2011 Lachini Vineyards, “S” Pinot Noir
If this wine looks familiar, it’s because we put their 2010 estate Pinot in the club last month. We recently had a chance to catch up with the current Lachini wines and couldn’t make up our minds which one of these two to share with you, so we decided on both! (Just not in the same month). This month we present the current vintage of their “S” Pinot Noir, which takes its name from “la sorella della famiglia” (or: sister to the Family Estate Pinot). They make the “S” in a more opulent style than the Estate Pinot, with more ripeness and texture, and newer oak. It is a 14-barrel blend of half Pommard, 42% Dijon, and the rest Wädenswil clones and, like the Estate Pinot, it is made from fruit from their biodynamically-farmed estate in the foothills of the Chehalem Mountains. The “S” is more feminine in profile, with great balance and finesse, and ample acidity thanks to the cooler climate of the 2011 vintage. The full fruit flavors are balanced by soft savory, woodsy notes, making it a great match for meat or game, or wild mushroom dishes. They make only about 350 cases and, like last month’s Estate Pinot, it is $47.25. It’s ready to drink it now or it could be laid down for two to twelve years.
2010 De Ponte Cellars, Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
De Ponte Cellars is the site of one of the oldest vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Located in the Dundee Hills, the property was acquired by the Baldwin family in 1999, and they name the winery after co-founder Shirley Baldwin (née De Ponte) in honor of her father who once grew grapes and made wine in California’s San Joaquin Valley. From their first vintage in 2001, De Ponte’s winemaker has been Isabelle Dutartre, who studied winemaking at the University of Dijon in Burgundy and worked in vineyards and wineries in her native France before travelling to Oregon to work with her friend, Véronique Drouhin at Domaine Drouhin. After years of commuting back and froth from France to Oregon, she finally relocated her family to the Willamette Valley, where she finds the climate similar to that of France, although with very different soil types. Unlike the leaner, harsher soils she had worked with in France, the Dundee Hills is known for its rich, volcanic red clay-loam Jory soil, which tends to produce wines with bright red fruit flavors, great minerality and structure, and excellent focus. Her 2010 Dundee Hills Pinot is all that: clean, pure, and inviting, with lovely raspberry aromas and the elegance that is typical of well-made Pinots from the 2010 vintage. This one is $39.75 and is beautiful now, but it will continue to develop over the next seven to nine years.