Oregon Wine Club – November 2014

2012 Evesham Wood Vineyard, Le Puits Sec Pinot Noir
The first Evesham Wood wine we put in this club was the 2009 Pinot from this vineyard. That was just after founders and owners Mary and Russ Raney made the difficult decision to retire after 24 years and turn the winery over to Erin Nuccio. It has been a seamless transition as Erin had been working alongside Russ for a number of vintages and the two share a nearly identical winemaking and vine-tending philosophy, heavily influenced and mentored from the beginning by the legendary Burgundian winemakers, Henri Jayer and Michel Niellon. And from the beginning, the centerpiece of the winery has been their estate vineyard, Le Puits Sec, or the ‘dry well,’ so-named because the first well they drilled on their property yielded no water whatsover. So that 13-acre vineyard, planted in 1986 in the Eola-Amity Hills, continues to be dry-farmed as well as certified organic, in keeping with their goal of producing well-balanced, expressive wines that let the terroir speak without any unnecessary intervention, including irrigation. After the cool 2011 vintage, 2012 was stellar and this Le Puits Sec Pinot boasts flavors of dark cherry and plum, and a silky texture. Though it is lovely and expressive now, Erin says it should continue to evolve and improve over the next seven to ten years. It is $39.75 and would be perfect with baked salmon (of course), or with somewhat richer fare, such as duck.

2012 William Hatcher, Pinot Noir
When William Hatcher founded his eponymous winery in 2001, he had already logged 14 years as managing director at Oregon’s legendary Domaine Drouhin. He is also a founder of A to Z Wineworks, along with Cheryl Francis and Sam Tannahill, and is a partner with them in Rex Hill as well. Somehow, he still finds time to craft stunning wines under his own label. Like the Evesham Wood above, this Pinot Noir also is from 2012 which William calls a “quintessential vintage,” with warm days, cool nights and little rain, right into September. Perfect ripening conditions for all of the flavors, sugars, acid, and tannins to come together in balance. William Hatcher’s winemaking philosophy is that less is more, and to that end, he tries to intervene as little as possible, allowing the characteristics of the vintage and the terroir to reveal themselves. And what was revealed in this vintage, with his masterful guidance of course, is elegant floral notes and inviting flavors of red fruits, with a broad, rich mouthfeel. Utterly seamless, this is a lovely Pinot to enjoy now or, as he points out, you could cellar it for up to 15 years or more as it continues to develop. This wonderfully supple and food-friendly Pinot is $47.25.