2006 Coeur de Terre Vineyard, Renelle’s Block, Pinot Noir
Scott and Lisa Neal founded Coeur de Terre Vineyard in 1998 with a goal of producing their own hand-crafted, estate-grown Pinot Noirs. They are a family-run winery, managing all of the operations themselves, even grafting new plants in their greenhouse, and they grow all of their fruit organically. Coeur de Terre is located in the foothills of Oregon’s Coast Range, in the McMinnville AVA, the westernmost AVA in Oregon, and unlike any other in the Willamette Valley in both geology and climate. Situated in the rainshadow of the nearby mountains, this area gets much less rainfall and cold winds than sites less than 20 miles away. This AVA also has some of the oldest soils in Oregon, and soil types not seen elsewhere in the state. Pinot Noirs grown here are deeply colored, with good tannic structure and dark fruit and earth. The three-acre Renelle’s Block, named after Scott’s mother, was the first vineyard Scott and Lisa planted. The 2006 Pinot from this site is complex and muscular, with a rich mouth feel, delicate spice, and a long finish. It is $53 and, while satisfying now, would benefit from a few years’ aging. It would stand up well to lighter meat dishes, such as pork, duck, or lamb.
2007 Natalie’s Estate Winery, Whistling Ridge Vineyard, Pinot Noir
Natalie’s Estate is located in the Chehalem Mountain AVA in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and has been producing wine since 2000. Founded by Boyd and Cassandra Teegarden, and named for their daughter, the winery’s focus is on handcrafting small quantities of premium wines using grapes from outstanding vineyard sources in the Willamette Valley.
Their grapes are grown using sustainable farming practices and in his winemaking, Boyd strives to draw out the true character of the fruit and the land. To this end, he incorporates many Old World winemaking techniques, allowing the inherent characteristics of the wine to develop naturally, rather than intervening with too much manipulation. As a result, his wines have a true sense of place. In fact, he produces some Washington wines as well, which also beautifully express their vineyard sources. Whistling Ridge is a 15-acre vineyard in the Ribbon Ridge AVA, just above the estate vineyards of Beaux Freres and Patricia Green, who also source Pinot Noir from this vineyard. The 2007 Whistling Ridge Pinot has nicely balanced flavors of raspberries and spice and an elegant, polished finish. It is $29.75, ready to enjoy now, and is a quintessential salmon Pinot.