2014 Evening Land, Seven Springs Pinot Noir, $45
Winery info: Evening Land was founded in 2005 by a group of investors, with the much-celebrated Burgundian Dominique Lafon as consulting winemaker. The winery has gone through a number of changes over the years and is now headed by Rajat Parr, James Beard award-winning author and celebrated sommelier, along with highly-acclaimed winemaker Sashi Moorman. The two are now sole stewards of Seven Springs Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, considered by many to be one of the top vineyards in the Willamette Valley.
Winemaker: Rajat Parr and Sashi Moorman
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir
Vineyard source: Seven Springs Vineyard with iron-rich, volcanic Jory soil. Sourced from the oldest own-rooted blocks of Pinot, planted in 1984 to Pommard and Wädenswil clones.
Flavor profile: Wonderfully elegant and smooth, with a bit of earth and toast and dark, savory fruit.
Production/Availability: 2,078 cases. It should be available through the holidays.
Drinkability: It opens up very nicely as it breathes. It should continue to develop in the cellar through 2023.
Food Pairing: Try it with filet mignon, pork, or salmon. Or anything with wild mushrooms.
2015 Leah Jørgensen, Malbec, $32
Winery info: Leah Jørgensen seeks to make “pretty wines in the Pacific Northwest, one barrel at a time, 100% inspired by the wines of the Loire.” She started her wine career at Erath in 2004, and then worked in marketing for various Oregon wineries while studying enology at the Northwest Viticulture Center in Salem. While her focus has been on Cabernet Franc, she recently added Malbec (known as Côt in the Loire) to her repertoire.
Winemaker: Leah Jørgensen
Grapes: 100% Malbec
Vineyard source: Crater View Vineyard, in the Rogue Valley, owned and farmed by Quail Run Vineyards. The elevation is 1500-1670 feet, with western, southern and eastern aspects. Excavation has unearthed 250 million-year-old blue schist rocks and other ancient marine rock and shellfish fossils on the site.
Flavor profile: Made to be “Loire-like” in character, this Malbec is more acid-driven than most New World offerings. It is fresh, fruity, and savory, with a touch of black pepper and earth. You could even serve it slightly chilled.
Production/Availability: About 72 cases. It should be available through the holidays.
Drinkability: Now through 2020
Food Pairing: Cassoulet, braised meats