Is 44 degrees the proper serving temperature? Or is that the parallel of the Earth one must be aligned to to properly savor it?
Short reviews of the 06’
Looks like a screaming deal.
Their wines are sold in at a minimum of 3 packs.
The 06 Willakia averages $48 a bottle, w/o shipping.
The 06 Roserock (07 not listed on website) is $75 a bottle with out shipping.
Might have to be in for one just for that alone.
From The Wine Bazar - 2009 California’s Best PinotS…
The Best Pinot Noir in California?: Tasting Pinot Days 2009
The Pinot Days grand tasting event, which took place yesterday at Fort Mason in San Francisco, brings together one of the largest collections of Pinot Noir producers in North America for the tasting pleasure of the public.
So needless to say, I was in good company tasting yesterday with 3500 of my wine loving friends.
I use such events, comprehensive as they are, as a means of judging the overall quality of the vintage in California, if it is possible to generalize in such a way as this. At this most recent tasting, the 2007 Pinot Noirs were on display, and I found them generally quite good, with excellent acidity, bright fruit, and, increasingly less ripe than past vintages.
The industry thankfully continues to dial back the extraction and ripeness from levels that seemed to peak in the 2002 and 2003 vintages. This is especially true for the wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands which tend to be some of the most overripe Pinot Noirs made in Northern California. Wines from Garys’ Vineyard, Pisoni Vineyard, and Rosella’s Vineyard, continue to be moderated to saner levels of fruit and alcohol than in the past.
AND NOW LET’S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS:
WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5
2005 Clos Pepe, Santa Rita Hills. $48. Where to buy?
2000 Clos Pepe, Santa Rita Hills. $48.Where to buy?
2004 Derbes Les Pinots, Russian River Valley. $45. Where to buy?
2007 Morgan Hat Trick, Santa Lucia Highlands. $62. Where to buy?
2006 Woodenhead Wiley Vineyard, Anderson Valley. $60. Where to buy?
WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2006 Expression 44 Degrees - Zena’s Crown, Willamette Valley, OR. $48
as a big fan of our local wines, and from a winery I haven’t had yet, I’m definitely intrigued. Any stats on the ABV and acidity of these?
I can only assume that those at the Expression Winery are Oregon Ducks fans, seeing as how Idaho is not on the shipping list.
This will be my new standard boilerplate question for all offers:
What additives if any were used to produces this wine? In particular, was Velcorin or Mega-Purple used?
For Pinots and small production wines the answer is almost certainly no, but I’m asking anyway!
An article from Pinot file regarding the 07 harvest - good read!
Harvest ‘07 from the Front Lines
Rain at harvest is always the bane of winegrowers. Continued moisture can lead to widespread grape rot along with swelling and cracked berries, not to mention muddy vineyards making grape picking a challenge. 2007 will be remembered both in Oregon and California as an uneventful, if not cool growing year, and quite promising until late September and early October rains intervened. Glenn McGourty of the UC Cooperative Extension summarized the vintage best when he told winesandvines.com, “This is going to go down as a good vintage with a European harvest.”
Oregon had a variable harvest with some areas forced to bring in the crop before the grapes were ripe. The vintage is being referred to as a “winemaker vintage,” as the skills of vintners will be challenged to deal in some cases with grapes with low to moderate sugars and tannins.
In California, harvest started early in most regions and crop yields for Pinot Noir were reportedly down 20-50% compared to the generous harvest of 2006. Generally, cluster weights were light but quality was very good.
I asked a number of winemakers and winegrowers throughout California and in the Willamette Valley of Oregon to comment on their harvest. Overall, they were bursting with optimism. God bless ’em, winegrowers always look for the positive.
Oregon: Willamette Valley
Sheila Nicholas doubles as owner of Anam Cara Cellars and Nicholas Communications in Newberg, Oregon. She has spoken to a number of northern Willamette Valley winemakers and vineyard managers. She hasn’t heard any “gloom and doom” stories. There was plenty of rain, but cool temperatures and gusty winds kept bunch rot at bay. The ground was also fairly dry, so it absorbed the rain water and logistically most were able to harvest when they wanted, rain or no rain. Most vineyards with options picked in stages, first by vine age/yield, clone and then by elevation. Overall, everyone kept the fruit hanging as long as possible as flavors progressed dramatically from week to week. At Anam Cara’s vineyard on the Chehalem Mountains, reserve rows (yield 1.5 tons/acre) were picked on the eve of the first rains. Young vineyards in the Willamette Valley also came in early. Older vine Pommard and Wädenswil held up well and were generally picked towards the end of the season. Thinnerskinned Dijon clones came in earlier or mid-season. Lower lying vineyards were harvested first and higher elevations, such as White Rose Vineyard at the top of the Dundee Hills at 850 feet and with older vines, were not even picked until October 20-21. Vineyards such as Black Family Estate (The Four Graces) which enjoy a progressive elevation from 300 to 600 feet, was picked in several stages, starting at the bottom of the hill and working upwards. There was no rush and no panic. Sheila pointed out that even though the summer was cool, the valley still had the 4th highest total of heat degree units on record. “This was one of those harvests that we live for up here!. It was an opportunity to put skill, experience and faith to the test. The consensus is that experience and teamwork between vineyard management and winemaking will pay huge dividends.”
Patrick Mahaney, Director of Vineyard Marketing for Premier Pacific Vineyards, told me that the Willamette Valley had “a fantastic growing season, although the winter and spring rainfall was closer to normal.” The days were beautiful and sunny with very little precipitation during the growing season. A significant amount of fruit was harvested from the Gran Moraine Vineyard in the Yamhill- Carlton District before the October rains hit. The Roserock, Zena Crown and Willakia sites in the Eola- Amity Hills AVA were not quite mature when the rains hit, so harvesting took place during breaks in the storms. Fortunately, there were enough breaks so the vines continued maturing their fruit and “we were able to harvest ripe, dry Pinot Noir that should deliver some great wines.” Importantly, botrytis was not an issue. This was most likely due to a combination of good farming practices and the fact that the storms originated in the Gulf of Alaska and therefore brought cooler temperatures along with the precipitation.
Joe Wright, winemaker at Belle Vallee
The only Oregon Pinots I have tried are Le Cadeau which by the way I really liked! I think I just might try these. By the way what is the alcohol content here?
Paul Gregutt of WE on the 2006 Willakia:
From young vines, this wine has a bit more concentration than the regular ‘44’ bottling; with black cherry and plenty of new oak. But what shines is the spicy assertiveness of the Eola-Amity Hills region. - P.G. (2/1/2009)
From The Wine Buyer - Alcohol in the 06 is 14.1%
2006 was an exceptionally warm and dry growing season in Oregon, ideal conditions for Pinot Noir in the cool Eola-Amity Hills. Perfectly ripened fruit yielded wines of expressive perfume together with a voluptuous mouthfeel balanced by mouthwatering minerality and regal elegance.
“The entry-level (based on price and lack of vineyard designation) 2006 Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills is medium-dark ruby with an enticing nose of spice box, cherry, and raspberry. Supple and easy-going on the palate, the wine has a silky texture, sweet fruit, some depth, and a pure finish. Drink this elegant effort over the next four years.”-Jay Miller Wine Advocate 90 Points
“A discreet, elegant and pure red pinot and plum suffused nose that also displays very subtle spice notes introduces detailed, fresh and vibrant middle weight flavors that possess fine punch if limited depth on the balanced and persistent finish. This is refreshing and has good phenolic ripeness without any heaviness or undue ripeness and the backend is as it should be, e.g with no warmth.”-Allen Meadows Burghound 88 Points
Moderate crop levels combined with a warm growing season typified the 2006 vintage in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA of the Willamette Valley, and resulted in superb fruit quality at harvest. Winemaking began with cluster sorting and destemming, after which secondarily sorted whole berries underwent a prolonged cold soak, followed by gentle fermentation in small batches. The resulting wine lots demonstrated diverse personalities based on vineyard sites and clonal diversity; these qualities revealed themselves further during 11 months of barrel aging in French oak barrels. Reductive winemaking techniques helped further define and sculpt these wines.
The Eola-Amity Hills AVA is a sub-appellation of the Willamette Valley located just west-northwest of Salem, Oregon’s state capitol. It’s comprised of 37,900 acres and is one of the finest areas for Pinot Noir in Oregon. The Eola-Amity Hills region enjoys a temperate climate of warm summers and mild winters, and 40 inches of annual rain, most of which falls outside of the growing season. Average maximum temperatures are 62 degrees F in April and 83 degrees F in July, which contributes to the ideal conditions for cool-climate loving Pinot Noir. The climate in this region is greatly influenced by its position due east of the Van Duzer Corridor, which provides a break in the coast range that allows cool Pacific Ocean air to flow through. This drops temperatures in the region dramatically, especially during late summer afternoons, helping to keep grape acids firm.
The soils in the Eola-Amity Hills predominantly contain volcanic basalt from ancient lava flows as well as marine sedimentary rocks and alluvial deposits at the lower elevations of the ridge. This combination results in a relatively shallow, rocky set of well-drained soils (most notably of the Nekia series), which typically produce small grapes with great concentration.
WOW…you WOOTERS are busy! My name is Kevin OBrien, I am GM of Expression Pinot. I will be online tomorrow AM trying to answer your questions.
You gave me two easy ones before I go to bed…
No and No to the Mega Purple and Velcorin…we did not have to wear hazmat suits in the making of these 100% PINOT NOIRS, I assure you!
XP PINOT GuY
Live long and Prosper (with the help of some pinot, of course…)
Here is what I have been able to find on the web:
2006 seems to be getting close to the end of its drinking window - recommended 2008-2012. Found on sale on the web for around $25 (of course shipping is more). 14.1% ABV - 3.5 - 4 stars on several sites
2007 is really hard to find - I have posted on another entry regarding the growing season. The 06 Roserock garnered great reviews and has a drinking window of 2010-2018 - If I find anything else on it I will edit my post
Great, thanks! I figure the questions probably are only important when it comes to industrial scale wines like those found in grocery stores, but I won’t discriminate in asking since it’s good to know what goes into your food.
Just my luck…I was down in the Yamhill and Carlton area today looking for Pinots. A long way from Ohio. Found great wine at Anne Amie! Also stopped at Lange which is down the street from Tori Mor in the Dundee area before I ran out of time. I may go back and try this wine if I get a chance, plus a couple more. I’ll post a rat if I do.
Question to the winemakers…where are you located in McMinnville? Do have a tasting room? Hours? Can’t find you on the map.
Jay Miller wouldn’t know good Pinot if it came up and gnawed on his collarbone, but 88 points from Burghound is terrific - he’s incredibly conservative, particularly with New World stuff, so that should really be read as a 91 or 92. He’s also very, very particular about balance, and it sounds like this stuff met with his approval on that front. I’m definitely going to have to consider this.
i seem to recall something about this wine and obama’s inauguration as 44th prez.