I recently had the pleasure of attending a tasting put on by the Willamette Valley Wineries Association where 70 producers were showcasing current and past vintages. Most of the wines being poured were Pinot Noirs from the 2009 and 2010 vintages although there were a few lingering 2007 and 2008’s along with a smattering of Syrah and various white varietals. Tastings of this magnitude are an excellent opportunity to gain broad perspective on vintage quality while also searching for individual wines that rise above the pack. From a vintage perspective the standout for me was 2010. Although it was not an easy year from a farming perspective, many of the wines display the qualities that Oregon producers have long espoused as the signatures of their region. Phenolic ripeness at lower alcohol levels, elegant tannin structures, bright acidity and a finesse on the palate that delivers a great depth of flavor without being heavy. The best of the 2010’s also deliver excellent length and transparency on the finish. Crop levels were down by around 20% for the vintage, so if you find a wine that strikes your fancy don’t procrastinate on procuring your supply. Here are a few standouts from 2010 available at Beltramo’s.
2010 Anam Cara Chehalem Mountains Vineyard Selection Pinot Noir ($19.99) – This is a wine that will appeal to folks who prefer a more savory flavor profile where elements of earth, wet Autumn leaves, mushroom and braised meat are woven into the soft cherry and plum fruit tones. It’s also been a hit with people who enjoy good quality Burgundy but are looking for a more budget friendly way to satisfaction.
2010 Evesham Wood Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir ($24.99) – Small lot production and minimal intervention in the cellar are hallmarks of the Evesham Wood philosophy. This wine offers aromas of wild strawberry and woodsy spice with a delicate red cherry flavor on the palate. The tannins are like chalk dust and offer just enough structure to help the fruit flavors linger long through the finish.
2010 Eyrie Dundee Hills Pinot Noir ($32.99) - ”Bright red. Fresh red berries and cherry on the perfumed nose. Sappy, penetrating raspberry and cherry flavors show very good depth, with tangy mineral and blood orange nuances providing pungent lift. Shows very good intensity on the finish, which features subtle floral and spicecake qualities. This wine improves quite a bit with a half hour of decanting and should age nicely on its balance.”- Stephen Tanzer
2010 Beaux Freres Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($44.99) - “The 2010 Willamette Valley cuvée is a comprised of fruit from the following vineyard sources: Gran Moraine 42%, Zena Crown 37%, and Shea 21%. Dark ruby in color, with aromas of blue fruit and spice. On the palate the fruit shows plum, dark currants, sweet cherries and a dash of raspberry. Medium to full bodied, supple and pure with sweet tannins.” – Beaux Freres Winery
2010 Trisaetum Coast Range Pinot Noir ($52.99) - “Bright red raspberry and red currant are tinged with iodine and smoky black tea in the nose and infectiously juicy palate of Trisaetum’s 2010 Pinot Noir Coast Range Estate. A sweet, saline, scallop-like savor – as well as metaphorically cooling inner-mouth evocations of herbal essences on a polished palate –leads to a long finish of finesse and fascination. This should be worth following for at least 6-8 years.” David Schildknecht – Wine Advocate
Mike J., Beltramo’s Domestic Wine Buyer