Insider Best Values for 2006
Pinots that can Walk a Tightrope
It takes three things to walk a tightrope: balance, balance,
and more balance. You can’t have too much of it. The
same can be said of a good Pinot Noir. The oak can’t overwhelm
the fruit. The tannins must be present for aging but can't suck
your face off when the wine is young. Same with acidity -- it has
to be present, but too much, you pucker, and too little, the wine is
all these elements are in harmony, it seems like a Pinot can walk a thin
cable stretched across a canyon.
It’s easy enough to find well-balanced, delicious Oregon Pinot
Noir for $50 a bottle.
But what about for $20?
Spring has brought a bevy of
new 2004 Pinot noir releases to market. The 2004 vintage is sizing up
to be exceptional. Here are new Pinots we’ve
come across that exhibit great balance, beginning with a long-time
Willamette Valley 04 $16.88/$18.75
Territorial Vineyards has
racked up accolades since its start in 2001. In
2005, the winery won Wine Press Northwest’s “Oregon Winery
of the Year to Watch.” For the last few vintages, the
entry level Territorial Pinot has barely stayed on Avalon’s shelves
long enough to justify putting a price tag on it. So when co-owner
Alan Mitchell brought by a sample of the 2004, we were excited. And
it surpassed expectations!
Tasting Notes: Big aromas of red cherry, hints of raspberry
with dried flowers, sweet vanilla toast and roasted coffee. Juicy red
and black cherry fruit, with herbal spice. You’d be hard pressed
to find a wine with better balance for the value! The Territorial is
a great food wine that would pair well with grilled pork or salmon or farfalle
with roasted vegetables.
Cove Willamette Valley ’04
Pinot Noir $21.55/$23.95
Elk Cove is best known for their
highly rated single-vineyard Pinot Noirs. They also produce a great value
entry level Pinot in small quantities that sells out almost instantly.
Just released is their 2004 version, a superb example
of value Pinot.
Notes: Desert herbs, dried rose petals, white pepper,
with raspberry and black cherry on the nose. Raspberry, fresh and dried cherries
dance around the silky mouthfeel. Very balanced with medium
grained tannins, cinnamon and clove spice and toasty dark fruit in the finish.
Hill Estate ’04
Pinot Noir $20.65/$22.95
On the edge of Corvallis (where we are located) lies
a new winery, Cardwell Hill Cellars. 2004
is only the second vintage and the evolution in the vineyard is showing. Aided
by winemaker extraordinaire Jim Kakacek, proprietors Dan and Nancy Chapel
have begun producing some very tasty, excellent value Pinot Gris, Rose
of Pinot Noir, and Pinot Noir.
Notes: Dark ruby
color, the nose has lovely perfumed red fruit notes and hints of sasparilla,
cola, allspice, and dark violets. The
mid-palate is packed with flavors of sweet, rich red raspberry, blackberry,
sweet red cherry, toasty spice notes, white pepper, and just a tiny hint of
gamey, meaty dark notes. A medium long finish reiterates the cola, sasparilla,
and spice notes, along with red and black berries and a nice rich, viscosity. A
more refined, layered offering, and would go well with game fowl, duck,
or eggplant parmesan.
Pinot Noir $$21.60/$24.00
Ed and Darlene Looney own Ribbon Ridge Estate,
which is a family farm established in 1905. Ribbon Ridge is a well
known area for Pinot Noir, with wineries like Beaux Freres, Patricia
Green, and Brick House making stellar offerings. In addition to
this yummy Pinot, Aramenta makes the Tillie
Claret , a great value Bordeaux-style
Notes: Medium garnet
color, aromatic nose immediately upon opening of red cherry fruit, cranberry,
forest, and a hint of cinnamon. Flavors are of red cherry, red raspberry,
hints of white pepper, roasted meat, and smoke on the finish. Finish
is clean and fairly lengthy. 2004
vintage is rich, even a better deal than the popular 2003. Unusually
complex for the price, this wine would pair well with wild mushroom risotto,
veal scaloppini, or chicken grilled with sweet Hungarian paprika and
a light cream sauce.
And now that temperatures are warming up
around much of the country, here are a couple 2005 refreshing Oregon
whites that will help you leap into spring and summer:
Cove Pinot Gris ‘05 $14.35/$15.95
Big tropical fruit and melon inn the nose. Tons of delicious fruit--bright
pineapple, mango, peach, tangerine, and grapefruit. Medium bodied
with bright, citrusy acidity and minerality in the finish.
Duzer Pinot Gris ‘05
The new vintage of this highly acclaimed Gris is refreshment in a bottle! Light,
crisp, with bright peach, juicy green apple and honeyed citrus fruit. Come
on 80 degree days!
Order a mixed case of two of each
wine for $215.00 That's $5 off the
regular case discount of $220.59 and gives you a chance to try all the
wines. Don't wait long to re-order your favorites, though. These small
production values go fast.
News from Wine Country
Congrats are in order for the Hesses of Daedalus
Cellars and Jezebel Wines- Pam, Aron, and young Samson (their first boy) welcome
(well, for Samson, maybe...) their new arrival- baby boy Cato Tut Hess.
And while busy giving birth, Pam managed to release the new Jezebel
Rouge and Blanc! Wonder Woman, that she is!
Please let us know
if we may help with an order or answer any questions-
we value your
input, and your orders are what keeps us going!
Thanks for your
patronage from all of us at Avalon-
Jean, Marcus, Chris, Wendy, &
201 SW 2nd Street
Corvallis OR 97333
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