Van Duzer Winery
Van Duzer Winery Opens New Building, Reserve Wines Shine, October 2006
Van Duzer has finished its new winery building. The new facility will create greater efficiency and control of fermentation and storage temperatures, allowing Van Duzer to produce even higher quality wines than those that have recently earned 90+ ratings. The 2006 harvest is being processed in the new winery and, over time, production from its 75 acres of planted vineyards will increase to 20,000 cases.
The goal is quite simple - to be stewards of the vineyards and farm in the best practices beneficial to the grape quality and style of wine unique to the Van Duzer Corridor, said Jim Kakacek, Van Duzer's winemaker. The new winery will not only improve our already outstanding wines, but it will also enhance our beautiful hilltop landscape.
Kakacek and architect Larry Ferar, of Larry Ferar and Associates, worked together to create a winery that would allow Van Duzer to further enhance its existing world-class wines. Some of the winery's new features include:
- Cooling roof: A heat reflective treatment on the roof keeps the facility cool.
- Night air cooling: Fans that are used to exhaust carbon dioxide during the day can be reversed for nighttime cooling in the summer.
- Extra insulation: Maintains the storage temperature throughout the year within a five degree range without additional heating or air conditioning.
- Recycling waste water: Production waste water is recycled for irrigation, adhering to Van Duzer's sustainable farming practices.
Located near the top of an oak-covered knoll at an elevation of 475 feet with expansive views of the surrounding countryside, the new 18,500-square-foot winery will feature a barrel room buried 12 feet into the ground to create natural cooling effects.
Van Duzer's New Single Block and Dijon Clone 2004 Pinot noir Releases
Twelve years into a lengthy, exhausting grind of vineyard replanting, dealing with the previous regimes' wines, and general hard work, Van Duzer's Jim Kalacek and his band of Cellar Rats, Vineyard Workers, and German Shepherds have broken through to national attention.
Wine Spectator has singled out the Van Duzer wines in the last three vintages, with high scores and lengthy mention in their Oregon articles.
Affordable, unusually high value for the price, Van Duzer's Reserve Pinots are still priced as much as $30 below similar wines. Tiny amounts are made, and the few weeks each year that these wines are available are usually quite busy for us - our customer know a great deal when they see it. Jim's wines are consistent, age quite well, and just, well, I'll say it again, offer great value.
Jim has divided Van Duzer's 58 acres of Pinot noir into over 50 "lots", each managed separately. The best two are released as Block Designates. The best of the Dijon Clone Pinot noir is released as a reserve wine as well.
Van Duzer 2004 Reserve Pinot Pack $222.30
(5% DISCOUNT from $234 retail)
Contains two bottles each of Van Duzer's three top wines:
2 bottles - Van Duzer Homestead Block Pinot noir 04
2 bottles - Van Duzer Dijon Clone Pinot noir 04
2 bottles - Van Duzer Flagpole Block Pinot noir 04
An Avalon exclusive, The Van Duzer Homestead Block '04 is only available as part of this special six pack.Order two packs and double the quantities of each. The Homestead Block will be released separately in a few months.
Van Duzer Pinot Noir Homestead Block 04 $35.05/$38.95
(only available now as part of the 2004 Van Duzer Reserve Pack)
RECOMMENDED. An Avalon exclusive, not even available yet from the winery. Always a big wine, made from juicy, silky lush old vine (24 year) Pommard vines, less than 300 cases of this big wine were made.The original farm house was built on this plot, thus the "Homestead" designation.
Note that 12.6% alcohol, quite low for an Oregon Pinot noir, and makes this wine about flavor, not "kick".
Big, weighty, (last year's was called "bawdy") this wine takes its time opening up but rewards with big flavors. Scents of rose, hibiscus and violet mingle with hints of black cherry, cedar, barrel toast and mint. Flavors restate the scents, and add off-the-charts intense juicy dark cherry, with cedar, sweet oak and creamy pie spices adding to a classic Pinot "meaty" quality. The meaty, savory, massive quality steps into the background with age and aeration, opening up to those rich red and black cherry flavors we love in a Pommard.
As last year, this is a big, weighty wine. It's tight and young, needs cellaring or, if you must, lengthy decanting to show itself at its best right now. There are very finegrained, silky tannins in the creamy finish. Wine Spectator 92 for 2002 vintage, 89 for 2003 vintage.
The balance and layered flavors make this wine our favorite of the last three vintages, especially for cellaring. Drink from 2008-2014 - comparable to much more expensive Pinots with aging.
Van Duzer Pinot noir Dijon Blocks 2004 $35.05/$38.95
Available for case orders as well as part of the Pinot Pack
Wine Spectator 92 points for 2003, the 2003 was an Avalon Reserve Pinot noir Club selection in 2005. Made from a blend of three Dijon clones of Pinot noir, Clone 777 (50%), Clone 115 (30%), and Clone 113 (20%).
On the 2004: "Perfumed with floral and cherry notes, this wine draws you in from the start. . . . An elegant Pinot lover's Pinot." -PinotFile, August 2006.
The Dijon Clones of Pinot noir ripen earlier and serve up a rich, sweet melange of berry driven blackberry, cherry, and cassis notes layered with hints of chocolate, exotic spices, and smoke.
Van Duzer's 2004 Dijon adds distinct notes of huckleberry to the usual berries in the nose, with hints of vanilla, sandalwood incense, and dried rose petals. Flavors add rich red and black cherry to the berry mix with pie spices, creamy vanilla, sweet smoky toast and silky, well integrated tannins in the long, complex finish. Juicy and appealing already, drink 2006-2012. Cellar a year at least for complete integration of flavors or decant for at least an hour. Classy and an Avalon favorite, another of Jim's wines that offers as much as many $60+ Pinots.
Van Duzer Flagpole Block Pinot noir 04 $35.05/$38.95
Available for case orders as well as part of the Pinot Pack
Wine Spectator 90 points for 2003 vintage. If you've been to the winery, you know this tiny plot next to the flagpole at the turn on the drivveway to the winery. Less than 1/3 of an acre, so unique it's bottled separately. About 100 cases made.
On the 2004: "The enticing aromas feature spice, raisin and licorice. There is some prominent cranberry notes on the palate. Finely-tuned and well balanced, the wine is still a bit closed at this early stage." -PinotFile, August 2006.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Made from older vine Pinot noir, all Wadenswil clone, and the wine clearly shows the characteristic blueberry note in both scent and flavor. A signature bouquet of ripe blueberries, cedar, fresh earth, cinnamon and cocoa is followed by flavors of blackberry pie & dried blueberries. All lead to a rich mid-palate and chocolate truffle finish.
"A swirl of the glass suggests blackberry pie, followed moments later by a bouquet of fresh earthiness, cedar, cinnamon and clove, cocoa, fresh truffle and mushroom that is typical of the Wädenswil vines planted in the Flagpole Block. On the palate, ripe blackberry and dried blueberry are accompanied by graham, spice and dark chocolate. The very ripe flavors assume weight in the mid-palate and finish with an impression of chocolate-raspberry truffle." - the winery
If you enjoy the memorable Shea Wadenswil Pinot, you'll find lots to compare to with this wine. There's that distinct blueberry flavor, and the rewards that cellaring bring to long-lived Wadenswil Pinot noir. Another cellarworthy selection, with complexity, depth, and sophistication that make it a distinct good value. Kudos to Van Duzer.
History of the Winery
When Carl Thoma purchased the winery and vineyards that would become Van Duzer in 1990, the grapes needed a huge amount of work. Essentially replanting from scratch, he hired Jim Kalacek (pictured below) to be winemaker in 1994 and Jim has worked with Vineyard Manager Norbert Fiebig to develop the best possible grapes for the Van Duzer Estate's unique terroir. Different clones of Pinot noir have been added, trellising and spacing has been shifted to increase sun exposure and to induce moderate stress in the vines. Crop yields per acre have been greatly reduced from the pre-Van Duzer days, and careful hand sorting and processing helped to increase the quality of the wines.
Winemaker Jim Kakacek (left) came to Oregon from California after making several wines that made the Wine Spectator "Top 100 Wines of the World" list. He was the youngest vintner to be named a winemaker in Napa Valley when he made those wines. A graduate of the University of California, Davis in enology, Kakacek (pronouced "Kuh-kay-sic") received his practical training at Monticello Cellars in Napa Valley. Starting as an intern working harvest, he rose rapidly to become winemaker. He was part of the team that created the 1998 Corley Reserve Chardonnay and, while winemaker, crafted the 1988 Corley Reserve Chardonnay. While he cut his teeth on Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, Kakacek developed a passion for Pinot Noir. This challenging, delicate varietal first led Jim to Oregon winemaking.
Jim has had a tough job to accomplish, practically starting from scratch with the vineyards, working over the last ten years to rebuild the vineyard to optimize fruit quality and allow the terroir of the site to shine.
Click for large PDF version of Van Duzer's Vineyard map