Avalon Wine Club March Selections
Colene Clemens Reserve 2010
$45 retail $38.25 member price
Wine Advocate 92 Pts: The 2010 Pinot Noir Reserve offers a striking aroma of diverse flowers, smoky black tea and Asian “five spice”, fresh ripe cherry and purple plum.
Deep suggestions of charred, grilled red meats along with the persistence of smoke and spice inform a velvet textured, palate-staining black fruit-filled matrix that leads to a long, savory finish still beautifully haunted by floral essences. This sumptuous success ought to be worth following for at least ten or a dozen years. Colene Clemens Vineyards & Winery is a small, family-owned and operated winery owned by Joe and Vicki Stark with vigneron Stephen Goff overseeing the 40-acre vineyard and making the wine.
Really inviting aromas after decanting, gushing with pretty red berries, creamy earth and nicely integrated oak. Soft and juicy, this is plush Pinot noir that’s a joy to drink.
Why back-to-back Westrey Pinots in the Reserve Pinot Club? Simply put, the 2010 Westrey Justice represents new heights for Westrey and for the Justice Vineyard, a gorgeous site owned and farmed by Bethel Heights. We had such a hard time choosing between the Oracle and Justice Vineyard Pinots for the club, that we had to send both!
The 2010 Justice is a true eye-opener of the year. We gave in and stopped trying to describe the aromas – just embraced the exotic and evocative perfume. The velvety-textured flavors have breadth and depth, flowing with black berry and black cherry, resinous and savory, we couldn’t put the glass down.
Five minutes since a sip and you could still taste the bead of blackberry preserves flecked with dried thyme and pepper. Production was WAY down in 2010, which adds extra urgency to grab this. It’s the best-priced Justice Vineyard designate (and as good or better than its peers).
Justice Vineyard is owned by Bethel Heights and is located next to the Bethel Heights Vineyard in the Eola Amity Hills. A vineyard at its prime, at 14 years of age it produces detailed, exceptional grapes and is LIVE certified.
Insider’s Pinot Noir Club
Spindrift Cellars Croft Vineyard 2010 & Tyee Estate 2009
Croft Vineyard 2010
$26 retail $22.10 member price
Wine Spectator 91 Pts: Tight and sleek, with a tarry edge to the black cherry flavors, showing good transparency as the finish lingers against lively acidity. Drink now through 2018. 168 cases made.
Wine Enthusiast Magazine 90 Pts: Lovely aromatics introduce this elegant, light, yet truly satisfying Pinot Noir. Balanced and complex, it shows classic scents and flavors, lending Burgundian character to Oregon fruit. It would not be surprising if this wine lasted a decade or more. – P.G.
Winemaker Matthew Compton manages area vineyards as well as making the wines for his family’s Spindrift Cellars. Grapes for this wine comes from Croft Vineyards (pictured below), located in Polk County in the Eola Amity AVA. Owners Chancy and Toni Croft’s original vines were planted in 1985 through 1989 plantings, and the two vineyards total about 95 acres.
Tyee Estate 2009
$25 retail $21.25 member price
94 Pts Portland Monthly Magazine 50 Best Wines of 2012: Offering sweetly herbaceous aromas of fresh English peas, mint, and red plums on the nose, this pinot rounds out with ripe red cherries and a touch of vanilla on the palate. A bit shy out of the glass, it will develop into a true beauty within a few years.
Made from a combination of all Pinot noir plantings in Tyee’s Estate Vineyard from vines 9 to 35 years old. A luscious, aromatic wine with mixed berry fruit and spice, a silky mid‐palate, good balance and a long finish. Traditionally made as a gluten-free, vegan-friendly wine. Only 500 cases produced.
Tyee Wine Cellars is located on the scenic Buchanan Family Century Farm founded over 120 years ago in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley near Corvallis. It is a small family owned and operated winery making about 1,500 cases annually.
Tyee’s winemaker, Merrilee Buchanan Benson grew up at Tyee. She has always worked closely with her family in the winery and vineyard, becoming winemaker in 2006, to coincide with Tyee’s production of Estate wines made from grapes grown exclusively in the family vineyard.
Tyee Wine Cellars is 100% solar powered. The Buchanans were honored with a Private Landowner Stewardship award for “their leadership as land stewards, conservationists, and sustainable agricultural producers in the Willamette Valley” by the Oregon Wildlife Society.
Northwest Big Reds Club
Manu Propria Ex Animo Cab Sauv 2010 & Sheridan Cab Franc 2010
Manu Propria Ex Animo
Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
$35 retail $29.75 member price
Manu Propria translates from the Latin as “from my own hand” – preface it with “wine” and you have the philosophy of Michael and Rachel Macmorran. Working exclusively with fruit from the Red Willow Vineyard, Mike’s first wine is called Ex Animo – Latin for “from the heart.” Ex Animo is Mike’s homage to Red Willow, his “palpable love of land and family that brings an ineffable quality to their grapes, which we hope to convey with our wine, Ex Animo.”
Manu Propria is the personal project of Mike’s family. For his “day job” Mike is Winemaker at both Mark Ryan Winery and as of 2012, is also Estate Winemaker at Force Majeure – the new incarnation of Grand Reve Vintners.
Here’s a new Cab that you’ve got to try. It’s unique, filled with character, the personal label of Mark Ryan’s winemaker, from the famed Red Willow Vineyard. And we can’t believe it’s only $35.
It’s been a long time since an unknown Washington wine lit us up like this. The aromas are unique, arresting, and complex – a tantalizing combination of rich fruit hovering around spice and earth, leather and cured olive. Like a bubble bursting in your mouth, the intense purple berries pop, then expand into plum and deeper into cassis, finishing with cracked pepper, tobacco, and a hint of sweet dark cherry.
Fantastically balanced, you can open and drink it today (especially with a quick decant) and I have no doubt it will reward 4-6 years of aging. You’ve got to try this!
A tantalizing nose of oiled leather, cracked black pepper and black olive underlay notes of briar patch, creek bed, violets and heather. The voluptuous palate presents marionberry, currant and plum nestled in cocoa powder and wet tobacco. The rich attack transitions seamlessly to a refined finish of impressive length, demonstrating a beautiful balance of acidity and oak, and a fine-grained cabernet sauvignon structure. – the winemaker
85% Cabernet Sauvignon blend with Merlot and Malbec from Red Willow Vineyard. 14.7% alcohol. 170 cases made.
Cabernet Franc 2010
$48 retail $40.80 member price
Available to Club Members Only
Deep black center leading to a vibrant purple rim. This extremely aromatic wine delivers appealing savory components of lavender, fresh thyme and Szechuan pepper mingling with explosive black tea, cardamom and blackberry aromas. Plump and juicy black fig abounds upfront leading to allspice, cocoa and almond paste. The tannins are quite fine making for an immediately approachable wine. The finish is smooth, refined and beguiling for such a young wine. Flavors of bittersweet chocolate and Chinese Five Spice balance the structure and length leaving you begging for more. This wine will age gracefully for 10-15 years.
Scott Greer’s Sheridan Vineyard wines have been a major factor in changing the reputation of the Yakima Valley AVA from “ho-humm” to “capable of extraordinary.” A collection of near perfect scores (97-100Pt) from Wine Advocate skyrocketed Sheridan to national attention.
Wine Advocate says: There is really no mystery as to what Scott Greer is doing at Sheridan; total attention to detail, a great vineyard, impeccable farming, and non-interventionist winemaking. Sheridan Vineyard sits outside the town of Zillah, Washington, on a rise overlooking the Yakima Valley, contained in a confluence of vineyards and wineries at the end of Gilbert Road: Sheridan, Dineen, Andrew Will’s Two Blondes Vineyard, and most recently, Ramseyer.
In the 1990s, Scott Greer and business partners Pat and Lanie Dineen met through their mutual interest in finance and banking and became friends. In 1996 they purchased a 76 acre site outside Zillah and planted the first ten acres of the Sheridan Vineyard. Shortly after, Chris Camarda planted his Andrew Will Two Blondes Vineyard literally next door.
Over the next decade, Sheridan expanded the vineyard to 55 acres on their 76 acre site, the Dineens planted their own ten acre Dineen Vineyard and in 2002 the Dineens purchased a much larger site and established a 55 acre vineyard. Sheridan Vineyard’s winery/production facilities are located on the Dineen’s land and Scott makes the Dineen wines. The wineries and vineyard share fruit, winemaking, and infrastructure. Recently (2012) they bought a new 30 acre site and will plant about half of it to grapes, including Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chardonnay, and Malbec.
Northwest New Discoveries Club
Fausse Piste La Pyramide Syrah 2010 & Elemental Auxerrois 2011
Fausse Piste La Pyramide Syrah 2010
$24 retail $20.40 member price
Hey Syrah fans: are you ready for the newest, best-value Washington Syrah? It’s here – La Pyramide from Fausse Piste. I wish it were easier to say, but you don’t need to pronounce it to love it. Filled with bowlfuls of cinnamon-spiced plums and cherries, its both broad shouldered and balanced. Orange and grilled herb notes join in on the dark fruit finish. Like Ex Umbris? You’ll love La Pyramide. We highly recommend it!
Jesse continues to build his reputation as a master of Syrah. Scented with smoky bacon fat, dark plums, black cherries, and violets, there’s more of the same in the mouth. Rich, mouthcoating, succulent, creamy, it’s pure Washington Syrah at its expressive best.
A new cuvee based on grapes sourced from mineral-driven, rocky vineyards in Oregon and Washington – vineyards where Viognier and Syrah are grown together. Viognier makes up 17 percent of la Pyramide. 331 cases made.
Elemental Auxerrois 2011
$16 retail $13.60 member price
When someone comes into the Avalon Wine store looking for the perfect pairing for oysters, we point to this wine. The Elemental Auxerrois is an aromatic, crisp apple and pear-tinged white wine with hints of smoke and minerals in the finish. A guaranteed hit with shellfish of all types.
Elemental Cellars is the personal label of Steven Westby, winemaker at Witness Tree.
This wine is made with a grape only occasionally encountered in Oregon. Auxerrois is native to the Alsace region of France where it is known for making lean, mineral driven wines. It is a main contributor to the white blend used to make Cremant d’Alsace sparkling wines.