Oregon Wine Club – February 2009

2006 Antica Terra, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Now here’s a powerhouse Pinot Noir! Antica Terra began in 1989 with the purchase of a rugged 28-acre parcel in the Amity Hills region of the Willamette Valley. The vineyard sits on a gently sloping hillside of well-drained soil, underlain by sandstone and siltstone, formed from old alluvium – hence “the old earth.” A variety of Pinot Noir clones were densely planted in 1990, and yields have been kept low to develop concentrated flavors, as well as to hasten ripening before the fall rains. In 2005, the winery was sold to a group including winemaker Maggie Harrison, formerly at the California cult winery Sine Qua Non. Not surprisingly, Maggie’s goal is to make the lush, rich Pinot Noir more characteristic of California, shaped by the cooler climate and lean soils of Oregon. The result is this luscious wine, featuring deep blackberry and black currant flavors, scents of raspberry jam, and hints of toast and earth. Worthy of aging ten years, we’d recommend saving it for a big, complex feast like Thanksgiving or Christmas. It is $48, and still available in a limited supply.

2006 Capitello, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Since New Zealand has a thriving Pinot Noir industry, maybe it’s no surprise that Oregon has provided a new home for a top Kiwi winemaker. Ray Walsh started at Cooper’s Creek in Marlborough, and then made his mark as the winemaker for King Estate in Oregon. Tiring of the big commercial wineries, he started this small family winery with his son Desmond in 2003. The name “Capitello” comes from the traditional Italian statue of a saint that is positioned in the vineyard to bless the vines. Although he doesn’t have his own vineyard yet, Ray has the industry connections to obtain top notch fruit for his wines, which include a very limited sparkling wine. This Pinot Noir displays rich aromas of plum and blackberry fruits, while also offering the complexity of oak spice, with floral and earth tones. A great value at only $35, it would be a fine match for Oregon truffles or similarly earthy fare. Although Ray only made about 100 cases, it’s in good supply in our area and ready to drink.