Domaine Nicolas-Jay

Owner(s) Jay Boberg, Jean-Nicolas Méo
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Domaine Nicolas-Jay

Jay Boberg first met Burgundian winemaker Jean-Nicolas Méo 30 years ago when they attended the same university in the United States. They remained friends over the ensuing years as Jean-Nicolas took over as the winemaker at his family’s Domaine Méo-Camuzet in Burgundy, where he was mentored by legendary winemaker Henri Jayer who was a leaseholder in the family estate. His style of balance and finesse, fruit and elegance rather than stalkiness and tannin, catapulted Méo-Camuzet to fame.

Jay carved out his own success as co-founder of the indie record label IRS Records, and later as president of MCA/Universal Records. As he began winding down his full-time role in the music industry, he approached Jean-Nicolas about starting a winery together in the Willamette Valley.

Jean-Nicolas now spends nearly two months in Oregon each season, traveling to the region throughout spring, summer, and harvest to oversee the viticulture and winemaking. Jay spends up to six months each year in Oregon working in the vineyards and winery alongside Jean-Nicolas and the winery’s associate winemaker, Tracy Kendall, a former enologist with Adelsheim where the Nicolas-Jay wines are vinified.

The winery’s Pinot Noir is made using grapes from the estate Bishop Creek Vineyard located in the Yamhill- Carlton AVA, as well as grapes from other top Willamette Valley vineyards such as Nysa, Momtazi, and Zenith. The 13.5-acre Bishop Creek Vineyard includes 11 acres of clone 777, Wädenswil, Pommard, and 667, with the majority planted in 1988 and 1990 that are own-rooted. The youngest plantings are from 2002. Since the vineyard was acquired in 2014, it has been farmed organically.

A new winery and tasting room adjacent to the current and future site of the winery's estate vineyard at 11905 NE Dudley Road in Newberg opened in April 2021. Tasting is by appointment with reservations available via Tock. The first plantings will be supplemented with additional blocks of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. the vineyard is farmed no-till and organically and uses Oregon's first autonomous electric tractor. The winery is designed in a fashion that Jean-Nicolas Méo always wanted to build using his experience from his centuries-old Domaine in Vosne-Romanée as well as seven vintages in the Willamette Valley.

Reviewed Wines

2016 Nicolas-Jay Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.58, 3,000 cases, $65. Release September 2018. Fruit is sourced from almost every AVA in the Willamette Valley and vineyards are almost exclusively biodynamic, organic and LIVE certified. Harvest Brix 23.4º. Aged in French oak barrels, 33% new and 67% neutral. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Enticing aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, earthy flora and a touch of oak. Ravishing mid weight fruit flavors of dark cherry, blueberry and boysenberry that are forward and giving. Very silky in the mouth, with gentle tannins and a generous, juicy finish. This is a wine of freshness and transparency that has no rough edges and aims to please. Score: 92. Reviewed August 24, 2018 ARTICLE »

2016 Nicolas-Jay Bishop Creek Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.60, 150 cases, $100. Release spring 2019. Harvest Brix 23.6º. Aged in French oak barrels, 50% new and 50% neutral. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Slightly shy aromas of dark berries, spice, potpourri and underbrush. Broad and sappy flavors of dark berries and pomegranate in a mid weight plus style, backed by discreetly vigorous tannins and a complimentary barrel presence. The very long, fruit-laden finish is aristocratic. Built for the cellar, this wine is a bit impenetrable now, but the charming mouthful of fruit, the bold structure and the excellent balance predicts a promising future. It should be more amendable by the time it is released next spring. Stash this wine in your cellar and drink the Willamette Valley bottling now. Score: 94. Reviewed August 24, 2018 ARTICLE »

2015 Nicolas-Jay Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.56, 2,400 cases, $65 ($150 magnum). Released April 2017. Fruit sourced from every AVA in the Willamette Valley, almost exclusively biodynamic, organic and LIVE certified vineyards.Harvest Brix 22.6º. Aged in French oak barrels, 33% new, 67% neutral. · A very interesting wine that does not make an impression upon opening but evolves beautifully over time. When I tasted this wine at 10 a.m. and then again at 5 p.m. from the same bottle, the wine had transformed dramatically. I drank a glass with dinner and can attest to its superb food compatibility. Moderate dark garnet color in the glass. Highly pleasing aromas of black cherry, blackberry, spice and sous-bois. Mid weight plus in style, with charming flavors of blueberry, dark cherry and earthy delight. Soft in the mouth, with a structure for aging, and a sleek, rewarding finish that is fruit-filled and refreshing. Still terrific when tasted the following day. If you want to drink now, decant and leave in the decanter for several hours prior to drinking. This will allow the wine to become noticeably more cordial. Score: 94. Reviewed June 25, 2017 ARTICLE »

2015 Nicolas-Jay Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.56, 2,400 cases, $65. Released April 2017. Fruit sourced from almost every AVA in the Willamette Valley. All vineyards are biodynamic, organic and LIVE certified. Winemakers are Jean-Nicolas Méo and Tracy Kendall. Harvest Brix 22.6º. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. A wine of both fruit and savory character offering aromas and flavors of black cherry, dark red berry, spice and savory herbs. An easy going, mid weight style, that is somewhat expansive in the mouth, finishing modestly. The tannins are relegated to the background making for a gentle mouth feel. Score: 90. Reviewed January 6, 2018 ARTICLE »

2014 Nicolas-Jay Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.56, 1,691 cases, $65. Released April 2015. 100% de-stemmed, 5 to 7-day cold soak, slow native fermentation, pump-overs early on to accentuate weight, body and flavor while keeping berries intact and reducing the influence of seed and skin tannins, followed later in fermentation when close to dry by punchp-downs to build tannic structure. The wine was aged 15 months in French oak barrels, the same coopers and barrels that Jean-Nicolas selects for his Méo-Camuzet wines, 33% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Complex aromatic profile offering scents of dark red cherries and berries, sandstone and savory herbs. The silky texture is mesmerizing and clearly the most outstanding feature of this wine. Mid weight plus in style, with flavors of purple and black fruits that make an impression on the attack and carry through to a persistent finish that slips off the back of the palate. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the balance was clearly admirable, the seductive texture pleasing, and the finish was remarkably long. Score: 93. Reviewed October 2, 2016 ARTICLE »

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