As many of you know, I'm a fan of Pinot Noir. It's gentle, goes great with food and has many subtleties that I enjoy "thinking" on. Yes, sorry for the Sideways reference, but it's been that way for me since before the film.
If it's good, it's also expensive. Usually.
Willamette Valley Vineyards (or @willamettevv on twitter) asked to send me samples of their wines that fit in the $20dollarwine rules, I said yes, but questioned whether that was a wise idea. Typically, good Pinot from Oregon is scarce under $30 a bottle, but I relented solely on their reputation and on what I heard from friends who judged in the SF Wine Competition about the quality of wines coming out of WVV who did quite well with their 2 Best in Class offerings.
I'm also very happy to see they are producing wine with the L.I.V.E. philosophy and sealing using cork certified by the Rainforest to Stewardship Council. I'm a fan of cork and sustainability. More on that later.
The first bottle is the 2007 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. It's a lovely little bottle that retails for about $25. I was aged in 20% new oak and get this...was picked at between 19 and 24 brix. Yes....that's correct, 19. 19.
Say it again - 19ºBrix. That's what I love to hear...not the silliness of folks in Santa Lucia Highlands picking Pinot at 28º. That's CRAZYTALK.
I cellared this bottle for several weeks at 54ºF and then poured from the bottle.
It's got a lovely and very subtle nose of delicate red fruit. The first from the bottle was fresh, light, lean and clean with sharp acid and I was craving a nice pork chop with herbs de provence. Mmm. The last bit of the bottle was elegant, soft, velvety....and I was craving a bit of chocolate. Mmm, again.
This is a super food wine and is the best QPR Pinot Noir I've had the pleasure of enjoying in quite some time.
Kudos to the team at WVV.
2007 Willamette Valley Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Next was the 2008 Whole Cluster Fermented Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
Interestingly, it's whole cluster fermented AND fermented using carbonic maceration. Crazy. That's stuff those French do for the yumminess that is Beaujolais Nouveau. Essentially, rather than fermenting with a traditional aerobic environment and with fruit that is crushed, CO2 is introduced into the fermentation tank, and what's now, an anaerobic environment and fermentation occurs INSIDE the fruit itself.
This leads to VERY low tannins, so wines are very drinkable when young, but don't have enough structure to lay down for much more than a year at the very most.
Have some fun and drink this very, very reasonably priced, approachable
2008 Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Willamette Valley Pinot Noir