The Cliff Notes: Dark, young and effusive, this wine screams full deep earth, dark cherry/ripe cassis, smoky grilled steak and the slight balsam-vanillin of a Ponderosa pine forest. The palate is focused, long and even more serious, projecting cherry, passion fruit, chocolate and pencil that lingers vibrantly on a muscular feminine frame. Great weight and substance is integrated by good lip-tingling tannins that persist and will transport it, balanced, to age.
Cases Produced: 656 highly vetted cases.
Vintage: 2008 in Oregon was a good, perhaps even great, vintage. The fact that it was almost identical to 2007 will be lost on most. The difference, the blessing, in an otherwise cool and similar growing year was an Indian summer. That extended weather window of warm days and cool nights without Mother Nature “harshing our mellow” contributed complexity by allowing grape hang time beyond 110 days. Moreover, it allowed winemakers to make the call as they saw fit, in regards to belief in optimal ripening, be that Cote de Nuits or Coca de Cola.
The building of: Six- to eight-barrel-lot wild-yeast fermentations, barrel aged for 18 months in 39% new, 13% one year, 16% two year, and 32% neutral barrels. Bottled, unfined and unfiltered in March of 2010.
Ageability: This wine is built. Acid and tannin sit prominently to balance ripe fruit and take it towards age in this fine vintage. We absolutely recommend that you consider decanting to get it some air within its first three years. This wine should easily climb in complexity towards — and likely beyond — ten years. It sits in good stead with JKC 1999 and 2002, both still on the ascent, and amongst the “tall poppies” of their Oregon peers and vintages.
Vineyards: Temperance Hill (29 years) brought old-vine complexity, Shea Vineyard (11 years) ripe dark fruit, Black Walnut (6 years) earth, Eola Hills (10 years) centrist cherry, Gemini Vineyard (17 years) massive red, Momtazi (10 years) hi-tone and spice.
"The 2008 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley is a blend of 7 vineyards aged in 20% new oak. It sports a lovely bouquet of balsam wood, cinnamon, allspice, incense, black cherry and black currant. On the palate it has excellent volume, displays incipient complexity, is densely packed, and has 2-3 years of aging potential. This savory, ripe offering will provide pleasure from 2012 to 2020."
The Wine Advocate - October 31, 2010
"Bright red. Sexy aromas of black raspberry, cherry pit, sassafras, and Asian spices. Juicy and precise, with sweet red and dark berry flavors lifted by candied flowers and spicecake. Deep but light on its feet, finishing with intense spiciness and a hint of anise. This elegant pinot is already showing a lot of complexity."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar - Jul/Aug, 2011
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$36/bottle case price
$95/bottle 1.5-L magnum