Patty's Pinot Closet Newsletter

Volume 2, Issue 1
January, 2004
Circulation 4,363


"October 10, 2003 ~ Today is the final day of pinot noir harvest, and it is a full 16 days earlier than last year, which should indicate how warm and condensed the harvest has been. Suffice it to say we can declare it the 6th consecutive very good vintage-how good we'll have to determine later." Harry Peterson-Nedry, Chehalem Wines.

Patty's Pinot Closet publishes this newsletter on the enjoyment and appreciation of Pinot Noir. We welcome you to enjoy the newsletters and to share them with others. This, my fourth newsletter, covers Oregon Pinot Noirs. Tasting was done at wineries, wine festivals, and during very lovely dinners and lunches. Subsequent newsletters will cover California areas, Burgundy, and other growing areas.

Oregon Food and Wine

Food  In Oregon we were treated to both red and white salmon splayed on alder stakes over a huge fire pit and basted with butter and fresh marjoram. The very rare white salmon or albino salmon are naturally a much fattier fish. They are simply freaks of nature, and impossible to distinguish until you fillet them. They were delicious and I highly recommend them if you are fortunate enough to find them.

An interesting tasting paired 7 Pinot Noirs (each from a different country or state) with fresh albacore prepared three different ways – poached in olive oil, grilled, and smoked. It was amazing how different the same Pinot Noirs tasted with the different albacores. Three famous chefs each prepared one of the types albacore – one of them was Caprial Pence, the PBS chef, who's wonderful restaurant, Caprials, we enjoyed in Portland, OR. See our website for location and details.

Another discovery I loved was bread with dried figs - absolutely delicious with cream cheese. You can find it at Whole Foods.

We delighted over an incredible porchetta prepared by Mary Kay Gehring's Viande Meats & Sausage fresh from the oven.

Nick Peirano of Nick's Italian Café in McMinnville came up with another first for me – Pinot Noir Snow Cones served by Nick himself on a warm summer afternoon.

Restaurants  We discovered many wonderful restaurants in Oregon. To name a few: Cory Schreiber's Wildwood Restaurant & Bar in Portland, Caprials in Portland, The Dundee Bistro in Dundee, Jack Czarnecki's The Joel Palmer House in Dayton, Marche in Eugene, Nick's Italian Café in McMinnville. These restaurants all have extensive Oregon Wine Lists. You can find more information on these restaurants and links to their web sites on our web site.

Recipes  One of my favorite ways to serve salmon is Grilled with Pinot Noir Lentils and Spinach. The tiny slate-green French lentils are wonderful when cooked in Pinot. I add a dash of Black Currant Vinegar which finishes them beautifully.

Wine Festivals


17th International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC)
July 24th - 27th, 2003
Linfield College, McMinnville, OR

The IPNC is a very classy, but definitely informal, 4-day wine event held on the campus of Linfield College in McMinnville, OR. For four days 600 attendees taste Pinot Noirs from around the globe from Riedel glasses. The three days are filled with classes, tastings, tours, talks, and breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. Meals are prepared by chefs from many wonderful restaurants and wines are poured by sommeliers in black tie from many restaurants. The IPNC concludes with Sunday Brunch and the sommeliers donning a little less sober dress. They feature Pinot Noir Sparkling wines and an incredible buffet. The hyperlink on this topic will take you to a teriffic photo tour of the 2003 celebration by Avalon

18th Annual International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC)
July 23rd - 25th, 2004
Linfield College, McMinnville, OR

Australia, Tasmania

14th Annual Tasmanian Wines Show
12th - 17th January 2004
Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

Hosted by the Tasmania Wine Show Society, a week long series of events including Judges Tutored Tasting of Old World / New World wines, Awards Presentation Dinner, and public tastings.

New Zealand

Pinot Noir 2004
28 - 31 January 2004
Wellington, New Zealand

"Pinot Noir 2004 will be led by a panel of internationally respected wine experts and commentators, many chairing the formal tasting sessions. Delegates will meet and mingle with the best known names in the international wine scene. The food will again be orchestrated to perfection. From the Chefs Choice dinner at the leading city restaurants, to the informality of the late night street party with food prepared on the spot, to the sparkling gala dinner delegates will again be transported through the delicious taste experiences of New Zealand." Quote from website.

I will be attending and reporting on these events.

Salmon Splayed on Alder Stakes
Photo Coutsey of Michael Madigan


Pinot Noir Snow Cone from Nick's Italian Cafe

Sommelier at Sunday Brunch

Oregon Pinot Noirs

Although there have been vines and wine in Oregon since the days of the Oregon Trail, and Pinot Noirs since the 1970's, there has been an explosion in the last 10 years with the number of wineries going from 78 in 1992 to 250 today. Oregon ranks 4th in the United States in the production of varietal wines. 50% of harvested acreage is Pinot Noir, all but 4% of the harvested Pinot Noir acreage is in the Willamette Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA). Pinot Gris is second with 14%, the majority of which is also grown in Willamette. In the map to the right, Oregon's AVAs are the dark areas, Willamette Valley is the dark burgundy area in the upper left. The map is used by permission of Delta Geographics and is available from their web site.

The Willamette Valley AVA is, as you can see from the map, quite large. Efforts are currently underway to define new subappellations. They are Red Hills of Dundee, Chehalem Mountains, Ribbon Ridge, Yamhill/Carlton District, McMinville, and Eola Hills. The process for approval is quite lengthy, taking several years. If you want to track progress directly the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau or TTB maintains a web site where you can view status, and have your voice heard if you have an opinion or read the opinion of others.

Although Pinot Noir is grown in the other Oregon AVAs, the action is in the Willamette area. If you want details on other varietals or AVAs, the Oregon Wine Advisory Board maintains an excellent web site.

Wine Factoid.  Oregon has the most stringent wine labeling laws in the nation. Their intent is to provide accurate information that the consumer can count on and to accurately describe the contents of the bottle. For example no foreign regions or appellations, such as "Burgundy" can be used. A bottle described as a 2001 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir must be 90% Pinot Noir, 100% from the Willamette AVA, and 95% from the cited year.

Oregon Wine Map

All of the wines listed in the newsletters are listed on the website. Previous reviews did not contain links to the wineries, which have been added, if available. Where possible, prices listed below have been taken from the winery website or other retail sources and are included for relative comparison only. Your price may be different.

Archery Summit Winery
2000 $150 97 Intense dark ruby-garnet color. Earthy, black cherry and mushroom bouquet. Good balance, body and very long lovely aftertaste.
Penner Ash Wine Cellars
Willamette Valley
2001 $45 96 Big dense wine with luscious black currant smoky bouquet. Silky in the mouth with a wonderful long aftertaste.
Carlo & Julian Winery
2000 $21 95 Intense dark ruby-garnet color. Earthy, black cherry and mushroom bouquet. Good balance, body and very long lovely aftertaste.
Elk Cove Vineyards
Roosevelt Vineyard
2000 $32 95 Dense big bodied wine with complex bouquet of blueberries, earth and toast. Intense flavors and long aftertaste
Ken Wright Cellars
Willamette Valley
Elton Vineyard
2000   94 Dense ruby-garnet wine with aromas of black currants and black cherries. This earthy, complex wine was made from a Pomard clone. Wonderful balance, flavor and a long aftertaste.
Phelps Creek Vineyard
2001 $42 94 Intense wine with dark fruit aromas and flavors. Long lingering aftertaste
Reed & Reynolds
2001 $42 93 Medium intensity ruby-garnet color. Bouquets of black currant, black pepper, mushroom and earth. Good balance and body with a lovely long aftertaste.
2002 $30 92 Big ripe fruit laced with oak.
Broadley Vineyards
Claudia's Choice
2001 $48 92 Full bodied with aromas and flavors of blackberry and cassis. Lovely long finish.
Domaine Drouhin Oregon
1996   92 Medium intensity garnet color wine with a bouquet of cherries, chocolate, mushrooms, and earth. Well balanced with a lovely long aftertaste.
Rex Hill Vineyards and Winery
1999 $48 92 Big bodied wine with aromas of earthy blackberry, licorice and spice. Aromas of blackberries with a medium aftertaste.
Beran Vineyards
Willamette Valley
2000 $28 91 Big bodied very Burgundian wine. Hillside old vines held to a maximum yield of 2 tons per acre. Aged in French oak barrels and unfiltered and unfined.
Willamette Valley
Louise Vineyard
2000 $40 91 Intense ruby-garnet wine with a very Burgundian nose, black currant, earthy, smoky aromas. Good balance with velvety black cherry flavors and a long finish.
Antica Terra
Willamette Valley
2001 $35 90 Dense ruby-garnet wine with aromas of black cherries. Good balance, body and jammy flavors.
Willamette Valley
Mt. Jefferson Cuvee
2001 $24 90 Medium bodied ruby colored wine with black cherries and spice in the nose. Black fruit in the flavor and nice aftertaste.
Shea Wine Cellars
Willamette Valley
Shea Vineyard
2001 $35 90 Big dense wine with wonderful black currant nose and rich taste. Made from Pomard Clone and never irrigated.
Rion Reserve
2001 $50 90 Intense ruby colored wine with aromas of cherries. Good balance, body and nice long aftertaste.
Domaine Drouhin Oregon
1998   90 Dense wine with aromas of raspberries
Domaine Drouhin Oregon
2000   90 Raspberry and black cherry bouquet with large tannins and good balance. Very long aftertaste.
Evesham Wood Winery
1999 $28 90 Medium density with black currant, earthy and mushroomy wine. Complex with soft tannins with a medium finish.
Patricia Green Cellars
Eason Vineyard
2001 $33 90 Medium intensity ruby wine with black currant, cloves, and black pepper bouquet. Well balanced but light bodied.
Domaine Drouhin Oregon
2000 $40 89 Medium intensity ruby-garnet color with aromas of black fruit and a long finish.
Lemelson Vineyards & Winery
Jerome Reserve
2001 $44 89 Light density wine with a raspberry bouquet. Nice flavor and aftertaste.
Willamette Valley
2000 $38 88 Floral nose of violet and lavender. Silky and peppery in the mouth with a medium aftertaste.
3 vineyards
2001 $25 88 Big bodied wine with floral aromas. Very long aftertaste
Belle Pente Vineyard & Winery
Willamette Valley
Estate Reserve
2001 $40 88 Intense ruby-garnet wine with black cherry aromas. Good balance and body and nice dark fruit flavors with a long finish.
Westrey Wine Company
Willamette Valley
Temperance Hill Vineyard
1999 $23 88 Dark intense ruby colored wine with cherries, cinnamin and toast bouquet. Well-balanced with good body.
Willamette Valley
2000 $35 87 cherry, vanilla & spice
Panther Creek Cellars
Willamette Valley
Shea Vineyard
2000 $40 87 Dark intense garnet wine with black cherry earthy bouquet. Good balance and body.
King Estate Winery
Estate Domaine
2000 $50 87 Cherry aromas with good balance and body.
R. Stuart & Co.
2002 $16 87 Dark jammy intense wine with good balance. Made with wild yeasts.
Rapter Ridge Winery
2001 $16 87 Light intensity ruby wine with an earthy black currant bouquet.
Evesham Wood Winery
Le Puits Sec
2001 $14 86 Light density wine with a raspberry bouquet, soft tannins and nice flavor.
Tyee Wine Cellars
2002 $25 86 Very dark inky wine with soft tannins and good acid.
Henry Estate Winery
Barrell Select
2000   85 Medium intensity wine with aromas of cherries and earthness.
Beacon Hill Vineyard
2000 $46 85 Light intensity ruby-garnet colored wine with strawberry aroma.
Edgefield Winery
Willamette Valley
Vintage Select
2000 $21 85 Medium intensity with ruby-garnet color and bouquet of cherry and earth.

Subsequent Newsletters: will cover Oregon, Sonoma, Napa, Santa Barbara County, Burgundy and other Pinot Noir growing areas.

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