ithinkaboutwine

My first time in the Willamette Valley.

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2010 at 12:14 am

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Took my first trip to the Willamette Valley today. We started off the morning at Archery Summit, a winery most well-known for their excellent single vineyard Pinot Noirs. First we tried their 2009 Rosé of Pinot Noir. It’s no secret how I feel about rosé, and this one did not disappoint, with beautiful red fruit aromatics, outstanding balance, and outright sexy acidity. Next was the 2007 Premier Cuveé, which was quite simply delicious. Elegant without being too light, with very pretty aromatics of rose petal and raspberry, and clean and focused pure fruit on the palate. Next was the 2007 Looney Vineyard Pinot, the newest addition to their single vineyard lineup. It showed much darker, bramby wild berry fruit, and a distinctly chalky character on the palate. Also a good wine, but seemed like it could use a few more years in the bottle. Last but not least was the 2007 Arcus Estate Pinot, which was, for me, the best of the lot. Beautiful floral aromatic character made it a pleasure to drink now, and firm structure and minerals attest to the fact that this wine will continue to evolve for many years to come. 2007 has not been a critically acclaimed vintage for Willamette Pinot. A cool summer and rainy harvest resulted in lighter than average wines. However, while these wines may not have the aging potential of those from a better vintage, they are still lovely and pleasant wines, and great ones to drink while you’re waiting for your cellared 06 and 08 Oregon Pinots to mature.

imageOur next stop was Lange winery. Lange is a family operation which has been making wine in the Dundee Hills since 1987. I’ve been a fan of their wines for some time now. We first tasted their 09 Reserve Pinot Gris, which showed really fun aromatics of candied pineapple, anise, and fennel. With good richness, and some flinty minerality, I very much enjoyed it, and was sorry I had never tried it before. Next we tried 2007 Chardonnay from Domaine Trouvere, Lange’s second label. It smelled of fresh peaches, toast, and cream. While nicely balanced, I liked the Reserve Pinot Gris better. I got distracted while tasting the reds, so my notes are brief.

2008 Reserve Pinot Noir: Spice, dark fruit, sweet nose, firm but yielding structure.

2008 Three Hills Cuvee: Delicious, approachable. This has been one of my favorite overall domestic Pinots for 4 years now, and this was no exception.

2008 Freedom Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir: good. Needs time. This showed very well, but I probably wouldn’t drink it for several years.

2006 Domaine Trouvere Pinot Noir, Cancilla Vineyard. This one caught me off guard, and I wasn’t sure if I liked it at first. It had a much more funky, Burgundian character. Showed aromatics of baking spice, black raspberry, and herbs. Similar character on the palate; dark fruit, basil, and thyme.

Next stop: Stoller Vineyards. I was particularly looking forward to this one, since I had never tried their wines, but had heard good things. I did not keep notes, but tasted 2009 JV Chardonnay, 2008 SV Chardonnay, 2009 Estate Riesling, 2009 JV Pinot Noir Rosé, 2007 JV Pinot Noir, and 2006 and 2007 SV Pinot Noir. I enjoyed all of them, and the 2 vintages of SV Pinot again highlighted the difference between the lighter, more elegant 2007 vintage and the more dense and ageworthy 2006.

Our last stop was Vista Hills Winery. While the wines weren’t bad, they definitely suffered by comparison to everything else I’ve tasted today. But the folks in the tasting room were lovely and accommodating, and the view was very nice.

And now for some dinner and Archery Summit Rosé.

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