From Wine Enthusiast comes good news for some of our friends:
95 Chehalem 2006 Statement Pinot
Noir (Ribbon Ridge); $99. This one of-
a-kind offering from Chehalem celebrates
what they are calling a “great” vintage. The wine
is dark, supple and immensely rich and dense,
yet retains a lightness that captures the elegance
of the Pinot Noir grape while propelling it to rarified
heights. The mix of red and purple fruits,
herb, spice and earth all come together in a
smooth and seductive wine that drinks like a
dream. Cellar Selection. —P.G.
95 Scott Paul 2008 Audrey Pinot Noir
(Dundee Hills); $65. All Maresh vineyard
grapes are behind this gorgeous and feminine
Pinot, with soft and evocative scents of
truffle, chocolate and raspberry. Brilliant winemaking
that takes all the elements of great Oregon
fruit and puts them into unique focus, with
winemaker Kelley Fox’s trademark blend of biodynami
c e a r thy /fung a l f l a vor s , e legant
berry/cherry fruit, and just a touch of milk chocolate.
The alcohol just reaches 13%. —P.G.
94 Kelley Fox 2007 Maresh Vineyard
Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills); $50.
This has a surprising amount of vanilla cream in
the flavors, plus soft, seductive raspberry fruit.
The fruit comes from the oldest part of the
Maresh vineyard—38-year-old self-rooted vines.
The wine is a pale rose, yet substantial in the
style of a classic Pinot from Eyrie. After some
hours breathing it opens up with elegant, seductive
aromas and some caramel streaks, delicate
and perfectly proportioned. —P.G.
94 Ken Wright 2008 Canary Hill
Vi n e y a rd Pinot Noir (Eola-Amity
Hills); $50. The top wine from Ken Wright in
2008, this beautifully elegant wine clocks in at
just 13.3% alcohol, yet delivers a mouthful of
delicious flavors. A lovely mix of cranberry,
pomegranate and wild raspberry is annotated
with dusty herb. Excellent midpalate concentration
and length. Cellar Selection. —P.G.
93 Evening Land Vineyards 2007
Seven Springs Vi n e y a rd La Source
Pinot Noir (Eola-Amity Hills); $67.
Dominique Lafon consults on these wines,
sourced from a vineyard now almost 30 years old.
Evening Land is among the wineries who sense
an opportunity to make refined, elegant wines
from the terroir of this little-known region.
Lovely aromas, complex scents and flavors, pine
and herb, cranberry and raspberry, earth and
seafoam—lots of nuances here. Editors’ Choice.
93 Kelley Fox 2008 Maresh Vi n e y a rd
Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills); $50. This
has pure fruit – strawberry especially – creating
an elegant, light, delicate, complex, though still
quite young wine. Some caraway seed flavors
come into play, and bolder black cherry fruit.
93 Longplay 2 0 0 8 Jory Bench
Reserve Lia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir
(Chehalem Mountains); $30. Longplay’s
2008 reserve is quite different from its nonreserve
stablemate. The aromas include more
earthy barnyard scents, the color has a hint of
maturity, and no new oak was used. As a result,
this wine could pass for one with a few more
years under its belt; its flavors more suggestive of
fruit pastry, figs and plums, leather and compost.
Complex and detailed, it’s a lovely effort. —P.G.
93 Scott Paul 2007 La Paulée Pinot
Noir (Willamette Valley); $30. Four
vineyards – Ribbon Ridge, Momtazi, Maresh and
Shea – are included here. Soft and seductive, this
wine caresses the palate with silky fruit. Aromatically
it weaves together red fruits, truffles and
clean, earthy scents. It reaches just over 13%
alcohol; truly Burgundian yet with an Oregon
flair to the fruit flavors. It puts the lie to any
notion that this was a poor vintage. Challenging
to be sure, but great wines were made in 2007,
and this is one of them. —P.G.
92 Adelsheim 2008 Elizabeth’s
Reserve Pinot Noir (Willamette
Valley); $48. This barrel selection from the best
estate vineyards is given just 10 months aging in
30% new oak. The fruit is exceptional – a mix of
red berries with tasteful threads of caramel sneaking
into the finish. Let it breathe—it’s a baby—
but very nicely proportioned and showing layers
of detail throughout a lingering finish. —P.G.
92 Anne Amie 2006 L’iris Pinot Noir
(Willamette Valley); $75. Drinking
very nicely, this wine bursts from the glass with
rich aromas of cherry, chocolate, truffle and
loam. The fruit factor is ramped up, delicious and
coats the palate with bright cherry candy flavors.
But this is more than a fruit bomb; the acidity
and ripe tannins balance it out as it runs into a
clean, lengthy finish. —P.G.
92 Brittan Vineyards 2006 Basalt
Block Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley);
$45. The private project of veteran winemaker
Robert Brittan, the limited-production
wines under his own label are treasures. This is
his inaugural release. Both fruit ripeness and
meaty depth are here in abundance, with a complex
mix of tree fruits and stone fruits, streaks of
earth and a fine layering of chocolate. This is a
wine you excavate as much as drink; it’s full of
92 Ken Wright 2008 Abbott Claim
Vi n e y a rd Pinot Noir (Yamhill- Carlton
District); $50. The 2008 Pinots from Ken
Wright display their individual terroirs quite succinctly,
with little evidence of the (roughly) 30%
new oak they receive. The Abbott Claim has a
bit more of a chocolaty flavor, with full, spicy
cherry fruit at its core. In fact there is so much
fruit, spicy and candied, that it is a bit like fruitcake,
in a good way. —P.G.
92 Ken Wright 2008 McCrone Vineyard
Pinot Noir (Yamhill- Carlton
District); $50. Still quite young, but showing
real depth and layering, the McCrone vineyard
designate offers pomegranate and raspberry fruit,
dusted with baking spices, and finished with a
tasty vein of mocha. This is a wine to enjoy in the
full bloom of its youth. —P.G.
92 Soléna 2007 Hyland Vi n e y a rd
Pinot Noir (Eola-Amity Hills); $45.
Laurent and Danielle Montalieu acquired this
high-profile vineyard in 2007; this is the first
Hyland release under their Soléna label. It’s a
beautiful Pinot, with the elegance of Burgundy
and the freshness of New World grapes. Fermentation
in rotary barrels (for color extraction
and tannin management) yields a silky, perfumed,
feminine wine that penetrates subtly and
lingers gracefully. Editors’ Choice. —P.G.
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