Hello friends. Back in late August, I received the following e-mail from one of my favorite Oregon wine folks, who has requested anonymity:
Mr. Z – I happened to do some consulting work this year which gave me the opportunity to take payment in wine. Part of the work was crafting a Pinot Noir blend from a prominent single vineyard in the Willamette Valley. The final blend for their needs is dark fruited, tight knit tannin with restraint (for 2014) – the alternate blend is red cherry, 75%+ dark chocolate and rounded, plush tannin. This is what I’m bottling on Thursday under my new brand. 2014, aged 20 months barrel – 20% french oak for 9 months, racked into neutral for remainder. Unfined/Unfiltered. Below is a descriptor of the previous vintage, which scored 93. The average price online is $48. I can’t say more than that, and will not answer questions to its provenance. Production: 250 cases in total. Please let me know if you’re interested in tasting the wine, I’m going to be in Seattle either Wed or Fri this week. PS – in the spirit of my love for Phil Collins, the wine is named “Take Me Home.”
Unfortunately I can no longer reprint the 93pt review that was included in the e-mail above, because by punching that review into a Google search, you can learn which vineyard this wine comes from in approximately five seconds. I will say: this is an excellent vineyard for Pinot Noir, and one that we’ve only had opportunity to offer once previously. It’s a vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains AVA (although this label says Willamette Valley to anonymize as much as possible), on marine sedimentary soil, and it has a high proportion of Wadensvil Clone planted. If you can figure out the vineyard from those clues, then congrats; you’re a serious Oregon wine geek!
Which is still pretty excellent for a single vineyard that usually retails in the $40-and-up range. But I pushed back. If this was going to be our last Oregon Pinot-themed offer of the year, I wanted it to feel like a real gift to our list members. So I offered to commit to a sturdy stash, in exchange for an even better tariff:
We received our stash of this wine twelve days ago. No delayed gratification for this one; it’s in the warehouse and ready for pickup or shipping whenever you like. As we move into December tomorrow and thoughts turn to holiday festivities, this is a Pinot that easily outpunches its price class. It’s the continuation of a real theme from the 2014 vintage in Oregon. The combination of high quality and high yields has led to all sorts of fascinating opportunities for those of us with our ears to the ground.
I can’t say much more about this one than what I’ve already included above, so let me jump straight to a tasting note. My anonymous connection mentioned red cherry and high-cacao (75%+) chocolate. By the time I tasted it, the fruit profile was a little darker (black cherries instead of red), and I got a mix of dark chocolate and cocoa and cola spice. I wonder if there is a goodly chunk of Wadensvil material here; the floral notes – which began as subtleties and emerge in a compelling way with time and air – would suggest so. Texturally, this has energy and verve that would almost make me think it’s an old-world wine. So too the vein of blood-orange acidity and the salty-mineral finish. But ultimately, the fleshiness and pleasure make it clear that this comes from one of the beating hearts of new world Pinot: the Chehalem Mountains of Oregon.
Please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine is in the warehouse and ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.