PinotFile: 10.37 September 6, 2016
- Along the Oregon Pinot Trail: Part 1
- The Eyrie Vineyards
- Van Duzer Vineyards
- White Rose Estate Winery & Vineyard
- Lange Estate Winery & Vineyards
- Native Flora Wines
- Recently Tasted California Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
- Pinot Briefs
Along the Oregon Pinot Trail: Part 1
I took advantage of a trip to the Willamette Valley for the 2016 International Pinot Noir Celebration in late July to
travel along the Oregon Pinot Trail and visit several wineries. Some winery visits were repeats to check in on
the latest wines (The Eyrie Vineyards, Van Duzer Vineyards, Lange Estate Winery & Vineyards, White Rose
Estate and Native Flora), while other stops brought new experiences (Arlie Winery, Alloro Vineyard, Bells Up
Winery, Knudsen Vineyard and Brooks Winery).
The wines tasted in bottle were for the most part from the superb 2014 vintage. Said to be a “Goldilocks”
vintage, the weather was not too not, but not too cold, and not too rainy. 2014 was the warmest season on
record in the Willamette Valley, but due to higher than normal minimal temperatures rather than high maximum
temperatures. A warm spring led to an early bud break, and the season maintained warm temperatures
throughout. Nighttime temperatures were well above normal leading to accelerated ripening. Harvest began at
the very beginning of September. The dry weather inhibited disease pressure, leading to large crops loads and
a ripe vintage.
The chart below shows a 13-year degree day comparison from Amalie Robert Winery just outside of Dallas,
Oregon: www.amalierobert.blogspot.com. Growing degree days (GDD) are based on the hypothesis that
grapevines do not grow if the temperature is below 50ºF. Days in the growing region (assumed to be April 1 to
October 31 in the Northern Hemisphere) are assigned degree days according to the amount that the day’s
average temperature exceeds this threshold. The formula for GDD is maximum temperature plus minimum
temperature divided by two minus the base temperature of 50ºF. The system is used officially in California,
Oregon and Washington and other United States growing regions. Oregon falls into the Region I category, that
is, 2,500 degree days or less, the same as the Côte d’Or and Champagne.
The 2015 wines are still in barrel but this vintage growing season was also warm and dry and the resultant
wines share similarities with those from the 2014 vintage. Errnie Pink of Amalie Robert Winery calls 2015 a
“Hell Bent for Leather” vintage. Barrel tasting can be very educational, but it is like showing off your newborn
baby while still in a crib at the hospital: there is plenty of potential, but you have to be patient. I did some barrel
tasting of the 2015 Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays and the outlook is upbeat.
This issue I will concentrate on repeat winery visits (Part 1) and talk about my new experiences in the next
issue (Part 2). I have a number of outstanding California wines to bring to your attention as well, and as much
as I am attempting to shorten the length of the PinotFile to make for quicker and more salient reading, there
are important wine releases to ponder.
Discoveries on the Pinot Trail Part 1 in this issue: The Eyrie Vineyards, Van Duzer Vineyards, White Rose
Estate Winery & Vineyard, Lange Estate Winery & Vineyards, and Native Flora Wines.
The Eyrie Vineyards
The tasting room and winery at The Eyrie Vineyards in downtown McMinnville is a hallowed property, the
birthplace of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. When I visit, I feel a calmness like I am in a church. The walls of the
tasting room are embellished with historical photos and news commemorating David Lett’s accomplishments.
Winemaker and proprietor Jason Lett is in charge now, and he has done a marvelous job in preserving the
heritage of the winery, while continuing to refine and improve the style of wines that his father, David Lett, set
forth many years ago. The wines are characterized by restraint, elegance, harmony and age ability.
Winemaking changes instituted by Jason including longer fermentations and use of indigenous yeasts have
made the wines more approachable upon release, but remain age worthy.
The winery produces about 17,100 cases annually, primarily from 60 acres of estate grown grapes. Varietals
include Pinot Noir, Rosé of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Muscat Ottonel,
Melon de Bourgogne and Chasselas Doré. There are five certified organic estate vineyards from which five
single vineyard Pinot Noirs are produced. Each vineyard has been farmed organically since inception, and
each vineyard contains ungrafted, pre-Phylloxera plantings that are becoming increasingly rare in the world of
wine. The vineyards are not irrigated. Soils are volcanic, 10” to 30” deep on basalt cobble.
Both current releases and library wines are sold through the tasting room that is open daily. The Exploration
Flight Tasting Menu offers 7 wines, including 2 limited production releases and one library vintage served from
the “Elva” repurposed bottling machine ($20, waived with $75 wine purchase). Visit www.eyrievineyards.com.
A pilgrimage to The Eyrie Vineyards should be on every pinotphile’s bucket list. You will find a wealth of
information on The Eyrie Vineyards in the PinotFile through articles I have written over the past eight years.
2014 The Eyrie Vineyards Estate Dundee Hills Oregon Chardonnay
12.5% alc., $27.
Very light golden
yellow color in the glass. Highly mineral-driven on the nose with a hint of lemon. Light and restrained, with an
elegant presentation of pear, citrus, spice and nutty flavors. Very slightly creamy on the palate with some
2014 The Eyrie Vineyards Original Vines Dundee Hills Oregon Chardonnay
13.0% alc., $60. The
oldest vines in the Willamette Valley are among the last surviving remnants of the Draper field
selection, a French import from the 1930s that is now extinct outside of the Willamette Valley.
golden yellow color in the glass. More aromatic, with scents of fresh apple and citrus. A restrained,
balanced style that strikes an impression on entry and mid palate with juicy flavors of apple, pear and
citrus. Smooth and polished, with an apple driven finish of uncommon length.
2013 The Eyrie Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $37.50. From both estate and sourced
Light cherry red color in the glass. Highly aromatic, with soaring scents of cherry, cranberry, herbs and
spice. Lightly styled, with pleasing flavors of red fruits, spice and savory herbs framed by lively acidity.
2014 The Eyrie Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $37.50.
Light cherry red color
in the glass. Aromas of red cherry, savory herbs and toast arrive with more intensity over time in the
glass. A little riper fruit profile than the 2013 version of this wine with both red and blue fruits. Nicely
balanced, with integrated tannins and a trail of herbs on the finish.
The five single vineyard cuvées are produced identically with 100% de-stemming, wild yeast fermentations in
small fermentation vessels, basket pressing, followed by aging one year plus in blends of cooperage of varying
age including 18% new oak. The result is an exploration of the Dundee Hills, from the lowest elevation Sisters
Vineyard at 220’ up to the highest elevation Daphne Vineyard at 860’. Each wine reflects facets of soil, site,
exposure and vine age that together capture a precise portrait of how variations in place can influence Pinot
2013 The Eyrie Vineyards Sisters Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $45. Named for the three
Pinot sisters on the site: gris, blanc and noir. 4 acres planted in 1987 to Pommard and Wädenswil clones.
Elevation 220’-330’, with southern exposure.
Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Enticing aromas of
cherry, cranberry and rose petal lead to a light to mid weight style offering vibrant flavors of red cherry,
strawberry and herbs framed by tight acidity. The wine has a “mineral” tone.
2013 The Eyrie Vineyards Outcrop Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $45. Named for the
underlying outcrop of rock ridging perpendicularly to the hillside. Outcrop overlooks the original vineyard. 5
acres planted to Wädenswil clone between 1982 and 2000. Elevation runs from 280’ up to 360’ and faces north
Light cherry red color in the glass. Highly savory nose with toasty oak in the background. Elegant
and harmonious, with both red and blue fruits brought to life with a backing of good acidity. A thread of herbs
and flowers plies the background.
2013 The Eyrie Vineyards Original Vines Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $80. Eyrie’s
original vineyard, and the home of the hawks that grace the Eyrie label. 7 acres planted to Wädenswil,
Pommard and Tout Droit clones. The oldest Pinot Noir vines in the Willamette Valley. Elevation runs
from 260’ to 410’ and faces south rolling east and west.
Light cherry color in the glass. The most
sophisticated and nuanced wine of the single vineyards tasted here, with aromas of cherry, blueberry,
and herb garden. Extremely enticing in the mouth, with focused flavors of red and blue fruits that are
layered and persistent. Impeccably balanced with an extremely lengthy finish that separates this wine
from very good.
2013 The Eyrie Vineyards Rolling Green Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $50. Named for
David Lett’s father Roland Green Lett. 5.1 acres of Pommard and Wädenswil clones planted in 1988. Elevation
is 540’ to 720’ direct south facing.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. More “mineral” driven, with
aromas of iron, herbs and cherry leading to a mid weight style with more evident fruit intensity and tannin.
Deep cherry flavor complimented by a thread of graphite and herbs, finishing with noticeable intensity.
2013 The Eyrie Vineyards Daphne Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $80. Named for a
very dear and longtime friend of Eyrie. 1.5 acres planted to Pommard clone in 1974. Elevation is 820’
to 860’ with the most wind exposure. Hilltop soil is very shallow, averaging less than 10 inches on top
of large boulders at 820’. Last of the single vineyards to ripen with tiny clusters.
purple color in the glass. Soaring aroma of black cherries. Intense flavors of dark red and black
cherries and purple berries backed by modest tannins and framed by juicy acidity. I was quite taken by
Van Duzer Vineyards
Named after the only gap in the north-south Oregon Coast Mountain Range, the Van Duzer Corridor, Van
Duzer Vineyards has achieved impressive success of late under the direction of winemaker Florent “Flo”
Merlier. Flo is a native of Burgundy, France, who has a Diploma in Viticulture from the University of Dijon. He
relocated to the United States in 2009, and joined Van Duzer Vineyards as winemaker with the 2011 vintage.
With his efforts, Van Duzer wines have now reached the upper echelon among Willamette Valley wineries. Flo
and I are pictured below on my recent visit.
Van Duzer Vineyards is located 60 miles south of Portland and west of the Eola Hills and Salem in Dallas.
Because the vineyards are in the eastern mouth of the Van Duzer Corridor, summer temperatures drop sooner
in the afternoon than in the vineyards to the North or south by 13 degrees, resulting in extended hang time.
The estate vineyards total 82 acres including Pommard, Wädenswil, and Dijon clones of Pinot Noir and Pinot
There are a number of new achievements since I last wrote about this winery in 2014:
www.princeofpinot.com.article/1535/. A new label has been designed, a new estate vineyard is being
developed in the Dundee Hills, and the winery now produces a Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay to accompany its
The picturesque hospitality center, only a 20 minute drive south of McMinnville, is open for wine tasting daily.
Visit the website at www.vanduzer.com.
Most of the wines I tasted in July have not been released so I don’t have complete data and prices on all
2015 Van Duzer Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir Rosé
13.5% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.62, RS 0.3
g/L1,322 cases, $20, screwcap. Not a saignée, but a directed rosé produced from grapes grown
specifically for rosé. 75% Wädenswil and 25% 115, fermented in stainless steel.
orange color in the glass. Aromas of strawberry and rhubarb leap from the glass. Bright and crisp,
with tantalizing flavors of cherry, strawberry, apricot and herbs, finishing with a cleansing boost. One
of Oregon’s best rosé wines.
2015 Van Duzer Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc
13.5% alc., $N/A, screwcap. Sourced from Bieze Vineyard.
60% barrel fermented in neutral oak and 40% fermented in stainless steel. No malolactic fermentation.
light platinum color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of green apple, pear and nutty oak in a demurely
composed wine that has a sleek, white stone fruited finish.
2015 Van Duzer Bieze Vineyard Willamette Valley Chardonnay
13.5% alc., 220 cases, $N/A. Clone 96.
Fermented in 40% concrete egg, 30% stainless steel, 20% in neutral French oak and 10% in new French oak.
No malolactic fermentation.
Very light golden yellow color in the glass. Inviting aromas of white peach, pear,
floral bouquet and nutty oak. Vivid flavors of citrus and green apple picking up more intensity over time in the
2015 Smith & Perry Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., <$20, screwcap. ? October release. An entry-level
second label. A mix of Dijon clones including “828,” 113, 115 and 777. Fermented and aged in stainless steel.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of cherry and spice. Light to
mid weight in style, with flavors of dark red cherry and spice. Silky in the mouth with gossamer tannins and
enough tannic backbone to propel the wine. An excellent value.
2014 Van Duzer Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., $N/A, screwcap. 97% estate fruit. Aged 9 months
in 27% new French oak barrels.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Plenty of black cherry fruit in this
solid offering that exhibits good balance, easy drink ability, and a modest but satisfying finish.
2014 Van Duzer Westside Blocks Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
(sampled from shiner) Several clones. Aged
15 months in 50% new French oak barrels.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Deep aromas of cherry
and spice that build over time in the glass. Sappy and luscious, featuring flavors of black cherry, black
raspberry, clove and other spices, and offering impressive length on the luxurious finish.
2014 Van Duzer Bieze Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
80% clone 777, 20% clone 667.
light reddish purple color in the glass. A cherry bombast that has a congenial touch of spice and a deft hint of
oak. Good mid palate richness and juiciness, with silky tannins and a generous finish.
2014 Van Duzer Alchemy Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 100 cases, $N/A. A barrel
selection meant to be different each vintage but seems to end up as same composure: 33%
Wädenswil, 33% 115, and 33% Pommard. Aged 18 months in 50% new French oak barrels.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Effusive aromas of black cherry and spice leading to
an amazing attack of ripe blueberry, black cherry and black raspberry fruits sprinkled with a hint of
vanilla. The hair-raising attack and 30 second finish make you sit up in your chair. A very special wine.
2014 Van Duzer Tradition Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Pommard clone from Homestead Block. 66% whole
cluster. Aged 2 years in 75% new French oak barrels. Expect to age this wine for 5 to 10 years.
light crimson color in the glass. Challenging to evaluate this young wine. A bit lighter weighted now than the
Alchemy and more closed, offering aromas and flavors of cherry and pomegranate. There is oak in the
background that needs to integrate and the prodigious tannic structure will benefit for a few years in the cellar.
The potential is obvious and this may turn out to be more deserving of a higher score.
White Rose Estate Winery & Vineyard
I stopped in at White Rose Estate in the Dundee Hills and tasted with winemaker Jesus Guillen. The property
has been beautifully landscaped since my last visit and the tasting room was buzzing with eager consumers.
The tasting room is unique for the Willamette Valley, offering no windows to view the outside, encouraging
visitors to seriously concentrate on the wines. The tasting room is open daily at 6250 NE Hilltop Lane in
Dayton ($15 fee applies).
Stems were lignified in 2014 so the wines have a high percentage of whole cluster. Whole cluster adds
interesting aromatic features and textural character that makes the White Rose Estate wines highly distinctive.
White Rose Estate is currently offering a number of Pinot Noir wines that were not available for tasting when I
visited: 2014 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, 2014 La Dolce Vita “20% Stem Inclusion”, 2014 La Dolce Vita “80%
Stem Inclusion,” 2014 Luciole Vineyard “20% Stem Inclusion,” 2014 Luciole Vineyard “80% Stem Inclusion,”
2014 Guillen Vineyard, and 2013 bottlings from Anderson Family, Beacon Hill, Luciole, Vista Hills, and White
Rose vineyards. Visit the website to purchase at www.whiteroseestate.com.
2014 White Rose Estate Winemaker’s Cuvée Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $105.White Rose Estate, Lia’s, Anderson Family and
Luciole vineyards. 95% whole cluster. 30% new French oak.
cherry red color in the glass. Typical whole cluster nose with aromas of
cherry, exotic spices, and rose petal. Striking flavors of fresh cherry and
strawberry in a mid weight style with a touch of anise. The tannins are fine
grain and the finish is extremely generous. In a word, marvelous.
2014 White Rose Estate Guillen Vineyard Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
$80. Clone 115, 100%
Light cherry red color in the glass. Highly aromatic, with scents of darker red cherry and
spice. Discreetly sappy with plenty of red and blue fruits to satisfy. A firm tannic backbone is supportive
without being intrusive in this elegantly crafted wine that has a finish that is both bold and dramatic.
2013 White Rose Estate Durant Vineyard Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
Light cherry red color in the
glass. The nose exudes aromas of cherry, exotic spice and rose petal. Light in weight, with a delicate array of
flavors including red cherry, blueberry and Damsel plum. A gentle, feminine wine, that satisfies at the end with
a spice filled finish.
2012 White Rose Estate Winemaker’s Cuvée Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
A blend of four
vineyards including White Rose and Anderson. 85% whole cluster.
Light cherry red color in the glass.
The nose demands attention with hi-tone aromas of dried rose petal, pine sap, spice and cherry. Light
to mid weight in style and quite elegant, with a spiced cherry core framed by fine grain tannins. The
texture is particularly appealing and the overall impression is one of harmony.
Lange Estate Winery & Vineyards
Don and Wendy Lange are part of the California contingent who moved to Oregon from California to pursue
winemaking. Wendy had a background in literature and ballet, and Don was a graduate of the Iowa Writers’
Workship and an accomplished folk musician and songwriter. Representing the second wave of winegrowing
immigrants to Oregon, they bought a property in Dundee in 1987, and in 1988 planted 30 acres of Pinot Noir,
Chardonnay and Pinot Gris at Lange Estate. They established their vineyard and winery on a meager budget,
their success coinciding with the emergence of the Dundee Hills as a world class region for Pinot Noir.
Don was one of the first winegrowers in the Willamette Valley to succeed with Pinot Gris and the first to
produce a neutral barrel French oak fermented Reserve Pinot Gris. His affinity with fly fishing led to the image
of a fishing fly on the winery’s labels.
The Mia Block (15 acres) adjacent the original estate vineyard was acquired in 2003 and first planted with Pinot
Noir in 2004. Redside Vineyard (15 acres) was bought in 2006 and first planted in 2007 to Pinot Noir. All 60
acres of estate vineyards are flourishing in red volcanic (Jory and Nekia) soils.
The second generation, Jesse Lange, studied enology and viticulture in New Zealand and Oregon State. He
gradually assumed much of the winemaking duties and took over completely in 2005 along with the added
titles of general manager and director of vineyard management. Don and Jesse continue as a father and son
duo to collaborate on blending trials and other winemaking decisions. Jesse is young, athletic, chiseled and
energetic, Don is more laid back with an infectious smile and laugh and a humble demeanor.
The winery tasting room, with breathtaking views of the Cascade Mountain Range, is open daily. As part of the
Willamette Valley’s old guard, Lange Estate wines are consistently reliable and often outstanding. Lange Estate
currently produces 4 Chardonnays and 20 Pinot Noirs. A second label, Domaine Trouvere, concentrates on
Rhone and Italian varietals. Visit www.langewinery.com to see the variety of tasting experiences available. The
Langes recently opened a wine bar, coffee and sandwich cafe in downtown Dundee as part of the Red Hills
2015 Domaine Trouvere Indigene Dundee Hills Oregon
13.4% alc., 40 cases, $28, screwcap. This wine is
possibly Pinot Gris but it drinks like a Pinot Blanc or Grüner Veltliner. The exact grape variety has not been
Both tropical and stone fruit aromas and flavors. Crisp and acid-driven, with a bright finish. A very
pleasant back porch wine.
2015 Lange Estate Willamette Valley Cuvée Oregon Pinot Gris
13.5% alc., $18, screwcap. 95% fermented
in stainless steel.
Light golden yellow color in the glass. Apple and pear fruit aromas and flavors lead the way in
the straightforward wine that displays a smooth texture, lively acidity, and a tangy finish.
2014 Lange Estate Dundee Hills Oregon Reserve Pinot Gris
13.6% alc., 600+ cases, $28,
screwcap. 60% estate fruit. Harvest Brix 22.5º. Fermented in neutral oak puncheons. A selections if
the 25% best puncheons.
Very light golden yellow color in the glass. Both savory and fresh apple
aromas lead to a highly enjoyable palate of fresh apple, pear, melon and pie spice flavors that sail on
through the silky finish. Beautifully composed with a smooth and refined character. One of the
Willamette Valley’s best examples of this varietal.
All Chardonnays are produced from Dijon clones: 3 acres of Estate Vineyard, 2 acres at Durant Vineyard, and
2 acres at Freedom Hill Vineyard.
2014 Lange Estate Three Hills Cuvée Willamette Valley Oregon Chardonnay
13.8% alc., $40, screwcap.
Dijon clones, 25% malolactic fermentation, aged primarily in 3 to 6-year-old oak puncheons.
Aromas of fresh
lemon juice, nutty oak and cut apple lead off. A charge of citrus and apple flavors alert the mid palate and finish
with good length. Bright acidity and supportive oak lend pleasure.
2014 Lange Estate Estate Dundee Hills Oregon Chardonnay
12.9% alc.,$65, screwcap. Mostly Dijon clone
A step up from the Three Hills bottling, with more sophistication and more “minerality,” with less fruit
centricity. Refined flavors of citrus and green apple, seamless composition, and spunky, but integrated acidity.
2014 Lange Estate Freedom Hill Vineyard Willamette Valley Oregon Chardonnay
12.9% alc., $65,
screwcap. Barrel fermented and aged, close to 100% malolactic fermentation.
Darker yellow color in the glass.
Riper and richer fruit profile, featuring aromas and flavors of yellow apple, pear, lemongrass and pineapple.
More fruit driven with supportive oak and spice, and a noticeably creamy and round mouthfeel.
65% of the Pinot Noir fruit is estate grown, with a large portion of the rest sourced from the renown Freedom
2014 Lange Estate Willamette Valley Cuvée Oregon Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., $25, screwcap.
purple hue in the glass. Notably nuanced, with aromas of black cherry, spice, hazelnut and
chocolate. Forward drinking and enjoyable now, with mid weight flavors of black cherry and
blackberry framed by slightly chalky tannins and sweet oak plying in the background. The wine
leaves a favorable impression on the fruit-laden finish.
2014 Lange Estate Reserve Oregon Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $35.
Moderately light reddish purple
color in the glass. Very shy nose that is quite primary. Much more expressive on the palate, with an
explosion of black fruit flavors that impress the mid palate and finish with purpose. Silky in the mouth
with a deft touch of oak. Definitely needs more time for full development.
2014 Lange Estate Three Hills Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $50.
purple color in the glass. Both fruity and savory on the nose, with aromas of black stone and berry fruits, along
with sous-bois and graphite. Very suave and easy going on the palate, with a seductive core of dark red and
black fruits that are framed by a touch of oak. Beautifully crafted in a welcoming style.
2014 Lange Estate Estate Vineyard Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $70.
purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of dark red and black cherries. Very classy in the mouth, with a
middleweight core of dark red cherry and berry fruits, touched by a hint of edible flower. The tannins are more
substantial but fine-grain in nature, and the finish is entirely seductive. Will improve in the cellar.
2014 Lange Estate Freedom Hill Vineyard Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $70.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the
glass. The aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, spice, and dark
chocolate draw the nose into the glass. The richest of the wines in the
Lange lineup, with an arsenal of sappy black fruits matched with husky
tannins. A masculine wine, that is yet nimble and charming, with a lovely
texture and an energizing personality. Built for the long haul.
Native Flora Wines
Tasting at Native Flora is a serene experience offered in the proprietor’s home at a secluded 33-acre property
perched at 800 feet elevation in the Dundee Hills. Proprietors Scott and Denise call it “The Dundee Hills Winery
Sanctum.” Tasting is very relaxed and personal, and only arranged by appointment. The wines are crafted in a
restrained, higher acid style that suits winemaker Scott Flora.
There is a 15-acre estate vineyard adjacent the home and winery that is planted to Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc.
The first vintage release was 2009. The wines are sold primarily to visitors to the winery and much of the
winery’s business is through favorable word of mouth. A considerable amount of wine is also sold out of state.
I visited in late July for the second time to taste some newer releases. My previous visit was featured in the
PinotFile last year: www.princeofpinot.com/article/1718/. The 2011 vintage wines had been held back for more
development until Scott considered them acceptable. Timing of wine releases is not motivated by economic
considerations. The wines I tasted had been opened the day before and were tasted with a Coravin.
Scott makes a point to indicate that no water or acid additions are used in making Native Flora wines. He feels
his wines will age beautifully for 10+ years.
For appointments, visit the website at www.nativeflora.com. Some Rosé, Pinot Blanc, Riesling and sparkling
wine is also offered.
2014 Native Flora Next Time Estate Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $48. Bottled two
months ago. Aged in about 20% new French oak barrels.
Light reddish purple color in the glass.
Intoxicating aromas of cherry, redwood, rose petal and spice. Regal and balanced, with a light to mid
weight core of cherry, pomegranate and spice flavors, underlain with soft tannins. Forward drinking,
with pleasing persistence and length.
2014 Native Flora The Heretic Estate Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., $65. An attempt to
produce an “Old World” style. Sourced from a steep north slope block and picked at lower Brix. Aged in 12.5%
new French oak barrels.
Light reddish purple color in the glass. Perfumed with sensuous notes of cherry, spice
and sandalwood. Light and elegant, but flavorful, with a more noticeable acid backbone. A melange of cherry,
spice and subtle oak flavors are vibrant and satisfying.
2014 Native Flora Jaguar Reserve Estate Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
200 cases, not
released. Aged in 12.5% new French oak barrels.
Light reddish purple color in the glass. Soaring
aromas of crushed cherries, baking spices and sandalwood lead off. A remarkable attack and everexpanding
array of red fruits is slightly overshadowed currently by an overlay of oak that should
integrate with more time in bottle. The finish is robust and memorable.
2013 Native Flora Venerable Youth Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., 202 cases, $44. A
combination of 50% 25-year-old vines and 50% young vines from Sunset View Vineyards.
Light reddish purple
color in the glass. Riper fruited, with aromas and flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and black plum. Nicely
spiced, very elegant in demeanor, with appealing harmony.
2012 Native Flora Next Time Estate Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
180 cases, $48. Tasted previously
one year ago.
Light cherry red color in the glass. Pleasing aromas of black cherry and spice lead to a very
elegantly styled, mid weight wine replete with lush black cherry fruit laced by a deft touch of oak in the
background. The sap builds in intensity over time in the glass.
2011 Native Flora First Time Estate Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
12.9% alc., 302 cases, $48. A blend
of four Pinot Noir clones grown in the estate Tuition Vineyard.
Very light cherry red color in the glass. An acid-
driven wine, with delicate, yet vibrant aromas and juicy flavors of red cherry, cranberry, spice and savory herbs.
Oak plays a supportive role in the background. A gastronomy Pinot that will perform well at the dinner table.
2011 Native Flora Jaguar Reserve Estate Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
A four barrel selection, 96 cases, $75.
reddish purple color in the glass. The nose lacks interest with primarily oak-driven scents and very little fruit.
Rather austere, even shallow on the palate, featuring a melange of red fruits back by polished tannins. The
finish is modest and cleansing. This wine will appeal to those who prefer restrained, high acid wines.
Recently Tasted California Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
Bohème Wines, Forestville
Bohème Wines was founded in 2004 by fifth generation California vintner Kurt Beitler. Kurt joined his family’s
winegrowing tradition in 2000 by managing the Caymus Taylor Lane Vineyard near Occidental. This exposure
to Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir led to his passion for crafting coastal wine. The team of Bohème vineyard and
cellar workers, led by Kurt, farm all the grapes for Bohème’s production (pictured below - Kurt has on a blue
jacket). The wines are vinified and bottled at the Bohème winery in Sebastopol. Tasting is by appointment
(707-887-2287 or email@example.com) during the week or drop into the tasting room located in Occidental
on weekends. I was really impressed with these wines from Kurt, his best to date.
Taylor Ridge Vineyard was planted in 1999 5.3 miles from the Pacific Ocean at an elevation of 869 to 928 feet.
4.9 acres planted to Swan Pinot Noir clone and Wente Chardonnay clone. The Goldridge sandy loam soil is
traced to a prehistoric marine embayment that once covered western Sonoma County. During the growing
season, fog from Tomales Bay and Bodega Bay engulfs the vineyard.
2013 Bohème Taylor Ridge Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 192 cases, $55. Swan
selection. Yields 2.0 tons per acre. 10% whole cluster inclusion. Aged 25 months in seasoned French oak
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromatically pleasing with scents of crushed black
cherries and sous-bois. A well-composed wine with vigorous fruit flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and
plum accented with notes of smoke and spice. The wine’s admirable attack, follow through and finish are
endearing and the silky mouthfeel is quite seductive.
2013 Bohème Taylor Ridge Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
13.7% alc., 120 cases, $45. Petite
Wente clusters whole cluster pressed, fermented in a mix of neutral French oak barrels and stainless steel
barrels. Partial malolactic fermentation.
Moderately deep golden straw color in the glass. Complex aromatic
profile, featuring scents of yellow apple, spice cabinet, pastry creme, warm croissant and vanilla. Discreetly
concentrated flavors of lemon, baked apple, and pineapple are supported by a bright acid backbone. The
slightly creamy texture hits the spot, and the cleansing finish rewards with uplifting acidity.
Stuller Vineyard was planted in 1998 amid redwood trees and peers over the Pacific Ocean 5.8 miles away.
Two-thirds of the vineyard is a south facing hillside of gravelly Yorkville clay loam planted to clone 115 and the
adjacent rocky hilltop is a plot of clone 667 planted in mixed aggregate and sandstone. Elevation is 1155 to
2013 Bohème Stuller Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 264 cases, $53. Clones 115 and 667. Yield 0.95 tons
per acre. 30% whole cluster inclusion. Aged 25 months in
seasoned French oak barrels.
Moderate reddish purple color in
the glass. Aromas of oak-kissed black cherry lead the way for
engaging layers of black cherry, pomegranate and blueberry fruit
flavors. A hint of chile spice is among the swirl of spice accents.
Tannic support is perfectly matched, acidity is nicely integrated, and a
very long, seductively slick finish raises the spirits. An entirely charming
and classy wine.
English Hill Vineyard is an 8.5-acre estate-planted high-density mosaic of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah
surrounded by rangeland. The vineyard overlooks Tomales Bay and the Marin Coast Range. Pacific fog engulfs
the vineyard on summer mornings, while afternoon breezes slow ripening. Soils are Goldridge sandy loam and
Steinbeck fine sandy loam. Pinot Noir clones 115, and 667, Calera, Vosne-Romanee selection, and BRC.
Chardonnay clones are Wente and SY 877.
2013 Bohème English Hill Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 384 cases, $49. Composed of
five clones yielding 2.79 tons per acre. 20% whole cluster inclusion. Aged 25 months in seasoned French oak
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Vigorous aromas of Bing cherry, baking spice and
cigar box. Very sleek and polished in the mouth, with a slinky core of delicious black cherry fruit, underlain with
oak driven accents of smoke and caramel. Great verve, with a bombastic finish that satisfies.
2013 Bohème English Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay
14.1% alc., 72 cases, $45. Yield
2.7 tons per acre. Whole cluster pressed into neutral French oak barrels where it underwent 100% malolactic
Moderately deep golden straw color in the glass. Aromas of lemon oil, apple and spice set the
stage for satiating flavors of citrus, yellow apple, honey, caramel and toffee, finishing with a tight grip of acidity.
Dierberg Vineyard, Santa Barbara County
Jim and Mary Dierberg, with forty years of winemaking experience in Missouri, discovered the potential of
winegrowing in Santa Barbara County in 1996 and planted two estates: Dierberg Vineyard in the Santa Maria
Valley and later Drum Canyon Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills - both under their Dierberg label. These cool
coastal valley vineyards were joined by the warm climate site, Star Lane Vineyard in Happy Canyon. The Pinot
Noirs have had a reputation for consistency, but were a bit rustic and earthy and not exceptional until the arrival
of winemaker Tyler Thomas in the summer of 2013. With a masters degree in viticulture and enology at
University of California at Davis, and experience in winemaking in the Central Coast and several years in
Sonoma County, Tyler has infused the wines with renewed excellence. The 2013 wines reviewed here are the
most compelling from Dierberg that I have tasted over the years, but I believe they will continue to improve as
Tyler gains more experience with the vineyard sites. The Dierberg tasting room is located at the Star Lane
Vineyard and is open daily. Wines are also sold through the website at www.dierbergvineyard.com.
2013 Dierberg Drum Canyon Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $52. Stem inclusion used to
add structure and savory spice and earth tones. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 20% new.
reddish purple color in the glass. The intoxicating aromas of black raspberry, black cherry, potpourri and spice
draw you to the glass. Ultra ripe flavors of black cherry, blackberry and a hint of raisin are framed by easygoing
tannins and the juicy acidity that Sta. Rita Hills is known for. The ripeness qualities reflect the vintage. Stem
inclusion has nicely embellished the wine. Silky in the mouth, and easy to savor, with a modest, but focused
finish that gives off the slightest sense of alcoholic heat.
2013 Dierberg Dierberg Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
14.8% alc., $44. Stem inclusion higher
than used previously from Dierberg Vineyard. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 25% new.
reddish purple color in the glass. More sap in this mid weight plus wine, featuring a melange of aromas and
flavors including black cherry, blackberry jam, spice, black tea, dark cocoa and a hint of toasty oak. Despite its
heft, the wine is quite charming, combining intensity of flavor with a refined style. The grand finish is replete
with a generous array of dark fruits, leaving behind just a hint of alcoholic heat.
2013 Dierberg Dierberg Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
14.6% alc., $32. Dierberg Vineyard is
located 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean at the
southern end of the Santa Maria Valley. California
heritage Chardonnay clones. Wine barrel fermented in
400 liter casks, 15% new. Malolactic fermentation only
in certain components. Aged 16 months in French oak
barrels and 4 months in stainless.
yellow color in the glass. A striking wine that achieves greatness over
time in the glass. Lovely aromas of lemon curd, Golden Delicious apple,
and subtle notes of butter and oak. Flavors of lemon, pear, and yellow
apple are presented with a streamlined mouthfeel that culminates in a
tight, crisp, citrus-laden finish. Perfectly balanced and ideal in every way.
E16 Wine Company, Sebastopol
Veteran winemaker Daniel Moore works out of a Sebastopol facility designed for production of small lots of
Pinot Noir. He has over 30 years of experience crafting Russian River Valley wines. The 100% Pinot Noir
wines are sourced from winegrowing partners who practice sustainable viticulture.
2014 E16 The West End Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.61, 350 cases, $60. Sourced
from Conzelman Vineyard in the “deep end” of the Anderson Valley. Pommard and Dijon 667 clones. Aged 11
months in French oak barrels, 40% new.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Black fruits prevail
on the nose and palate in this sappy and structured offering that has a sweet and spicy tone to the fruit flavors.
This is a big boy, hedonistic wine yet offers admirable balance.
2014 E16 Trenton 1880 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.61, 225 cases, $50.
Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. Sourced from Martaella Vineyard. Dijon and 828 clones.
Nicely scented, with aromas of black cherry, boysenberry jam and spice cabinet. Delightful flavors of black
cherry, blueberry, black raspberry, black tea and spice. Toasty oak is complimentary in the background, the
tannins are satiny, and the intensely fruity finish satisfies.
2014 E16 Upper Bench Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.96, TA 0.48, 395 cases, $42.
Sourced from Escolle Vineyard planted in 2008 to eleven Pinot Noir clones on five rootstocks. Pommard clone.
Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 33% new.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Exceptional
aromatic presence with scents of cherry, dark strawberry, rose petal, pipe smoke and sweet oak. Ripe flavors
of strawberry, black cherry and black raspberry are accented by tobacco oak and framed by suave tannins.
Although the acidity is low, the wine does not come across as flabby. The finish is generous and shows some
2014 E16 Bowland Ranch Bennett Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.61, 375 cases, $44. Sourced
from the Bowland Ranch Block at Moaveni Vineyard. Pommard clone. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels,
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is somewhat primary, opening slowly in
the glass to reveal aromas of blackberry, spice and graham. The middleweight sweet fruited flavors of
blackberry and black raspberry are a bit flat and the wine finishes with a noticeable oak presence.
2014 E16 E16 Selection Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.61, 335 cases, $40.
Sourced from Hawks Roost Ranch (Mariafeld clone) and Martaella Vineyard (Dijon clones), and a small
contribution from properties in Anderson Valley, Bennett Valley and the Santa Lucia Highlands. Aged 11 months
in French oak barrels, 20% new.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Savory aromas of
underbrush and flora compliment the aromas of cherry and strawberry. Both savory and fruity on the palate,
with flavors of black cherry, pomegranate, pine needle, and woodland herbs. Shy initially, picking up interest
over time in the glass. Finishes on a sweet cherry high note.
2014 E16 Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay
14.5% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.50, $44. Aged 11
months in French oak barrels, 40% new.
Light golden yellow
color in the glass. The nose is flat out amazing with soaring
scents of lemon, golden apple juice and honey. Impeccably
crafted, with vivid flavors of pineapple, juicy yellow apple, spice,
buttered toast and honey. Silky smooth in the mouth, with a
dreamy finish that has serious length. A superb wine.
RMH (River Myst Haven) Wines, Healdsburg
2014 RMH Wines Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.63, 420 cases, $52. Released
May 2016. Sourced from Moshin Estate Vineyard on Westside Road. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels,
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose offers aromas of black cherry, rhubarb
and pipe smoke. Full bodied, with a charge of black cherry and dark berry flavors that are fully ripe. More sap
and tannin than the 2013 version of this wine. Citrus driven acidity plies the background and sticks out on the
dry, slightly tart finish.
2013 RMH Wines Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.78, 360 cases, $52. Released
May 2015. Sourced from Moshin Estate Vineyard on Westside Road. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels,
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, truffle and oak lead off. Flavors
of black cherry, cola and savory herbs are framed by ripe tannins and lively acidity. Noticeable vibrancy, with a
trail of oak on the cleansing finish. Better the following day when tasted from a previously opened and recorked
bottle showing more harmony.
More Pinot Noir
2014 BARRA of Mendocino Estate Grown Mendocino County Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 390 cases,
$20. Released July 15, 2016. Charlie Barra just completed his 69th harvest. Wine is certified organic
by CCOF and vegan friendly.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry and
Asian spices lead off. The fruit ripeness pushes the envelope, with flavors of black cherry, black
currant, cola, root beer, dark chocolate, and raisin. Still, the wine is nicely crafted with pliable tannins
and some finishing purpose.
2013 Blair Estate Delfina’s Vineyard Arroyo Seco Monterey County Pinot Noir
14.8% alc., 400 cases,
$45. Released summer 2016. Clones are Pommard 4 (50%), 115, 667 and 777.
Moderately light reddish purple
color in the glass. The expressive nose offers scents of cherry, sandalwood and cigar box. The gorgeous mid
weight core of Bing cherry fruit alerts the senses, expands in the mouth, and finishes on a high note with plenty
of cherry goodness. There is significant oak overlay but I did not find it particularly intrusive, and otherwise the
wine’s balance was quite tidy.
2014 Cotillion California Pinot Noir
13.8% alc, $9.99. Vinted and bottled by Ashford Court, Napa. A Trader
Joe’s exclusive label. A blend of grapes from Monterey, Santa Barbara and Sonoma counties.
reddish purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of black cherry and cigar ash. The mid weight black cherry core
is accented with charred oak and mushroom flavors. Refined, with gentle tannins and a short finish.
2014 Girasole Vineyard Mendocino County Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 6,545 cases, $16. Released July 15, 2016. Family
owned and operated vineyards with some dating to the 1950s.
Certified organic by CCOF and vegan friendly.
light reddish purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with
aromas of cherry reduction sauce, red berries, spice and
organic flora. Pleasing charge of deep cherry cola and root
beer flavor on the attack, carrying through a modestly generous finish.
Good harmony is achieved through a balanced tannic backbone and
well-integrated, juicy acidity.
2014 Sarah’s Vineyard Estate Santa Clara Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 415 cases, $40. Winemaker Tim
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. A complete wine with welcoming aromas of black raspberry,
black cherry, spice and toasty oak followed in the mouth with expressive flavors of black cherry, cranberry,
black tea and a subtle overlay of oak. Admirable vibrancy, with great harmony and a cherry-infused, delightfully
2014 Mansfield-Dunne Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.74, TA 0.57, RS <.1g/L, 148
cases, $36. Released September 1, 2016. Clones 667, Pommard 5, 115 and 777. Aged 15 months in French
oak barrels, 33% new. Winemaker Ed Kurtzman.
Light cherry red color in the glass. Effusive aromas of cherry,
rose petal and sandalwood. The light to mid weight essence of cherry fruit is enhanced with notes of baking
spices and dried herbs. The fruit is quite vivid, the tannins are suave, and the wine finishes with agreeable
2014 Trader Joe’s Reserve Lot # 109 Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $9.99. Vinted and
bottled by Reluctant Wine Co. in Arroyo Grande, California.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass.
This wine is true to its Pinot Noir origins, with aromas of dark cherry, raspberry and truffle, and mid weight
flavors of black cherry and purple grape. Oak is supportive without being intrusive, the tannins are silky, and
this simple wine is easy to drink.
2015 Westwood Annadel Gap Vineyard Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir Rosé
13.3% alc., pH 3.39,
TA 0.56, RS 1.2 g/L,102 cases, $25. Released May 2016. Estate grown. 77% Pinot Noir clones 115,
667, 777, 943, Pommard, Calera, Mt. Eden, Chambertin, and UCD 90, 12% Mouvedre, 11%
Grenache. Harvest Brix average 24.0º-25.3º. A saignée, barrel fermented with feral yeasts in
seasoned oak with occasional lees stirring, partial native malolactic fermentation. Aged on the lees
for 5 months. Bottled with minimal filtration and fining.
Moderately pink salmon color in the glass.
The scent of cherry, strawberry, cranberry and underbrush leads to a core of cherry, cranberry, blood
orange and peach flavors with a savory, earthy thread in the background. A bit rustic, with inviting richness of
fruit, soft in the mouth, finishing with noticeable generosity.
Pinot Noir Aroma Profile Changes with Ripening A report earlier this year in Journal of
Agricultural and Food Chemistry scientists looked at how Pinot Noir’s aroma profile changes as it ripens. The
researchers identified 49 main odor compounds in young and ripe Pinot Noir grapes from 2012 and 2013,
using a technique known as gas chromatography mass spectrometry. Four odor components were found
consistently in mature grapes. The results may prove valuable in assisting winegrowers and winemakers in
figuring out when is the best time to harvest Pinot Noir.
Oregon Wine Competition The Oregon Wine Competition winners were announced August 24 at the
Medal Celebration kickoff event of the Oregon Wine Experience. This year’s Oregon Wine Experience had
2,500 attendees and raised $719,000 to support the Children’s Miracle Network hospital. 68 Oregon wineries
entered the Competition that aims to become one of the top regional wine competitions in the country. Best of
Show Red Wine was the 2013 Plaisance Ranch Syrah ($30). Double Gold Medal winners included 2013
Brandborg Vineyard and Winery Love Puppets Pinot Noir ($32), 2014 Ermisch Family Cellars Erendira’s Rise
Pinot Noir ($35) and 2014 Irvine Family Vineyards Pinot Noir ($35).
Organic & Biodynamic Wine Book from BKWine The book, Biodynamic, Organic and Natural
Winemaking; Sustainable Viticulture and Viniculture is available now in English at www.amazon.com. This
book is an invaluable introduction to sustainable winegrowing and winemaking for all wine enthusiasts and
Wine Scholar Guild’s French Wine Scholar Program in California A wine course
designed to provide committed students of wine an advanced and comprehensive specialization program on
French wine. Many wine professionals have endorsed it. Courses in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Napa Valley,
San Diego and Costa Mesa in September and October. The French Wine Scholar Program is also available via
distance-learning. A Wine Scholar Guild French pronunciation guide is also available. For information, visit
La Crema Opens New Tasting Experience A historic barn nestled within Saralee’s Vineyard in
the Russian River Valley dating back to the 1900s has become a multi level tasting room for La Crema and a
destination for wine education and culinary programs. The tasting room is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00
p.m. at 3575 Slusser Rd in Windsor. A number of tasting options are offered as well as a Saralee’s Vineyard
tour. Check out the options at www.lacrema.com/russian-river-estate/. The La Crema tasting room in
Healdsburg will remain open as well.
Diminishing Opinion About Health Benefits of Drinking