2014 North Valley Vineyards, Origin Series, Ribbon Ridge $49.75
Winery info: North Valley Vineyards is a partnership between Tony and Michelle Sotor (of Sotor Vineyards) and James Cahill (formerly with Beaux Frères and Elk Cove). Their focus is on the northern part of the Willamette Valley, where they feel some of the valley’s best vineyards are located. They work with six sub-appellations here to source fruit for their “Origin” series—limited production bottlings that reflect the unique characteristics of each site—and produce them only when the quality of the vintage meets their exacting standards.
Winemakers: Tony Sotor and James Cahill
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir
Vineyard source: From vineyards within the Ribbon Ridge AVA, the smallest of the six Willamette Valley sub-appellations, with marine sedimentary soil.
Flavor profile: An extremely pretty and expressive Pinot, with dark fruit, warm spice, and a nice touch of earthiness.
Production/Availability: 463 cases. In very limited supply.
Drinkability: Lovely now, but will evolve beautifully for years to come. Enjoy between 2017 and 2022.
Food Pairing: Boeuf Bourguignon, lamb with peppercorn crust, or salmon.
2013 Evesham Wood, Pinot Noir, Le Puits Sec, $39.75
Winery info: Founded by Russ and Mary Raney in 1986. After 24 years they decided to retire and turned the winery and their estate Le Puits Secs Vineyard over to Erin Nuccio with whom they had worked for a number of vintages. It was a seamless transition as Erin and Russ share the same winemaking and vine-tending philosophy, heavily influenced and mentored from the beginning by the legendary Burgundian winemakers, Henri Jayer and Michel Niellon.
Winemaker: Erin Nuccio
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir
Vineyard source: Their 12.5-acre estate vineyard, Le Puits Sec, or the ‘dry well,’ so-named because the first well they drilled there yielded absolutely no water. Planted in 1986 in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, it continues to be dry-farmed and is certified organic. With shallow volcanic basalt soil.
Flavor profile: Erin says the 2013 vintage, which began warm but cooled off dramatically in August, has turned out to be one of his favorites. This Pinot developed dark fruit and plump texture during the warm months, while the cooler season added bright acidity and notes of red fruit and earth.
Production/Availability: 525 cases produced. The distributor has a few cases left.
Drinkability: Delightful now, but you could cellar it for five to ten years.
Food Pairing: Herb roasted chicken, game, or fall root vegetable dishes.