Oregon Wine Club – February 2013

2010 Brittan Vineyards, Basalt Block, Pinot Noir
Brittan Vineyards is a 128-acre winery on the edge of Oregon’s Coast Range, in the McMinnville AVA. Winemaker Robert Brittan had always dreamed of making Pinot Noir and Syrah from unique sites in a cooler climate so, after 16 years as winemaker and estate manager at Napa’s Stag’s Leap Winery, he relocated to Oregon. Now he oversees vineyard operations and is winemaker at his own winery, where he has 20 acres planted to Pinot Noir, plus one acre of Syrah. His wines are made entirely from estate fruit and he makes both a Basalt Block and Gestalt Block Pinot, with the assistance of his daughter, Chelsea. The grapes for his Basalt Block (mostly Pommard clones) come from areas of the vineyard with the highest concentration of broken, sub-marine basalt, which results in low yields, and produces wines with intense flavors and layers of complexity. The 2010 vintage in the Willamette Valley was cool and late ripening and the wines from that year tend to have vibrant flavors and notes of exotic spice. The 2010 Basalt Block Pinot has bright fruit and ample structure, with a nice, stony minerality and a long and elegant finish. A great wine for richer dishes, such as baked fish with cream sauce. It is $49.75 and still on the young side so it has plenty of room to develop.

2009 Siltstone Wines, Guadalupe Pinot Noir
This is the third appearance of this wine in the club so, if you’ve been hanging on to them, you now have a little vertical from 2007 to 2009. And by now you know that Guadalupe Vineyard, in Oregon’s Dundee Hills AVA, has been managed from the beginning by Joel Myers, who helped design and plant the original vineyard back in 1988. Joel is one of the most respected vineyard managers in Oregon and, in addition to Guadalupe, he manages over 500 acres of prime vineyards in the north Willamette Valley through his vineyard management company, Vinetenders. It all began back when he was only ten, when he helped the legendary David Lett (“Papa Pinot”) plant and trellis his vineyards. And after 30 years of experience in vineyard management and design, he began his own label, Siltstone, in 2000 using fruit from Guadalupe. This vineyard lies in the transition zone between the Dundee Hills, with its volcanic soils, and the marine sedimentary soils of the Yamhill-Carlton District. Exhibiting characteristics of both types of terroir, the vineyard tends to produce big, well-balanced wines with layers of dark, intensely flavored fruit. Joel’s 2009 Guadalupe Pinot is big, spicy and lusty (the winery’s word), with ripe, round flavors and great depth and body. He made only 230 cases and it has the structure to age, though it is drinking quite nicely now. It is $34.