Oregon Wine Club – August 2014

2011 Omero Cellars, Omero Vineyard Pinot Noir
Here’s a brand new face in the club. Omero cellars was established in 2009, in the heart of the Ribbon Ridge AVA. Farming with the natural cycle of the vineyard and its ecosystem always in mind, they say their focus is to “translate the language of the soil, the sky and the fruit; allowing it to tell a different story to everyone who experiences it.” While their current winemaker is now Chad Stock, the winemaker for this wine was the talented Sarah Cabot who had previously worked as assistant winemaker at both Willakenzie Estate and Belle Pente Vineyard. This is the inaugural release of this estate Pinot from their Omero Vineyard, planted on the sedimentary soils of Ribbon Ridge. Their aim with this wine is to showcase the flavors of the fruit grown in this soil and “the elegance, finesse and nuance of this special place.” The wine was made from a selection of their favorite barrels and it spends 16 months in 50% new French oak. 2011 was a long, cool growing season in Oregon, which culminated in a welcome warm October that finally ripened the grapes before the rains set in. The wines from this vintage are not big powerhouses, but rather tend to show more restraint and finesse. And generally less alcohol. At 12.48%, this one is a great food wine that won’t overpower the flavors of the meal, plus you can have a second glass (or two!). What it does have is tons of structure, and aromas and flavors of cherries and spice, and a nice long finish. This one will definitely benefit from a few years in your cellar to bring out all the nuances of the fruit. They produced only 450 cases of this wine and it comes in at $57.25. We think it’s a great opportunity to get to know this relatively young winery, and watch where it goes from here!

2011 Soter Vineyards, North Valley Pinot Noir
When we have utmost respect for a winery, and their wines consistently impress year in and year out, you’ll notice that we tend to include them in the club vintage after vintage. We’ve featured a number of wines from Soter in the past, including a previous vintage of this one. So you may recall the story of Tony Soter: after 25 years of consulting for numerous top California wineries, (Shafer, Spottswoode, Viader, and Niebaum-Coppola), he returned to his native Oregon to create his eponymous winery at Mineral Springs Ranch, in Oregon’s Yamhill Carlton district. He makes stunning and very highly-regarded wines from his estate vineyard, but he also produces delightful, and more affordable wines under his North Valley label. For these wines he partners with some of the top growers in the northern Willamette Valley including the Dundee Hills, Ribbon Ridge, and Yamhill-Carlton. Seeking fruit of utmost quality and grown with the same meticulous care as his own estate fruit, Tony says he thinks of each vineyard he works with as a “satellite estate property.” Then he blends that fruit, sourced from a variety of clones, soil types, and micro-climates, into wines of remarkable character and complexity. As we mentioned above, 2011 was a historically late harvest vintage, and they were picking grapes well into the first week of November for this wine. The result, in Soter’s talented and experienced hands, is a classic Oregon Pinot, with aromas of fresh berries and black cherries, and underlying notes of forest floor and spice. Silky and balanced in the mouth, it has deep, complex flavors and is an amazing value, at $32, for what the winery calls “the most complete regional blend we have created under the North Valley label.” Enjoy it now, through 2018, perhaps with lamb sliders, or seasonal mushrooms dishes.