It isn’t often when I taste several wines from a winery and like each one more than the last. When I do, I get excited and I know that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Archery Summit, located in the Willamette Valley region of Oregon, is one such winery that gets me revved up. I recently tasting three of their wines, and fell madly in love. Yes, I was already a Pinot Noir lover, and particularly Oregon Pinots, but in this case, these were some of the few 2010s that I have tasted. I also had the opportunity to taste a particularly wonderful Rosé. With the weather warming up, and the rare sunny summer day in San Francisco, I was in heaven.
Archery Summit is located in the Dundee sub-appelation of the Willamette Valley AVA on a mineral rich alluvial fan created when the Ice Age receded and meltwater created giant fresh water oceans. This reesulting in a rich mineral soil, which is amazing for growing Pinot Noir. The cool growing regions of Oregon are very similar to Northern France, and create world class Pinot.
Archery Summit focuses on a small lot, hand crafted, approach to winemaking. From the modern gravity flow winery which helps create Pinot Noir without bruising the fragile ego of the delicate Pinot Noir grapes, to the small bins of harvested grapes that are and hand sorted, every step is purposeful and careful. A unique aspect to winery operations, each member of the vineyard staff is actually assigned to a specific vineyard. Giving the vineyard crew autonomy and ownership of their area allows them to become expert vignerons of a small parcel, where their familiarity becomes intimate and intense. Some staff members have been working in plots from the birth of the parcel (planting in 1994), giving them a full lifecycle view of what works, what doesn’t, and what might be going off road. With such dedication to knowing the land and the vines results in some pretty amazing juice.
2011 Vireton Rosé – Love at first sip! This delicate Rosé of Pinto Noir is full of tropical fruit,
watermelon and Hood River strawberries. I absolutely loved this wine. The bright fresh raspberry juice was clean and crisp, and is a perfect summer sipper.
While I typically prefer a purpose made Rose, this Saignee (juice bled from the red wine tanks during fermentation), I am impressed by the delicacy and flavor profile of the Rose. Fermented in neutral oak and stainless steel, there is no skin contact. The delicate pale pink color is the natural color of the juice from the bleed off. This vintage is a blend of juice from each of the estate vineyards, from Dundee Hills and Ribbon Ridge.
The first Pinot Noir we had was the 2010 Premier Cuvee. Created by blending a bit of every vineyard, it is primarily Arcus Estate, and includes a bit of every Dijon clone planted on the property. It has a fresh cranberry and pomegranate acid edge, which I love, followed by earthy notes of root beer, baking spice, and cherry notes. With a touch of floral violets on the finish, it’s bright and rich at the same time, with mineral notes on the finish. Fermented in 35% new French oak, the wine has the subtle touch of the oak without being overpowered.
The last wine we tasted was the 2010 Arcus Estate Pinot Noir. This single vineyard offering was bolder, with more depth and strength than the Cuvee. With soft leather, cola, and nutmeg, this is a crowd pleaser. The classic juicy cherry flavor profile is combined with a rich boysenberry and cocoa blend. This is a rich Pinot Noir, opening up nicely after an hour or so. With 50% new French oak, the toasty spice and marzipan really come through but it’s well balanced and integrated.
I am very impressed iwth the 2010 Oregon offerings I’ve tasted so far; typically, the Willamette is known for odd numbered years, but I am much more pelased with the 10s this year than the 09s. These wines could easily cellar for 5 years, but they are ready to drink now if you can’t wait (like me).
Thank you Archery Summit for providing these wines for my enjoyment, and I look forward to tasting some of the other wines with you in August at the Wine Bloggers Conference!