Gems in My Glass . . . November 2013

11:11 am Gems in MY Glass . . ., Tasting Notes

Wineries and winemakers in the Willamette Valley continue to broaden their offerings of stunning Pinot Noir from vineyards across this American Viticultural Area. It is no surprise that Oregon’s Willamette Valley  is one of the world’s top regions for this highly sought after variety.  During my last visit it became clear that Pinot Noir is not the only variety that shines here.  A few of my recent favorites include:

Ayoub Wines 2012 Chardonnay; Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon:   Aromas of baked apple, fresh flowers and a touch of spice entice the nose with this complex and richly textured Chardonnay.  Layers of minerality, fresh sliced apples, quince paste, a dash of butterscotch and well integrated oak unravel harmoniously through the palate and the lively acidity keeps the wine bright and balanced through the lingering finish.  SRP:  $48;

Willamette Valley Vineyards 2010 Tualatin Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir; Willamette Valley, Oregon:  A highly expressive Burgundian style pinot noir that opens with earthy, dark cherry aromas titillating the senses.  On the palate, the silky smooth texture glides across the palate delivering delicious flavors of mushroom, black cherry, exotic tea spices and a nice thread of dried herb accents.  Compelling in its elegance and purity.  SRP:  $45;

Willamette Valley Vineyards 2012 Pinot Gris; Willamette Valley, Oregon:  Glorious aromatics of fresh white flowers and lemon zest rise from the glass – you can’t wet your lips fast enough!  Filling the mouth are dazzling flavors of citrus adorned pear and apple, a touch of honeysuckle, and a subtle dusting of herbs.  Razor sharp acidity keeps the wine lifted and bright throughout; an absolutely stunning Pinot Gris.  SRP:  $16

Cristom Vineyards 2011 Mt. Jefferson Cuvee Pinot Noir; Willamette Valley, Oregon:   Forest floor nuances rise from the glass and lead to a juicy, rich mouth full of anise spice, sweet red cherries, sautéed mushrooms, earthy notes and a splash of cola peeking through on the persistent, satisfying finish. Lively throughout with precise balance and nicely integrated tannins.  SRP:  $30

Bethel Heights Vineyard 2011 Riesling; Willamette Valley, Oregon:    this elegant Riesling opens with river rock and floral aromas that mesh seamlessly with the minerally notes and a hint of fresh cut herbs framing stone fruit at the core.   Bright and snappy with its racy acidity, this vibrant wine would pair nicely with shell fish, turkey or fresh sole.  SRP:  $18;

Soter Vineyards 2011 Mineral Springs Ranch Pinot Noir; Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette Valley, Oregon:  Tightly wound up front, give this single vineyard Pinot Noir time to open up and you’ll be handsomely rewarded!   Alluring cherry fruit and floral notes are showcased on the nose. Unveiled on the palate are dark cherry, wild berry, licorice and savory spice melding harmoniously with a nice thread of minerality.   Focused and pure with plenty of length; expect this beauty to cellar nicely for years.   SRP: $55;

Alexana Winery 2012 Chardonnay; Willamette Valley, Oregon:  This nicely weighted Chardonnay opens with aromas of warm buttered toast and poached pears, delighting the senses. On the palate fresh tree ripened pear and lively citrus notes converge with well-placed oak nuances, fig jam and clove spice, generously coating the mouth.  The texture is satin smooth and the richness is beautifully offset with bright acidity, a delectable, complex wine.      SRP:  $32;

Alexana Winery 2007 Revana Vineyard Pinot Noir; Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon:  Provocative earth driven aromas rise from the glass with this gorgeous high toned Pinot Noir.  Dried cherry, raspberry and pomegranate flavors mesh with roasted coffee and savory spice notes creating a wildly vibrant explosion of tastiness on the palate that lingers long after the last sip.  A finely tuned, well-crafted wine that truly captures the sense of place.  SRP:  $45 (current release 2011 vintage);

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