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Antica Terra Pinot noir 06
Avalon's Wine Pick of the Week for 3-12-08

Best of Both Worlds: Antica Terra Pinot Noir 06

Maggie Harrison makes Pinot Noir. Very very good Pinot Noir. True to the varietal, real Pinot Noir. And she adds a touch of her California winemaking roots to her Oregon blend, with delicious, best of both worlds results.

Antica Terra was founded in 1989 by Mark Peters and Marty Weber, who sold the winery in 2005. Now owned by Maggie and three other business partners, the 2006 is the first vintage she's made in Oregon. Previously, she was assistant winemaker at Sin Qua Non in California for ten vintages.

Tasting through a group of 2006 Pinots this week, one wine really stood out: Maggie's Antica Terra Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 06 $46.

It's a truly lovely wine. First impressions are of a generous, bountiful nose of floral rose and violet notes, mingled with scents of raspberry jam and a hint of toast. Flavors are luscious, primarily berry -- fresh blackberry and raspberry with hints of black currant and newly turned earth. There's a tiny hint of pie spice in the long, silky finish. The minimally intrusive oak accentuates how true to the varietal this wine is, even with the "Californiaesque" intensity and richness it exhibits.

Learning about Maggie's winemaking techniques - aging wines on the lees, an unusually hot fermentation temperature, stirring the wine while in barrel - I was struck by similarites with Patty Green's methods. And in retrospect, the Antica Terra has some similarities to Patty's Pinot Noirs. I'd love to get them together and watch the winemaking talk begin!



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