Recently Tasted Oregon Pinot Noir Delights
Beckham Estate Vineyard, Tualatin, OR
Beckham Estate Vineyard is located on the flank of Parrett Mountain in the Chehalem Mountains at 412-568
feet elevation. The vineyard is organic and dry farmed, with extremely rocky, volcanic soils. Andrew and
Annedria Beckham acquired this property in 2004 with the intent of building a pottery studio, but an estate
vineyard soon followed and the first wine was made in 2009 by Andrew. The 6.5-acre vineyard is planted to
Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon 115 and 777 clones of Pinot Noir derived from cuttings from a nearby
vineyard. A tasting room was completed in 2012. Visit www.beckhamestatevineyard.com. Annual production of
Beckham Estate Vineyard and A.D. Beckham wines is 2,700 cases.
2015 Beckham Estate Vineyard Estate Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir
13.3% alc., $30. A
blend from the entire estate vineyard including Pommard, Wädenswil, 115 and 777 clones. Aged
15 months in French oak barrels, 10% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose opens
slowly in the glass to reveal aromas of blackberry, turned earth and oak vanillin. Fruit-driven by a
mid weight core of black fruits accented with dark chocolate, spice and toast flavors. Very
approachable, with suede tannins, balancing acidity and some finishing generosity.
2015 Beckham Estate Vineyard Dow’s Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir
13.3% alc., 100 cases, $50.
Released October 2017. The name of this wine honors Andrew’s son, father, grandfather who carry the name
Dow. Pommard and 777 clones. 30% whole cluster fermentation. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 25%
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Demure aromas of blackberry, cassis and smoke . Masculine in
a mid weight plus style, with rich, full flavors of black raspberry and blackberry with a touch of smoke and
tobacco. Silky in texture, with a noticeably intense and prolonged finish. More giving when tasted the following
day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2015 Beckham Estate Vineyard Sophia’s Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir
13.3% alc., 100 cases, $40. Released April 2017. This wine
is named for the Beckham’s eldest daughter Sophia. Dijon 115 (ownrooted).
Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 10% new.
dark garnet color in the glass. A charming wine with enticing scents of
black cherry, woodland, spice and piney oak. Lifted and vivacious, with
a tasty core of dark red cherry and berry fruits framed by smart tannins.
Impressive harmony, with a driving, extended finish.
The A.D. Beckham project offers wines vinified and aged in 100 to 220-gallon terra cotta amphorae. As a
ceramics teacher, Andrew found the confluence of his life’s passions: clay and wine. He has worked to develop
clay amphorae that are viable and food safe, using clay from the Delta in Sacramento. Through trial and error,
he found the most appropriate firing temperature for making unlined amphorae. The project is ongoing, but
Andrew has found that the extraction coming from amphorae at the end of primary fermentation is brighter and
higher toned with more energy and tension. Ferments are not as hot and are slower. During aging in
amphorae, wine is exposed to twice the oxygen as in an oak barrel and the wines tend to mature at a much
faster rate than would be seen with wines aged in oak barrels. The clay vessel also acts as a fining chamber so
the wines finish with clarity. The finished wines have a unique texture that Andrew describes as earthen or
similar to brick dust. The amphorae wines are handcrafted in Andrew’s studio located on the estate vineyard.
2015 A.D. Beckham Creta Chehalem Mountains Amphora Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 100 cases, $55. “Creta”
is Latin for clay and this wine was fermented and aged in terra cotta. Clones are Pommard, Wädenswil, 115
and 777. 30% whole cluster fermentation. Native yeast fermentation. Bottled unfixed and unfiltered.
dark garnet color in the glass. Primary aromas of black cherry, earth and white chocolate with a dank note in
the background. More appealing on the palate, with mid weight flavors of dark red cherry, cranberry and spice.
Lively and bright, with a purity of fruit expression unencumbered with oak. The texture is like fine emery. Similar
to a Pinot Noir vinified in neutral oak, but with more richness of fruit flavor and structure.
2015 A.D. Beckham Lignum Chehalem Mountains Amphora Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $45. This wine was fermented in handmade terra
cotta vessels and 50% aged in 12-year-old French oak barrels and 50%
aged in amphorae. Bottled unfiltered.
Dark garnet color in the glass. A
totally different wine than the “Creta.” The fruit profile seems riper,
showing aromas of fruitcake, prune and marzipan. Full-bodied, with
plenty of purple and black fruit sap with a pleasing spice accent. Wellstructured,
with a soothing texture and a enviable finish. I was attracted
to the spice, balance and texture of this wine.
Evening Land Vineyards, Salem, OR
Beginning with the 2014 vintage, Evening Land became the name of the winery producing exclusively Pinot
Noir and Chardonnay from the 62-acre Seven Springs Vineyard located in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. The 2014
vintage was the 30th anniversary vintage from Seven Springs Vineyard and marks the first vintage Rajat Parr
and Sashi Moorman became sole stewards of the vineyard. A new label for the brand also appeared in 2014.
Three of the 2015 vintage estate wines are reviewed here. For 2015, there are seven bottlings including three
Pinot Noirs, three Chardonnays and a Gamay Noir (current release is from the 2016 vintage). According to the
winery, “The 2015 vintage sees all the traits of classic Oregon Pinot Noir turned up a notch. The color is
brighter, the palate is weightier, the fruit purity more pronounced on both the nose and palate, and the wines in
their youth are - dare we say it - a touch showy and opulent.” Because of the showiness, the use of new oak
was dialed back slightly. For the Chardonnays, “We brought the elegant influence of the larger Austrian
puncheons to both the Summum and La Source cuvées in 2015.” The Anden Pinot Noir is only available in a
Reserve Case due to very small production. The wines are sold through a mailing list at
2016 Evening Land Seven Springs Eola-Amity Hills Gamay Noir
12.5% alc. $35., From a 3-acre block of
estate Gamay Noir planting that is among some of the oldest Gamay vines in North America. Vinified in the
traditional Beaujolaise approach in the cellar.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of cherry
liquor, strawberry malt, and a leafy/vegetal note. Mid weight flavors of red cherry, cranberry are shot through
with a herbaceous tone. Refreshingly crisp, with balanced tannins and a juicy, red cherry-themed finish.
2015 Evening Land Seven Springs La Source Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $75,
Dijon clones planted in shallow and rocky soils at the very top of the vineyard.
Moderately light ruby
red color in the glass. Welcoming aromas of black cherry, spice, burnt tobacco, mocha and toast
maintain over time in the glass. Delicious and seductive, with mid weight flavors of black cherry and
black raspberry highlighted by baking spice and sandalwood goodness and underlain with
complimentary oak. Rather elegant, with inviting Pinot delicacy, offering more flavor and complexity
than the color would dictate. The finish has unusually gratifying length. A memorable wine from an
Soléna Estate, Yamhill, Oregon
After successful careers in the Oregon wine industry, husband and wife team of Laurent Montalieu and Danielle
Andrew Montalieu acquired an 80-acre estate to commemorate their marriage in 2000. In May 2002, they
launched Soléna by bottling their first vintage of Domaine Danielle Laurent Pinot Noir and, shortly thereafter,
opening a tasting room in Carlton. Soléna is the combination of the French and Spanish words soleil and luna,
celebrating the sun and the moon, and the name that Laurent and Danielle gave their daughter. Soléna Estate
began as a way to explore winemaking with several varieties grown in neighboring appellations while the
family’s young Domaine Danielle Laurent vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA matured. In May 2007, Danielle
and Laurent added the spectacular Hyland Vineyard in the McMinnviille AVA to their estate vineyard holdings.
Today, Laurent and Danielle produce Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris from their estate vineyards and
other exceptional vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Visit www.solenaestate.com.
2015 Soléna Grand Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., pH 3.65, 5,000 cases, $30. Harvest Brix
24.5º. Aged 8 months in French oak barrels.
Light ruby red color in the glass. The nose is both savory and
fruity with aromas of black cherry, underbrush, dried herbs and toasty oak. Light to mid weight in style featuring
a cherry core with an oak frame. Simple and forward drinking, with decent mid palate presence, juicy acidity,
and some cherry-driven finish. An unpretentious, everyday wine.
2015 Soléna Guadalupe Vineyard Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., pH 3.62, $50. Pommard, Wädenswil,
and Dijon clones planted in Willakenzie soil. Harvest Brix 22.0-23.0º. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of dark red cherry and berry, potpourri and herbal oak.
Darker fruit flavors in the mouth featuring black cherry and blackberry with accents of clove and earth.
Substantial tannic backbone yet silky in texture with uplifting acidity.
2015 Soléna Zena Crown Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir
14.6% all., pH 3.75, 150 cases, $50.
Volcanic Nokia soils. Harvest Brix 26.0º. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels.
Moderate garnet color in the
glass. The nose gains traction over time in the glass, revealing black cherry, plum, baking spice, earthy flora
and mulch aromas. Middleweight in style, with engaging flavors of well-ripened black cherry, boysenberry, and
blackberry fruits, as well as game and Charcuterie. Firm, but integrated tannins and a pleasing thread of oak.
2015 Soléna Hyland Vineyard McMinnville Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., pH 3.65, 340 cases, $55. Coury,
Wädenswil and Pommard clones. Vineyard originally planted in 1971. Harvest Brix 23.9º-24.8º. Aged 8 months
in French oak barrels.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Lovely aromas of cherry, Herbs de Provence
and sweet oak. A cheerful mid weight wine in the mouth that is vibrant and juicy with buried tannins. Flavors of
dark cherry and dark red berry along with spice and earth are highly satisfying as is the finish of notable length.
2015 Soléna Prince Hill Vineyard Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.50, 150 cases, $50.
Harvest Brix 23.0º-24.3º. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels. Vineyard planted by Dick Earth in
1983. 22 acres of Pinot Noir in Jory soil.
Moderate light garnet color in the glass. A very showy wine
from the get-go, with charming aromas of fresh red cherry, strawberry, spice, and sandalwood. Silky
smooth in the mouth with seductive mid weight flavors of black cherry black raspberry and spice.
Very giving now with modest tannins and unrelenting juiciness as well as a very lengthy finish. This
wine reflects its Dundee Hills terroir.
2015 Soléna Domaine Danielle Laurent Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., pH 3.62, 490 cases, $55. Clones
114, 115, 667, 777, “828,” Pommard and Swan. 80-acre,
densely planted in Willakenzie soil. Harvest Brix 24.2º-24.9º.
Aged 9 months in French oak barrels.
garnet color in the glass. A sophisticated, haunting wine with
the right combination of spiced, dark red and purple fruits
and savory earthen notes in a mid weight style. The tannins and acidity
are in step creating a wine of impressive harmony that still needs time
to fully express itself. The most backward wine in the 2015 lineup, yet
the one that is the most complex and potentially the best. Wines from
this vineyard have improved as the vineyard has matured.
Related value priced labels from Real Nice Winemakers in Dundee: www.realnicewinemakers.com.
2016 Shallow Seas Oregon Rosé
13.5% alc., pH 3.14, RS 2g/L, $18, screw cap. Produced and
bottled by Real Nice Winemakers, Dundee, OR. Pinot Noir and Riesling sourced from Domaine
Loubejac Vineyard. Harvest Brix 22.4º-24.1º.
Moderate pinkish orange color in the glass. Nicely
appointed aromas of blood orange, strawberry, apricot and nectarine. The flavors echo the aromas
in a bone dry style with a good grip of finishing acidity. Fresh and pleasing, holding up nicely over
time in the glass. A good wine to chill out with.
2015 Black Magnolia Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., pH 3.60, $22. Sourced from Hyland Olsen
and Domaine Loubejac vineyards.
Light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, vanilla and pain grille
lead to a light to mid weight style wine that is heavily oaked. The core of black cherry fruit is rather shallow and
oak flavors of char and vanilla predominate. A bit disjointed, with some aggressive oak tannins.
Privé Vineyard & Winery, Newberg, OR
Longstanding readers know that I have written extensively about the wines from this 2-acre site in the
Chehalem Mountains. The wines have become so popular and produced in such small quantities, that owners
Tina and Mark Hammond can only accept appointments for tasting from club members beginning in January
2018. It is no secret that the Hammonds want to retire and their winery property is available for sale. The estate
Pinot Noirs are 100% Pommard clone from vines first established in 1980 in Jory soil. All three wines were
exceptional even three days after opening indicating they will age and there is no hurry to drink them. Visit
2016 Privé Vineyard le nord Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., $59.
Moderately light garnet color in the
glass. The nose is highly rewarding, featuring hi-tone aromas of fruit jam, spice box, rose petal and toast.
Expansive flavors of black cherry, raspberry and Coca-cola with just a touch of toasty oak. A gorgeous wine
with impeccable balance and long, black cherry-infused finish. Still exceptional when tasted the following day
from a previously opened and re-corked bottle predicting age ability.
2016 Privé Vineyard le sud Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $69.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Heady
aromas of dark cherry and berry and sous bois. Mid weight
plus in style, with more sappy and deeper flavor than le
nord. Flavors of blackberry, black cherry, and pomegranate
fruits are highlighted with tastes of tobacco and spice.
Texturally seductive, with enmeshed tannins and a very
generous black-fruited finish. When tasted the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle the intensity and length of the
finish grabbed my attention.
2016 Privé Vineyard Joie de Vivrie Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., $99. 115 of 192 bottles
signed by wiinemaker. Etched, heavy bottle.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Brooding
aromas of dark berries, fertile earth and oak. Velvety in the mouth in a mid weight plus style with
initially reserved flavors of blackberry and cassis. Heavenly texture and balance with an outlandish
finish that persists in the mouth for over a minute. Even better and more giving when tasted two and
three days from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Don’t even think about drinking this wine
for three to five years. A tour de force that unfortunately few will get to drink.
Walter Scott Wines, Salem, OR
This winery has burst on the Oregon wine scene in recent years, although the owners, Ken Pahlow and Erica
Landon, have been members of the Oregon wine industry for twenty years. Walter Scott Wines was launched
in 2008 and was a featured winery at the 2016 International Pinot Noir Celebration. The winery now produces
3,000 cases annually of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc from exceptional vineyards in the Eola-Amity
Hills AVA. Look for more about this stellar producer in the next issue of the PinotFile.
The same care and attention to detail goes into the Walter Scott Willamette Valley appellation wines as for the
single vineyard selections. La Combe Verte translates to “The Green Fault” or “The Green Valley.” The phrase
is a tribute to both the Willamette Valley and the team at Patricia Green Cellars, without whose support Walter
Scott could never have been started. Essentially, it is Patricia Green’s “fault” that Ken and Erica were able to
start their project. See also the review of La Combe Verte Willamette Valley Chardonnay. The two wines
reviewed below are the first of the 2016 wines to be released. Visit www.walterscottwine.com. 2017 futures may be ordered now by mailing list members.
2016 Walter Scott La Combe Verte Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 1,350 cases, $28.
Released September 2017. Primarily sourced from Eola-Amity Hills sources (Hope Well, Justice
and Sojourner vineyards) with barrels of Vojtilla and Freedom Hill vineyards added. 15% whole
cluster, ambient yeast fermentation, aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 30% new.
dark garnet color in the glass. The nose offers its pleasures over time in the glass, showing
aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, and spice. More expressive on the palate, with a real
mouthful of luscious purple and black fruits dressed in matched tannins. The seductively silky
texture is embraceable. Well-crafted, with some finishing intensity.
2016 Walter Scott Cuvée Ruth Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 350 cases, $40.
Released September 2017. This wine is dedicated to the memory of Ruth and Irv Kantor, the winery’s
partner’s parents showing a tribute to partners Sue and Andy who helped Ken and Erica realize their dreams. A
combination of select barrels from exceptional vineyards including Seven Springs, Sojourner and Temperance
Hill. Grapes from Lewman Vineyard, a site adjacent to the winery, were also added in. A blend of Pommard,
Wädenswil and Dijon clones. Fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged 10 months in French oak barrels,
30% new. Bottled unfixed and unfiltered.
Dark garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of red and purple berries
with a whiff of spice. Mid weight plus in style, offering vivid flavors of boysenberry and pomegranate that flood
the mouth with goodness. Silky and sleek in the mouth with cashmere tannins and laudatory oak input,
finishing with class. This wine wows the palate with virility.