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Willamette Valley Pinot Noir



“I think if you asked most people what’s the next best place outside of Burgundy that makes Pinot Noir, hopefully, it’s the Willamette Valley.”
Steve Doerner, winemaker, Cristom Vineyards



“The most exciting wine area in the USA right now? I say it’s Oregon.”
Eric Asimov, New York Times



Alloro Vineyard, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley

This 79-acre property in the Chehalem Mountains has 28 acres of vines planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Pinot Noir clones are 777, 667, 114, 115, Wädenswil and Pommard planted in Laurelwood series soil. The winery is specifically designed for vinifying Pinot Noir. Veteran winemaker Tom Fitzpatrick crafts three estate Pinot Noirs named Estate, Justina and Riservata. Photo below is of Tom (left) and owner David Nemarnik. Second photo shows an overview of the beautiful estate.

The tasting room at the winery is open Thursday-Monday afternoons. Visit www.allorovineyard.com.



2015 Alloro Vineyard Estate Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.57, 1,600 cases, $40. Estate grown, produced and bottled. 46% Pommard, 35% 777, 19% 114. 100% destemmed, 4 to 6-day cold soak, native fermentation, native malolactic fermentation, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 23% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Vigorous aromas of black cherry, rose petal and earthy flora. Generous surge of cherry fruit really alerts the palate. Very fresh and juicy in a mid weight style, with terrific balance and some finishing intent. Score: 92

2015 Alloro Vineyard Estate ‘Riservata’ Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.57, 300 cases, $50. A 12 barrel selection blend to capture additional body, weight, texture and complexity. This wine represents the best marriage of all the diverse characteristics contributed by each of the individual vineyard blocks. Truly, a reserve wine. 32% Pommard, 46% 777 and 22% 114. 100% de-stemmed, 4 to 6-day cold soak, native primary and malolactic fermentations, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 46% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is somewhat brooding but very genial, with aromas of dark cherry, raspberry and complimentary oak. More of everything in this wine, including concentration, intensity, tannin and finish. Makes a bold statement, yet easy to cozy up to. Mid weight plus in style, with flavors of black raspberry, blackberry, blueberry and spice. Silky in the mouth with a deft integration of oak. Still a bit aloof but the potential is obvious. Considerably more giving when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re- potential is obvious. Considerably more giving when tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle. A stunning wine with swagger, depth and dimension. Score: 95

2015 Alloro Vineyard Estate ‘Justina’ Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.57, 150 cases, $85. A special barrel select blend, crafted to show off the very best of the vintage. The wine is named after winery owner David Nemarnik’s daughter. 81% 777, 19% 114. 100% de-stemmed, 4 to 6-day cold soak, native primary and malolactiic fermentation, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 80% new. · This beauty is the polar opposite of the Riservata. More pastel in color with a moderately light garnet tone. Soaring aromas of cherry, raspberry, spice, balsam and nuttiness, becoming more demonstrative over time in the glass. More red-fruited in a mid weight plus, seductively elegant style that literally dances across the palate. The silk pajama texture creates the impression of grace and splendor, while the expansive finish resonates lip-smacking spicy goodness. There are notable tannins in the background, most certainly from the high percentage of new oak, but these tannins showed more amelioration when the wine was tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. This wine went from great to exceptional over night. Score: 96



Analemma Wines, Columbia Gorge, Oregon

Analemma co-farms the Oak Ridge Vineyard, planted in 1984, with owners Thomas and Marlene Woodward. The vineyard is organically certified and dry-farmed. The vineyard sits in close proximity to Atavius Vineyard, another source for Analemma Pinot Noir. A 100% whole cluster Atavius Vineyard Pinot Noir will be reviewed later when a large number of 100% whole cluster Pinot Noirs will be tasted.

Owner Steven Thompson has a vast experience in winemaking including Cayuse Vineyards in Walla Walla, Washington, and New Zealand’s Craggy Range and Seresin Estate.

The winery’s Cellar Door is open Friday-Sunday from April 1 to October 31. Visit www.analemmawines.com.

2014 Analemma Oak Ridge Vineyard Columbia Gorge Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 300 cases, $32. Organic grapes were fermented with a majority of whole cluster in stainless steel open-top tanks. The wine was aged on its lees for 16 months in neutral barriques and concrete. · Light ruby red color in the glass. A lighter-weighted offering, featuring aromas and flavors of red cherry, cranberry, wintergreen and spice infused with herbaceous thread that carry over in a short finish. A delicate tannic backbone makes for easy drinking. Score: 88

2015 Analemma Oak Ridge Vineyard Columbia Gorge Pinot Noir

13.5% Alc., 350 cases, $32. Organic grapes were fermented with a majority of whole cluster in stainless steel open-top tanks. The wine was aged on its lees for 16 months in neutral barriques and concrete. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Hi-tone cherry aroma with a woody riff. Engaging red cherry and red berry fruits in a mid weight style that seduces with a silken mouth feel. Gossamer tannins and redeeming balance, finishing modestly but pleasingly. Score: 90



Big Table Farm, Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette Valley

The 2016 Pinot Noir wines reviewed here are part of the winery’s spring release.

Winemaker Brian Marcy reported that the 2016 vintage was warm like the preceding two vintages with structures similar to the 2014s and the juiciness of the 2015s to balance.

The wonderful art on the labels is drawn by Brian's spouse, Claire Carver, and is unique to each vintage. The labels are made by hand using a letterpress and thick printmaking paper. After each label is applied by hand, each bottle is carefully wrapped in tissue to preserve the letterpress paper’s texture and beauty. There is a product code on the bottom of each bottle so you don’t have to unwrap them to identify the wines.

Big Table Farm has become extremely popular for its outstanding wines and working farm. Tasting is by appointment only. Visit www.bigtablefarm.com. Shipping is now free with case purchases.



2016 Big Table Farm Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 1,835 cases, $45. Released March 5, 2018. A blend of grapes from eight vineyards making the wine a good representation of the Willamette Valley. This wine is more affordable because a lot more of it is made, but it receives the same care and handling s the rest of the lineup of wines. A drawing by Grace of Buttercup, an American Guinea Hog, graces the label. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Lovely fragrance of red cherry, red berry, rose petal and sous-bois. Darker fruited on the palate with giving flavors of purple grape and blueberry. Soft and found in the mouth with a conforming texture and some finishing length. A hint of grapes from Pelos Sandberg Vineyard shows up. Beautifully composed, although not extremely complex. This wine is liable to be sold out by the time you read this review as it is very popular among “bigtablers.” Score: 91

2016 Big Table Farm Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 285 cases, $62. Released March 5, 2018. Clare’s drawing of vineyard owner Don Sandberg’s clippers graces the label. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose offers a plethora of aromas including spiced boysenberry, burnt tobacco, compost , barnyard, and turned earth. Discreetly concentrated flavors of purple and blackberry with a hint of peppery spices and the guaiacol note that is typical of this vineyard. Noticeably more enchanting when tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle, when the fruit flavors were more intense and the wine was more outgoing. Score: 93



Broadley Vineyards, Willamette Valley

Distinctive, consistently top-notch Pinot Noir from the southern Willamette Valley. Initial planting of the estate vineyard began in 1981 and the first wines were released from the 1986 vintage. Second generation, Morgan and wife Jessica Broadley run the winery, with Morgan crafting the wines. Most of the Pinot Noir wines are from the estate vineyard. Uniquely, large wooden fermenters are used giving a richer and deeper complexity to the wines. Whole cluster is also used in fermentation when the vintage dictates. Visit www.broadleyvineyards.com.

2016 Broadley Vineyards Open Claim Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 50 cases, $35. 100% Pommard clone. Fermented in small open-top French oak wood fermenter for 14-21 days. Aged 12 months in neutral French oak barrels. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of Marionberry, black cherry, spice, dried herbs and barrique. Light to mid weight and quite sleek and demurely satisfying, with flavors of purple berry and black cherry fruit. Welcoming and easy going now with minimal tannins. Score: 90

2016 Broadley Vineyards Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc. $35. Composed of a variety of blocks containing newer and older vines. · Nicely scented with aromas of dark strawberry, blueberry, plum and spice. Gentle in the mouth with a light to mid weight core of red and purple berries with a touch of spice, a little smokiness, and a savory herbal thread. Forward drinking, with exquisite balance . This elegant wine draws you in with its charm. Score: 91



Cooper Mountain Vineyards, Willamette Valley

This winery is celebrating 40 years since its founding in 1978 by Dr. Robert and Corrine Gross. Initially, grapes were sold to other wineries, but in 1987, Dr. Gross, a homeopathic doctor, started his own label from his estate vineyards. The winery was an early adaptor of holistic agriculture including organic and biodynamic farming practices by the early 1990s. They expanded to four vineyards on 125 acres. Every wine they make is made from Biodynamic grapes, with Demeter® certification since1999. In 2002, Cooper Mountain became the first winery in the US to gain label approval for a no-sulfite-added wine, and, in 2010, achieved carbon neutrality.

The winemaker since 2004 has been Gilles de Domingo and the farm manager is Gerry Sanchez who has tended the vines on Cooper Mountain for more than two decades. Dr. Gross’s daughter, Barbara, is the operations manager. Varieties grown include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Gamay Noir and Tocai Freiulano.

Total production is 20,000 cases annually. There are three tiers of organic and biodynamic wines. The Five Elements tier are vineyard designates and special selections that are produced from the most coveted barrels from the winery’s most prized sites. The Cooper Mountain Estate tier is a collection of moderately priced wines that are ideal aperitifs or can pair nicely with foods. Cooper Hill is the winery’s second label.

In 1987, the owners converted their horse barn into the original winery. They soon outgrew that winery and built the current winery next door, opening the barn into a tasting room in Beaverton, just 10 miles from downtown Portland. The tasting room is open daily. Visit www.coopermountainwine.com.

Crafting a Sulfite-Free Wine

The Cooper Mountain Vineyards “Life” Pinot Noir has no added SO2 during vinification, so the winemaker focuses on enhancing some type of phenols considered strong antioxidants. The goal is to replace the SO2 antioxidant role with naturally occurring phenols, according to winemaker Gilles de Domingo.

The first step in making the wine begins in the vineyard. Two designated blocks are used that differ from the typical VSP canopy management in that leaves are pulled on both sides of the canopy at the bloom stage. This is meant to “teach” the berries to receive the sun at an early development stage. The Brix will increase slower than usual and the phenols will develop differently by enzymatic processes. Because of the combination of a minimum foliar surface and early exposure to sun, the vines will stress enough to develop an increased amount of phenols and polyphenols.

The second step occurs at the crush pad. The grapes are 100% de-stemmed because the phenols contained in the stems will have the undesirable effect of precipitating desirable phenols.

Primary fermentation occurs naturally by spontaneous fermentation in 1.5-ton open-top fermenters. The punch down regime is quite soft.

Aging in barrels is a must, The gallic acid contained in oak will bind with the increased polyphenols forming a stable tannin complex.

SO2 has a strong bleaching effect on phenols and is the reason many Pinot Noir wines tend to be lighter in color. A loss of 20% in color depth is common in practice. The result is that “Life” Pinot Noir has a deep color like Syrah.

2016 Cooper Mountain Vineyards Life Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $40. No sulfites added (may contain naturally-occurring sulfites). Certified organic and biodynamic. Johnson School and Meadowlark vineyards. Native fermentation. Aged 8 months in French oak barrels, 40% 2-year-old, 60% neutral. Unfined. · Very dark garnet color in the glass. Demure aromas of blackberry, blueberry-pomegranate and barrique. The fruit fades rather quickly in the glass over time. Full-bodied and ultra-rich, with a hedonistic core of purple and black fruits along with a velvety mouth feel. Fruit-driven and Syrah-like, yet tannins and acidity are in complimentary balance with the fruit load. A uniquely-crafted style, that is richly concentrated, but still retains charm. Score: 90

2015 Cooper Mountain Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $25. Made with Demeter® Certified Biodynamic® grapes. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. An appealing appellation wine from an outstanding vintage, with aromas of blackest cherry, underbrush and teasing oak, leading to mid weight flavors of black cherry and blackberry complimented with a deft touch of oak. Juicy and very agreeable now, yet there is enough tannin to suggest decanting or a little more time in the bottle. Score: 92

2014 Cooper Mountain Vineyards Mountain Terroir Meadowlark Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $50. Certified Biodynamic® by Demeter®. Vineyard Series. Meadowlark Vineyard planted in 1982 in Willakenzie soil. Native fermentation. Aged 10 months in oak barrels. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Charming aromas of blackberry, blueberry, sandy loam and toasty oak entice. Very satisfying in the mouth, with a polished texture, and a mid weight core of boysenberry and black raspberry fruit wrapped in gentle tannins. A classy wine with impeccable balance, drinking perfectly now. Score: 93



de Lancellotti Family Vineyards, McMinnville, Willamette Valley

De Lancellotti wines are produced from distinguished vineyards in Oregon and produced in a shared winemaking facility in McMinnville, under the guidance of winemaking consultant Robert Brittan.

Tasting is available by advanced appointment only December-April, with an opening to the public beginning in April. Three tasting experiences are offered. Visit www.delancellottifamilyvineyards.com for details and location of tasting room.

2016 de Lancellotti Famiglia Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 225 cases, $40. A reserve blend from the winery’s biodynamically farmed home vineyard planted to clones ”828,” Pommard, 777 and 115. Only the best barrels are selected and blended. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Intoxicating nose with considerable nuance, offering aromas of cherry, boysenberry, nutty oak, dark rose petal and chocolate basil. Light to mid weight in extract, with vibrant flavors of cherry, strawberry and spice. A modicum of tannins add interest to the silken texture, with the wine finishing dry and unpretentious. Score: 90

2016 de Lancellotti Onelia Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 60 cases, $60. A special limited bottling named after owner Paul de Lancellotti’s Italian grandmother. The wine is sourced from the winery’s biodynamically farmed home vineyard. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose reveals scents of purple grape, cherry, earthy flora, spice and vanilla. The mid weight plus essence of crunchy black cherry and black raspberry fruit is quite satisfying. Juicy, with an earthy, woodsy tone, featuring balanced tannins and a thread of oak in the background. The finish is very good in length but not exceptional. More expressive when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 92

2016 de Lancellotti Lachini Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., 175 cases, $60. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Restrained, but pleasant aromas of cherry and nutty oak. Silky, sleek and refined in the mouth with a mid weight core of red cherry and berry and blueberry flavors. Nicely composed, with exceptional vibrancy and a quenching finish. Unchanged when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 92



ÉLEVÉE Winegrowers, Dundee, Willamette Valley

At the heart of Élevée is the concept of “winegrower,” one part “winemaker” and one part “grower.” The two are inextricably linked. Winegrower and proprietor Tom Fitzpatrick, UC Davis educated, after years of professionally growing and crafting wines for others in Burgundy, Napa Valley, New Zealand and Oregon, he had the opportunity to bring his “winegrower” concept to life. While the winemaker for Alloro Vineyard (where he remains today), Archery Summit’s Gary Andrus decided to sell a high-density, microsite in the Dundee Hills that he had planted in 1998. Tom and his spouse France purchased it in 2008 and named it Élevée Vineyard. In 2016, he began directing the farming on two additional and diverse sites in the Chehalem Mountains and Eola-Amity Hills. Farmed by him, he is able to craft wines that express the personality of each site and showcase the diversity of Willamette Valley terroir.

Visit www.eleveewines.com.

2015 Élevée Winegrowers Élevée Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 300 cases, $48. Vineyard is located on a south-facing slope at 540 feet. Volcanic Jory series soil, vines densely planted. 100% de-stemmed, native fermentation, aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 38% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Up-front aromas of cherry and spice pick up power over time in the glass. Flavors of strawberry, ripe cherry and raspberry, in a discretely concentrated style with a silken mouth feel and the right touch of oak. A bit of grippy tannin shows up on the finish, but this should be more accommodating with more time in the bottle. This wine is quintessential Dundee Hills in character and is quite affable now. Score: 93



Lenné Estate, Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette Valley

Estate grown wines from a 15-acre steep, south-facing sloped vineyard located just east of the town of Yamhill first planted beginning in 2001. Shallow soils, dense spacing and a diverse clonal mix consisting of Pommard and Dijon 115, 114, 777 and 667. The vineyard is dry farmed and sustainably managed.

Owner Steve Lutz established Lenné Estate in 2002 and since has produced a stellar series of Pinot Noir wines that I consider among the best from the Yamhill-Carlton sub-appellation. The Lenné Estate Vineyard is managed and farmed by Steve and the wines are produced by Steve at Owen Roe with the help of their crew.

The 2015 vintage wines are riper (with higher alcohols), as well as more concentration and tannin. and will need more time in bottle to ameliorate the hardy fruit tannins. The wines reflect the vintage that mirrored the 2014 vintage with a record-breaking number of over 90 degree days in July and August. The result was small, thick-skinned berries and the earliest harvest ever at Lenné Estate.



The tasting room is open Wednesday through Sunday, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visit www.lennerestate.com. The following wines will be released May 19.

2015 Lenné Le Nez Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.81, TA o.59326 cases, $30. The winery’s “infant,” early drinking wine that represents the entire vineyard and all five clones. “Le Nez” is French for “The Nose,” and is a reference to Karen Lutz’s late father Lenny, who also was the inspiration for the name, Lenné Estate. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, aged 11 months in French oak barrels. · Moderate ruby red color in the glass. Deep aromas of cherry, rose, spice, mocha and pleasant oak. Light to mid weight in style, with easily approachable, robust flavors of black cherry and boysenberry framed by matched tannins and finishing with a juicy cut of acidity. The lightest, freshest and most forward wine in the 2015 Lenné lineup, but not a demure wine. Score: 91

2015 Lenné Eleanor’s 114 Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.59, 75 cases, $55. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak prior to inoculation of proprietary yeast, and aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 66% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The most aromatic wine in the 2015 Lenné lineup, with intoxicating aromas of black raspberry, cola exotic spices and caramel. Mid weight plus in style, with hearty, masculine flavors of black raspberry and blackberry with a background hint of smoke and vanilla, and a rustic earthiness. Intensely sappy, yet vibrant with good freshness. Substantial tannins and frisky oak at this early stage. Much better when tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle when the aromatics made my knees go weak, and the tannins had moderated. Rare to find a Dijon 114 single clone bottling which makes this wine all the more intriguing. Score: 93

2015 Lenné Karen’s Pommard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 100 cases, $55. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Shy upon opening, but very giving when tasted the following day from an opened bottle with aromas of black cherry, spice and fertile earth. The attack of mid weight black cherry fruit is focused and serious with remarkable intensity. An underlying earthiness adds interest. Acidity is well-mannered, but the tannins are muscular and a bit daunting initially. This is the most backward wine in the lineup and will benefit from a couple years in the cellar to ameliorate the fruit tannins. That said, it is hard to ignore the glorious fruit now, especially if you decant. Score: 93

2015 Lenné Jill’s 115 Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 100 cases, $55. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Rather exotic nose featuring black cherry and blackberry fruits, spice, and toasty oak. Mid weight plus in concentration, offering a luscious array of ripe purple and black berry flavors. Somewhat burly, with husky tannins, yet the wine glides across the palate. Still closed in and out of sorts with prominent oak on the sideline and muscular tannins on the finish. Much better when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, with more integration of oak and tannin and more expressive fruit. This one should be cellared for a couple of years for full enjoyment. Score: 92

2015 Lenné Estate Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.76, TA 0.59, 376 cases, $38. A barrel selection of the finest wine from the estate vineyard. Primarily Pommard and clone 114, with balance made up of 777, 115 and 667. De-stemmed, 5-day cold soak prior to inoculation, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 20% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Shy perfume of black cherry, dark red berry and oak barrel. Middleweight flavors of purple and black fruits with an herbal thread. Sleek in texture with welcome balance, offering a giving purple-fruit finish of noticeable length. Unchanged when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 90

2015 Lenné cinq élus Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $80. This wine is made only in great vintages. The name, cinq élus means “five chosen,” reflecting that this wine is a blend of the best barrels from all five clones grown at the estate vineyard. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Hi-tone aromas of ripe strawberry and Bing cherry with a hint of mocha. Clearly a step up in class, with a mid weight core of delicious purple and black fruits backed by polished tannins. Great energy, vibrancy, length and intensity. Didn’t taste it the next day because my neighbors and I finished it off the same day I opened it. Score: 94



Lundeen Wines, McMinnville, Willamette Valley

Native Oregonian Michael Lundeen is now the third generation steward of his family’s ancestral home in Yamhill County, and the latest to tend the vineyards there. Michael has been crafting Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay since 2006.

The home Poverty Bend Vineyard Estate is farmed naturally and sustainably, with an avoidance of the use of synthetic chemicals, herbicides and fertilizers.

The Articulate wines are barrel selected blends from vineyards across the Willamette Valley produced in exceptional vintages. They are meant to show the highest expression of the vintage as well as the Willamette Valley as a whole.

The Single Vineyard wines are put into the fermenter with some percentage of whole clusters since Michael believes that great vineyards express their uniqueness not only in fruit but in the complex contents of the entire grape cluster. The general style of the wines reflect lean esthetic and savory characters.

Tasting is available by appointment at the Walnut City Urban Winery Tasting Room and Wine Bar (www.walnutcitywineworks.com) in McMinnville where wines are available for purchase. Shop online at www.lundeenwines.com.

2014 Lundeen Z’ivo Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., pH 3.63, 100 cases, $40. Released February 1, 2017. 25-acre vineyard originally planted by Dr. John Zelko in the mid 1990s. 40% whole cluster. Un-inoculated fermentation, 24 days on the skins with pump overs and punch downs. Aged in a mix of one new and the remainder neutral French oak barrels. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of pie cherry, forest floor and balsam lead the way to a light weighted style that offers cherry, cranberry and raspberry flavors along with a modicum of oak. A lean wine with energetic acidity, modest tannins and a tart cherry finish. Score: 88

2014 Lundeen La Cantera Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., pH 3.59, 106 cases, $40. Released February 1, 2017.Sourced from a 20-acre vineyard planted by John Davidson in the late 1980s. Laurelwood soils. 100% de-stemmed, un-inoculared fermentation, 21 days on the skins with pump overs and punch downs. Aged in a mix of once-filled and neutral French oak barrels. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Very savory nose with aromas of spice, sous-bois, damp earth and a little barnyard. The mid weight core of dark red cherry and berry fruits is wrapped in gentle tannins and supported by driven acidity. Nicely balanced, with a forestry overtone. Score: 89

2014 Lundeen Winter’s Hill Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., pH 3.52, 75 cases, $40. Vineyard originally planted in 1990 by Peter and Emily Gladhart. Those own-rooted Pommard clone vines are the source for this wine. 100% de-stemmed, un-inoculated fermentation, 20 days on skins with pump overs and punch downs. Aged in a mix of once-filled and neutral French oak barrels. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Shy fragrance of cherry and fertile earth. A straight-forward, Light to mid weight styled wine with a juicy core of black cherry fruit. Matching tannins make for easy approachability, and the wine finishes with some intensity and length. Score: 89

2014 Lundeen Articulate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., pH 3.52, 75 cases, $40. Released February 1, 2017.Articulate wines are the top tier counterpoint to the Single Vineyard wines. 100% destemmed, un-inoculated, 20-day skin contact, pump overs and punch downs. Aged in a mix of once-filled and neutral French oak barrels. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Extremely demure aromatics even when sampled over an extended time in the glass. Much more expressive on the palate, with a mid weight core of vibrant dark red and purple berry fruits complimented by a riff of oak. Vibrant, with food-compatible acidity and a silky texture, finishing with some giving fruit. Score: 90



VIDON Vineyard, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley

This winery is a family owned estate founded by Don Hagge, a former NASA physicist. Because of his background, it is not surprising that he has introduced many innovative techniques into his winery. As someone who designed instrumentation for NASA’s satellites, he brings a formidable intellect and scientific precision to growing and making wine. One example is the use of VinoSeal glass stoppers using a special bottling line that Don built. This closure eliminates the risk of cork taint and pre-oxidation.

Founded in 1999, VIDON Vineyard is a 20-acre site just outside Newberg. The winery name is a contraction of Vicki and Don, pronounced “vee-DOHN.”



The estate vineyard, located three miles north of the Dundee Hills, consists of 12.5 acres of vines planted on a mix of sedimentary and volcanic soils. The Pinot Noir, clones 777, 115 and Pommard, are planted on Jory soils with a vine density of 1,555 per acre, with initial plantings dating to 2000 and 2001.

Don is VIDON’s vineyard manager and general manager, and also assists in the winemaking along with David Bellows. Each August two or three barrels of each clone are selected for an additional seven months of barrel ageing. These become the Brigita Clone 777, Mirabelle Clone 115 and Hans Clone Pommard bottlings. All the remaining barrels are blended as the 3-Clones and this wine is about one-third of each clone.

Winemaking employs indigenous primary and malolactic fermentation. Grapes are 100% de-stemmed and fermented in 1.5-ton tanks. After a 3 to 5-day cold soak and 7 to 10-day native yeast fermentation, the single clone wines are aged in French oak barrels, 35% new, for 18 months. The wines are sealed with a glass closure.

There is a striking contrast between the two vintages reviewed here. The 2014 vintage wines are riper with higher alcohols and more extraction. The 2015 vintage wines are more typical of Oregon, with appealing elegance and refinement, more spice, better harmony, and less extraction but more nuanced.

The tasting room at the winery is open Thursday-Monday, April through November, and other times by appointment. The tasting room features an argon gas wine preserving and dispensing system designed and built by Don. Visit www.vidonvineyard.com.

2014 VIDON Vineyard Mirabelle Clone 115 Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $50. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Very savory nose, with vegetal aromas along side aromas of berry compote and spice. Dark red berry and black cherry fruits are featured in this mid weight styled wine with an herbal thread in the background. A whisper of tannin, a polished mouthfeel and a sumptuous raspberry finish. Considerably more fruit expression when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 90

2014 VIDON Vineyard Hans Clone Pommard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $50. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Lovely perfume of cherry, floral blossom, spice and a hint of bark and white pepper. Light to mid weight in concentration in an elegant style, with a core of black cherry fruit with added cola and green dried herb flavors. Sleek in the mouth, with fine-grain tannins. Much more appealing when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 89

2014 VIDON Vineyard Brigita Clone 777 Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.3%% alc., $50. Release May 2018. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Very shy and woody nose with demure added aromas of black raspberry, black cherry, spice and underbrush. Light and elegant in style, with flavors of dark berries and black cherry. Modest tannins, very modest intensity and a modest finish. Unchanged when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 88

2014 VIDON Vineyard 3-Clones Estate Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $40. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Shy, but satisfying aromas of saucy purple and black berries with a bit of seasoned oak. The most sappy and ripest-flavored wine in the 2015 lineup but still discretely rich, with flavors of purple and black berries.The tannins are well-blended and there is enough underlying acidity to buffet the fruit load. Some oak plies the background. There is a hint of alcoholic heat on the finish (unusual for Oregon but not surprising in this very warm vintage). Score: 89

2015 VIDON Vineyard Mirabelle Clone 115 Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.55, 46 cases, $50. Release May 2018. 15th vintage from this block. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Aromas of cherry and floral bouquet lead to a lighter weighted wine that exudes elegance. Tasty flavors of cherry, raspberry and baking spice framed by gossamer tannins. The finish is modest but pleasing, leaving behind aromatic candied cherry and a compliment of oak. Score: 90

2015 VIDON Vineyard Hans Clone Pommard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.55, 75 cases, $50. Release May 2018. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Lovely Bing cherry aromas arrive over time in the glass. Light in weight, but highly flavorful, featuring a core of perfectly ripened cherry fruit. Nicely composed, with silky tannins, energetic acidity, and noticeable finishing generosity. Score: 92

2015 VIDON Vineyard Brigita Clone 777 Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.55, 75 cases, $50. Release May 2018. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Invigorating aromas of dark red berry mix, spice and earthy flora. The most concentrated wine in the 2015 lineup, yet discreetly composed, offering mid weight flavors of dark red and purple fruits with added spice and cola notes. Thoroughly satisfying, with integrated tannins, a silken mouth feel and admirable aromatic persistence on the finish. Score: 93

2015 VIDON Vineyard 3-Clones Estate Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.55, 565 cases, $40, screw cap. Released April 2018. 40% 777, 27% 115, 33% Pommard. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light ruby red color in the glass. The nose leads with aromas of red berries, sandalwood and mushroom. Demure and graceful, with flavors of red cherry, strawberry and raspberry with a touch of spice. The slightest oak plies the background. Very open, with soft tannins and an unpretentious finish. My interest in the wine faded a bit when sampled over time in the glass. Score: 88



Walter Scott Wines, Salem, Willamette Valley

Partners Ken Pahlow and Erica Landon launched Walter Scott Wines commercially in 2009, and in a relatively short period of time have become one of the Willamette Valley’s most respected producers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The key to their success, besides their extensive experience in the wine industry, has been their ability to source grapes from some of the most established and prestigious vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. They have the grapes!

Because of the popularity of Walter Scott wines, a limited number of tastings are offered Monday-Saturday. The tasting fee is $50 per person, waived with a 3-bottle purchase per person. Alternatively, tasting of Walter Scott wines is available at Valley Wine Merchants in Newberg. Two open house events are hosted on Memorial Day and Thanksgiving weekends when you are to join at $15 per person.

Visit www.walterscottwine.com for more information and to purchase wine. The following reviewed 2016 vintage wines are part of the 2018 spring release. They all have their appeal; choosing between them boils down to “eyne-meeny-miny-moe.”

The photo below shows Erica during pigeage with her daughter and spouse Ken.



2016 Walter Scott Dubay Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., 75 cases, $55. This is a steep, rocky vineyard farmed organically by Ryan Hannaford. Sourced from a 1-acre block yielding 1.2 tons per acre. Ambient yeast fermentation, 30% whole cluster, aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Plenty of nuance on the nose, offering aromas of black cherry, baking spice, tobacco, earth and forest . Mid weight plus in size, featuring flavors of black raspberry, blackberry, black grape and a riff of spice. Boldly fruited with a healthy tannic backbone, but with good energy, and a long and voluptuous finish. This wine has impressive ripeness of flavor at a modest alcohol level. Score: 93

2016 Walter Scott Sojourner Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 450 cases, $55. This 15-acre vineyard sits at 650 feet elevation. Clones are 115, Pommard and Wädenswil. Soils are rocky, volcanic clay with many stones littered throughout the hillside. Vineyard is farmed sustainably moving toward organic options. Ambient yeast fermentation, 30% whole cluster, aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Earth-kissed aromas of blueberry and pomegranate with a hint of oak. Refined and suave in the mouth, with earth-dusted flavors of blueberry and black cherry. Beautifully composed, with excellent balance, and a stylish finish. Score: 93

2016 Walter Scott Sequitur Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., 75 cases, $55. This property is adjacent Beaux Frères’ Upper Terrace Vineyard. 12 acres with 17 clones of planted Pinot Noir surrounded by a forest of Douglas Fir trees on three sides. Farmed with organic and biodynamic principles. Marine sedimentary soils. Ambient yeast fermentation, 25% whole cluster, aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Vivacious aromas of blackberry jam, blueberry croissant, cookies-in-the-oven, fertile earth and slate. Mid weight flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and spice supported by cohesive and fine-honed tannins. The satiny texture appeals, as does the intensely aromatic and tenacious finish. Score: 93

2016 Walter Scott Temperance Hill Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 125 cases, $55. This vineyard is on the crown of the Eola-Amity Hills at elevations of 600 to 900 feet. The site is exposed to cool afternoon marine breezes that contribute to late ripening. Dai Crisp has farmed the vineyard organically since 2000. 26-year-old vines. Fruit 100% de-stemmed and aged for 15 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Flamboyant aromas of black cherry, exotic spices and sassafras. Stunning and succulent on the palate with far-reaching dark red cherry and berry fruit flavors. Harmonious, with a deft touch of oak, and a long, long, long finish. Ridiculous! Score: 95

2016 Walter Scott Freedom Hill Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 225 cases, $55, silver wax cap. Vineyard planted in 1982 and farmed by the owners, Dan and Helen Dusschee and their son Dustin. Soils are Bellpine loam. Ambient yeast fermentation, 15% whole cluster, aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Brooding aromas of black raspberry, spice and compost. Very classy, with mid weight flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and intense spice. A subtle pine, forest and floral note plays alongside the core of delicious fruit. The texture is enticingly silken, and the tannins are unusually tame for this vineyard. Overall, a highly nuanced wine with impeccable balance and an intensely aromatic and spicy finish that captivates. Score: 95

2016 Walter Scott Seven Springs Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 225 cases, $65. One of the few wineries to obtain grapes from this iconic vineyard. Sourced from Block B, a mixed clonal block planted selection massale in 2007. Farming is done using biodynamic practices. Ambient yeast fermentation, 20% whole cluster, aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose opens slowly in the glass to reveal aromas of fresh crushed berries, cherry, spice and earthy flora. The lightest and most elegant wine in the 2016 lineup, with delicate flavors of blueberry, cherry and raspberry. The wine picks up a little depth over time in the glass but never sheds a green thread. The tannins are fine grain, there is good acidity, and the wine finishes with modest intensity. Tasted repeatedly over a two-day period with no change. Score: 90



Youngberg Hill Vineyards & Inn, McMinnville, Willamette Valley

This estate consists of 21 acres of vineyards and a guest house operating as a B&B, located on a spectacular 50-acre hilltop site with expansive views of the Willamette Valley. Family owned and operated since 2003, owner Wayne Bailey crafts the wines named after his three daughters (Natasha, Jordan and Aspen). For more information, visit www.youngberghill.com.



2015 Youngberg Hill Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 286 cases, $35, screw cap. Released April 2018. Grapes from the estate vineyard (youngest vines), Bjornson Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, and Yamhill Valley Vineyards in the McMinnville AVA. Dijon 777. Harvest Brix 22.7º. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose offers aromas of black cherry, raspberry, toasty brioche, vanilla and walnut. The mid weight plus charge of black cherry, black raspberry and cassis flavors are intense and opulent, expansive in the mouth and carry a creamy texture through a generous finish that gives a slight notion of alcoholic warmth. The higher alcohol gives the wine body and sweetness. Score: 89

2015 Youngberg Hill Jordan McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 448 cases, $50 . Released April 2018. The Jordan Block consists of 4 acres of estate vines situation on a steep and high slope, getting more benefit from prevailing afternoon coastal breezes. 60% Pommard and 40% Wädenswil clones. 28- year-old vines. Harvest Brix 23.3º. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The chosen one in this vintage with invigorating aromas of fresh cherry, raspberry and earthy flora. Discretely concentrated in a mid weight style, featuring vivid flavors of black cherry and black raspberry. This amiable wine has good energy, supportive tannins, righteous oak, and a spirited finish of some length. Score: 92

2015 Youngberg Hill Natasha McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 558 cases, $50. Released April 2018. The Natasha Block is 6.6 acres in the estate vineyard. 28-year-old vines on owned-rooted Wädenswil and Pommard clone planted in marine sedimentary soil. 40% Wädenswil and 60% Pommard. Harvest Brix 24.5º. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose opens slowly in the glass to reveal effusive aromas of boysenberry and blackberry with added compliments of sweet mulch and fertile earth. In the mouthe, there is a succulent and well-ripened mid weight plus core of purple and blackberry fruits with some toasty oak in the background. The tannins are quite noticeable and surface on the mildly astringent finish that has good fruit-driven persistence. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the tannins had softened. I would suggest decanting if you drink now. Score: 90



More Wines

2015 A to Z Wineworks The Essence of Oregon Oregon Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $24, screw cap. A selection of fruit from 35 vineyards blended to produce a celebratory cuvée to celebrate the winery’s 15th anniversary. A to Z is Oregon’s best selling wine brand. Classy black and white bottle label and neck ring. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. This wine evolves nicely in the glass over time and offers plenty of Pinot pleasure for a modest price. Aromas of black cherry, rhubarb, earthy flora, spice and seasoned oak barrique. A middleweight spiced black cherry core has some length and intent, there is redeeming balance, and the whole package is juicy and easy to like. Tremendous value. Score: 91

AWE Wines is a tiny label (less than 70 cases of Pinot Noir. Every year, Travis Awe, a winemaker in Healdsburg and his spouse PJ Awe drive up to the Willamette Valley and pick up the fruit, truck it back, and make the wine in Napa. The wine is sold through a mailing list at www.awewines.com.

2016 AWE Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., $50. Sourced from Olenik Vineyard planted in 1989. Volcanic soils with basalt rocks. 100% Pommard clone. Harvest Brix 23.3º. 25% whole cluster fermentation. Aged in neutral French oak barrels for 12 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. Tasted twice two months apart with this review based on the second tasting that was most recent. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, raspberry, savory herbs and compelling spice. Mid weight plus in style, with expansive flavors of plum, blackberry, allspice, and a whiff of leaf and stem. The fruit finds every nook and cranny in the mouth. Silken in texture, with modest tannins, and a juicy finish. The wine offers matching flavor ripeness and phenolic ripeness. More overall pleasure when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Thoroughly enjoyable now, but another 6-12 months in bottle will prove even more rewarding. Score: 93

2014 Angela Estate Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $36. this 34-acre vineyard was planted in 2006 to Wädenswil, 777 and 115 clones. Marine sedimentary soils. The vineyard is owned by South African wine producer Antony Beck as a gift to his wife Angela. Production of the wine is overseen by Ken Wright. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of berry patch, black cherry, dried herbs and damp mulch lead to a an elegantly styled, but powerfully flavored middleweight wine featuring a delicious core of black cherry fruit. Forward and giving, with impeccable balance and an intensely-aromatic, cherry-driven finish. Classic Oregon Pinot Noir to enjoy now or over the next ten years. Score: 94

2014 Child’s Play Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $24. Tendril second label featuring value-priced wines. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Very shy black cherry fruit with overwhelming aromas of heavily toasted oak. Mid weight plus, oak-infused black cherry and blackberry fruit that isn’t particularly pleasant. Tannins show up on the dry finish. Very little Oregon Pinot Noir typicality in this wine. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the nose was still oak-infused while the palate was a little day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the nose was still oak-infused while the palate was a little more redeeming with more fruit and spice coming through. Score: 86

2015 Red Electric Armstrong Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 120 cases, $50. Inaugural release. This wine is a collaboration between winemaker John Grochau and grape grower Douglas Ackerman. The vineyard has sedimentary soils and is meticulously farmed. Clones are Pommard, Wädenswil, and Dijon 667, 777 and 115. 20% whole cluster and native yeast fermentation. Aged 17 months in French oak barrels, 18% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Pleasing aromas of black cherry and sandalwood. Mid weight flavors of black cherry and Marionberry are vibrant and easy going. Very satisfying, in a sleek and polished style with a silky texture, a hint of complimentary oak barrel seasoning, and some finishing length. Score: 93

2014 Siltstone Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $20. Produced from the Myers Family vineyards. The Myers Family owned Familys and Vinetenders farming company has been growing wine grapes in the Willamette Valley for more than 35 years. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of dark cherry, raspberry, earthy flora and a hint of oak. A straightforward, simple wine with mid weight flavors of black cherry and subtle oak char. Modest tannins, smoothly textured, with unassuming acidity and a short finish. Score: 87

2015 Evening Land Anden Seven Springs Estate Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., $100. For a brief period, following the divorce of Seven Springs Estate founders Al MacDonald and Joni Weatherspoon, the Seven Springs Vineyard was cleaved in two. Joni retained the vineyard’s upper half and the name Seven Springs, while Al christened the lower portion ‘Anden,’ a linkage of their children’s names Andrew and Kristen. The lower half of the vineyard is home to the Seven Springs’ original plantings of Pommard and Wädenswil on their own roots dating to 1984. Anden Pinot Noir celebrates the oldest corner of the Seven Springs vineyard as it slowly succumbs to phylloxera. 100% whole cluster, aged in 100% new Ermitage oak barrels and bottled without filtration. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Intoxicating aromas of cherry, mulch, burnt tobacco and spice. Light to mid weight in concentration, with a generous charge of dark red cherry fruit. Hints of tobacco, earth, toast and vegetation add interest. Elegantly composed and silky in the mouth, with imperceptible tannins and an extremely long finish reflecting the pedigree of the vines. This wine won’t bowl you over with sap, but it will seduce you with nuance. As the winery announcement said, “A subdued and timeless interpretation of Pinot Noir ….and a celebration of the finite time these vines have left.” Score: 96




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