2009 Lachini Vineyards, Lachini Family Estate Pinot Noir
Ron and Marianne Lachini began planting their estate vineyard in 1999 with one grape: Pinot Noir. Their singular goal was to produce limited, world class Pinots on their small, family-owned estate in the northern Willamette Valley. They chose the site for its excellent exposure and unique microclimates. Their 45-acre estate, near Newberg, in the foothills of the Chehalem Mountains, consists of three distinct blocks, with specific Pinot clones planted in each. The soil here is WillaKenzie, with silt loam over sedimentary rock, and the drainage forces the vines to develop deep root systems. Wines grown here tend to show strong, earthy notes and spice. You may recall the Lachini Pinot Noir “S” that we put in the October, 2010 club, made by Peter Rosback of Sineann. Bordeaux transpant Laurent Montalieu has also made wines for Lachini, but their current winemaker is Mike Primozich, who has worked with many familiar faces in Oregon, including Rob Stuart and Eric Hammacher. Mike carries on Lachini’s commitment to utmost quality, through meticulous vineyard management, and natural and gentle handling throughout the winemaking process, from hand-harvesting, use of native yeasts, and all gravity-flow processes. All of this helps ensure that the wines express utmost purity of fruit and expression of the vineyard terroir. While the “S” was more lush, fruit-forward, and concentrated, this Pinot has an almost Burgundian elegance about it; light and silky on the palate, but full of vibrant red fruit flavors. The lovely finish goes on and on. It is $42 and, while inviting now, it could benefit from another few years in the bottle, when it would pair well with a nice roast duck.
2009 Francis Tannahill, The Hermit, Pinot Noir
As we explained when we featured the 2005 vintage of this wine in our July 2010 club, Francis Tannahill is Cheryl Francis (former winemaker at Chehalem Winery, with winemaking experience in Burgundy and New Zealand) and her husband Sam Tannahill (former winemaker at Archery summit, also with experience in Burgundy where he earned 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. Their goal with their namesake winery is to employ Old World techniques and sensibility to produce pure and elegant wines that express the character of their origin. Previously made with fruit from a variety of select sites, their 2009 Hermit was sourced entirely from their own 100% Demeter-certified, biodynamic, Pearl Vineyard, in the Dundee Hills. The wine is a great testament to their passion for Oregon Pinot Noir, and for the Burgundies they love. It is complex, with Old World-y aromas of spice and earth, balanced by great depth and concentration on the palate. It will reward cellaring for a few more years, but is already showing much finesse and elegance, plus a touch of austerity that makes it great for food, like roasted vegetables, braised veal, or planked salmon. Like the 2005, this one is $43 and they made only 236 cases.