I love a good rosé. I’m also very picky about my rosé. From pale pink to deep salmon, a rosé of pinot noir can be all over the map, but generally speaking, it is delicious.
While attending Carlton’s Walk in the Park, I was lucky enough to meet Ken Morrison of K&M Wines. Clearly passionate about Oregon wine, he began his winemaking career 15 years ago with the grapes on the vineyard property he lives on. With 6 acres planted and 3 more in process, K&M produces about 500 cases annually.
Initially Ken’s hobby, he and his partner Mauro Hernandez (the M) have grown this hobby in to a small business, pursuing their dream of food, wine, and entertaining. I was excited by Ken’s 2007 Pinot at the Walk in the Park, and little did I know that I would be seeing quite a bit of him over the next day and a half!
As the Blitz Carlton Crew split up in to two smaller groups on Monday morning, you’ve already heard about my adventure up the hill to Luminous Hills. Later that afternoon, after we rolled out of Cuvee’s delicious lunch, we walked around Carlton and did speed tastings in several tasting rooms. The first was K&M.
I was delighted to see that I would get the opportunity to taste more of Ken’s wine in a more focused (but fast) environment, and it confirmed that I did indeed like the wine very much.
First up, the 2010 Chardonnay, 50% Alchemy Vineyard Estate fruit and bursting with sandlewood, hazlenuts, and smoke. Fermented sur lie, in 100% neutral oak, this is gorgeous example of an Oregon chardonnay.
The 2009 Alchemy Cuvee Pinot Noir is the a blend of the estate vineyard and Dundee Hills fruit, and is a classic, bursting with cherries and red fruit. Dense and smoky, it is full of dark raspberry with soft, silky tannins. With only 25% new oak, it has a subtle finish that is much appreciated.
My favorite of the tasting was the 2007 Alchemy Vineyard Pinoit Noir, a special treat Ken was pouring at A Walk in the Park. Panned by critics, loved by pinotphiles, this is a very good example of the Oregon Pinot Noirs from this year. Raspberry, pomegranate strawberry and creamy vanilla, it is a classically elegant Pinot that K&M held back for a few extra months in oak to give it a long silky finish. Yum!
K&M Wines keeps prices affordable, and you can afford to splurge on these little luxuries. With the Reserve Pinot Noir topping the charts at $35, even the most budget minded wine lover can taste the Oregon terroir.
Thanks again Ken for the great wines and the entertaining ride back to Portland!
K&M Wines is located in Carlton, Oregon. Make sure you say hi if you make the trip!
When I first met Leon Glover, winemaker, owner, bottle washer, and mad scientist at Lionheart Wines, several years ago at Crushpad, I knew he was going to make some special wines.
Recently, I had the chance to catch up with him and see how things were going. WIth the wines resting (ok under lock and key and held hostage but the powers that be at the form Cr***p&%, but who’s counting), I thought they deserved some extra love. Getting them out of the warehouse was a challege that required some patience, but it was worth it to taste Lionheart’s wines.
First up: The 2008 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from Gap’s Crown Vineyard. This is one of my favorite locations for Sonoma Coast pinot. Typically, you think of the Sonoma Coast as a region that develops bright acid, cranberry and juicy red fruit. 2008 however was an odd year. High temperatures for a long summer as well as bad fires in Mendocino led to a big dark and dense wine, with spikes of acid. That tell cranberry, black cherry, cola, and black raspberry came out to dance on my tongue The mellow use of only 1/3 new oak balances out this wine without overpowering it. $42
Lionheart makes several other wines, and I will be sharing those one by one. I hope I tantilize you with my tastes, and that you run over and buy some for yourself!
With all of this wine tasting all over the Willamette Valley that I did before, during, and after the Wine Bloggers Conference, I thought we should visit the different AVAs as well as the soil types. Since the combination of these two plus a little magic creates a terroir, it is important to note what variables can impact the wines that you love.
Now I am no geologist, or an enologist, but I do know something about soil and the mechanics of it. That said, this is just my opinion. You should go out and form your own but tasting wines from all over the Willamette! Using Pinot Noir as my baseline, since it seems to show the characteristics of the terroir the most clearly, here is a bit of dirt from the Willamette.
Coming from a state that has over 100 distinct AVAs, many of which are widely known for their Pinot Noirs (Santa Lucia Highlands, Russian River Valley, Carneros, Anderson Valley to name a few), I have acquired a particular taste for elegant, earthy, austere wines. The Willamette Valley while offering a wide variety ina small region, offers several different and distinct regions, all of which have an overwhelming style of wine that is produced in each.
First, the Willamette Valley has six sub-AVAs within the greater Willamette Valley AVA. The larger AVA was established in 1984, while the first vineyards were planted around 1965. The rebels that really started the Willamette trend planted in the mid 1970s. Each of the 6 sub-AVA has a primary soil type, which can produce vastly different results when combined with the weather patterns. The sub-AVAs today, with more proposed (roughly North to South) are:
Chehalem Mountains – the newest AVA, was established in 2006 and is the closest to the metro area of Portland. The mountains were formed when the seabeds were uplifted, filling with lava beds and overblown with silt. This gives the area quite a diverse soil base.
Dundee Hills – the most well known, with the largest amount of wineries. Established in 2004, it is the oldest AVA geologically, they were formed 15 million years ago when lava flows from eastern Washington flowed down the Willamette. Then, earthquakes and tectonic shifts created the Coast Range, and further shaking created the Dundee Hills. During the Missoula Floods, when the glaciers melted in weather patterns over thousands of years, layers of sediment were repeatedly poured over the area creating rich sedimentary layers. The deeper underlying Jory soils poke up through the hills above the flood plain.
Ribbon Ridge – is a short ridgeline that contains mostly ocean sediment, created from tectonic uplift. With finer and more uniform sedimentary soils, it is unique enough to warrant their own AVA, established in 2005, it is a smaller AVA contained within the Chehalem Mountains.
McMinnville - Also established in 2005, the McMinnville AVA rises from 200 to 1000 feet in elevation. When the Coast Range was created, fingers of lava flowed in to McMinnville, leaving basalt fingers, that are oddballs in the area of mostly marine sediment. McMinnville also benefits from the cool Van Duzer winds, which flow through from the coast, that cool down the vineyards and help dry the vines, preventing mildew during humid summer days.
Yamhill-Carlton – Established in 2004 addition, this AVA ranges from 200 to 1000 feet in elevation, and is in the rain shadow of the Coast Range. A horseshoe shape, the rural landscape hides most of the wine making activity here. Coarser grained marine sediment soils are some of the oldest in the region, and they provide excellent drainage, perfect for vines. The vines here tend to ripen earlier and more completely thanks in part to this excellent drainage.
Eola-Amity – the furthest south, Eola-Amity was created in 2006, and stretches from the hamlet of Amity in the north, to the city of Salem in the south. The Van Duzer winds are steady, which cools the summer temperatures. Eola-Amity sits on a basalt plateau, which is on top of the marine sediment layer. The plateau has been rippled and wrinkled thanks to tectonic activity, and the Eola-Amity hills are part of this wrinkle pattern.
Now that we have the lay of the land, we can start to look at what soil types are in each region. Soil types impact growth patterns and drainage, which in turn impact ripening patterns and base flavor profiles.
Jory is the primary soil type in the Dundee Hills. A volcanic soil that is mostly basalt, Jory is found in most vineyards in Dundee Hills. Filled with iron and clay, it is lush and full of nutrients. Jory is also a wet soil, and it will stick together if you compact it in your hand. Formed when massive lava flows covered most of Washington and Oregon with a layer of basalt, Jory grown Pinot Noirs tend to have a classic cherry and red fruit profile, with a strong minerality component. Jory is found in the Dundee Hills, and produces classic cherry, red fruit and spicy Pinot Noirs.
Willakenzie – a sedimentary soil, formed when western Oregon was once 8000 feet under the sea. When the Coast Range and the Cascade Mountains were formed by tectonic shifts, the seabed was exposed, leaving Willakenzie soils made of marine sediment. In some places, this exposed seabed is covered by a layer of volcanic soil. The dry and brittle soil forces vines to reach deep in to the crust, which creates dark wines with structured spice and cola flavors. More black than red fruit, Willakenzie is found in McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge, and Yamhill-Carolton.
Loess (Laurelwood) - is a silty loam soil, and is a very thin layer, unlike the Jory or Willakenzie which form a more substantial layer of soil. With Loess, there is always another soil type underneath the thin layer, as it is primarily windblown. A dusty sedimentary soil, it is fertile and drains well. Pinot Noirs from Loess tend to be bright red fruit, with an underlying earthy flavor, and a sprinkling of white pepper. Loess is particularly found in Chehalam Mountains.
Soil types, weather, style, and seasons all impact the terroir of a wine growing region. Many of these factors are said to be similar to Burgundy. I am not particularly well versed in the wines of France, so I can’t say for sure, but I do know that there is something very special about Oregon, and Oregon Pinot Noir in particular.
While every winemaker has their hand in creating every wine, and a house style, the terroir of a vineyard creates the baseline for these wines. My personal taste has shown me that I am a big fan of the 2007 vintage, with 2010 comign hot on the hells. 2008 is turnign out to be a very interesting vinetage as well, alhtough I find it bigger and bolder than the 2007s or 2010s. 2009 on the other hand? The jury is still out. I also know that I love the bright fruit and tangy earth from the Dundee Hills and Ribbon Ridge, and that I’m not a fan of the wines from Eola-Amity, which are bigger, bolder, and dark.
There were a few wines I just plain didn’t care for, but overwhelmingly, the wines from the Willamette Valley, Pinot Noirs, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and further south, Syrah, as well as renegade wines produced in the middle of Pinot heaven are showcases of the region. With the average winery in Willamette producing less than 1000 cases, it’s rare to find a producer that has a homogeneous style that they try to repeat year over year. Even the larger producers, such as Willamette Valley Vineyards, strive for uniqueness and terroir driven wines. This makes it a very special place indeed.
I’m looking forward to tasting more and seeing what happens in Oregon in the coming years!
On top of the rolling hills of the Dundee AVA in Oregon, Winderlea Vineyard and Winery sits on top of the world. Looking out at the rolling vineyards below, through the glass wall of the tasting room overlooking the estate vineyards, I felt like I was sitting in the vines.
Named for the original property and it’s owners, the name Winderlea is thought to come from the German word that means “Wind in the Meadow”. That is exactly what it feels like when you are sitting there. Too hot to sit outside on this particular day, I can imagine how, in the early fall, how the tasting room would be with the glass wall of doors rolled back and the outside melding with the inside.
Winderlea was recommended by several friends, and as we were in the area, we decided to stop by, and i’m so glad we did. Sitting in the nice air conditioned tasting room (phew it was hot!) sipping delicious wines, what could get better?
Bill Sweat and Donna Morris always had a passion for wine. Leaving their previous careers behind in Boston, they moved to Oregon to pursue their combined passion for wine, and specifically Pinot Noir. Why Oregon you might ask? Like many of the current crop of vintners and winery owners in the Willamette that I met, Sweat and Morris were drawn to the unique climate and soils, along with the drive to make small batches of amazing wine. Newcomers are welcomed and tutored, and the wine community is inclusive of new members. I heard this story over and over again with different places in Oregon, and many of my tech compatriots have left Southern California and Silicon Valley for vineyards in Oregon.
Winderlea is a luxury boutique winery specializing in the limited production of Pinot noir and Chardonnay from Oregon. Crafting elegant, sensuous and age worthy wines for those who view the pairing of wine and food essential to their lifestyle and well being is what Winderlea is all about. Our focus is on making small lots of Pinot noir and Chardonnay that show the best characteristics of each vineyard. Hand crafted with minimal intervention and the modest use of new French oak barrels, our food friendly wines are classic in style.
Ensuring that the vineyards are LIVE certified as well as Salmon Safe, the team at Winderlea cultivates the land in a way that leaves the soil in tact for many future vintages to come. This is a common theme here in Oregon; unlike California, the word sustainable is used extensively. Much less so than Organic or fully Biodynamically certified, sustainable vineyards are a practice that can be maintained over the long haul, while using the best of all farming practices to produce the best results.
Augmenting this sustainable philosophy, Winderlea believes that the vineyard workers should be sustainable as well. To support this, the $15 tasting fee (which is well worth it regardless) is donated to ¡Salud!, an alliance between Oregon winemakers, and local healthcare agencies to provide education and access to services for Oregon’s seasonal vineyard workers and their families. Similar to San Francisco’s healthy restaurant tax, this enables vineyard workers to support their families and their employers year round.
Warning: The tasting caused me to join their wine club! Read at your own risk. The 2010s are just being released, so expect more to hit the shelves soon.
2009 Chardonnay – Creamed honey, with apricot, spiced pear and baking spice. Lovely nutmeg finish.
2010 Dundee Cuvée Pinot Noir – the 2010s are shaping up to be a fantastic vintage. Bright, with a fun and funky nose that gives way to coffee, stewed fruit and cherries, this wine screams Willamette. The bright raspberries almost have a beet like note to them, with that earthy texture and mincemeat spice.
2010 Crawford Beck Pinot Noir – Crawford Beck breaks from the Dundee Hills AVA and goes further south, in to the Eola-Amity AVA. The climate in the Eola-Amity area is influenced by the Van Duzer gap, which allows in cool coastal breezes. This marine cooling trend taht happens every afternoon cools down the vineyards and tend to create more natural acidity in the Pinot Noir. This wine had dusty plum with cocoa powder, slight sandlewood notes, and hints of walnut. It is a young and fresher style of pinot.
2010 Ana Vineyard Pinot Noir - Back in the Dundee Hills AVA, the Ana Vineyard also has some of the oldest Pinot Noir in Oregon. With mostly Pommard and 777 clones, the vineyard sits on the ridge top at 450 feet, sloping down to 350 feet. Sitting in a bowl, the afternoon sun heats up the vineyard and creates bolder, fruitier fruit. This was a clear and bold wine, with classic cherry flavors, bordering on sweet. The acidity came out after the first taste, and I would call it craisen with raspberry juice.
With many more wines in the library Winderlea is worth a stop on even the shortest of visits to the Willamette Valley.
Before the mayhem of the Wine Bloggers Conference began earlier this month, I took some extra time to explore the different AVAs of the Willamette Valley in Oregon, known for Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. One winery that came up in conversation over and over again was Anderson Family Vineyards. Recommended by several friends, I was excited to see what all the fuss was about.
Sitting on top of a hill, the sweeping views of the Dundee Hills AVA are breathtaking. Just below the estate vineyards, a hazelnut orchard sits on the flats. Set up an armchair, and I could sit there for days! The Anderson family started off as growers of premium Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay, selling these grapes for over 20 years. After a while, they wondered why they weren’t’ using some of the amazing fruit for themselves, and the winery was born. Currently, Anderson Family sells 1/3 of their grapes to area wineries, and uses the remainder for their own label.
Cliff Anderson began his search in the 1980s for land that would produce grapes that would rival the great wines of Burgundy. His belief that vines that struggle and need to reach for water, becoming deeply rooted, become amazing wines led him to the heart of Oregon wine country – the Dundee Hills AVA of the Willamette Valley. Situated in the rolling countryside outside of Newberg, they found a property with steep hillsides full of broken stones and basalt. In 1992, the vineyard was planted.
Organically farmed, the Anderson Family creates wines in small lots with native yeast, in a gravity flow winery. Carefully taken care of each small batch of wines, they move a little slower here. While many larger operations have already released the 2010 vintage, Anderson Family is holding back; there will be no wine before it’s time!
We had the opportunity to taste through the current releases with assistant winemaker Jonathan Riekert, a rising star of the area who is passionate about Pinot Noir as well as the Oregon terroir.
2009 Pinot Gris - There is something special about Oregon Pinot Gris. I can’t quite describe it, but it combines the creamy nature of Gris with the crisp acidity of a Pinot Blanc in a beautiful swirl.
2009 was a warmer vintage for Oregon, but it was peppered with cool nights, as well as a few cooler days which helped keep the acidity in this wine. With no malolactic fermentation, and 100% stainless steel fermentation, there are beautiful green apple, grapefruit and Asian pear notes. With a dusting of nutmeg and a nutty finish, this is what I love about Pinot Gris.
Next, we tasted a vertical of Chardonnay. Much more European in style, these are lean and racy. Just what I like!
2007 Chardonnay – 2007 had a longer growing season than some other years, which gave the grapes time to develop on the vine. Unpredictable rains and a mellow season produced balanced flavors and bright fruit.
A blend of 50% barrel fermented and 50% stainless steel, with 60% malolactic fermentation, it is full of hazelnuts, lemon curd and apple flavors. It’s a richer chard, but not buttery and has a lovely minerality with a pear finish.
2008 Chardonnay – 2008 had a cool season with late blooms, with warmer days in October. This leads to a longer hangtime, which brings bigger, fuller flavors to the wine. In the case of chardonnay, it means big ripe flavors, but maintaining a bracing acidity. This year had a brighter citrus base, with a touch of butterscotch and meyer lemon, with more spice.
2009 Chardonnay – 2009 was a very hot year. With a series of unpredictable heat spikes dotted with cooler days and nights, the fruit was very ripe, with a touch less acidity than 2008. This developed in to a clear citrus, blood orange, and higher acid wine with a long wet river rock finish.
Finally, the core of any Oregon wineries line up – Pinot Noir. With a classic style full of spice and earth, the Anderson Family Pinot Noir’s did not disappoint.
I was thrilled when the 2007 was still available; widely panned by critics at the time of release, it’s always been one of my faovrite years for Oregon Pinot Noir. Now, of course, the critics are back peddling and saying how nicely it’s developed in teh bottle Whatever, it’s simply delectable!
2007 Pinot Noir – The big deal about 2007 is that it was a cool, wet year. This made a wine with bright acid, clean fruti notes, and earthy underpinnings. Classic flavors of cola, baking spice and red fruit with a lighter body are the makings of a great year in this bloggers
mouth. mind. I found notes of dried berries, rhubarb, and spices, especially cloves. It was classically 2007 with mushrooms and earth, followed by a mineral rub.
Left in the barrel for longer than normal, this wine has intense aromas with tons of baking spice. The 115, 667, 777, Pommard and Wadenswil clones in the final blend give it the powerful fruit base of the Pommard with the spice and earth of the 115 and 117. Yum!
2008 Pinot Noir – A bigger vintage in general, there is more dark fruit than red fruit. The hot season needs time to simmer down. The late summer forced longer hangtime of the fruit, which I think gives it a bolder feel.
2009 Pinot Noir – While 2009 set a new record for warm days, the summer was finicky with hot days and cool days. There was a narrow window when the fruit ripened; I currently prefer the 09s to the 08s, because the cool days provide some lovely acidity along with the big red and black fruit.
It’s a deeper bolder Pinot than the 07, but not as big as the 08. I found lots of pomegranate, bright berry and classic cherry fruit, followed by baking spice. Less earthy overall, this will be a crowd pleaser.
Thank you Jonothan and Cliff for taking the time to show me the wines! If you are in Newberg, please be sure to call Anderson Family Vineyards for a visti you will not soon forget. I brought home the Pinot Gris and 2 of the 07 Pinot Noirs. I can’t wait to revisit them!
Belle Glos Pinot Noir are wines made for Cabernet lovers. While each of the three vineyards used to make these wines is coastal, they all produce very different wines. The Wagner family is well known for their contributions to thee wine industry in Napa, through their efforts at Caymus Vineyards. Going back to the 1800s, the family has deep California roots.
The family has been making wine in California since 1972, when Caymus was founded. Now, while the family seat is at Caymus in Napa, the additions of Mer Soleil Chardonnay, run by son Charlie Wagner, Belle Glos run by son Joseph Wagner, and Conundrum, a blend mastered by longtime employee, and new places for daughters Jenny and Erin to learn the business, the family of wine has grown.
There is a history of experimentation and creativity, which led Belle Glos to break the traditional mold of California Pinot Noir. Joseph’s passion for farming and viticulture is well known. His early experiences with this Italian Grandmother helps guide his future as he expanding the success of the Belle Glos line, that he has managed since 2002. Belle Glos, featuring single-vineyard Pinot Noirs from Sonoma, Monterey, and Santa Barbara counties was named for Joseph’s grandmother, he has selected three of the coolest growing regions for the Pinot Noir. farmed in small lots, the grapes are left to hang longer than normal, to create intense and complex flavors. In this manner, they are creating bold, flavor packed Pinots that are setting Belle Glos apart from more traditional styles.
There are three single vineyard Pinots from Belle Glos: Clark & Telephone, Taylor Lane and Las Alturas. Each one is slightly different, but all three are made in a big, bold style. A Pinot meant for a Cabernet lover!
Clark & Telephone Vineyard is located in the Santa Maria Valley, which is cooled by the wind and fog blowing in from the Pacific Ocean along the Santa Maria River inland. Planted on its own roostock, the vineyard is planted to 100% Martini clone, something that is rarely seen today. This wine was a mix of sweet ripe red fruit and spicy notes, with a nice acid balance. It was my favorite of the three, and had a lot of cinnamon, baking spice, and ripe blackberry notes.
The Taylor Lane Vineyard Pinot from the Sonoma Coast, is less than 6 miles from the ocean. Known for the heavy fog, it’s a particularly good place for classic Pinot due to the cool climate, but harder if you are trying to ripen the fruti for a stylistic change. The Dijon clones in this vineyard held a lot of cedar and cola, with Bing cherries and a hefty 60% new French oak treatment. This would have been my pick but because of the oak it was just too overblown for me.
Finally, the Las Alturas Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Located in a world famous Pinot Noir growing region in the Central Coast area, each slope of the vineyard was planted in a different clone. This dense, dark and chewy wine had a lot of earthy notes, tons of vanilla, and cherry pie filling. The key note was a slightly artificial hint, in that canned filling that we all know (and don’t always love).
ALl in all, these were interesting wines; however, they were, to me, over extracted and manipulated. I prefer a less extracted, less oaked, more subtle wine. These are solid, well made wines that are in a bigger style. I think that the Santa Maria would be a great entree in to the world of Pinot for someone who is used to the larger fruit profile of a Napa Cab or a Sonoima Zinfandel. If you enjoy a big, bold, dynamic and cherry driven Pinot Noir, check these out. They might surprise you!
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!
It’s Earth Day again, that one day when we’re supposed to stop to smell the roses, and celebrate Gaia. I try to be kind to my planet every day, by taking care of her and recycling, reducing and reusing – since it’s clear to me that she is one pissed off mama.
Today, I’m sipping on some green wines, in partnership with Sip Certified. Sip Certified has spent the last 15 years working with growers and wineries rethink their strategy about sustainability. Pretty cool stuff!
To become Sip Certified, you msut address the entire farm ecosystem, from soil to vine, from bottle to cork. you can learn more HERE.
But today, I’m sipping on Riverbench Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley.
Riverbench Vineyard began in 1973, when it was planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Now, over 30 years later, they are a leading fruit source for the Santa maria Valley. In 2004 the property was purchased, and the new owners embarked on their own wine adventure, reserving some of the fruit for their own estate wines.
The 2010 Estate Pinot starts out with some bold red fruit on the nose, with ripe strawberries and raspberries on the palate. Surprisingly, there is some great acidity in this wine; I am constantly looking for more acid in my pinots, and it’s nice to find a southern Central Coast example that has some bright cranberry and bright red fruit along with the rich ripe berry. There is also a nice spice box hiding in there that gives the wine a kick on the finish. I am enjoying the allspice and pepper kick.
One of the hallmarks of this wine is the silky mouth feel and smooth palate, due to the 96% neutral oak. with only 4% new French Oak, the flavor of the fruit shine through wihtout being overpowered.
At a budget friendly !~$25, this is a Santa Maria wine I will keep my eye on!
This wine was provided by Sip Certified, to celebrate Earth Day.