Hello friends. Patty Green Pinots are as beautiful as they are inaccessible in Seattle. We were lucky enough to snag a small parcel of Lia’s Vineyard Pinot earlier this year, and the response from our list members underscored for me that we needed to do as much legwork as possible to secure more Patty Pinots.
When I learned that the winery would consider pre-selling a number of their more sought-after, small-production, rarely-distributed-outside-of-Oregon Pinots, and that they’d be doing it around the holidays, I jumped in with both feet. The bad news – that we’re dealing with teensy parcel sizes for each of these wines – is countered by the fact that we were able to snag the entire Seattle allocation for each. Well, almost the entire allocation. The fine folks at Wild Ginger jumped in and grabbed six bottles of each wine, and I wasn’t going to raise much of a fuss, since a) anyone who has eaten a meal at Wild Ginger knows that their buyers have exquisite taste, so I saw their interest as affirmation that this is a good decision; and b) if we sell out, our list members can always drink a bottle at Ginger and have a lovely meal to boot.
But for all intents and purposes, we have retail exclusivity for this trio of beautiful Patty Green Pinots. Now long-time list members may remember that my first visit on my first Willamette Valley research trip was with Jim Anderson at Patricia Green Cellars. It was a terrific place to kick things off, because what Patty (the winemaker) and Jim (the cellarmaster) do that’s brilliant is this: they hold many variables constant so those that change (vintage, vineyard) shine through transparently. A few examples of constants: 1) fruit age: they limit their purchased fruit to vines that are at least 20 years old; 2) clonal selection: they source almost exclusively Pommard and Wadenswil; 3) cooperage: they use exclusively Cadus French oak. This makes a tasting across multiple vineyards from one vintage (as we did that day, and as we have on offer today with 2013) deeply exciting, because the differences (which are obvious) come from one place: terroir.
Jim and Patty source from a diverse set of vineyards across the Willamette Valley, and they’re eloquent at describing the unique characteristics of each site. I believe it’s Jim who writes the notes on the wines, and I intend to quote him liberally, because the information is terrific. Beginning with an excerpt from his take on the 2013 vintage: The 2013 wines are a bit hard to add up, but in general seem to have some of the positive characteristics of the 2011 and 2012 vintages. That is to say, good acidity, nice weight, moderate alcohols, excellent aromatics, succulent mid-palates and above average to very long finishes. These are excellent examples of the style of Pinot Noir we have been crafting for over a decade now. The source vineyards are as strong a group as we have ever had and there are a wealth of wines to choose from that will satisfy many different types of Oregon Pinot Noir fans.
I was especially interested in this because – during my stint at Oregon Pinot Camp a few years ago – I clearly remember how Wadensvil Clone wines stood out during clonal tastings. They are so high-toned and ethereal, so hauntingly perfumed; I just couldn’t get enough. Done in about one-third new oak and at a production level of 266 cases, this is a fine example of Wadensvil character, with a flower-garden nose (roses, violets, lilacs) married to smoky red cherry fruit. On the palate, this is richly fruited, with a great glycerin quality to the mouthfeel. It has that Chehalem Mountains marine sedimentary soil influence, a savory character that pairs perfectly with the fruit and flowers. This ’13 vintage in Oregon seems so charming and drinkable at such a young age. I’d rather hold the ‘12s and drink the ‘13s.
Winery notes: Just outside of the Ribbon Ridge Appellation to the east is a mostly south facing hillside full of vineyards. Olenik Vineyard sits nearly smack dab in the middle of this hillside. The vineyard sits on the same type of thin marine soil as our Estate Vineyard. Wadensvil Clone is especially perfect for this type of soil. In contrast to Pommard, which can and often does develop lots of richness and sauvage type characteristics, Wadensvil is most often lighter, feminine, pure and a conduit for everything the land, the plant, the soil, the water and so on have to offer up. This bottling has always shown a quartz-laden character to the supremely pure red fruit. The texture lingers and the wine has a haunting type of complexity to it, throwing fruit and minerals into a wonderful mixture. This will do well over a long period of time.
This is the Patty Green bottling formerly known as Ana Vineyard. A recent sale of a portion of the vineyard (including name rights) has forced a renaming, but Patty Green is still sourcing the same section of the vineyard that they have for a decade now. It’s a 1978-planted vineyard located here (dusting off the old Oregon vineyard map!), and it yields a mere 144 cases. Raised in 17% new oak, it offers a nose of red raspberry and red cherry paired with good Dundee Hills earthy forest floor notes. Bright and lithe on the palate, with pollen-dusted red fruits mixed with insistent minerality. This hums across the palate and lingers beautifully. Classy juice.
Winery notes: This is routinely the most stylish of the Dundee Hill Pinot Noir we make. The vineyard is set on the eastern slope of a bowl shaped hillside that opens to the south. The 36 year old vines combined with both the cooler eastern slope and the inversion effect created by the amphitheatre-like hill formation allows this vineyard to be a cool site in a warm area. This gives the perceived presence of warm weather features such as rich aromatics, sweet fruit and silky textures while having cool climate infrastructure such as lower alcohol, higher acidity and decent tannins. This is a calm and confident wine that is sleek, graceful and has just enough Dundee Hills-ness to show the excellence of the appellation and site.
Etzel Block is the part of the Patty Green Estate Vineyard (located here) named after Mike Etzel of Beaux Freres, since the Patty Green team can often spot Mike working the BF vineyard from this particular section of their estate. It’s the second oldest part of the estate vineyard, planted in Ribbon Ridge AVA in 1986. It was raised in 27% new oak, and production is 275 cases. What a beauty. This smells and drinks the ripest of the three, with riper red cherry and black cherry, graphitic mineral notes, star anise, and other exotic spice notes. Lush, plush, seamless, and long, this is a seductive little minx with intensity to burn.
Winery notes: It still never ceases to amaze us how this vineyard produces such an array of flavors, textures and frameworks from the different sections. This particular block is so utterly different than anything else in the vineyard, including the younger vines planted between the older rows of the block that it still blows us away even though we are more used to it than anyone else. This stands in direct contrast to the Bonshaw despite their nearly adjacent locations. This wine is aromatically insane and nuanced to a fault. Minerality and seductive red fruit combine with great complexity on the palate to create a wine that shows how elegant, intricate, red-fruited and soil-influenced older vine Pinot Noirs from Ribbon Ridge can be. There is a fairly large degree of whole cluster fermentation here as well which furthers the aromatic qualities, drives the herbal and graphite notes on the palate and tightens the tannins up on the back end.
Please limit order requests to 24 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.