2014 De Ponte Cellars, Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, $49.75
Winery Info: De Ponte Cellars is the site of one of the oldest vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Located in the Dundee Hills, the property was acquired by the Baldwin family in 1999. They named the winery after co-founder Shirley Baldwin (née De Ponte), in honor of her father who once grew grapes and made wine in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Since their first vintage in 2001, the wines have been made by Isabelle Dutartre, who studied winemaking at the University of Dijon in Burgundy and worked in vineyards and wineries in her native France before travelling to Oregon to work with her friend, Véronique Drouhin of Domaine Drouhin. She finds the Oregon climate similar to that of France, but with very different soil types.
Winemaker: Isabelle Dutartre
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, 20% aged in new and the rest in two-to-five year-old French oak for 12 months.
Vineyard source: De Ponte Cellars’ estate vineyard in the relatively warm Dundee Hills AVA. Its rich, volcanic, red clay Jory soil tends to produce concentrated, complex wines with bright red fruit flavors, great minerality and structure, and excellent focus.
Flavor profile: A smooth, velvety wine, with lovely, inviting aromas of cassis and elegant red fruit flavors with just a hint of vanilla. Its weight and depth is perfectly balanced by its food-friendly acidity.
Production/Availability: 1156 cases (of 750ml), plus larger formats. There is still some available
Drinkability: Delicious now, through 2022.
Food Pairing: Seared or grilled duck, with cherry.
2016 Jackalope Wine Cellars, Silvershot, Pinot Noir, $31.50
Winery Info: Founded by former civil engineer Corey Schuster, who worked with David O’Reilly at Owen Roe before launching out to make his own wines. His first vintage was 2012. He began making his wines at Portland’s Southeast Wine Collective, but is now based in Dundee, Oregon. Corey has bringing his wines for us to taste for several years now. We’re happy to include one in this month’s club!
Winemaker: Corey Schuster
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir
Vineyard: Silvershot, in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, a dry-farmed vineyard, with mostly own rooted (not grafted) vines, planted on sedimentary and fractured sandstone soil that was once ancient sea floor. The site is influenced by the cool coastal winds blowing in through the Van Duzer Corridor.
Flavor profile: Medium bodied, with balanced intensity and earthy, red fruit flavors. It has the spice, structure, and minerality characteristic of Eola-Amity wines.
Production/Availability: This one should be available for a while.
Drinkability: Drinking well now or over the next three to four years.
Food Pairing: Try with grilled salmon, roast chicken or pork, or vegetarian fare with seasonal mushrooms.