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Pinotfile's Princely Pinot - June 2009

Antica Terra: A Princely Pinot that Speaks of Terroir

by Rusty Gaffney, Avalon Wine Guest Columnist

A pair of New Yorkers started Antica Terra in 1989. Co founder and winemaker Marty Weber made small amounts of highly lauded Pinot Noir from their 6-acre estate vineyard located on 40 acres in the Eola-Amity Hills appellation of the Willamette Valley. The vineyard is located on a sloping hillside with shallow well-drained soil underlain with marine sedimentary rocks and alluvial deposits, hence the name “Antica Terra,” Latin for “Old Earth.”.

The Antica Terra vineyard and label was acquired in June of 2005 by three friends Scott Adelson, John Mavredakis, Michael Kramer, and talented winemaker Maggie Harrison, (pictured in the vineyard at right) who assisted Manfred Krankl at Sine Qua Non in Ventura, California for eight years. She was so fond of working with Krankl that he had to practically lock the doors to his winery to force her out on her own. It was only the unique opportunity offered by Antica Terra in Oregon that led her to make the leap. Listen to Maggie’s full story in an interview with myself, Brian Clark and Jay Selman on Grape Radio (Show #232).

In 2007, 20 additional acres of Pinot Noir were planted with upgrades to the clonal and rootstock mix. A new winery in Dundee will be completed in 2009. The inaugural release by Maggie Harrison was the 2006 vintage (2005 was completely declassified) which was highly praised by the wine press. The 2007 vintage Antica Terra Willamette Valley bottling shows the same refinement and layering of flavors. Although ripeness was an issue in some vineyards in the Willamette Valley in 2007, this wine shows absolutely no sign of this. The Willamette Valley bottling is a blend of grapes from the estate Eola-Amity Hills vineyard as well as other premium vineyards in the Willamette Valley including Shea Vineyard.

2007 Antica Terra Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $45.95/$41.36

Packaged in a distinctive tall-necked bottle. Teasing aromas of berry tart and spiced raspberries with a hint of pine tree. Tasty dark berry, black cherry and plum with nuances of minerality, earthiness, seasoned oak, spice and musk which come and go in the glass. There might be some pheromones in there as well for I couldn’t turn away from my glass. Plenty of richness to satisfy, but not in the uber-rich mold of SQN. A very clean and silky wine with imperceptible tannins and impeccable balance. This beauty will hold your interest ,and is a truly unique artisan Pinot Noir. 13.5% alc.
- Rusty Gaffney, PrinceofPinot.com

Antica Terra Rosé of Pinot noir 08 $34.95/$31.46

"Moderately deep reddish-orange color. Lovely aromas of fresh strawberries, blood oranges and a touch of white peach and herbs. A substantial Rosé that is mouth-filling on the attack strutting flavors of fresh berries, orange peel and savory herbs with some persistence on the bright finish. Careful not to over-chill so as to retain the enjoyment. This is a stunning wine that even a Pinot Noir purist like myself would be proud to take to any classy restaurant. This wine should put to rest any stigma that has been attached to Rosé."
- Rusty Gaffney, PrinceofPinot.com


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