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Anam Cara Cellars

Nick and Sheila Nicholas lovingly farm a 30-acre vineyard on the southeast slopes of the Chehalem Mountains, just north of the town of Newberg. Five blocks of Pinot Noir were planted in 2000 and 2001 with Dijon clones 114, 115, 667, and 777 and Pommard. There are a total of 28 acres of Pinot Noir, 1 acre of Riesling and 1 acre of Gewürztraminer. The property had been an overgrown walnut, plum and hazelnut orchard with a neglected Christmas tree forest and included a quaint farmhouse dating from 1902.

The words Anam Cara are Celtic for “friend of my soul” and symbolize the journey the Nicholas’s have taken to farm their vineyard sustainably and craft their wine. The Anam Cara label depicts the vineyard and the entwined vines logo symbolizes the owner’s relationship with their land and with each new friend who shares their wine.

I first tasted the 2005 Anam Cara Cellars Pinot Noirs at this past year’s International Pinot Noir Celebration and was quite taken by them. Recently I was able to sit down and spend time with each of the three bottlings and my initial favorable impressions were confirmed.

The wines are made at a custom crush facility, Twelfth and Maple Wine Co, close by in Dundee.

2006 Anam Cara Cellars Heather’s Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

15.0% alc., 50 cases, $65. This wine is named after the Nicholas’s daughter and is the most feminine wine in the lineup. Sourced from a 5-acre block of Dijon 114. · Aromas of ripe black cherries, herbs and oak char. Smooth and velvety in the mouth with rich but not jammy dark stone fruits and berries, herbs and a deft touch of oak. Clean and juicy with a refreshing acid driven tang on the finish. I like this wine for its elegance.

2005 Anam Cara Cellars Nicholas Estate Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 678 cases, $30. This is a blend of all five blocks of the estate vineyard. Aged in 25% new French oak. · Alluring scents of spiced cherries lead to a soft, smooth and elegant wine packed with charming red and black Pinot fruits and faultless oak integration. The lingering finish displays a peacock tail of fruits and spices. A great expression of Pinot Noir.

2005 Anam Cara Cellars Nicholas Estate Reserve Chehalem Mountians Willamette Valley

13.7% alc., 213 cases, $42. A blend of a few special barrels from the estate vineyard. · Noticeably bigger and fruitier than the above wine featuring blackberry and black cherry flavors with hints of spice and smoke. A little more fullness on the palate and a little more chewy. Beautifully balanced. This wine is still a bit shy and needs a few years in the cellar to show all of its charms.

2005 Anam Cara Cellars Heather’s Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 75 cases, $60. This inaugural release originates from three barrels from a single 5-acre block of Dijon clone 114 vines that were remarkable for their softness and complexity. The wine takes its inspiration from daughter Heather Nicholas. · Heady ripe cherries, wild berries and raisins lead the flavor parade. Very smooth, even glossy, with seamless elegance and a touch of bitterness on the lengthy finish. Still a little reticent but on its way to many surprises.

Anam Cara Cellars wines are available on the website at or by phone at 503-537-9150. Limited Edition Wine Club members receive twice yearly mailings of six bottles of limited production Anam Cara Cellars estate wines including Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer.

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