Oregon Wine Club – January 2011

2009 Sineann, Resonance Vineyard Pinot Noir
We’ve always had a soft spot in our hearts for Sineann wines. Bear used to love talking about his visits with winemaker Peter Rosback, with his then very young daughter, Anna, in tow. In fact, it was one of the only Oregon wineries Bear ever really connected with (other than Owen Roe, which shares its own connection with Sineann). Much has changed since then, but one thing hasn’t: Peter’s dedication to making excellent wine, and his belief that “food and drink, lovingly prepared, make for happier and healthier people.” To this end, he goes to great effort to source fruit from some of the best vineyards in the region. And, as he himself states, his best Pinot, year after year, comes from the Resonance Vineyard. Peter gives much of the credit for this to vineyard managers Kevin and Carla Chambers. In return, they provide almost all of their fruit to Sineann, so Peter has an abundance of fruit to choose from when he puts together the single-vineyard blend for this bottling. The vineyard is located in the northern Willamette Valley, in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, in a site protected from harsh weather, on primarily Willakenzie soil. Resonance Vineyard Pinots typically have a very mouth-filling texture. And while 2008 was a superb, points-grabbing vintage, Peter thinks the 2009 is even better, with overall quality so high he was able to put some of the Resonance fruit into his regular Oregon Pinot, and fruit from the older Pommard and Wadensville blocks, usually earmarked for his Reserve Resonance, made it into this bottling. The result? A big, plush, expansive Pinot, full of rich, dark fruit and great depth and complexity, on a par with the more expensive bottling. At $44, it is enjoyable now, or could age for a few more years. It would be delicious with your best Beef Bourguignon. (Note that it comes with a glass stopper instead of a cork.)

2008 Lenné Estate, Pinot Noir, Yamhill Carlton District
Here is a brand new face, both to us and to the club. Lenné Estate owners Steve and Karen Lutz began planting Pinot Noir on their Yamhill-Carlton estate in 2001. They now have about 20 acres planted to the grape, not far from the likes of Beaux Freres, WillaKenzie Estate, and Soléna. Clearly, they chose their site well. From the beginning, they have been committed to dry farming, as well as other sustainable, low-intervention practices. In order to let their vines develop and root down deep enough to find water and nutrients, they didn’t harvest any fruit until the fourth year. In the early stages, it was challenging, and they lost a fair amount of young vines, but it paid off. Today, they are able to provide some of their surplus fruit to David O’Reilly, at Owen Roe, who has assisted them along the way (an unplanned connection with Sineann above). And while the Sineann Pinot also hails from the Yamhill-Carlton District, the predominant soil type in the Lenné vineyards is an ancient sedimentary type called peavine, which is nutrient poor and produces small clusters and berries. The resulting wines have a concentrated mid-palate, and a long finish with underlying hints of mocha — a characteristic of this terroir. All of the wines under the Lenné Estate label represent the best barrels from the harvest. The 2008 Estate Pinot, at $39.75, is full of black fruit flavor with a lovely, rich texture. It is quite accessible now, or over the next few years and could be paired with a braised salmon, or with roast chicken or pork.