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Brittan Vineyards Pinot noir Gestalt Block 2011

Brittan Vineyards

$54.95 Regular

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95 points Wine Advocate: While the elderberry, blackberry and cassis evinced by Brittan’s 2011 Pinot Noir Gestalt Block preserve a vintage-typical tart edge, they’re possessed of a succulent sweetness and embedded in a more polished, downright satin-textured palate performance than was the case with the corresponding Basalt Block. Smaller clusters and berries here make for incredible density and phenolic concentration and I can feel and taste that on multiple levels, even though those facts seem to utterly belie this wine’s refined and alluring texture. (As intimated in my introduction, root penetration and soil structure – not just vine genetics or exposure – almost certainly, somehow, play a role in determining these characteristics.) As this opened to the air, a sense of high-toned distilled fruit essences became penetratingly and invigoratingly evident. The salt and stone borne along in the onrush of bright, juicy finishing fruit here is more severely – almost stunningly – gripping and salivary gland-milking than in its Basalt Block counterpart (which, incidentally, was the barely higher pH and alcohol – albeit at just under 13% – of the two). I’d plan on following this memorably refined, dense and energetic Pinot through at least 2025.

2010 vintage notes: This stunning, dark Pinot noir always reminds me of Darth Vader: imposing and powerful, its dark-heart will be loved in the end. Seriously, if you're collecting 2010s like you should be, here's a must-have. Sappy, concentrated black raspberry is balanced by juicy acidity. This really starts to open up on day two, offering more crunchy black fruits, peppered steak, and grilled herb notes.

Avalon introduced you to Brittan Pinot noirs just a few vintages ago - now they've exploded onto the international Pinot noir scene and we couldn't be happier. - Marcus

2010 Wine Advocate - 93 points - Brittan’s 2010 Pinot Noir Gestalt Block smells pungently, intriguingly and unusually of huckleberry, gunpowder green tea, and intimations of marine breeze and quarry dust, all of which latch onto a bitter-edged, palate-staining, sappy matrix of fresh blackberry and black raspberry. If anything (if possible!) even more focused and vibrant than its Basalt Block sibling, this is no less remarkably buoyant and yet more evidently, even blatantly extract-rich, with a firm but polished feel and manifest but fine-grained tannins. There is a savory invigoration of mineral salts and berry seed that I can’t get off my gums. Anticipate, I predict, a decade or more of fascination. - David Schildknecht

2009 Vintage Tasting Notes

2009 Wine Advocate - 95 points - Pure evocation of fresh black raspberry – tartly and seedily palate-staining – mingles with mint; coriander; nutmeg; bittersweet floral perfume; and smoky black tea and Latakia tobacco, in a Brittan 2009 Pinot Noir Gestalt Block whose dynamically interactive complexity and alliance of power with buoyancy, not to mention of viscosity with vivacious juiciness, is utterly uncanny, culminating in a finish that shifts one’s palate with the vibratory force of a freshly-liberated tectonic plate. Let’s compare notes in the future, but I seriously doubt that the ones I write a dozen years from now will be less-filled with superlatives and awe. - David Schildknecht

Expressively aromatic, the Gestalt is a balanced melange of black cherry, black raspberry, red licorice, tobacco leaf, and spice box. Intense, concentrated, and vibrant on the palate, this elegant, suave Pinot is beautifully proportioned and exceptionally lengthy. It is one of the stars of the vintage. - Avalon

Robert describes his wines as a gestalt of experience and viewpoint, adding up to more than their parts.His Gestalt Block Pinot epitomizes his philosophy. He is considered the country's expert on Petit Sirah. Yet here we are extolling the merits of his gorgeous Pinots. He's a master winemaker, whatever the grape, and his move to Oregon, and to Pinot noir, is a huge coup for the state and for our wine industry.

The Gestalt Block is a section of Robert and Ellen's own vineyard. It's also a combination of all of Robert's skills coming together into his signature wine.

Wine Advocate - Veteran vigneron Robert Brittan had over 30 vintages under his belt when he decided to move from Napa Valley to Willamette Valley in 2004 to make Pinot Noir. He purchased a rugged mountain site within the cool McMinnville AVA from which he makes two cuvees, one called Gestalt Block coming from the most exposed blocks in the vineyard and the other called Basalt Block from the parts of the vineyard that have the heaviest concentrations of broken basalt. He has succeeded in taming the herbaceousness often present in McMinnville fruit while producing wines with low pH (under 3.3 in these wines) and firm acidity (without sacrificing flavor) sure to send bolts of rapture through lovers of great Burgundy. - Jay Miller

2008 Vintage Tasting Notes

2008 Wine Spectator - 94 points - Supple, rich and focused. A plush mouthful of blackberry and violet with a hint of verbena, wrapped in polished tannins and persisting into a vivid finish. Distinctive and graceful. Drink now through 2018. - H.S.

A beautifully complex and balanced wine of bright, fruit flavors of black cherry and red plum, along with spicy notes of sweet cinnamon and cardamom, and just a hint of savory tobacco. - the winery

Less than 300 cases made.

The Gestalt Block Pinot Noir comes from the most exposed blocks in the vineyard, resulting in a blend that will always be representative of the vintage and the unique site where these vines are planted. The 2008 vintage in the Willamette Valley was a cool, mild Oregon vintage - just about perfect.

Avalon knows which Oregon wineries have a special presence greater than the sum of their parts - a gestalt. With his Brittan Vineyards Oregon Pinot noirs, Robert Brittan is creating a gestalt of experience and viewpoint, sun and soil, adding up to more than their parts.

Robert Brittan spent 16 years as Winemaker and Estate manager for Stags' Leap Winery in Napa. He is considered possibly the most knowledgeable winemaker on Petit Sirah in the world. Robert created his famed Ne Cede Malis (Never give in to Misfortune) at Stags Leap.

We're betting that he'll create an Oregon Pinot noir with as much fame...

2007 Vintage Tasting Notes

Give in to the Dark Side! The Gestalt 07 shows its Darth Vader-like character with a commanding presence. Darker fruits than the Basalt Block wines and even more deeply spiced. A melange of teas - green, black, a smidge of Earl Grey - plus black licorice and cream waft from the glass, leading into a silky-textured palate of black berry and black cherry highlighted by pomegranate, orange peel and savory herbs.

Given the depth of the Gestalt, it's very vibrant. One of the first things Adrienne wrote when she smelled this wine was "totally fantastic" and I wrote "totally mysterious and delicious." You could say we liked it... - Marcus & Adrienne

The Gestalt block comes from the most exposed blocks in the vineyard, resulting in a blend that will always be representative of the vintage and the unique site where these vines are planted. The 2007 vintage in the Willamette Valley was a cool, Oregon vintage resulting in a beautifully complex wine of bright, red fruit flavors along with good acidity, spicy notes of sweet nutmeg, briary undertones and just a hint of tobacco.

The Pinot Noir for the Gestalt Block consists predominantly of clones 115, 667 and 777 on 101-14 and 4453 rootstocks, from mostly southwestern facing blocks that stare down the arriving storms from the Pacific as they travel through the Van Duzer corridor. The fruit for the 2007 vintage was picked in late October and allowed to cold soak for five days before fermentation began. After fermentation, the wine was aged in French Oak barrels, approximately 35% new. The wine went through malo-lactic fermentation in barrel and was aged for 9 months prior to bottling in August 2008. - the winery

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