Oregon Wine Club – July 2010

2008 Brick House Vineyards, Les Dijonnais, Pinot Noir
Several years ago we put the Brick House Gamay in the club. They are one of the few wineries producing true Gamay Noir outside of Beaujolais, and we thought theirs was amazing. This month we’re happy to feature their Pinot Noir, “Les Dijonnais.” Brick House uses all estate-grown fruit, is certified organic and follows bio-dynamic practices in the vineyard. As their website states, it is a “New World site dedicated to Old World wisdom.” Winemaker Doug Tunnel strives to be as hands-off as possible in his winemaking, and his resulting wines have a distinct elegance, class, and purity that is hard to match. He planted the fruit for this Pinot in 1995 on one of the best slopes on his farm, with perfect exposure and soils, using the best Dijon clones he could get his hands on. And beginning with the first wine from that block, released in 1998, the Brick House Les Dijonnais has won accolades and acclaim, year after year. The 2008 vintage was spectacular in Oregon, and this Pinot is a stunning example. But yields were very low, so this wine is extremely limited. In fact, the distributor got only seven cases of it, and we’re thrilled that we were able to get enough to put in the club. It’s definitely worth laying down for a few years, then enjoying with a special meal. It is beautifully layered and complex, and continually develops as it opens up. Spend an evening with it and see what happens! It’s $45 and there is just a tiny bit left.

2005 Francis Tannahill, Pinot Noir, The Hermit
Francis Tannahill Wine Company is Cheryl Francis (former winemaker at Chehalem Winery, with winemaking experience at Domaine Rion in Burgundy, and in New Zealand) and her husband Sam Tannahill (former winemaker at Archery summit, with experience at Domaine l’Arlot in Burgundy, plus a degree in winemaking from the University of Dijon). They are also partners in Rex Hill Vineyards, and A to Z Wineworks and have made wines for Oregon’s Le Cadeau. All of that surely keeps them extremely busy, but they are extremely passionate about what they do. They strive to produce pure and elegant wines, to be drunk at the table with good food and good company and we think they succeed beautifully at this. They source their fruit from some of the best growers, vineyards, and blocks in the Willamette Valley and year after year, their wines show great depth and concentration, balanced by elegance and purity. Their 2005 ‘Hermit,’ at $43, already has some nice age on it and is drinking beautifully now, with notes of spice and dark fruit and a touch of earthiness. Pair it with roasted vegetables, braised beef, or gnocchi in a salmon sauce. And good company!