"Insider" 2004 Pinot noirs Released
Broadley, Evesham Wood, Alloro, Harmonia, McKinlay
Last Call for Bergstrom Cumberland, Owen Roe Sinister Hand
October 5, 2005
When you live and work in the middle of one of the US's
most vibrant winemaking communities, it's pretty easy to search out the
little "gems" -- Pinot noirs that don't really ever hit the
national scene, but are mostly purchased by the best regional restaurants
and in-the-know locals. A handful of the most interesting
and best priced have been released this week. With concensus
among winemakers and customers building that the 2004 vintage Pinots
is the equal of the highly regarded 2002 vintage, but with
quantities as little as half of the 2002 production, the 2004 wines have
flashed out of winery doors. We call one day, they have plenty, we call
the next, they're sold out. Especially for these best value wines, the
restaurants tend to snatch them up, and charge $10 a glass!
Evesham Wood Pinot noir 04 $15.25/$16.95
A remarkably rich, dense, full-bodied Pinot noir, offer this one to friends
as a blind tasting, I bet they'll think it's a $30+ reserve wine. My
tasting notes say "almost
a Syrah of a Pinot noir". Hedonistic is a good word for
this wine, and it's unusual for Russ, as his higher end wines are usually
so refined, Burgundian, ageable, true to tradition. There's nothing out
of balance here, it's true to the grape, just the Pinot grape at its
most boisterous and easy drinking. A real
"New World" Pinot.
Some of the best restaurants in Portland purchase most
of Russ's Willamette Valley Pinot each year, including the Heathman Hotel,
Higgins, and Southpark. All are known for their discerning wine lists.
The 2004 has been especially well received - get some for home
and you'll be pouring an $8 - $10 a glass wine with your meatloaf!
Broadley Pinot noir Willamette Valley 04 -
Under $20 Quaffer
Craig and Claudia Broadley left their hip Berkeley lifestyle in 1980
(they worked in SF's North Beach, at City Lights Bookstore) and moved
to Oregon to make wine. Arriving in the town of Monroe, in the South
WIllamette Valley, they purchased land in 1982, and became pioneers in
the then extremely experimental task of making wine in Oregon. In 1994,
their "Claudia's Choice" was named one of the "Top 100 Wines of the World"
by Wine Spectator, and they officially hit the scene.
Flash forward to today --- In 2005, son Morgan and his
wife Jessica have largely taken over from Craig and Claudia. Production
is higher, and there's a bit more wine to go around. The Estate vineyard
is mature and produces delicious fruit, and Morgan also makes several
Pinots from purchased grapes. The 2004 Willamette Valley is such a wine.
The Broadley Pinot noir Willamette Valley 2004 $16.16/$17.95
is made from younger vine fruit off the Broadley Estate Vineyard, and from
fruit from High Pass and Whybra Vineyards. Black cherry is the password
for this wine, in both the aromas and flavors. It's an easy drinking,
delectable quaffer, one of those lovely great value Pinots we wish there
were more of. If you're a fan of the darker, black cherry and blackberry
styled Pinots, you will enjoy this wine, one of the rare under $20 Pinot
noirs that is really delicious.
Harmonia Pinot noir 2004 $18.86/$20.95
Michael Beckley makes small amounts of very well priced wine, and is
mostly known locally as a source of good values. He works for a number
of wineries and makes his own label on the side.
His 2004 Harmonia
Pinot noir is everything you'd want and expect in a ready to drink
Oregon Pinot. Black berry fruitand soft cinnamon spice in the nose and
quite striking sweet spice and blackberry, black
raspberry, and more pie spice in the flavor, the wine has a singularly pleasant cinnamon
spice note on the finish. It's just a real nice wine for the price. Michael
also makes a delectable Chardonnay (Theia) and a round, plush Syrah (
You can see them here:
McKinlay Pinot noir Willamette Valley 04 $15.30/$17.00
Matt Kinne is so "low-key", he's off the bottom of the piano keyboard,
onto the floor. He releases his small production, delightful wines only
when he thinks they are ready, and locals wait impatiently for months
between vintages. FINALLY, Matt has decided that the 2004 Willamette is
ready. (I know, it's a 2004, but Matt's wines engender that kind of impatience).
The 2004 McKinlay Pinot noir is a big
blackberry fruit and spice bomb, great for hearty winter meals or sipping with cheese
nibbles. Mattt made much less wine in 2004 than usual.
Alloro "Fattoria" Pinot noir 04 $15.25/$16.95
Alloro is a new winery, just releasing their second vintage, and they made
this wine as a bit of entry level Pinot noir for restaurants and such.
Their "Fattoria" (farmhouse in Italian) is just
the kind of refreshing red that's easy to like and great with all kinds
of food. It's a drink-me-now,
red fruit flavored, Pinot for everyday, with a country Italian twist.
52% Sunnyside Vineyard fruit, 48% Alloro Estate. Everyone who's tasted
this one wants some, at this price.
There's intriguing hints of bacon smoke and cedar in
the nose, and bright, red cherry and red raspberry flavors dancing on
the palate with just the right amount of acidity. This
is SUCH a pleasant wine - hints of spice in the finish, sometimes
I think that the red fruit-type Pinots are too acidic or astringent,
but not here. There's a wonderful balance between the bright crisp red
fruit flavors and a soft plushness that makes the finish easy and enjoyable.
Alloro also just released an Alloro Pinot noir Estate
04 at about $30 a bottle that we're looking forward to sharing with Wine
FINAL CALL ON SEVERAL HOT WINES
The Bergstrom Pinot noir Cumberland
Reserve 04 $31.50/$34.95
Well from the day that the bergstroms released their 2004
wines to now, about 3 weeks, it sounds like just about everything has sold
out. That said, it's not too late to get some Cumberland, in our opinion
the price/performance leader of them all. With Bergstrom's single vineyard
wines retialing for $55-$85 a bottle, the Cumberland, with its complex,
delightful flavors is the real deal.
It's going to be very hard to keep from opening bottles of
this wine all the time. A glorious nose of vanilla spice, blueberry, blackberry,
cherry, and intense hints of violets and roses is followed by flavors of
blueberry, blackberry, plum, and sweet spices. A luxuriantly rich and velvety
mouth feel remains for a long, long finish, with perfect acidity incorporating
a hint of citrus zest and tannins broad, yet voluptuous and pure. Memorable.
Owen Roe "Sinister Hand" 04 $21.55/$23.95
A Chateneuf -du-Pape "New World" style, dark, liquor-like intensity, cassis,
black stone fruit, black pepper, spice, a wine to have with hearty meals and
strong cheeses. Really, when you think about all the $35+ Washington Syrahs out
there, this wine just beats them out for price/performance. David says you can
cellar this wine for 10 years, I bet you can't wait that long.
Well that's this week's roundup - the wines that Oregon's best
restaurants and local winelovers snatch up as soon as they come out. We hope
you find something you like, and give us a call! We love to talk with customers
- you give us our best ideas.
Jean, Marcus, Chris, Kevin, and Wendy
201 SW 2nd Street
Corvallis OR 97333