Oregon Wine Club – February 2015

2012 Westrey Wine Company, Abbey Ridge Pinot Noir
This month we are featuring two wines you’ve seen before, one a newer vintage, as one would expect, and one a much older one (more on that below). Westrey was founded in McMinnville in 1993 by Amy Wesselman and David Autrey, with a focus on crafting elegant and ageworthy Pinot Noirs, as well as Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. We put their 2010 Abbey Ridge Pinot in the club several years ago. And while that was a long, cool vintage, 2012 was a winemaker’s dream. Abbey Ridge Vineyard was planted in 1978 and is one of Oregon’s oldest producing vineyards, as well as one of the highest in the Dundee Hills. In this cool site the fruit has plenty of time to develop excellent varietal character and good acidity and wines from this vineyard are typically elegant and complex, with good aging potential. The deep roots of the old vines make irrigation unnecessary, a good thing as water becomes more and more scarce. “In 2012 Abbey Ridge produced an extraordinary wine!” Amy and David write. The fruit at harvest had ripe tannins, lush fruit flavors, and great acidity. It is a bigger wine than they usually produce from this vineyard, but it still has the signature Abbey Ridge notes of high-toned fruit and underlying earth and is a very balanced and complete wine. This one is $42 and is lovely to drink now, though five to ten years in the cellar should see it continue to evolve.

2006 Francis Tannahill, Pinot Noir “The Hermit”
As we know, the growing conditions of each vintage play a huge role in the characteristics of the wine from that harvest, and this is particulary true with the finicky grape, Pinot Noir. We’ve seen how the recent long, cool 2010 and 2011 harvests produced leaner wines that need some time to come around, while many of the 2012s and even the 2013s (gasp) are ready to drink already. Here’s a wine that we’ve featured several times: the 2005, back in 2010, and the 2009 in October 2012. Imagine our surprise to find that there was still some of the Hermit from the 2006 vintage left and that it is tasting gorgeous! No need to wait on this one. A quick recap: Francis Tannahill is Cheryl Francis and Sam Tannahill, who both bring winemaking experience in Burgundy to their project, plus involvement with numerous wineries in Oregon, past and present. With Francis Tannahill, their goal is to produce pure and elegant wines that express the character of their origin, using Old World techniques and sensibility. Though their “Hermit” is now made from their estate Pearl Vineyard, in 2006 it was still sourced from several exceptional vineyard sites in the Willamette Valley, including Pearl, Shea, Maresh, and Eola Hills. The 2006 growing season began late, but was followed by a beautiful, warm summer and fall that provided perfect ripening conditions and excellent yields. The Pinots tended to be softer, with generous dark fruit flavors and, dare we say, a definite sexiness to them. This is one you can go ahead and drink now, while you wait for those 2010s and 2011s to develop. It is $47.25 and is lovely and elegant, with beautifully developed flavors.