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2013 Oregon Pinot Noir Second Team All-Americans

2010 Alexana Signature Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., 236 cases, $75. A barrel selection from estate fruit. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy nose picking up interest and intensity over time in the glass offering alluring aromas of dark red cherries and berries accented with nutmeg spice. Seamless and soft in the mouth, even creamy, with a full-bodied core of deep red cherry and berry fruits backed by well-integrated oak. Similar to the regular bottling in flavor but more stacked and packed. Remarkable phenolic ripeness and intensity at a relatively low alcohol percentage. Dreamy.

2010 Bethel Heights Southeast Block Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.65, 135 cases, $50. From a 6-acre section of the estate vineyard planted in 1979 in deep red clay soil that is volcanic in origin. The vines are 100% own-rooted Pommard clone. 100% de-stemmed fruit. Aged 11 months in 50% new French oak barrels. Wines from Southeast Block have been bottled separately since 1991. Moderately dark reddish-purple hue in the glass. Scintillating aromas of dark cherries, raspberry jam and cardamom spice. Intensely flavorful, tasting of ripe black fruits including cassis, and brewed black Oolong tea. The fruit has remarkable staying power in the mouth and finishes with pleasing crispness and length. An immensely satisfying wine.

2011 Big Table Farm Resonance Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamete Valley Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., 287 cases, $48. This vineyard is the warmest site in the Big Table Farm lineup. Typically this wine needs a few years to mature and this is evident in this vintage as well despite spending a year in barrel and a year in bottle. Moderately deep reddish-purple color in the glass. A well-mannered wine with aromas of dark cherry, marionberry and spice that fill the glass. While the core of black cherry fruit is delicious now, the wine is relatively primary at this stage. Still, it is obviously a classy and sophisticated offering. The tannins are firm but balanced and the finish is juicy and well-endowed with grandiose fruit flavor. Hold for 2-3 years or decant if you must drink now.

2010 Coeur de Terre Renelle’s Block Estate Grown Reserve McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 59 cases $58. This 3-acre block was the original planting in the Estate Vineyard circa 1999. It is composed of 8 clones and referred to as the mother block since it supplied the cuttings for all other Pinot Noir vines in the Estate Vineyard. Willakenzie sedimentary soils.This wine is dedicated to Renelle Lynn Neal (Scott’s mother). Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Effusive aromas of black cherry tart, spice, crusty brioche, and ground savory. Rich and full-flavored, with a layered array of red and purple fruits complimented by a hint of cola and savory herbs. The mouth feel is velvety and the bright acidity brings vibrancy to the wine. The finish goes on and on. A very special wine that will please every Pinot connoisseur.

2010 DION Vineyard Limited Release Old Vines Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $35. Self-rooted, dry-farmed Pommard clone planted in 1976 in Laurelwood soil at 300 to 500 feet. Aged 13 months in 50% new French oak barrels. Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. This is one of those wines that you know is exceptional from the first sip. The beguiling aromas draw you in with notes of cherries, strawberries, nutmeg and other spices. Smooth, seamless, polished and flat out delicious, this wine sports middleweight flavors of perfectly ripened dark red cherries, raspberries, spice and dark chocolate. Supple tannins and a satisfying cut of acidity in the background. This wine is assertive without weight, showing restraint and modesty, yet delivering a load of pleasure. Quintessential Oregon Pinot Noir.

2010 Elk Cove Vineyards Mount Richmond Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $48. Vineyard was planted in 1996 with cuttings from Roosevelt Vineyard. Willakenzie soils. Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Great nose! Lovely aromas of black cherry fill the glass like fresh cherries just off the tree. Aromas of spice and candied cinnamon apple add interest. A cherry bombast on the palate that is flat out delicious. A sensational wine that is moderately rich but strikingly flavorful and composed in a seamless fashion with modest fine-grain tannins and complimentary oak in the background. Plenty of Pinot singing in this great wine.

2011 IOTA Pelos-Sandberg Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., 767 cases, $38. 11.5-acre vineyard planted to Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon 667 and 777 clones. The vineyard, first planted in 2002, sits at 300 to 500 feet elevation, and is dry farmed. The family run winery was established in 2006. Johanna Sandberg is co-winemaker and owner. The wine contains all four planted clones. Aged 10 months in 3-year, air-dried French oak barrels and an additional 10 months of bottle aging. Unfined and unfiltered. Moderately dark reddish-purple color and unfiltered appearance in the glass. Lovely aromas of fresh black cherry pie glaze, Christmas spice, and earthy flora. Full, deep and plush on the palate with remarkable flavor intensity in this cool vintage. The flavors of black cherry and black raspberry are complimented by a touch of smoky oak. The tannins are nicely balanced and the finish is noticeably persistent and aristocratic, urging you to take another sip.

2012 Ken Wright Cellars Meredith Mitchell Vineyard McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 310 cases, $45. This vineyard was planted in 1988 to own-rooted Pommard clone. Yamhill soil - silty loam over basaltic bedrock. Owned and managed by Susan Meredith and Frank Mitchell. Typically produces small berries and clusters and is well-structured, requiring a bit more aging. Moderately dark reddish-purple hue in the glass. A wide array of aromas appear in the glass, including black raspberry, forest floor, bramble, leather, vanilla and spicy oak. Very soft and smooth on the palate with ripe flavors of red and black raspberries, Satsuma plum and cherry. Impressive depth of flavor and a persistent finish that is almost painfully intense. The tannins are firm and muscular and make an appearance on the finish. Much better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with more integration of tannins. Tremendous aging potential. I find wines from this vineyard to be in the upper echelon of the Willamette Valley.

2012 Ken Wright Cellars Abbey Claim Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $45. 17 acres planted to Pommard, 777 and 115 at an elevation of 450 feet above sea level. Soils are varied but primarily ancient marine sediments among the oldest in the Willamette Valley. The vineyard is owned by Ken and Karen Wright and managed by Mark Gould. Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose is subdued and slowly evolving with aromas of dark fruits including spiced plum with a hint of earthy flora and oak. Flat-out delicious on the palate with attention-grabbing flavors of dark cherries and black raspberries accented by baking spice and an echo of oak. Discreetly concentrated with modest, firm tannins, and a lovely texture that is pure velvet. Beautifully composed with the balance for long-term aging.

2010 Raptor Ridge Meredith Mitchell Vineyard McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 175 cases, $38, screwcap. Release early 2013. Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Nose-filling aromas of spiced red stone fruits. Discreetly concentrated core of dark red and purple fruits including grapes, with a juicy finish that lasts and lasts. Satisfying fullness and roundness with a very appealing velvety mouth feel. Everything is in place with balanced dry tannins, zippy acidity and perfectly ripened fruit. This vineyard performed beautifully in this vintage.

2009 Z’IVO Whole Cluster Project Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 138 cases, $40. Clones are 115, Pommard, 114, 667 and 777. 100% whole cluster. Punch downs with bare feet twice a day for seven days. Wild yeast fermentation. Aged 10 months in 25% new, 35% once filled and the remainder neutral French oak barrels. Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. This is a wine that attracts your full attention the minute the cork is pulled and all that wonderful Pinot goodness jumps from the glass. I could not get enough of this nose redolent of black cherries, spice and rose petals. On the palate, there is a delicious essence of dark cherries with a spicy touch that really pops. Very silky and charming, with a healthy backbone of fine-grain tannins. A complete and harmonious wine. When whole cluster is right, it produces the most ethereal expression of Pinot Noir in the world.

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