Wine Spectator's 2003 Oregon Pinot noirs Ratings
Wine Spectator released a new slew of Harvey Steiman's reviews of Oregon 2003 Pinot noirs. We've compiled them, added them to our pages, and you can read them here.
Wine Spectator gave Beaux Freres great ratings for all three of its 2003 Pinot noirs. The 95 point Beaux Freres Pinot noir "The Beaux Freres Vineyard" 03 $75 is now joined on the podium by the Beaux Frees "The Upper Terrace" Pinot noir 03 (94 points) and the Beaux Freres Belle Soeurs Pinot noir 03 $48 (93 points).
Woodward Releases "Estate Red 02"
Rik Small makes wines from some of the best vineyards in Washington State, and only in the last few years has he offered a wine made from Estate fruit. Woodward Canyon Estate Red 02 $52.50/47.25 is produced from the finest lots of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet franc.
The Woodward Canyon Estate Vineyard was managed to produce less than two tons of fruit per acre, resulting in a small harvest of intensely flavored, ripe, complex fruit. As usual, the wine is very limited, and is intended to be cellared for up to 20 years.
Patricia Green Cellars' "Dollar Bills Only" 2003 Pinot noir is Out!
Patty Green makes highly regarded and very limited Pinot noirs that sell for $30-$85. Once a year, she releases a second label Pinot noir, "Dollar Bills Only" that is eagerly awaitred by bargain hunters and Patty Green lovers alike.
The 2003 wine is remarkably good for the price, with a bit more structure and fruit than the precious vintage. Patricia Green Cellars Pinot noir "Dollar Bills Only" 03 $16.99/$15.29 was made in a bit larger quantity than last year, but it will sell out rapidly.
Patty has also released her cult fav Patricia Green Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 04 $17.95/$16.16. Patty's Sauvignon Blanc has a big following, and she only makes it in years when she can source great fruit and everything goes well in the winemaking process. The 2004 Sauvignon Blanc has all the crisp, juicy freshness of her best vintages, with hints of grassiness and gooseberries. Limited.
There's a bit more of Patty's best wine, the Patricia Green Cellars Pinot noir "Notorious" 03 $75/$67.50. The "Notorious" Pinot noir is composed of two barrels from Block 1B, two from Block 2B and one from Block 1A in Balcombe Vineyard. There is also one barrel of Goldschmidt Vineyard made from a blend of Coury, 115 and La Tache clones. The wine is the pinnacle of everything good that this vintage has to offer. Great aromatics of berries, spices, minerals, smoke and sweet but subtle oak. The fruit is intensely concentrated with the ripe fleshiness of black cherries and the sappy sweetness of liqueur washing over mild spicy qualities that are bolstered by wet stones, smoke and bacon toward the round finish.
Fidelitas' 2002 Meritage, "Optu" is Released
Charlie Hoppes has released his Fidelitas Meritage "Optu" 02 $38.00/$34.20 and it's finally in stock. We had scheduled it for our Avalon Big Reds Wine Club last month, but Charlie felt that the wine needed a bit more time in the cellar. We'll be sending the wine to the club soon, and have some for sale now. The previous vintage was rated 91 points by Wine Spectator, and we think this wine is better.
Tasting the wine with Charlie last month, we found it a huge, rich monster, similar to the 2001 Meritage with a bit more structure, a meaty, rich wine dominated by black cherry, raspberry, spice, and vanilla oak flavors, impeccably balanced. The wine is a blend of classic Bordeaux varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec.
Basel Cellars' Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Wins Gold
I was a judge at the Northwest Wine Summit last week. The event is held yearly at the Timberline Lodge near the summit of Mt Hood. We tasted almost 1000 wines in a three day period, divided among four teams. It was a great opportunity to get a super-intense refresher on Northwest wine. One of my personal favorites was the first Estate wine from Basel Cellars, the Basel Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon "Pheasant Run Vineyard 02 $36/32.40.
Winemaker Trey Busch said: " We used a combination of two separate Cabernet Sauvignon blocks from the vineyard, Block 1 and Block 8. Only free-run juice was used for the final composition, and only the most expressive barrels made the final cut. The winemaker’s goal was to “trap” the terroir in each and every bottle. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon spent 22 months in 100% new oak—50% American, 30% French, and 20% Hungarian. Only 450 cases produced.
“I love the distinct flavor profile of our vineyard as compared to the rest of the Walla Walla Valley. This is no fruit bomb. Instead, it relies on its earthy structure to provide the framework for the rest of the wine. You can almost taste the soil. Still, the dark fruit flavors of plums and blackberries, along with green tea and mint, help flesh out the mid-palate. The finish is long and expressive, swimming in an ocean of silky tannins. I am very proud of our first Estate bottling."
I gave this wine a perfect score at the Wine Summit, and recommend it to all Cab lovers. It's something special.
Wonderful New White Wines for Warm Weather
Another flock of white wines has hit the market this week, and here are the best of the lot:
INOX Chardonnay 04 $16.99/$15.29
Blanc 04 $12.99/$11.69
The 04 Blanc combines a crisp, citrus zing with a scent of jasmine and white flowers and lush tropical fruit flavors. Both spicy Asian food and subtly flavored vegetarian cuisine are complemented by the Blanc. It's refreshing and perfect for lovers of white wines llike Evolution and Conundrum, at a wonderful price!
Tannahill Gewurztraminer "Dragonfly" 03
Chardonnay Cuvee Forets Diverses 01 $24.99/$22.49
Winemaker Eric Hamacher says: "The elegance of the '01 vintage comes through in the complexity of this wine. With naturally bright acidity balanced by the satiny richness of the barrel regime, admirers of full bodied, fruit driven wines appreciate the extra time that goes into the production of our wines. Pear, citrus and anise spice dominate the aromatics while mineral laden cream brullee and apples move the palate along. It's supple, broad, long and satisfying."
Hamacher "H" Chardonnay
The winemaker says: "This is the first multi-vintage H chardonnay I have put together. It is roughly 50:50 2002 to 2003. The '02 lends good structure while the '03 adds wonderful richness. The '02 portion was in barrel for 18 months. The '03 remained in wood only half that time. As with the Hamacher label Chardonnay, the wine is comprised of the new, intensely flavored "Dijon clone" Chardonnay selections brought in from Burgundy and planted a decade ago. Each barrel was stirred by hand weekly for 11 months to incorporate the richness of the "lees" or yeast that settle to the bottom following the fermentation."
Rose of Pinot noir $16.99/$15.29
Rich Sauvignon Blanc Les Vigneaux" Croft Vineyard 04
Winery Riesling 04 $15.45/$13.90
About Jean Yates
Jean previously worked in the computer industry and does most of the work on the Avalon website. She is a passionate photographer and many of the images on this site are hers
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