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DION Vineyard

Kevin Dion Johnson and Beth Klingner are the husband-and-wife owners and winemakers of Dion Vineyard, located in the Chehalem Mountains AVA of the Willamette Valley, Oregon. For over 45 years, Kevin and his family have been growing wine grapes at this location The vineyard is currently planted to 60 acres of primarily Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Some of the Pinot Noir vines, own-rooted Pommard clone planted in Laurelwood soil, date to 1976.

The Dion Vineyard label was launched in 2007 and current production is about 1,000 cases per year. Premium wine grapes are also supplied to other Willamette Valley wineries. The small production wines produced under the Dion Vineyard label are available to Wine Club members and through the website store at

I have been a fan of Dion Vineyard wines since I began reviewing the winery’s offerings in 2009. The Limited Release Old Vines Pinot Noir is an exceptional wine and a real Oregon treasure. You won’t see Dion Vineyard wines reviewed in the major wine publications and the winery’s small production does not warrant a significant marketing budget, but believe me, the Pinot Noir wines are in the upper echelon of Oregon offerings.

Kevin notes, “2018 will be remembered as hitting a sweet spot for Oregon vintages.” The year had plenty of heat but was not overly hot. There was low disease pressure, and a dry fall allowing harvest to progress at optimal picking times. For Dion Vineyard, acidities were higher and sugar levels were lower (but decisively ripe) than the hotter 2017 vintage. The result was some grace as a compliment to the power of these wines.

2018 Dion Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 304 cases, $32, screw cap. Released spring 2020 to wine club and fall to general public. Clones 115, 114, 667, 777 and Pommard, all from Dion Vineyard. Vines between 17 and 42 years of age. Harvest Brix 23.6º-24.5º. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 18% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Giving perfume upon opening with aromas of red cherry hard candy, red rose petal and a hint of spice. A very pleasing, forward-drinking wine offering middleweight flavors of red and black cherry supported by easygoing tannins and juicy acidity. Excellent harmony, with a compliment of oak in the background and some finishing length. A solid, well-priced, everyday Pinot. Score: 91

2018 Dion Vineyard 115 West Limited Release Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 50 cases, $45. Released fall 2020 to wine club and to the general public pending. Clone 115 from the western-most block of Dion Vineyard. These grapes traditionally anchor the winery’s Winemaker’s Reserve. Harvest Brix 23.6º-24.5º. Vines were 18 years old. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Engaging aromas of dark cherry, cola, cardamom spice and a compliment of oak. The black cherry core saturates the palate yet the wine is lithe and streamlined. Added accents of baking spice and licorice provide interest. There is a subtle thread of oak in the background and a touch of tannin on the juicy, cherry-fueled finish. A complete single clone wine. Score: 93

2018 Dion Vineyard Winemaker’s Reserve Limited Release Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 101 cases, $50. Released fall 2020 to wine club members and to the general public pending. A barrel selection from the best blocks that are most expressive of the vintage when combined. Clones 115, 114, 667 and 777 from Dion Vineyard. Age of vines was between 17 and 18 years. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose is similar to the 115 West bottling featuring aromas of black cherry, sarsaparilla and spice. An exceptional wine upon opening in a mid-weight style, showing perfectlyripened black cherry fruit anointed with luscious spice. Suave and polished in the mouth, with submerged tannins and a notable finish filled with black cherry goodness. Score: 94

2018 Dion Vineyard Old Vines Reserve Release Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 92 cases, $65. 100% Pommard clone planted in 1976 on a 10-acre winery block. Selfrooted and non-irrigated. Harvest Brix 23.7º-24.1º. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Intriguing aromas of darker berry and cherry, sweet pipe smoke, earthy flora and a subtle cloak of oak. Midweight plus in style with black cherry and black raspberry flavors with a rustic, gamy bent. Admirable harmony with a perfect fruit/ tannin ratio. This wine had me staring at the glass and asking, “How could so much flavor come from that wine?” The finish, like all great wines, lingered for what seemed like an eternity. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle, I summed up the experience as “Wow!” Decant or cellar five years to gain the full experience. Score: 96

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