2006 William Hatcher, Pinot Noir
When William Hatcher had narrowed his career change options to two, his market research made the choice clear. As he states on his website, “Oregon was already saturated with accordion repairmen (2) but there weren’t nearly enough winemakers (250).” Thus was born William Hatcher Wines. It was not a completely random choice: he had been managing director of Domaine Drouhin for 14 years prior to that and he is also one of the founders of Oregon’s A to Z Wineworks and a partner in Rex Hill Winery. But we’re guessing his pride and joy is the handcrafted Pinot Noir he makes under his own name. We have already noted in previous write-ups that 2006 was a superb year for Pinots in Oregon. Bill found that it produced a very voluptuous wine, requiring more oak treatment than he typically uses. Because of that, he held it in bottle for nearly two years to allow that oak to thoroughly integrate with the fruit. Which it has, beautifully. This $43 Pinot is utterly elegant, and seamless, with soft, dark fruit, fine tannins, and graceful structure. The winemaker says it should be at its best between 2010 and 2016. It should be a wonderful match for any elegant meal.
2008 Lachini Vineyards, Pinot Noir “S”
Ron Lachini came into the shop recently to reacquaint us with his fine Pinots from the north Willamette Valley, near the Chehalem Mountains. Bear had always liked this winery but it had fallen off our radar after Ron dropped his Washington distributor. So it was a real treat to rediscover them. Bordeaux native, Laurent Montalieu, is Lachini’s winemaker, with the exception of one wine: their Pinot Noir ‘S.’ The ‘S’ stands for “la Sorella della famiglia” (sister of the family estate Pinot Noir), and this sister is crafted by Peter Rosback of Sineann. He makes the wine with 100% Lachini estate fruit, roughly half each of the darker, brooding, Pommard clone, and the brighter, spicier Dijon clone. Peter has been making Lachini’s ‘S’ Pinot since 2002, and all agree this is his best yet (or, as Peter puts it, “This ‘S’ is rockin’”). True to Peter’s style in general, the wine is more lush, fruit-forward, and concentrated, with a bit more oak in the mix. It would pair well with salmon, but Ron noted it could easily handle a steak as well. Alternatively, the inherent forest floor flavors in the wine would match well with seasonal mushroom dishes (morels, chanterelles…) or with root vegetables. It might just be the answer to the holiday dinner wine dilemma. It is $39.75 and ready to drink now, but will certainly continue to develop over the next five to ten years.