noir without a Safety Net
Shea East Hill 2004
Sam Tannahill and Chris Matzepink show their Skills
From the first scent, to the final hint on the
palate, the Shea
Wine Cellars East Hill Pinot noir 04 is Pinot without
Sam Tannahill and Chris Matzepink took the risk of allowing you to really
taste the fickle Pinot grape in all its glory. It's so hard to make
a rich yet balanced Pinot noir that shows the elusive, entrancing scents
and flavors that make the wine unique. And to not "friendly it up" with
toasty oak and big extracted sweetness to deflect attention from flaws,
in case something goes wrong.
The Shea Wine Cellars East HIll
Pinot noir 04 $37.76/$41.95 is a wine worth investing the time in cellaring - even young, it shows
the hallmarks of a multi-layered, complex, nuanced Pinot of distinction.
In a comparative tasting of 2004 Oregon Pinots last week, the East Hill
showed best. It is classic Pinot, taken to the max, while never losing
sight of the essence of the grape.
In the nose, the classic scent of Pinot
noir fruit is expressed as red raspberry, red cherry, red currant, marionberry,
and elusive hints of violets, cinnamon, and fresh turned earth. In the
mouth, the layers of flavors just keep on rollin'. After decanting and
some time to air, balanced red and black fruit flavors mingle with a
crisp acidity and focused, very fine tannins. Individual notes of different
fruit, spice, and herbs dance in the mouth, changing constantly. There's
a silky texture and a heady taste of roses intermingled with white raspberries,
red raspberries, blackberry, and occasional hits of red and black cherry.
What is most impressive is the transparency of the flavors-
there's no way that anything could be hidden here- the flavors are 100%
Pinot fruit, no toasty oak barrel or highly extracted sweetness to deflect
attention. This is really Pinot without a net - the winemakers have traversed
the tightrope and produced a wine of balance, finesse, and classic
All of the characteristics of the East Hill are muted
by the wine's youth -- it really takes several hours after decanting
to experience its potential. Tasting it young, there's a sense of having
forced the wine open. Worth it, as we want to know what's there so we
can make a decision about its quality. But the wine needs several
years in the cellar before it will start strutting its stuff. Yet we
seem to reach for this wine often -- even though we know it's too young,
it's so intriguing, so quintessentially Pinot.
Shea's East Hill is the winery's first Pinot noir
made from its vineyard's Dijon clone fruit. According to Dick
Shea, the vineyard and winery ownery, Dijon clone Pinot noir grown in
the Shea Vineyard seems to produce grapes that, when blended with other
Shea fruit, balance and enhance the flavors of the fruity, forward, classic
Pommard clone and the structured, blue fruit quality of the Wadenswil
clone. Because this is the first release of the East Hill wine, the price
is an introductory one, and a good value. Other 2004 Pinots made from
the East Hill Dijon fruit include Bergstrom's Shea
2004 $49.95/$54.95 and JK Carriere's Shea 2004.
Shea's East Hill wine release signals the successful
replanting of much of the vineyard after a phyloxera outbreak in 1996,
and offers a fascinating glimpse into the future of Oregon's best Pinot
Read more about the Dijon Clones and Shea's replanting here:
Wine Club Announcements
Shipping Dates -- Because so many of you
are on vacation, we've held off shipping the December Clubs until the
first week of January. Let us know if you'd like a different arrangement.
Cold Weather Alert
-- Also, if it's super
cold where you are, we may hold your shipment until the danger of damage
is past. The water in wine can freeze, forming a plug that pushes the
cork out of the bottle. Even if it only pushes it out a bit, the wine
is not going to age nearly as well, so be safe, let us cellar your wines
for free until the weather moderates.
December Wine Club Newsletter
Get it here:
Visiting Wineries - for Wine Club
It's not exactly the busiest time to visit wineries, nor is the weather
the best, but if you are coming to the area, we're happy to hook you
up with winemakers who are around town. One thing you get this time
of year, lots of individual time with a winemaker who's not trying
to pour samples for hundreds of people at an open house, or is working
round the clock on harvest. January is a quiet time at the wineries,
and if you'd like to visit, we can help you with appointments at the
wineries that are open. Just call or email Marcus or Jean.
Wine makes a great gift!
We'll put a hand
written card with your personal message in each wine gift you order from
Avalon and ship them out for you asap. If you have a list of recipients,
call us or send us your list and you don't have to mess with the dang
shopping cart. We'll do all the typing, you spend your valuable time
choosing some wonderful wines for clients, friends, and family.
Northwest Wine Gift Packs and Samplers
Wine Club Memberships Keep Giving!
Every month your client or friend gets their shipment of wine from one
of Avalon's wine clubs, they'll be reminded of your thoughtfulness
and appreciation. Check out our four clubs here:
Our most popular pages this week:
Highest Rated Pinot noirs
Highest Rated NW Big Reds
Newly Released NW Wines
If we may help with an order, please let
us know. We're available by phone at 541-752-7418 from 8AM Pacific time
until 6PM Pacific time. Or you can call me at my direct line at 541-424-8004.
Thanks for your support -we appreciate your
orders and your suggestions. Our customers always give us our best ideas!
Jean, Marcus, Chris, Kevin, and Wendy
201 SW 2nd Street
Corvallis OR 97333