Hello friends. First off, welcome to July. As longer-term list members will remember, we tend to slow things down a little this month: more like two or three offers per week instead of the customary four. To make the cut for a July offer, a wine usually has to be extra special, and today’s is a good example of the type.
Evening Land Vineyards has had a complicated history, with multiple ownership groups, a controversial purchase of a well-loved Oregon vineyard (Seven Springs), and wines from all over the world (Burgundy, California, Oregon). One constant in recent years, however, has been the tremendous value represented by the “blue label” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. I’m sad to say that 2013 will mark the final vintage for this particular wine. But I’m happy to say that we have access to plenty of it, and not at the 2012 vintage release price of $28, nor the current winery price of $25:
The fruit in the Blue Label always has this wonderful dark, brooding quality, with darker berry fruits and a siltier mineral profile than your down-the-middle Dundee Hills bottling. Likely it’s due to the fruit sourcing, which comes entirely from the Yamhill-Carlton and Eola-Amity Hills AVAs. Both of those sections of the Willamette Valley are known for blacker fruit profiles than the classically red-fruited Dundee Hills.
I thought this was just outstanding for the price point and immediately pegged it as our wine to kick off July. Then I went back and did some research, and now I understand why it was so double-take good. There is a solid chunk of estate Seven Springs fruit in the blend here. Yes, the Seven Springs of the recent 96pt Wine Spectator review for the Seven Springs bottling ($50) and the 98pt La Source (also Seven Springs fruit; $70). If you want the gateway drug into the broader Evening Land portfolio, this is the wine to try.
It was raised entirely in once-used and neutral French oak barrels, and it clocks in at 12.8% listed alc. It begins with a nose of deep dark berry fruits, dark minerals, and these lovely minty topnotes to keep things fresh. The palate is a complex marvel, with a sturdy core of minerality shaded by dark fruit. The finish has heft, with fine-grained tannins redolent of cherry-pit bitters. It’s a lovely overall package, with energy and complexity and plenty of verve for a warm vintage. There’s the immediate charm that all the Oregon 2013s seem to possess, but this strikes me as a wine that could also evolve in compelling ways for the next five years.
I plan to stock up a little, since this label will be disappearing. It has served us well over the years, and now its watch is ended. First come first served up to 36 bottles, and the wine should arrive in a week or two, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.
Team Full Pull
Paul Zitarelli, Editor in Chief
Nick Peyton, Tasting Bar Manager
Pat Malloy, Director of Operations
Dennis Felipe, Warehouse & Special Projects Coordinator
RhiAnnon Kaspar, Member Services Manager