Oregon Wine Club – May 2010

2007 R. Stuart & Co., Weber Vineyard, Pinot Noir
R. Stuart winery has had a presence in our shop for many years, from their Big Fire wines, blended from different vineyard sties and made for everyday drinking, to their higher-end, single-vineyard offerings, such as this Weber Vineyard Pinot Noir. Weber Vineyard lies in the Dundee Hills appellation, on well-drained, volcanic Jory soil. It was planted by Arthur and Vivian Weber in 1974, and winemaker Rob Stuart has worked with it almost every year since 1994 so he knows it well. The blocks he uses for this wine are planted with Pommard clones, known for their dark fruit flavors and well-structured tannins. Rob says he finds a consistent spiciness in Weber fruit, which is one of the things he loves about this Pinot. The notes of nutmeg, ground almonds, and hazelnuts make it a great partner for mushroom risotto, duck breast, or lamb dishes. This wine is made to drink well now, and it will only improve with age. He made 140 cases of the Weber, and it is $45.

2006 Belle Pente, Estate Reserve, Pinot Noir
“Belle Pente” is French for “beautiful slope.” In 1994, Jill and Brian O’Donnell found property for their dream winery in the Willamette Valley’s Yamhill Carlton district. With its beautifully situated hillside vineyard sites, the choice for a name was easy. Here, they grow their grapes on ancient, sedimentary WillaKenzie soil, following organic and biodynamic vineyard practices. Their estate reserve Pinot Noir has always represented the very best from their winery, and with 2006 being a near perfect vintage in Oregon, this is the best of their best. Grapes for this wine were sourced from both the original section of their estate vineyard, which produces highly complex wines, and a block of Wadenswil clone, in the warmest part of the vineyard, which adds ripeness. From this mix, they selected 18 barrels which best showcased the qualities of the vineyard, and showed the most potential for aging. The result is a rich, concentrated Pinot Noir, with an excellent balance of acid and tannins and warm, dark fruit flavors. The wine is $43 and, while it can certainly be enjoyed now, they say this wine is built to be at its best in six to eight years. Whenever you chose to enjoy it, this is an excellent food wine and you could easily venture beyond salmon to pork, veal, or even Thanksgiving turkey!