2009 Patton Valley Vineyard, 10 Acre Pinot Noir
The seeds of Patton Valley Vineyard were sown back in the early 80s, when owners Dave Chen and Monte Pitt were studying at university, but spent much of their time dreaming of starting a winery together. That dream eventually led to their purchase of a 72-acre abandoned orchard in Gaston, Oregon, ending their long search for a perfect site for growing world class Pinot Noir. They planted their first ten acres in 1997. Their vineyards have since expanded, and today they have 24 acres, planted exclusively to Pinot Noir. Their goal is to craft wines of elegance and balance, always letting the distinctive qualities of their fruit shine through. To this end, they combine what they feel is the best marriage of Old World approaches and New World techniques. One of their more recent decisions was to switch to screw tops for almost all of their wines, both to avoid the possibility of cork taint, and to ensure consistency. Their 10 Acre Pinot comes from the coolest site in their vineyard, which tends to produce more delicate, nuanced wines. This one comes from the 2009 vintage, which was a warmish year. It is brimming with red fruit flavors, with a soft, inviting nose and nuanced earth notes. It is ready to drink now and was $53, although this vintage is now sold out (we got the last bottles from the distributor).
2010 Soter Vineyards, North Valley Pinot Noir
We featured one of Tony Soter’s amazing Pinots back in March of 2012. At that time we wrote about Tony’s path to creating his estate winery at Mineral Springs Ranch. This journey included over 25 years consulting for top California wineries such as Shafer, Spottswoode, Viader, and Niebaum-Coppola. He also founded Etude Winery along the way, for which he continues to consult. But his dream was to own his own vineyard and make his own wine—which he realized when he discovered Mineral Springs Ranch, in Oregon’s Yamhill Carlton district. He makes wonderfully distinctive wines from this site, but he also produces a more budget-friendly line under the North Valley label, for which he partners with some of the area’s most meticulous and talented growers, blending fruit from a variety of clones, soil types, and micro-climates, to produce wines that reflect the character of the region. His 2010 North Valley Pinot is smooth and silky, with dark fruit flavors and a wonderful balance of weight and delicacy. Only the price ($32) would tell you that this is not a much higher end wine. It’s ready to enjoy anytime.