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Ken Wright Cellars

1998, 1999 Tasting Notes



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1999 Pinot Noir
Single Vineyard Tasting Notes

These are the best Pinot noirs we have ever tasted, as a group and individually. The perfect 99 harvest and Ken's 26 years of winemaking have combined to make extraordinary wines that show the special magic that is Oregon Pinot Noir. Each wine is different, reflecting the vineyard sites, clones, and winemaking, yet all reflect a new, higher level of Ken's special style that reaches and surpasses the quality of the best Grand Cru Burgundy. The guys in France will be shaking in their boots after they try these wines.

1999 Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard
Barrel tasting 12/21/99

$350 case of 12 sold out
Our favorite
of all Ken's 99s, this wine is a stunner. Dark dark color staining the glass. Nose had massive cherry fruit, spice, rapidly evolving array of fruit flavors that kept changing in complex and interesting ways. Every red and black fruit you could imagine wafted past the palate in a seemingly never ending series of taste sensations. Flavors included black berry, black and red raspberry, black cherry, allspice, clove, nutmeg, even subtle minty herbal hints that could be from adjoining mint fields. We bought a full barrel of this wine, the best Pinot noir we have ever experienced, from any part of the world.
The 98 Shea was a Wine Spectator "Cellar Selection" and received a 93 point rating!

1999 Pinot Noir Nysa Vineyard
Barrel tasting
Color was dark ruby. Huge nose explodes from the glass---came right out of the glass at us, with big perfume, dark spice, and red cherry fruit. Flavors followed in the same vein
, this young wine showed immense promise.
$350 case of 12 sold out

1999 Pinot Noir Arcus Vineyard
Barrel tasting
Color dark black ruby fruit. Nose was highly perfumed with blackberry, licorice, violet, rose petal all swirling on the palate. The distinct perfume prevailed in the flavors, hugely opulent, complex, awesome wine. Tremendously appealing now but shows huge promise for cellaring. This wine kept changing, evolving, opening to new levels of fruit, mineral, tannin, and spice that never really settled but continued to please with new discoveries. Wow!
$350 case of 12 sold out

1999 Pinot Noir Guadalupe Vineyard Barrel tasting 12/21/99
$350 case of 12 sold out

Our other favorite, the wine has an inky black color that stained the wine glass. Flavors were of red and black fruits, cedar, mint, black cherry and plum, massive tannins balanced by huge fruit. Hugely extracted. We call this the Mohammed Ali of Ken's 99 single vineyard Pinot Noirs- both huge in body and light on its feet. This is a big, broad shouldered wine, not for the faint of heart.Sort of a California Cab of Pinot noirs. Extraordinary!

1999 Pinot Noir Abbey Ridge Vineyard Barrel tasting 12/21/99
Color dark ruby. Stylistically more graceful than powerful, a feminine, exquisite wine. The nose has herbs, flowers, and exotic tropical fruits, with a distinct hint of passionfruit. This is a refined, elegant wine. Grapefruit peel, gunpowder, and lead pencil float through the subtle, complex finish. A fascinating wine.The 98 Abbey Ridge received 92 points from Wine Spectator (3/2000).
$350 case of 12 sold out

1999 Whistling Ridge Vineyard
Barrel tasting 12/21/99

Color dark ruby. The scent is light, closed, body medium, with flavors of red and black fruits. This barrel taste was conducted when the wine was in a "dumb" period, and we must re-taste to truely appreciate the wine. The finish had cassis and licorice notes, and throughout, the wine had hints of complexity and nuance, overlaid by a very active malolactic process. We will retaste in one month. SOLD OUT

1999 Carter Vineyard
Barrel tasting 12/21/99

Color dark garnet/ruby with beautiful inner glow. The nose is smoky, quiet, the flavors big, with sweet black cherry fruit dominating. Tempting notes of raspberry and spice show through the very big tannin and acid backbone. The big fruit flavors are somewhat overwhelmed by the tannins, which is characteristic of this wine when first made. Ken has worked with the Carter site for ten years and the wine typically softens and shows stellar flavors and beautiful, balanced structure, a year or so later than the Canary Hill or Shea, for example.
$350 case of 12 sold out

1999 Canary Hill Vineyard
Barrel Tasting 12/21/99
Dark ruby color that stained the glass. Flavors of tart black cherry, chocolate and cassis, flavors cascading off the palate including candied black cherry, fruitcake, black berry, plum, and black currant, the tannins are wonderfully integrated in this big, easy drinking wine. Wonderful balance of big fruit, big tannins, big acid make this an immediate stunner with a future if laid down a year or so after bottling. SOLD OUT

1999 McCrone Vineyard
Barrel tasting 12/21/99
Dark ruby color. The scent is herbal, with hints of tea and dark black fruit. The flaovrs are broad, fleshing out beautifully. Red raspberry and other red fruits dominate, with anise and nutmeg on the finish. A tightly wound wine, tannins big, but balanced by equally big fruit.
$350 case of 12 sold out

1998 Pinot Noir
Single Vineyard Wines

98 Canary Hill Vineyard The wine from this site is typically very forward, with aromas of black cherry and cola.

98 Carter Vineyard
The wine is firmer than Canary Hill in its youth but evolves beautifully after a few years in the bottle to show black fruits and freshy, healthy earth scents.

98 Nysa Vineyard
Right next to Drouhin in the Dundee Hills. Bordering on the exotic for '99. Had a great spice w/clove fermentation smell. Dark and fairly forward.

98 Wahle Vineyard
Just above and essentially contiguous with McCrone. In '99 the fruit was just perfect. This vineyard is older than McCrone and is planted to the Pommard clone.

98 Shea Vineyard

98 Arcus Vineyard
A property of Archery Summit, this wine shows a natural soft and forward mouth feel and an inherent smokiness and earthy character to the deep red fruits on the nose and palate.

98 Abbey Ridge Vineyard

98 McCrone Vineyard
The wine from this site is powerful, dense, and deeply colored.

98 Guadalupe Vineyard
The wine possesses the character of black fruits, cocoa, leather, and earth.


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