2008 Evening Land Vineyards Oregon Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., $25.
Second vintage from a new Oregon and California producer. Sourced
from Southern Oregon (50%), the Eola-Amity Hills (30%) and Dundee
Hills (20%). Natural fermentation, 20% whole cluster. Noted Burgundy
vigneron, Dominque Lafon, consults on the Oregon wines.
reddish-purple in color. The shy dark red fruits are overshadowed by
heavy oak toast and burnt caramel aromas. Juicy core of red and purple stone
fruits and berries with a citrus underpinning. Full-bodied, fruit-driven and simple
with supple tannins for easy daily drinking. Oregon fruit in a California style.
2008 Haden Fig Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.50,
$25. Sourced from five Willamette Valley vineyards (Cancilla,
Mahonia, Momtazi, Eola Springs and Madrona) cropped a 2.0 to 2.5
tons per acre. A debut wine from owner and winemaker Erin Nuccio.
Moderately deep reddish-purple color in the glass. Deep and heady
scents of dark cherries, forest floor, oak toast and crushed rock. Light
but pleasing in the mouth with tasty black cherry, cranberry and dark berry fruit
with a faint sidecar of oak spice. Soft tannins and bright, refreshing acidity on
the finish. A terrific value-priced wine from a great Oregon vintage offered in a
classy and hip package. Relatively simple, but a very user-friendly drinker that
will perform beautifully at the dinner table. Very good.
2008 Ken Wright Cellars Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $42.
Subdued, but lovely aromas of red plums, wild berries and
grilled meat. A bolt of dark red and black fruits attacks the palate with a
vengeance, clothed in ripe tooth-sticking tannin and sporting a lively grip of
acidity. Reserved and not together yet. Much better the next day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle with much improved integration of oak,
tannin and acidity. Check back in 2 to 4 years. Very good.
2007 Soléna Grande Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.5 alc., 3,500 cases, $25. Sourced from several
sub-appellations of the Willamette Valley including the estate vineyard, Domaine Danielle Laurent. 100% destemmed,
cold macerated, punched down by hand, 20 days skin contact, aged 6 months in 17% new French
oak barrels, unfined and unfiltered.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color. Shy aromas of strawberries with
accents of savory herbs and oak cask. A middle weight wine sporting dark red berry fruit that is silky and
discreetly rich in the mouth with deft notes of oak. Softly textured with supple tannins for early drinking.
2007 North Valley Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., $30. Crafted at
Soter Vineyards using vineyard sources with diverse clones, soil types and
Attractive scents of strawberries, black cherries and spice with a
hint of smoke and volatile acidity. A lighter-weighted offering with an appealing
essence of fresh berries accented by savory herbs, mocha, and citrus peel. A
good daily drinker but hard to recommend at this price. Decent (+).
2007 Soléna Domaine Danielle Laurent Yamhill-Carlton District Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., 350 cases, $45.
Seventh vintage from this biodynamically-farmed 80-acre vineyard that is densely planted and located adjacent
Shea Vineyard. Clones are Pommard and Dijon 115, 667, 777 and 828. High percentage of stems removed,
6-day cold soak, 25 days of skin contact, fermented in small lots in rotary barrels (barrels are rotated for “punch
down” effect to gently extract color and tannins), aged 11 months in 33% new French oak barrels from a variety
of coopers, unfined and unfiltered.
The nose is more savory than fruity with hints of oak toast, wet leaves and
barnyard. The flavors trend to fresh wild berries matched with plenty of toasty oak that surfaces notably on the
finish. Silky textured with complimentary fine tannins. The lovely fruit just can’t surface above the noise from
the oak. Cellaring may allow more oak integration. For now, it is just decent.
2006 Winter’s Hill Vineyard Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.47, 1,195 cases, $29. From the
winery’s 35-acre estate vineyard which is Certified Sustainable and SalmonSafe. De-stemmed, cold soaked
for 2 days, aged 18 months in 25% new French oak. Winemaker Delphine Gladhart.
Aromas of ripe black
cherries, berry jam and raisins. Juicy and moderately rich fruit pushing ripeness to the edge. Typical of the
2006 vintage in Oregon and will appeal to ripe fruit lovers. Decent.
2006 Soléna Willakia Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.63, 97 cases, $35. Pommard and Dijon
clones. 100% de-stemmed, cold maceration for 8 days, fermented in rotary barrels, aged 15 months in 50%
new French oak, unfined and unfiltered.
Very shy aromatics with little to report other than faint purple fruits and
a hint of smoke. Delicious dark stone fruit core that is rich and satisfying wrapped in husky tannins. Very
smooth and sensual in the mouth with a perfect rift of acidity. Solid, but not exceptional, and lacks aromatic
interest. Very good (-).
2006 Winter’s Hill Vineyard Cuvée du Vigneron Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.47, 226 cases, $39. Of the 21 acres planted to Pinot Noir in
the estate vineyard between 1990 and 2000, only the Pommard clone is used in
this bottling. Barrel aging is tailored to the tannin and fruit make-up of each lot
of fermenting wine. Aged 18 months in barrel.
Subdued but pleasing aromas of
black cherries, earthy loam and forest floor. Fairly thick and imposing core of
darker cherry and berry fruit with hints of mocha and marzipan. Similar to the
regular Dundee Hills bottling but more high brow with better harmony and less
overripe tendencies. Very smoothly textured with a fresh and lively finish. Very
2006 Soléna Hyland Vineyard McMinnville Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.33,
$45. This 120-acre vineyard planted in 1970 and purchased by the Montalieus
in 2007. Soils are volcanic Jory and some Nekia. The vineyard contains both
own-rooted old-growth plantings and newer, grafted Pinot Noir clones. Grapes
were de-stemmed, 6-day cold soak, fermented in rotary barrels, aged 15 months
in 215 new French oak, unfined and unfiltered.
Very subdued aromatics with
delicate floral and berry scents. Impressive infusion of berry jam on the palate
with oak in the background. Smooth and harmonious with supple tannins,
snappy acidity and moderate persistence on the finish. A sophisticated wine of
great interest. Very good.
2006 Winter’s Hill Vineyard Reserve Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.56, 146 cases, $45. The
best six barrels of estate fruit out of 40. Aged 17 months in 50% new French oak barrels.
Dark purple in color
in the glass. Nicely composed nose that is both fruity and floral as well as spicy. A berry jubilee on the palate
with a hint of savory herbs and Provencal spices. Full-bodied, with noticeable lithe tannins and a moderately
long fruit presence on the snappy finish. Tasted later in the day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle,
the wine had lost most of its charm. I am not sure this one can stay the course. Decent (+).