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More Sips of Noiregon Pinot

The following wines were sampled over the last two months. There are some real treasures in here. Details on most wineries can be found in the Winery Directory on the Prince of Pinot website.

2006 Cooper Mountain Vineyards Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $24. Certified organic and biodynamic vineyards. · Fairly dark reddish-purple color. The aromas emerge with time in the glass offering plum, blackberry and herbs. Mildly tart berry and cherry fruit flavors on the lean side with a touch of herbs and wood, finishing with a tangy bite. Needs food.

2006 Chehalem 3 Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc.,4,053 cases, $32 screw cap. Chehalem (Chuh-hay-lum) is a local Calapooia Indian word best translated as “gentle land” or “valley of flowers.” Chehalem has 260 planted acres on 600 total acres in three AVAS (Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills and Ribbon Ridge). Chehalem was launched in 1990 by Harry Peterson-Nedry along with Bill and Cathy Stoller. This wine is the first release of the vintage and is ready to drink. It is sourced from three estate vineyards: Ridgecrest (25%), Stoller (60%), and Corral Creek (15%). Aged 9 months in 25% new, 27% one-use, and 48% multiple-use French barrels. DE filtrated. · Bright confected strawberry and cherry scents similar to a Beaujolais wine. A pleasing core of earth-kissed red fruit which is lightly weighted with a short, dry finish that leaves a little heat in its wake.

2006 Capitello Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $34. Crafted by Ray Walsh, a New Zealander who formerly was the winemaker at King Estate in Oregon. He makes his wine in rented space at Territorial Vineyards & Wine Company in Eugene. The wine comes from several vineyard sources. · Stylish scents of ripe dark fruits, barnyard, earth and smoke. The cherry and raspberry flavors are long and tasty if a bit flat with mild drying tannins and a hint of citrus on the back end.

2006 Raptor Ridge Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

15.1% alc., <480 cases, $37. The name of this producer comes from the 27-acre estate in the Chehalem Mountains that is populated by raptors (birds of prey). · Pleasant and complex perfume of red Pinot fruits, herbs, vegetable garden, vitamins and pears. Earthy and brooding on the palate with flavors of dark cherries and currents and a hint of green tomato. With time in the glass, more red fruits emerge, including red cherries and cranberries. Admirable elegance and balance with the alcohol perfectly integrated.

2006 Adelsheim Elizabeth’s Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $40. A barrel selection from four estate vineyards on Chehalem Mountain and a few barrels from northern Willamette Valley. · Heady perfume of strawberry, cherry and fresh herbs. The restrained flavors echo the nose but don’t deliver the intensity of the aromas. A lighter-styled wine that is quite feminine and smooth. The scent trumps the taste now.

2006 ROCO Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $40, screw cap. A blend of vineyards including winemaker Rollin Soles’ own Wit’s End Vineyard. · Subdued scents of dark red cherries and red licorice which blossom with time in the glass. Delicious cherry and berry fruit that is soft in the mouth with no perceptible tannin, this harmonious wine glides smoothly to a slightly tangy and refreshing finish. The 2005 version of this wine might be a skosh better, but this one has plenty to recommend.

2006 St. Innocent Momtazi Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 413 cases, $40. The Momtazi Vineyard is located in the McMinnville AVA and is farmed biodynamically. This wine is sourced from three blocks planted in 1999 and 2004. Aged 16 months in 35% new oak. Unfined and unfiltered. · The nose sports bright black cherries, lavender and a hint of alcohol. Dense and dark fruit core with grilled meat and tar, and substantial tannins. A bit disjointed now and reserved, this wine deserves a few years in the cellar but it will always show plenty of alcohol.

2006 St. Innocent Shea Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 923 cases, $40. From a block of Shea Vineyard planted in 1990 on shallow Willakenzie soil. Yields 1.9 tons/acre. 100% de-stemmed, 1-2 day cold maceration, fermented in two small tanks, aged 16 months in 35% new French oak, unfined and unfiltered. Mark Vlossek is the winemaker. · Comforting scents of strawberry and raspberry jam with baking spices and herbs. Vigorous flavor and character with oodles of rich, dark red berry and cherry fruit, musk, and raw beef with a healthy tannic backbone and a relatively long finish. Put this one away and forget about it for a few years and you will be rewarded.

2006 Torii Mor Deux Verres Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 1,000 cases, $40. Select barrels from nine vineyards, mostly in the Dundee Hills (60%), with the rest from the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. ”Deux Verres” means two glasses in French. The artist on the label is Janice Griffin from Portland, Oregon. · A touch of VA blows off revealing lovely scents of ripe cherries, baking spice, cedar and sage. Lovely and elegant in style featuring black cherry and blackberry compote and a deft touch of oak. The well-endowed tannins are smooth and the wine leaves a juicy impression on the finish.

2006 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $45. · This wine is as different from the 2005 version as night and day. Scents of bright red cherries and strawberries, a veritable “farmer’s market” of summer fruit. Vigorous and open with plenty of raspberry, Chinese 5 spice and subtle oak char flavor. Still young and a tad tight, but it would be hard to keep your hands off this one now. A flat-out beautiful wine. (The 2005 DDO Laurene has just been released).

2006 Beaux Frères Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., $50. A blend of Carabella Vineyard(29%), Shea Vineyard (26%), Zena Heights Vineyard (20%), Amelie Robert (17%) and Ana (8%). · Rich and deep dark cherry and berry fruits nicely spiced and oaked with savory herbs leaping out. Moderately light-bodied with a sexy silkiness and lively acidity providing zip and zing. A very well crafted wine that offers the Beaux Frères experience for 2/3 the price of the estate bottling. I thought I could taste a little savory Parker in the wine.

2006 Ken Wright Cellars Abbott Claim Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $50. This vineyard is on a ridge line on the east side of the Yamhill-Carlton district and is owned by Ken and Karen Wright. Mark Gould manages the vineyard. The label on Ken Wright wines pays homage to field workers depicting the practice of pruning. · Darker fruit aromas are dominated by toasted oak and dried herbs. Both red and black earth-dusted fruits are teasing now but the wine is brooding and reticent. Beautifully balanced with moderate tannins that need softening. Great stuffing here, but this wine needs a couple of years to flesh out.

2006 Torii Mor Dundee Hills Select Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 425 cases, $50. Composed of special barrels chosen by winemaker Jacques Tardy. 50% La Colina Vineyard, 23% Olson Estate Vineyard and 26% Bella Vida Vineyard. · The nose is clamped shut offering a touch of red berry fruit and spearmint scents. Welcoming wild berry flavors are complimented by a nice touch of oak and a citric tang on the lively finish. Smoothly textured. The fruit is still quite reticent assuring this wine won’t win any beauty contests now, but it definitely has plenty of allure that will emerge down the road.

2006 Lost Highway Project Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc, 150 cases, $55. A special release from Bergström Wines sourced from three vineyards: Nysa 1/3, Bergström 1/3, and de Lancellotti 1/3. Produced in conjunction with Vine Street Imports (VSI), an importer of fine wine that collaborates with winemakers to create original and exclusive bottlings with labels designed by internationally acclaimed artists. Beginning in 2002, a unique wine has been released each year by VSI. · Very dark reddish-purple color. Inviting dark themed nose of blackberry jam, chocolate and mocha. Plush, rich, and darkly fruited with subtle oak and forest floor accents. A powerful wine that needs time to assimilate the substantial tannins, but it will always be a glamazon.

2006 Scott Paul Audrey Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $55 (sold out). This is the top bottling from Scott Paul, a special cuvee of the best barrels in the cellar. Named after Audrey Hepburn. · A “Burgundian” nose of deep red fruits, cinnamon, cardamon, and barnyard. Big and serious, the dark fruit core is all crushed silk. Still simple and closed, with a touch of alcohol peeking out on the nose and finish. Not ready for prime time and patience will be rewarded.

2006 Brick House Evelyn’s Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $59. Brick House’s vineyards have been certified organic since 1990 and Demeter certified biodynamic since 2005. · The nose is unsettling, taking me back to my days in the operating room. It has that hospital ward or operating room aroma with very little fruit showing up. A big and brooding wine with copious cherry and strawberry fruit and plenty of tannin on a mildly hot finish. This wine should be cellared. It is likely this was a bum bottle.

2006 Bethel Heights Vineyard Casteel Reserve Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., $60. From a LIVE and Salmon Safe vineyard (see feature on sustainability in this issue). · A beautiful wine of great style and sensuality. Demure scents of Bing cherry, black raspberry, baking spice and forest floor. Long and smooth flavors duplicate the aromas with an appealing earthiness. Full in the mouth showing a deft use of oak and finishing with a dusting of finegrained tannin. Balanced, gorgeous and pure. Give this wine another year for a hair-raising experience.

2006 Bergström Winery Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 760 cases, $65. A barrel selection from the East Hill portion of Shea Vineyard. Clones 115, 777, 828 and Wädenswil. · Leads off with dark fruits, a hint of spice, sandalwood and alcohol. A big and weighty muscular style with thick earth, wood, tar, char, mushroom and black stone fruit flavors. Smooth in texture with wellcorralled tannins and a mildly dry finish. This wine makes a statement but I am not totally receptive to this big style. Hearty food would tame the wine now, but cellaring the wine a few years would be preferable.

2005 Belle Pente Belle Pente Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., $34. A densely planted vineyard established in 1994. Indigenous yeast, 18 months in oak, no fining or filtration. · A fruited nose of black cherry backed by oak spice, herbs and oiled timber. Oak-infused black cherry and blackberry flavors with a lengthy finish marked by brisk acidity and a citric tang.

2005 Scott Paul Le Paulée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $35. This wine is assembled from the best lots of the vintage including blocks of Ribbon Ridge, Shea and Stoller vineyards. Demure aromas of cherry, wet oak and tobacco. · Cranberry and tart cherry flavors with savory herbs and a touch of orange zest. Light and elegant with a healthy acid spine.

2005 Sineann Lachini Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., $37. · Complex and alluring aromas of cherries, exotic woods, vanillin, and caramel. Dark red cherries, sassafras, and oak spice flavors with significant drying tannins which dominate the fruit now. The finish is a touch sour. This wine still needs time to soften the tannins but they will always be prominent.

2005 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $45. This winery represents the first Burgundian presence in Oregon, begun in 1987 by Maison Joseph Drouhin. The 225 acre estate in the Dundee Hills is under the leadership of fourth generation winemaker, Veronique Drouhin-Boss. · Caution: this wine takes at least 30 minutes to come together after popping the cork, but even then it is a tight and stubborn wine that needs more time. Plenty of herbs, hay, and marzipan on the nose. Tart cherry compote which reluctantly reveals its charms accentuated by earth, herbs and oak. Silky and seamless. Like the Dark Knight, suave but sinister.

2005 White Rose Vineyard Quotee’s Lair Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., $50. · Cherry syrup, oak char and spearmint aromas lead to pleasant black cherry flavors set off by toasted oak. Some stems flavors intrude. There is plenty of bright acidity producing a tart citric finish.

2002 The Eyrie Vineyards Reserve Estate Grown Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $50. The Eyrie Vineyards was established in 1966 and is the oldest continuous producer of vinifera wines in the Willamette Valley. Founder David Lett recently retired after 37 vintages. His last vintage was 2004, with son Jason Lett taking over the management of the winery beginning in 2005. The Reserve wines are typically released several years after the vintage. · This delicately crimson-colored wine sneaks up on you. At first pass it seems light and acidic, but it grows on you as it expands and evolves in the glass. The nose is quite shy, offering tart cherries and dried herb aromas. Very light and lean on the palate, the red fruits are backed by baking spices, roasted nuts and savory garden herbs. A distinctive style that won’t appeal to those who prefer bold and fruity Pinot Noirs.

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