2015 Elk Cove Vineyards, Goodrich Vineyard Pinot Noir, $46
Winery Info: When Pat and Joe Campbell founded Elk Cove in Gaston, Oregon in 1974 they were one of only about ten wineries in the state. They chose their site for its shallow soils, steep hilly terrain, and beautiful views. They have remained family-owned ever since, with a focus on producing hand crafted, estate-grown, cool climate wines.
Winemaker: Adam Campbell, son of Elk Cove founders Pat and Joe Campbell.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir. From the warm 2015 vintage, with the earliest harvest on record for the northern Willamette Valley. Aged ten months in French oak.
Vineyard source: Goodrich Vineyard, in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, purchased by Elk Cove in 2014. Originally planted in 2007 on marine sediment Willakenzie soil.
Flavor profile: Medium bodied, with nice concentration and depth and savory flavors of red and black fruit, herbs, and a touch of forest floor. With soft tannins and balancing acidity.
Production/Availability: About 750 cases. It is still in decent supply.
Drinkability: Now through 2022.
Food Pairing: Wild mushroom dishes, pork roast, or earthy wild game.
2013 Belle Pente, Murto Vineyard Pinot Noir, $38
Winery Info: A 70-acre hillside vineyard and winery just east of Carlton, Oregon, founded by Brian and Jill O’Donnell in 1994. The name means “beautiful slope” in French, describing the site and also reflecting the inspiration they draw from the wines of Burgundy and Alsace. Brian has a deep understanding of the geology, geography, and soils of the Willamette Valley and has farmed biodynamically since 2005.
Winemaker: Brian O’Donnell
Grapes: 100% Pommard clone Pinot Noir
Vineyard source: Murto Vineyard in the Dundee Hills, planted in 1978 on volcanic Jory soil. Selected from vines farmed to Brian’s specifications. 2013 was a warm growing season until the fall, when a series of storms hit the Dundee Hills especially hard. Brian was able to harvest early and he sorted meticulously. The older vines proved to be remarkably resilient to the difficult growing season.
Flavor profile: Because of the shorter, more intense growing season, Brian notes that this Pinot has “more forward appeal and less angular structure” than those of the recent, cooler vintages in Oregon. It is light- to medium-bodied, with fresh notes of raspberries and exotic spices.
Production/Availability: 440 cases produced. There is a tiny bit left.
Drinkability: Enjoyable now, it should develop even more depth over the next eight years
Food Pairing: Smoked salmon, lamb tagine, duck, or lentil dishes.