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Avalon Picks the Winners
Rising Star Winemakers, Wines Under $25
Laura Volkman, Chris Berg, Westrey, Coeur de Terre

Avalon picks the winners. For two decades, we've traveled the backroads of Oregon's wine country, seeking out the best of the Wineries to Watch.

 

Our criteria? Quality and value. Originality - a new voice, a unique style. Reliability - consistency from bottle to bottle and vintage to vintage. Extreme involvement - winemakers who do everything: grow the grapes, make the wine, and realize their vision.

 

Laura Volkman (Volkman Vineyards), Chris Berg (Roots Winery), David Autrey and Amy Wesselman (Westrey) and Scott Neal (Coeur de Terre) are rising stars. They grow their grapes in small estate vineyards and make exceptional wines, largely by themselves. They have unique styles and new ideas that add to and enrich the range of Oregon Pinot noir. And they offer their wines at very reasonable prices.

 

See all New Under $30 Pinot noir releases.

Avalon Wine

Roots Winery

Chris Berg made about 100 cases each of some of the 2007 vintage's best Pinots in any price range. He's not just a rising star, he's an exploding nebula. Here are the wines:

 

Roots
LeRoy Vineyard
Pinot noir 07
$24.45/$22.00

Avalon Wine

Crazy about this wine
Yowza, this is delicious! The showstopper of Roots' 2007 Pinots. Made with self rooted 35 year-old Wadenswil clone vines, this is truly "Old Vine" Oregon pinot.

 

Unique, exotic, and memorable. Intriguing, beautiful incense and red berry scents echo in the intense fresh blackberry and black currant flavors. White pepper and incense are woven into spicy, silky tannins. A long finish of strikingly fresh fruit completes the wine. Only 50 cases produced.

 

Roots
Estate Vineyard
Pinot noir 07
$24.45/$22.00

Avalon Wine

Chris and Hilary Berg bought land near Shea Vineyard before prices grew out of hand for a young couple just getting started. They planted their 6 acre estate vineyard in 2000 and we've tasted each vintage since the 2003, their first.

 

In quality and complexity, 2007 is this wine's breakout year. The 07 Estate Pinot noir has moved the vineyard from good to cult status. The Roots Estate Pinot is a wine to grab now, and to watch for in coming years.

 

The wine is all about sweet blackberries and cream with a velvet texture. Well integrated tannins with a long finish. Lots of blackberry and black raspberry. Hints of white pepper and spice. About 100 cases produced.

 

Roots
Cherry Grove Vineyard
Pinot noir 07
$24.45/$22.00

Avalon Wine

The name of the vineyard is indicative of the pinot inside the bottle.

 

Full of lush red cherry and slight wiffs of mineral, this pinot is fruit forward and well integrated. Willakenzie based soil type from 777 and Pommard clones create a well rounded pinot. Only 46 cases produced.

 

READ MORE ABOUT ROOTS-
"Roots Wines - Beginning, Belonging, Becoming"

 

Avalon Wine

Volkman Vineyards

Laura Volkman's mentor is Mike Etzel, of Beaux Freres, and her wines show his classic influence. Laura has a small and fanatical following, mostly longtime Oregon Pinot collectors who know a rising star when they find one.

 

Laura makes small amounts of estate grown Pinot noir from her 3 acre vineyard. She's known around the wine community for her singular style. She does almost all of the work in the vineyard and the winemaking herself. Intensely focused, she's obsessively dedicated to her wine, from first bud through harvest. If you've ever become so focused on a project that nothing else exists, you know how Laura makes her wine.

 

One of our favorite winemakers, Howard Mozeico of Et Fille, introduced us - he kept telling us about Laura's exceptional wines. Takes one to know one.

 

 

Volkman Vineyards
St. James Pinot noir 07
$19.95/$17.95

Avalon Wine

Volkman Vineyards' St James Pinot noir 07 is a blend of barrels from the Volkman Estate Vineyard. Originally priced at $30, Laura reduced the price to get the word out about her wines.

 

Scents are of raspberry and a hint of sweet fruit toast. Flavors of red cherry and raspberry follow. The wine is impressively fresh, sweet, and balanced. The finish has a nice hint of anise spice, more red fruit, and balanced acidity. Price/quality ratio is high - a lot of Pinot for the price.

Westrey Winery

Avalon Wine

Westrey
Oracle Vineyard
Pinot noir 07
$24.75/$22.27

Westrey Pinot noir Oracle Vineyard 07 is Westrey's estate wine, made from Amy and David's own vineyard. Considering the very high quality of the wine, this is a value that will blow you away.

 

The Oracle Vineyard property was being used to graze horses when Amy and David bought the land. Although they knew it had been a vineyard, they assumed the vines were dead and planned to start from scratch. Imagine their delight when rows of vines started sprouting the next spring. With careful management, Amy and David brought the neglected site back to life. Today Oracle is one of the oldest producing vineyards in Oregon.

 

David and Amy grow the grapes and make the wine together, combining their skills to create an original vision. Add the next generation to the winemaking mix - Leo and Soren are already punching down and checking fermentations at the winery (pictured above).

 

Avalon Wine

Westrey Pinot noir Oracle Vineyard 07 - The massive vines of Oracle Vineyard produced a beautiful 2007 Pinot. Raspberries and blueberries prevail in the scent and flavors. There's a bit of rich spiciness accenting velvety tannins. A rustic dark note, characteristic of the vineyard, adds depth. Drinking well with food now, expect several years of cellaring to add even more complexity.

Coeur de Terre

Avalon Wine

Coeur de Terre
Willamette Valley
Pinot noir 07
$20.95/$18.86

Coeur de Terre Pinot noir Willamette Valley 07 is a blend of the winery's de-classified estate fruit. A new lower price point for the winery, this wine represents excellent craftsmanship at a very fair price. A nice merger of Burgundian and Oregon styles, smoke and mineral elements complement fresh red fruit flavors.

 

Scott and Lisa Neal's Coeur de Terre is one of the hottest new wineries in Oregon. Very few Oregon Pinots are selected three years straight for Avalon's Reserve Pinot Noir Club - yet Coeur de Terre did it. It is one of our Wineries to Watch - their star is rising!

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