I'm pleased to announce our annual offering of Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Noir Futures from the 2015 vintage. This is our TWENTY SECOND consecutive vintage offering these wines. We have offered these wines every year that Ken Wright has sold futures. In fact, The Oregon Pinot Noir Club was the first wine retailer to buy any futures of any kind from Ken Wright Cellars after that winery was formed.
What's the big deal about futures? First, the price is lower now than it will be then, by a substantial margin. Second, you can have your pick of vineyards now, and secure your favorites; historically, many of these wines sell out well before the official release date.
Finally, selling wine as Futures is a gift to the legion of devout followers of the winery. Ken could just wait it out, and sell all his wine at full price. Offering the wine at a discount early in the cycle allows his most loyal fans to cherry pick the wines.
Thanks to all of the OPNC loyalists who have been partaking in this futures offer for TWENTY TWO years!
After drawing widespread attention making wines at Panther Creek through the late 1980s and early 1990s, Ken left to start his own winery in Carlton, Oregon with the '94 vintage. He started out in an old brick building (a former glove factory) and later built a new location, also in Carlton.
A pioneer of single-vineyard pinot noir, Ken began making as many as a dozen single-vineyard designated pinots per year, earning him the title of Terroirist -- a winemaker devoted to wines that express the character of specific sites. In recent years, Ken has continued his long-term lease of many vineyard sites, but has also planted some estate vineyards. Most recently, Ken added Bonnie Jean Vineyard and Latchkey Vineyard, and also completed the purchased of the venerated Carter Vineyard, which his team has managed for many years. .
He has also become an expert on the geographical history of Oregon wine country, and frequently gives a superb talk that outlines the soil type of all the vineyard areas of the Willamette Valley, and how the soils came to be. He was instrumental in gaining approval in past years of several new AVAs for Oregon.
Most important to this story, however, is Ken's absolute commitment to quality. He is among the handful of winemakers anywhere who will do whatever it takes to make good wine, regardless of expense or effort. He has been known to discard half his harvest as substandard, to employ dozens of people for the sorting table to do triage on incoming grapes, and to disassemble and toast his own barrels to meet his stringent standards. As a result of his fanatical pursuit of quality, his wines are extraordinarily and consistently brilliant.
Naturally, star-winemaker status has followed. Ken is among the best-known winemakers in America and the world. He is a frequent subject of articles in the wine press, and has traveled extensively as an ambassador of Oregon Pinot Noir and fine wine in general. His products are distributed throughout North America and across Europe and Asia as well.
Ken's fame only expanded this past year, as he graced the cover of The Wine Spectator magazine, which cover was accompanied by a lengthy feature article. Congratulations, Ken!
"The wines of 2015 are lush, forward and immediately rewarding."
Here's the short version, aka "what you need to know about 2015" -- Ken Wright (and other top winemakers here) pick only ripe fruit, and ferment only clean fruit. To accomplish this, they go to extraordinary lengths in the vineyard and winery: strict sorting and merciless triage mean that only clean, ripe fruit gets turned into wine. If it doesn't measure up, it does not end up in the bottle.
Spring, 2015 was early and warm -- in fact, it ended up being the warmest summer on record, primarily because the "lowest lows" were higher than normal. Fruit set was early, and as September rolled around, harvest started as much as a month earlier than the previous year.
High-heat years bring worries of overripe fruit and immature flavors. But 2015 was very different -- because of an early start and improved vineyard practices, the grapes had sufficient hang time to maximize flavor at the same time sugars reached optimal levels. Despite the heat, growers were able to achieve desirable sugar levels, superb flavors, AND a large crop!
The result is a bevy of wines with reasonable alcohols, ripe flavors, and open-knit textures that promise glorious early drinking.
Vineyard management was key to 2015. For example, many growers normally thin the fruit a couple of times per season, to insure the remaining grape clusters get ripe enough. In '15, it was more common to leave all the fruit on the vine, slowing the ripening process.
Oregon growers also generally thin the canopy of leaves, exposing the berries to the sun to aid ripening. But in 2015, most trimmed only the East side of the canopy to allow the cool morning sun to hit the berries, while leaving most leaves on the west side of the vine, protecting the grapes from the hot afternoon sun. It was also important to drop "burnt" fruit that appeared in some clusters after particularly hot days.
In Ken's own words: "2015 was the warmest year in Oregon's recorded history; records have been kept throughout the valley since 1924. This level of heat was initially a concern for us hoping that we would not see the vines struggling at the end of the season from drought induced stress. In fact, what we saw at the season's end were vines with a lush and vibrant canopy. The nutrition-based farming that we have practiced for so many years, really showed its value at the end of the growing season. Rather than achieving high sugar levels through water stressed dehydration, the vines were still fully physiologically active. There was very little senescence (yellowing of the leaves) at harvest. This is a testament of the hard work and focus of our vineyard team; Mark, Seth and Taylor.
"The wines of 2015 are lush, forward and immediately rewarding."
The Ken Wright Advantage
Ken Wright is more than a winemaker. He's also a grape farmer. At each of the many vineyard sites he uses -- some of which he owns, others of which he leases -- Ken's in charge of the farming, too. This level of control allows him to manage the quality of his fruit from bud break all the way through harvest and fermentation. Rather than being at the mercy of another grape farmer, Ken is able to directly take all the steps needed to insure great wine ends up in the bottle
This is a key reason why his wines rise to the top of the quality scale in every vintage that I can recall.
Each year we are repeatedly asked one big question with this offer -- Which of Ken's wines is best?
My personal favorite varies by vintage, and the critics tend to disagree over which one is tops. That said, they are ALL GOOD - you can literally throw a dart at this list and get fantastic pinot noir. It bears repeating once again: Ken won't bottle bad wine.
Ken Wright pinot noirs are critically acclaimed by all major wine critics writing in English as well as those writing in other languages. The most recent press for Ken Wright came from The Wine Enthusiast, which named his 2012 Abbot Claim bottlings as their #1 Wine in the entire world!
The lesson: The wines are always good, and you have to buy them in advance.
Supply, Demand, and Price
The overall market for the best Oregon pinot noirs remains very strong. The industry here has left the recession far, far behind and indeed prices have risen to new levels after a series of excellent vintages including 2008, '09, '10, '12, '13 and now 2014 and 2015 back-to-back. Top wines are selling fast, at premium prices.
Ken's wines are always popular, and sell during all economic times. Positive buzz about the '15s is already building among wine cognoscenti, and demand for the vintage will only increase going forward.
We are the first retailer in the nation allowed access to these wines, and have a virtually unlimited supply for the next couple of weeks. I encourage all of my friends and customers to take advantage of our special access and to acquire a supply of these superb wines. You will not be disappointed.
This is also your best chance to acquire these wines for a great price!
Our Futures price is $320 per six-pack, or $53.75 per bottle. The retail price upon release next year will be as high as $65 per bottle, 21% more expensive, IF ANY WINE REMAINS FOR OPEN STOCK SALE. Buy now and save significantly on these soon-to-be classic Oregon wines.
We are offering wines from twelve different vineyards from Ken Wright Cellars.
The wines are divided into two different six-packs for those wishing a broad selection. In addition, all the wines are available individually in six-bottle increments. Large format bottles are available, please inquire for pricing.
that the Shea Vineyard wine and the Bryce Vineyard wine -- Ken's only vineyard in the Ribbon Ridge AVA -- are available only as stand-alone six-packs. Also note that the Abbot Claim Vineyard bottling is available only as a stand-alone six pack, and is very limited - that "#1 Wine of the Year in the World" from The Wine Enthusiast has caused a jump in demand for that wine.
This is a futures offer. Payment is due at the time of your order. Shipping charges will be assessed at market rate at the time of delivery. We anticipate the release of the wines by December, 2016, and will ship ASAP thereafter weather permitting. We are not responsible for final winery release date or the weather.
The price for the wines is $320 per six pack.
This represents a $11.25 per bottle discount from the full retail price, or a savings of $135 off a case!
Ken Wright Mixed Six-Pack #1
Two bottles each from Guadalupe, Carter and Canary Hill Vineyard
Ken Wright Mixed Six-Pack #2
One bottle each from Tanager, Freedom Hill, McCrone, Latchkey, Bonnie Jean and Savoya Vineyards
Make purchases without joining, or join to receive monthly shipments of Oregon's best stuff.
The Oregon Pinot Noir Club is located in the Center of Oregon Wine Country. Travelling frequently to barrel-taste with winemakers, we seek out and acquire the top Oregon wines, including single-vineyard bottlings, special cuvees, and limited-release wines that are often not available outside of Oregon.
The Oregon Pinot Noir Club leaped into operation in 1994 with the goal of providing Oregon's best pinot noirs to wine lovers around the country and around the world. Since then, we have become Oregon's leading national retailer of fine wines. Thanks to the strong support of our clients, The OPNC enjoys strong allocations of all of the top wines made in Oregon.
As a full service retailer, we offer case discounts, futures and pre-release pricing on desirable products, free wine storage during hot and cold weather, and unlimited advice on all things relating to our favorite grape.