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Shea Vineyards 2005 Designates
Homer, East Hill, Pommard Pinot noirs
from Avalon Wine

Read our
Exclusive Interview

at Shea Vineyards

with Winemaker
Chris Mazepink

by Alison Ruch,
Avalon Staff Writer

They're here, the Shea "designates"- wines made in pitifully small quantities (about 100 cases of each). After the scores for the 2004 vintage, these are going to disappear, so don't delay. The best of Oregon's 2005 Pinots are shaping up to be as good as anything we've seen from the state. We'd predict scores as good or better for this vintage as for the 2004.

Shea Vineyards Homer 2005

2004 Vintage Wine Spectator 95 points.

Winemaker Chris Mazepink says: "We go through a lot of different combinations—a barrel of this, a barrel of that—we even get into doing a half barrel of this and a half barrel of that. With Homer, for instance, the finished wine we settled on—I must have looked at about seventy different possible combinations before we settled on that one."

The Shea Homer, named in honor of the winning hit in one of Dick Shea’s favorite sports, is designed to be, Mazepink said, “the darkest, most concentrated, and most robust Pinot we make. Homer has always been about the best barrels in the cellar.

Avalon tasting notes:
Viewing the wine in glass, it is an intense black purple garnet color. The scents are of cherry cream, cherry liqueur, black cherry, black raspberry, white pepper, sweet violets, hints of vanilla, and soft toast. Flavors are of gushingly sweet black cherry, red pie cherry, Rainier cherry, Queen Ann cherry, and white pepper. The texture of the wine in the mouth is velvety and lush. There's a very complex floral perfume component to the wine's flavor that doesn't show as violets or roses or white flowers but is a combination of many floral fragrances.

The word "voluminous" comes to mind in describing the finish of this wine. It's a powerful wine, with uplifting acidity adding an effect of transparency and layering, opening the palate to layers and layers of fruit, exotic perfume, hints of sweet toast, spices, and vanilla in the finish. The tannins are present, perfectly balanced, they simply don't intrude but contribute a generous structure for aging. Drink now if you have to, but this wine can be cellared through 2015.

Chris Mazepink shows the total Homer
production is contained in this one tank to the line he's marking.

Shea Vineyards East Hill Pinot noir 05

2004 vintage Wine Spectator 94 points.

Shea East Hill Pinot noir 05 is blended from Blocks 7, 5, and the Oak Block on the east side of Shea Vineyard. This is Marcus's favorite of all the Shea 2005's.

Avalon tasting notes:
An appealing, meaty and toasty nose shows scents of red cherry and candied red raspberry. Flavors of juicy red raspberry dominate, with undercurrents of red cherry and red currant. In the midpalate, luscious blueberry syrup and fresh grape jelly show through the continued flavors of red raspberry, red cherry, and blackberry. There's a soft melange of pie spices throughout the flavors that shows up most in the finish, with hints of white pepper, nutmeg, cardamon, and cinnamon; also sweet vanilla and a hint of the toast on the nose. The wine shows fine grained tannins and a luscious juicy acidity.

The backbone of the wine is the 777 Dijon clone fruit from Block 5 of the East Hill. Fermentation in neutral wooden fermenters (hard to do) has enhanced the texture of the wine, adding a smooth, lush texture in the mouth. A small percentage of whole clusters left in the grapes at fermentation brought out the spicy clove and cinnamon notes in this Pinot.

Compared to the highly rated 2004, the 2005 East Block shows a bit more spice, and its fruit flavors, at this point, are more berry than cherry driven. The weight, silky texture, and right on target balance of fruit, acidity, and tannins scream "cellar me and I'll be a star". It's a bit early, but we'd predict ratings, and more importantly, your personal enjoyment, to be as great or greater than the 2004 wine. This is a relatively young section of the Shea vineyard (replanted after a phyloxera outbreak in the mid-1990's), and the additional year of age shows in the increased complexity and weight of the wine.

Shea's vineyard crew all work on bottling
the East Hill PN 2005 for you!

Shea Vineyard Pommard 05

Not made in 2004.

Avalon tasting notes:
Scents of red fruit, red cherry, red raspberry, and a hint of sweet pie spice show in the nose. Flavors are of gushing super appealing sweet red berry, red pie cherry, bing cherry, all balanced by a refreshing, uplifting acidity that balances the intense sweetness. The tannins are well integrated and an appealing note of white pepper and pie spice continue in the flavors as well as in the nose.

The finish is medium long, with red cherry flavors joined by black cherry, blackberry, pie spice, and a firm tannic backbone structuring the wine and offsetting the juicy sweetness.

The Pommard is the most immediately appealing of the 2005 Shea Pinots, opening quickly in the glass and providing clean, sweet red cherry fruit flavors that please even the casual sipper. Ready to drink now, or cellar through 2012.

The Shea Case

6 Pinot noir 05 $33.95
4 Pinot gris 06 $17.95
2 Dolcino 05 $19.95


save $00.00 from retail ($000.00)

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