2011 Scott Paul, Long Run Pinot Noir
As you may recall from when we featured the Scott Paul “Audrey” Pinot back in 2011, this winery actually began down in California in 1999. But founders Scott and Martha Wright were soon lured north to the cooler climate of Oregon which was much more suitable for making the Burgundian style of Pinots they loved to drink and wanted to produce themselves. Scott, who calls himself a “professional Burgundy geek,” also imports wines from Burgundy and Champagne. But he remains passionate about making Oregon Pinots which, from the beginning, have been styled after those from the Burgundy village of Chambolle-Musigny, with their beautiful perfume, silky texture, and sense of power, without weight. That goal is not always without challenges, though. The 2011 vintage in Oregon was long and difficult, beginning with a cold, rainy spring, followed by a very cool summer. A few weeks of sunshine and warmth finally arrived at the end, just when they thought they might not be able to make any wine at all that year and harvest began the last week of October, the latest they ever experienced in Oregon! As it happens, 2011 was also the year that Scott Wright ran his first marathon, and it is for that milestone he named this wine. It is made from Dijon clone vines averaging 20 years in age, sourced from high, south-facing blocks of Nysa Vineyard in the Dundee Hills. Scott selected eight barrels that he thought best expressed the bright red fruit and spice flavors that Pinot Noir grown on the volcanic soil of the Dundee Hills is known for. A season filled with waiting and worry rewarded them in the end with what they describe so aptly as “a wine of purity, precision, and elegance.” It is $48 and they made only 174 cases. They recommend enjoying it from 2015 on.
2012 Lemelson Vineyards, Thea’s Selection Pinot Noir
Eric Lemelson began visualizing his winery in 1997 and, with the help of winemaking veteran Eric Hamacher and a noted Portland architect, he was able to realize his dream in time for the 1999 harvest. His winery in Carlton, Oregon is both state-of-the-art and human-scaled, allowing for natural, gentle processing, and focussing on quality at every stage of production, always with a minimal impact on the environment. He has seven vineyards, all certified organic, located in three of the major Oregon AVAs, representing some of the distinct soil types that give Oregon Pinots their unique characteristics. While most of his wines are single-vineyard offerings, exploring the specific nuances of each site, for his Thea’s Selection Eric uses fruit from all of the estate vineyards, creating a blend that showcases the character of the particular vintage and the winery’s overall style. The 2012 Thea’s combines fruit from vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, with Willa Kenzie sedimentary soil; their Meyer Vineyard in the Dundee Hills AVA, with its Jory and Nekia volcanic soils; and their Chestnut Hill Vineyard, planted on Jory soil in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. The fruit is a blend of Pommard, Wadenswil and Dijon clones. Unlike the difficult 2011 vintage above, 2012 was a classic, worry-free growing season and the wines in general are approachable and inviting, even when young. This expressive Pinot has flavors of tea, black cherry, and raspberry, with inviting notes of spice and earth. It is $32 and the winery says it will begin showing best in mid-2015 and continue to improve in the bottle for another five to seven years. Enjoy it with roast beef, grilled fish, or a wild mushroom risotto.