on the skins and stems. Unfined and unfiltered.
Light orange color in the
glass. Aromas and flavors of peach, blood orange and a touch of vanilla creme, fashioned in a
medium bodied style with a slightly creamy mouthfeel and a peach driven finish. A delightful wine with
plenty of intrigue that will stand up nicely to salmon and other fatty seafoods.
2014 Big Table Farm Willamette Valley Chardonnay
13.2% alc., 700 cases. Sourced from six sites. Barrel
fermented, 100% malolactic fermentation, aged 10-11 months in French oak barrels, about 15% new. unfined
Light golden yellow and clear in the glass. This is a special wine that I look forward to each year.
Aromas of lemon oil, creme brulee, and salty apple lead to a slightly creamy palate offering vivid flavors of
citrus fruits, honey and pear. Beautifully crafted with everything in step.
2014 Big Table Farm “Elusive Queen” Willamette Valley Chardonnay
13.6% alc., 100 cases. A
barrel selection and a little more new oak than the regular Willamette Valley bottling.
Light golden color
and clear in the glass. A little more fruit richness, structure and finish than the regular bottling. Upon
entry, the wine fills the cheeks with a panoply of orchard fruit and apple flavors with a subtle sense of
spicy oak seasoning. There is just enough tannin to add body and backbone, and a crisp, slightly
viscous finish entices the drinker to take another sip.
2014 Big Table Farm Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc.. Sourced from several vineyards. 100% whole
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Voluptuous aromas of cherry, spice and rose
petal. A full charge of black cherry fruit envelopes the palate and persists through the finish. The tannins are
firm, yet silky, there is a complimentary riff of oak, and the savory notes of whole cluster including spice are in
harmony. This appellation offering has always been a charmer.
2014 Big Table Farm Pelos-Sandberg Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
This vineyard is a warmer site causing the grapes to lose some acidity as they ripen producing a more fruit
driven wine. Pommard, 777 and some Wädenswil clone. Aged in about 20% new French oak barrels. Unfined
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. A mix of red berry and blueberry scents underlain
with toasty oak highlight the aromatic profile. Nicely composed, with a mid weight core of juicy berry fruits
accented with a smoky note. A slight smoky character is the signature of this vineyard which at least in part is
due to the fruit (the same oak regimen is used for all single vineyard Pinot Noir bottlings yet the smoky note is
more evident consistently in this wine).
Guillén Family Wines, Dundee Hills, OR
Jesus Guillén crafts wine wines in association with proprietor Greg Sanders at White Rose Estate. Jesus
launched his own label in 2013, initially offering 80 cases of Pinot Noir using grapes sourced from Vista Hills
Vineyard. By the 2015 vintage, he has acquired more vineyard sources and increased production to 1,000
cases of Pinot Noir. The Guillén Family wines are not identical to White Rose Estate wines, although both are
usually 100% whole cluster fermented. Jesus uses native yeast fermentations and strives for more extraction
and structure. The following 2014 Pinot Noirs were bottled in August 2015 and were tasted December 7, 2015,
so they are quite young and will not be released until the spring of 2016. The 6 wines (a total of 460 cases) are
all 100% whole cluster fermented with native yeasts and aged 11 months in neutral French oak barrels except
for the Damián (20% new) and Adrián (100% new) bottlings. There is only 1 barrel of each of the single
vineyard wines. The wines are sold through a mailing list at www.guillenfamily.com. Jesus over delivers in
quality at reasonable prices.
The wines are quite structured now but in an elegant manner. In 2014, stems were generally lignified and
provided more structure than in 2013. I have given a range of scores to indicate potential over time.
2014 Guillén Family Estaban Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc.,154 cases, $25. Sourced from 3
vineyards: 56% Domingo, 42% Vista Hills Block F, and 2% Meredith Mitchell. A selection of the most
approachable barrels in the cellar. Native yeast fermentation with 100% whole clusters. Basket pressed and
aged on the lees in 100% neutral French oak barrels for 11 months. The wine was racked twice, after the
completion of MLF and again before bottling.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose really
shines with bright aromas of plum, dark raspberry and spice. Very soft in the mouth with the mid weight core of
darker berry and plum fruit flavors accented with notes of dark chocolate. Forward drinking and easy to like,
with plenty of fruit and a bit of fruit tannin on the structured finish.
2014 Guillén Family Vista Hills Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., $45.
Pommard 4 clone planted in 2006.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Shy dark fruits on the nose that
is primarily offering sous-bois and floral aromas. The intense attack of dark stone and berry fruits is framed by
firm, but amorous tannins and bright acidity. The fruit offers a moderately expansive finish.
2014 Guillén Family Saikkonen Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $45.
Pommard clone planted in 2003. Vineyard is adjacent Brick House.
Moderate dark reddish purple color in the
glass. Nicely appointed nose, offering aromas of purple fruits, spice, bark and ground almonds. Great potential
for this mid to full-bodied wine that offers appealing intensity of boysenberry, cassis and black plum fruit flavors
backed by firm, ripe and well-proportioned tannins and racy acidity.
2014 Guillén Family Meredith Mitchell Vineyard McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
$45. Pommard clone planted in 1996.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Beautiful aromatic presence,
offering scents of black cherry pie and spice. The mid weight, juicy purple berry and black cherry fruits have
noticeable presence on the mid palate and envious length on the finish. A spice and savory earth component
add interest. This wine has the most tannin among the single vineyard bottlings, but the tannin is fruit in origin
and not particularly astringent. The lip-smacking finish completes the bright picture.
2014 Guillén Damián Winemaker’s Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 140 cases, $40.
Sourced from 3 vineyards: 40% Vista Hills Block F (667), 20% Meredith Mitchell (Pommard), and 40%
Saikkonen (Pommard). No cold soak, 13-day native yeast fermentation, 100% whole cluster, basket pressed,
aged on the lees 11 months in French oak barrels, 20% new Francois Frères. Racked twice, after the
completion of MLF and again before bottling. Filtered. A meticulous selection of the best barrels in the cellar
offering harmony, complexity and mouthfeel.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Gorgeous nose with
effusive aromas of black cherry jam, dark red rose petal, pine sap and spice. Impressive fruit presence offering
an array of purple fruits and plenty of spice. Somewhat forward, with appealing elegance, harmony, and firm,
but lacy tannins.
2014 Guillén Adrián Reserve Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., 125 cases, $60,
Sourced from 3 vineyards, 100% Pommard clone: 40% Vista Hills Block G, 20% Saikkonen, and 40%
Meredith Mitchell. Native yeast fermentation using 100% whole clusters. Basket pressed and aged on
the lees in 100% lightly toasted new French oak barrels for 11 months. The wine was racked twice
after MLF and again before bottling. Filtered. 100% Pommard. Jesus’ attempt to mimic DRC.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely aromas of plum, boysenberry, exotic spice
and wilted dark rose petal. Vibrant purple fruits tread lightly on the palate in this juicy wine. Inviting
integration of oak, fruit and oak tannins, and acidity. This wine will need a few years to fully evolve and
display its engaging character, but it has purposely been built for longevity.
R. Stuart & Co., McMinnville, OR
Rob and Maria Stuart and partners founded this winery in 2002 in an old granary in downtown McMinnville,
Oregon, in a neighborhood known as the “Pinot Quarter.” Rob, who made wine for other people for more than
twenty years before starting his own winery, is the winemaker and sources grapes from more than 20 vineyards
within 32 miles of the winery. Maria is the marketing, public relations and hospitality manager who is also the
incumbent President of the Board of Directors of the International Pinot Noir Celebration in 2016. She is also the author of “The
Life and Times of a Pinot Mom,” a blog about life, food, and the wine business at www.pinotmom.com.
Wines are produced under the R. Stuart & Co. (Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, as well as other assorted varietals
including sparkling wine), Big Fire (casual, weeknight dinner wines) and Love, Oregon labels. Visit the website
for more information and to buy wines at www.rstuartandco.com. The Stuarts operate the R. Stuart & Co. Wine
Bar in downtown McMinnville.
The wines reviewed here from the 2013 vintage are not blockbusters, but rather light in weight with delicately
concentrated fruit that is flavorful, juicy and vibrant. All the Pinot Noirs were aged 14 months in neutral French
oak, bottled in late November of 2014, and released in November of 2015. Every wine is capped with the glass
2013 R. Stuart & Co. Menafee Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.1% alc., pH 3.78,
TA 0.51, 63 cases, $50.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, strawberry and
herb garden lead to a fresh and juicy core of darker fruit flavors including blueberry and boysenberry supported
by balanced tannins. A little earthy, finishing with modest cherry goodness.
2013 R. Stuart & Co. Ana Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.9% alc., pH 3.79, TA
0.525, 43 cases, $50.
Light cherry red color in the glass. Demure aromas of cherry, strawberry and cranberry.
Very delicate, bordering austere flavors of cherry and strawberry with soft tannins and a gentle riff of backing
oak. There is no finishing fruit presence.This wine is well made, and displays the signature red fruit of the
Dundee Hills, but doesn’t deliver enough fruit pleasure to excite. It may pick up weight and interest with more
time in bottle.
2013 R. Stuart & Co. Elkhorn Ridge Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.7% alc., 83 cases, $50.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Inviting perfume of ripe cherries and sandalwood. Elegant
and charming, with a fresh and juicy mid weight core of black cherry fruit. Not a big wine, but very flavorful with
adroit harmony in a very approachable style.
2013 R. Stuart & Co. Hirschy Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.1% alc., pH 3.59,
TA 0.51, 73 cases, $50.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose leads with a mix of cherry
and berry fruits and a hint of marzipan. Somewhat saucy flavors of cherry, cranberry and raspberry with
inviting presence and length, finishing with brightness, noteworthy intensity and a subtle complement of nutty
2013 R. Stuart & Co. Weber Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.7% alc., pH 3.65, TA
0.51, 73 cases, $50.
Light cherry red color in the glass. Nicely appointed aromas of red cherry, strawberry,
sugar cone and Asian spice. Somewhat reticent in the mouth, with an array of light to mid weight red fruits
backed by supple tannins. Very drinkable, but currently lacks nuance and inspiration. I suspect this will become
more expressive with more time in bottle.
2013 R. Stuart & Co. Daffodil Hill Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., pH 3.55, TA
0.57, 138 cases, $50.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Hi-tone aromas of spiced darker berries
please upon opening. Noticeably more sappy than the other single vineyard wines in 2013 with more finish,
offering a middleweight nucleus of marionberry and black raspberry fruits accented by a hint of dried herbs.
Nicely crafted with suave tannins and integrated acidity.
2013 R. Stuart & Co. Autograph Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.8% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.57, 155 cases, $60.
Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Demure aromas of darker fruits with notes of forest floor, rose
petal and iodine. Notable mid palate intensity of black cherry and black raspberry fruits with a savory bent.
Nicely integrated tannins and oak, with a cherry driven finish of some intensity.
TREOS Wine, Monmouth, OR
Partner, winemaker and winegrower Dave Jepson only produced a limited amount of wine in the cold, rainy
2011 vintage. The 2011 Pinot Noirs were initially out of sorts and needed time to develop so they are just being
released now. The wines are not as robust and full-flavored as usual for TREOS, but they are quite bold for the
2011 vintage and I find them very appealing. The remainder of the 2011 Pinot Noir grapes were distilled to use
in making a Pinot Noir based, port-styled wine called Ternion ($39). Interestingly, the Ternion has been infused
with dry roasted Oregon hazelnuts.
2011 TREOS Estate Elegant Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., $48. Dijon Clones.
reddish purple color in the glass. Fragrant upon opening with aromas of black cherry, sous-bois and
complimentary oak. The succulent purple and black fruits fill the mouth with goodness and are quite sappy for
this vintage. Very juicy, with harmonious tannins, a welcome touch of toasty oak, and a satisfying finish.
2011 TREOS Estate Founder’s Choice Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., $48. Estate grown. A blend
of three Dijon clones.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Dark orchard and berry fruit aromas fill the
glass. Classy and polished, with a load of delicious purple and black fruits complimented by deft barrel work
and enough refined tannins and acidity to age nicely. Like the Elegant Reserve bottling, the fruit concentration
is unusually grand for this vintage.
White Rose Estate Winery & Vineyard, Dundee Hills, OR
This winery was my 2014 “Pinot Noir Winery of the Year” and this award sums up my enthusiasm for the Pinot
Noir produced here. For extensive coverage of the winery visit www.princeofpinot.com/article/1615/. The 2013
vintage examples reviewed below have not diminished my eagerness to enjoy the unique wines produced
here. Using generous and often 100% whole cluster ferments, the ultimate objective is to craft wines that are
good from day one, yet undergo a metamorphosis over time becoming different but equally enjoyable. The
nuances, textures, haunting aromas and flavors associated with whole cluster fermentation create an
emotional connection to the wines. The 2013 vintage Pinot Noirs do not have the extraction and sap that the
2012 vintage Pinot Noirs had, but are very charming in their own right, offering more “pinotosity,” that almost
indescribable lacy, feminine attribute that only Pinot Noir can deliver. The wines are offered on the website at
www.whiteroseestate.com. Special bottlings are extended to the Explorer’s Club and Neo-Classical Club
members first. The tasting room in Dayton, Oregon, is open daily.
Owner Greg Sanders has bought a 40-acre
farm near White Rose Estate on Archery Summit Road and planted an initial 5-acre vineyard in 2012 using
cuttings from the most desirable vines at White Rose Vineyard. Called Domingo Vineyard, one ton of grapes
were harvested in the 2014 vintage. Greg is also building lodging for guests adjacent the winery that will
include underground (cave) rooms, a project that will be gradually developed over the next six years or so.
2013 White Rose Estate The Neo-Classical Objective Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.8% alc, $80. 100%
whole cluster fermentation. Aged in French oak barrels, 12% new.
Light cherry red color in the glass. Aromas
of exotic spices, wilted rose petal, pine sap, nutmeg and cherry leap from the glass. A very charming wine that
is both delicate and flavorful featuring light to mid weight flavors of red cherry and red berries framed by
spirited acidity and suede-like tannins. A slight woody, herbaceous note peeks out over time in the glass.
2013 White Rose Estate Winemaker’s Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.6% alc., $95 (Club members
priority). 92% whole cluster fermentation. Aged in French oak barrels, 13% new.
Light cherry red color in the
glass. Penetrating and persistent aromas of darker cherry, raspberry, sandalwood, rose petal and spice.
Impressive attack and finishing power with ideal integration of whole cluster character. Light to mid weight
flavors of red cherry and raspberry fruits, prominent spice (cumin, nutmeg) framed by very fine grain, almost
furry, tannins. When tasted two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was still
highly aromatic and even more flavorful, featuring cherry, spice and sandalwood in abundance. A highly
nuanced wine with grand age ability.
2013 White Rose Estate Anderson Family Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
alc., $95 (Club members priority). 100% whole cluster fermentation. Aged in French oak barrels, 17% new.
Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Inviting perfume of macerated cherries, baking spices and red
rose petals. There is great purity of cherry flavor with impressive length and intensity on the finish. The texture
is like purple satin and the harmony of this wine is notable.
2013 White Rose Estate Guillén Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
$95 (Club members priority). 100% whole cluster fermentation. Aged in French oak barrels, 13% new.
Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. The nose draws you into the glass with elevating aromas
of black cherry, Moroccan spices, cinnamon toast, pine sap and floral goodness. A bombastic
combination of cherry and spice flavors attack the palate with noticeable energy, expanding over time
in the mouth and grabbing on to the finish with tenacity. A classy wine that also offers a seductive, silky
mouthfeel. Still pumping out plenty of generous aroma and flavors two days later from a previously
opened and re-corked bottle.
2013 White Rose Estate White Rose Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
alc., $125 (Club members priority). 100% whole cluster fermentation. Aged in French oak barrels, 9%
Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Intoxicating aromas of cherry reduction sauce,
exotic spices and wilted rose petal. The light to mid weight red cherry and cranberry flavors are nicely
spiced and balanced with supple tannins and tight acidity. An underlying savory woodland flavor plays
in the background. There is good grip on the red fruited, juicy finish that is both elegant and aromatic.
Wines from this vineyard typically become more complex over time in bottle and this wine has the
harmony to last. This wine brought back memories of a 1990 DRC Romanee-Conti wine I had the pleasure of
drinking a number of years ago because of its lighter color and elegant yet flavorful demeanor.
The following wines were tasted at the winery December 7.
2013 White Rose Estate Durant Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.7% alc., $60.
Clone 114 planted in 1998. 100% whole cluster fermentation. Aged in French oak barrels, 14% new.
cherry red color in the glass. Aromas of red cherry, rose petal, pine sap, spice and a hint of stem. Lean and
acid-driven, with flavors of iced cherry and cranberry, backed by soft tannins, and finishing on a soprano note.
2013 White Rose Estate Lia’s Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
$60. Clone 115 planted in 1998. 100% whole cluster fermentation. Aged in French oak barrels, 13% new.
cherry red color in the glass. The nose is both fruity and savory with both dark red and blueberry fruits. The
light to mid weight fruit flavors echo the aromas. Satisfying body and finish with a healthy acid background.
2013 White Rose Estate Vista Hills Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Dijon Clone 115 Pinot Noir
12.0% alc., $60. 100% whole cluster fermentation. Aged in French oak barrels, 16% new.
Light cherry red
color in the glass. Aromas of red cherry pie glaze, spice, forest floor and rose petal. A savory stemminess and
floral and woody notes dominate the light weight red fruits. Noticeable cut with modest tannins. Whole cluster
traits dominate the wine at present and further bottle age may warrant a higher score.
More Oregon Pinot Noir
2012 Crowley Entre Nous Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., $27.
Moderate reddish purple
color in the glass. Lovely play between aromas of black cherry, sous-bois and oak. Plenty of lush
black cherry and purple berry flavor in a fruit-driven wine with noticeable oak overlay. Fine tannins
make for easy drinking. The finish offers a charge of rich and sweet plum fruit that has modest
2014 Owen Roe The Kilmore Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $39. Pommard,
Wädenswil and Dijon clones.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of huckleberry, grape, sandy
soil, and green olive. A bold and assertive wine attacking with rich dark berry flavor that lingers on the finish. A
bit awkward, with muscular tannins that stick out. Caliesque in style. Not as appealing as previous vintages that
I have recommended, but may come together with more time in bottle.
2013 Violin Sunny Mountain Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., $45. Small
production Pinot Noir from Will Hamilton starting with this vintage. Sunny Mountain Vineyard was planted and is farmed by industry veteran Steve Price. It is located in the southern Willamette Valley, hear Broadley Vineyards in Monroe. One of a handful of producers making designated wines from this vineyard.
Moderately light cherry red color
in the glass. Demure aromas of red fruits and wood spice lead to a medium-bodied wine with an
enjoyable array of red berry and cherry flavors framed by dusty tannins. Very forward, elegant and
quite appealing now, with a forthright attack and finish.
2013 Willamette Valley Vineyards 40 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., 175 cases, $45. A wine
crafted by iconic Oregon winemaker Bill Fuller who returned to winemaking to celebrate his 40th vintage.
Harvest Brix 22.0º. Pommard clone. Aged 14 months in 30% new French oak barrels.
Moderately light cherry
red color in the glass. A crisp and vibrant wine that offers appealing aromas of cherry, cranberry relish and
vanilla, and a complex flavor profile including cherry and cranberry fruits, spice, blood orange and oak vanillin.
The refined tannins and good cut on the finish make for refreshingly pleasurable drinking.