2009 Anne Amie, Prismé, Pinot Noir Blanc
We’ve seen white Pinot Noirs occasionally and they are usually very limited and quite sought after. This one is no exception. It is made by Anne Amie, located in Carlton, Oregon, who own estate vineyards on the steep hillsides of the Chehalem Mountains in the Yamhill-Carlton District. This wine is sourced from their best blocks of Pinot Noir, using Pommard and Dijon 115 clones grown on the local Willakenzie soil. The fruit is pressed very gently so that only the free run juice is released, and not the color or tannins of the skins. The wine is then aged on its lees in large French oak puncheons for at least 18 months and is allowed to go through full malolactic fermentation. They named the wine Prismé after a prism, which splits white light into its corresponding colors, however in this case, the red color of the Pinot Noir grapes is distilled into a white wine. And what does it taste like? It is rich, textured, and full-bodied, reminiscent of a Meursault, with complexity and exotic aromas from the secondary fermentation and the lees aging. All of this doesn’t come cheap (it is $56) or in large supply (they made only about 400 cases), but it is a definitely a wine to savor, down to its long, creamy finish with, as the winery suggests, lobster, Dungeness crab, fennel-rubbed roast chicken, “or anything covered in truffle cream sauce.”
2011 Amalie Robert, Pinot Meunier
If you’ve been in the club for a while, or if you’re a Champagne aficionado, you are probably familiar with the grape Pinot Meunier. It is one of the three major grapes in Champagne (along with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) and it is occasionally made into still wines. Oregon’s Amalie Robert is one of only a handful of producers we know who do one locally and we featured their lovely 2009 Pinot Meunier in the club back in 2011. The grape is named after the French word for miller (meunier) because of the flour-like dusty coating on its leaves. As a still wine, Pinot Meunier is somewhat similar to Pinot Noir: aromatic, light in body, and juicy, with soft tannins and a spicy finish. Amalie Robert (pronounced AIM a lee Robert with the T voiced—it’s taken from the middle names of the two founders) is located in the central Willamette Valley, where their dry-farmed fruit is much respected and used by a number of other wineries. They grow about half an acre of Pinot Meunier on their 30-acre vineyard, and in the cool 2011 vintage, they made only 81 cases of this wine. It has a rustic, complex nose, and on the palate it is soft yet complex and layered with flavors that evolve as you savor it. Their suggestion on the label of pairing it with wild game, duck confit, or grilled veal chop sounds perfect, given the wine’s natural, balanced acidity. It is $28 and is not meant to age: enjoy it within three to five years.